A new permit that will change the way the federal government deals with some surface coal mining permits goes into effect today. The new permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers has more stringent standards to protect the environment. When coal operators want a permit for a surface mine, they have two choices. They can try to get a so-called “Nationwide Permit” from the Army Corps of Engineers, or they can go through a more rigorous process and get an individual permit, which involves both the Army Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Kentucky is applying for two additional waivers being offered through the U.S. Department of Education from the No Child Left Behind standards. The commonwealth was one of several states that already received waivers from NCLB this year. Those states now have the chance to apply for the additional waivers. One allows states to be exempt from the adequate yearly progress (AYP) standard, which many education professionals say sets unreachable goals for schools, including making 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014.
The war of words over coal severance funds for Pike County is heating up as officials paint a bleak picture of how the county may suffer if recently proposed funding allocations are not reconsidered. State lawmakers, however, are challenging the county to tighten its belt and avoid making "heartburn"-inducing requests.
Mitt Romney won Puerto Rico's Republican presidential primary Sunday, adding the commonwealth's 20 delegates to his commanding lead over the other candidates as they compete to reach the 1,144 needed for the nomination. Rick Santorum hurt himself with the island's voters by saying English had to become its official language before it could achieve statehood.
NPR's business news starts with Apple's giant pile of money.
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INSKEEP: The maker of iPads, iPhones and computers is sitting on almost one hundred billion dollars in cash and securities. And today, Apple announced that it will spend some of that money paying a stock dividend to shareholders and buying back some company stock. NPR's Steve Henn has been following developments, and joins us on the line from Silicon Valley. Steve, good morning.
Here are some of the latest developments concerning the March 11 killings of 16 civilians in southern Afghanistan and the U.S. Army staff sergeant, Robert Bales, who is suspected of carrying out the massacre:
-- Defense attorney John Henry Browne will today "have his first face-to-face meeting with the 10-year Army veteran, who is being held in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth's military prison in Kansas," The Associated Press reports.