An aerial view of Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plants in New Jersey.
Senate leaders decided to scrap a 1,900-page omnibus spending bill that contained $8 billion in home state spending projects – otherwise known as earmarks, pet projects, or "pork." Government spending and the deficit became an issue in the midterm election, and lawmakers are keenly aware of voter anger about large, catch-all bills that are quickly passed. The following senators have been ranked by the monetary value of earmarks they backed, whether alone or with others, in the now-scuttled omnibus spending bill. The earmark process became more transparent with the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which required creation of a database of all government spending. The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense used the database to compile this ranking. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma, who co-sponsored the legislation, also has a list of the disclosed earmarks in the omnibus bill on his website. *This is the amount requested both alone and with other members of Congress.
New killer whale babies lift the Northwest's endangered orca population out of the red zone (somewhat).
Man-made islands can remove ammonia, heavy metals, and other chemicals from the water.
In the Pacific Northwest, some 40 indigenous languages are at risk of disappearing within a decade.
Drastic federal action to try to save chinook salmon is latest move in ongoing battle.