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    An Idaho public utility's nearly two-decade effort to renew a three-dam hydroelectric project license on the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon Border is advancing with federal regulators announcing plans to update an environmental study. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this month said it will prepare a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to consider new developments since it completed the 2007 document for Idaho Power's Hells Canyon Project. The commission says it wants to consider fish-related protection measures. It also wants to consider water quality certifications issued by Idaho and Oregon. Hells Canyon is critical to Idaho Power meeting its stated goal of providing 100% clean energy by 2045.

      U.S. health authorities are facing a critical decision: whether to offer new COVID-19 booster shots this fall that are modified to better match the latest changes of the shape-shifting coronavirus. Moderna and Pfizer say their candidates targeting the super-contagious omicron variant will be an improvement. But the original omicron already has been replaced by its even more contagious relatives, with no way to know what version will spread this fall and winter. Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration will debate a recipe change Tuesday, and regulators promise a quick final decision.

        Farmers in Oregon already battling extreme drought and low water supplies are fighting against future grasshopper and Mormon cricket infestations. Severe outbreaks in recent years, fueled by drier, warmer conditions, wreaked havoc. This season, a new suppression program funded by Oregon lawmakers may help. It’s just one part of a larger effort by state and federal authorities in the U.S. West to deal with an explosion of grasshoppers and Mormon crickets that’s impacting farmers and ranchers from Montana to Nevada. But some environmental groups are opposing the programs, which rely on the aerial spraying of pesticides across large swaths of land.

          Pfizer says tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and boosts protection. Saturday's announcement comes just days before regulators debate whether to offer Americans updated booster shots this fall. The current COVID-19 vaccines still offer strong protection against hospitalization and death. But protection against infection has dropped markedly with the omicron variant, and now its even more transmissible relatives are spreading. Pfizer says either an omicron-targeted booster or a combination shot that mixes the original vaccine with omicron protection substantially increases protection. Rival Moderna hopes to offer a similar combination shot.

            A federal court has put a temporary hold on the government's order for Juul to stop selling its electronic cigarettes. Juul filed the emergency motion so it can appeal the sales ban from the Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington granted the request later Friday. A day earlier, the FDA said Juul must stop selling its vaping device and its cartridges. The agency said Juul didn't give it enough information to evaluate the potential health risks of its e-cigarettes. In its court filing, the company disagreed, saying it provided enough.

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            South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has appointed the lead prosecutor in the Senate impeachment trial against former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg to fill the remainder of Ravnsborg’s term. Noem’s appointment of Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo as attorney general was effective Tuesday. Noem pushed for Ravnsborg's impeachment after he refused to step down following the 2020 crash in which he struck and killed a man along a rural highway. Vargo will serve as attorney general until he's replaced by the winner of the November election.

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