National briefs: Colo. targets drilling fumes

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WASHINGTON -- Colorado proposed new rules Monday to reduce methane leaks from oil and gas operations, the first effort in the country to address emissions of the greenhouse gas that is a byproduct of the domestic fossil fuel boom.

Carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels is the main driver of climate change, but while less methane is emitted overall, it is an even more potent heat-trapping gas than carbon. Emissions in the United States of methane dropped slightly from 2011 to 2012. But methane emissions from oil and gas operations have risen in Colorado and other states where energy production is roaring, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Another court pick blocked

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans on Monday stymied President Barack Obama's latest judicial nominee, leaving one of the nation's top appellate courts shorthanded and escalating the endless confirmation war.

Facing a nearly unified GOP front, U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins failed to secure the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster and win a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The 53-38 vote late Monday afternoon marked the third time in three weeks that Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block an Obama nominee to the D.C.-based appellate court.

Obamacare alternative

WASHINGTON -- White House officials said Monday that the Obama administration was considering allowing people to sign up for health care coverage directly with insurance companies as a way to work around the struggling website.

"I certainly wouldn't rule that out," said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

Mr. Carney also said that although the website was improving, there would always be a portion of the population that will complete their applications offline, either because of remaining technical glitches or other reasons.

Clue emerges in ATM thefts

NEW YORK -- When eight men from the borough of Queens were indicted last spring as part of a global network that looted $45 million from ATMs, an unanswered question was what happened to the money.

Also in the nation ...

Two miners who died of carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday near Ouray, Colo., apparently entered an area of the mine where an explosive had been previously detonated, federal investigators said Monday. ... The severe storms that moved through the Midwest on Sunday killed at least six people in Illinois and one person in Michigan.


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