Nightly Brief

Your Thursday night briefing from the staff of Courthouse News

Top CNS stories for today including the Trump administration moving to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans, including opening up federal waters off the coast of California for the first time in more than three decades; Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing the Justice Department is reversing an Obama-era policy that gave states room to legalize marijuana; a report finds that after several years of strong growth, the renewable energy market is showing signs of slowing down; researchers say climate change has dramatically increased the frequency of coral bleaching events at reefs throughout the tropics; a Tennessee couple has taken an art dealer to court, saying he got their 94-year-old family matriarch to consign a pricey painting they were storing at her house, and more.

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An oil drilling platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA – 6 December 2011. (Photo by TheConduqtor via Wikipedia Commons.)

1.) In National news, the Trump administration said Thursday it is moving is to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans, including opening up federal waters off the coast of California for the first time in more than three decades.

A customer purchases marijuana at Harborside marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

2.) Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that the Trump administration is reversing an Obama-era policy that gave states room to legalize marijuana.

Democratic candidate for the 94th House of Delegates seat, Shelly Simonds, right, speaks to the media as her husband, Paul Danehy, left, and daughter, Georgia Danehy, center, look on after a drawing to determine the winner of a tied election at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. Republican Delegate David Yancey won the drawing. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

3.) David Yancey, the incumbent Republican, on Thursday won the random drawing for a tied House of Delegates race in Virginia, meaning the GOP will retain control of the chamber.

Rebecca Hollis of New Zealand drags her suitcases in a snowstorm through Times Square on her way to a hotel, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

4.) East Coast states from the Carolinas to Maine are under blizzard watches as a “winter hurricane” bears down on them, forcing cancellation of more than 3,000 flights and closing schools in several states, where a foot or more of snow will be followed by bitter cold and fierce winds.

Wind farm in Xinjiang, China. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

5.) After several years of strong growth, the renewable energy market is showing signs of slowing down, as the United States revels in cheaper electricity from natural gas. And the slowdown is causing ripples of change across the nation, with some state utility commissions drastically cutting the contract lengths of green energy companies.

A little goby worrying about her coral buddy at the height of the bleaching, Lizard Island. (Greg Torda)

6.) In Science news, researchers say climate change has dramatically increased the frequency of coral bleaching events at reefs throughout the tropics over the past 40 years, threatening the continued existence of these ecosystems and the livelihoods of millions of people.

This Dec. 18, 2017, a few of the 3-week-old cheetah cubs delivered by 4-year-old Bingwa at the Saint Louis Zoo. (Carolyn Kelly/Saint Louis Zoo)

7.) In Regional newsthe St. Louis Zoo touted the birth Wednesday of eight healthy cheetah cubs – a litter more than twice the average size.

8.) From the world of Art comes word a Tennessee couple has taken an art dealer to court, saying he got their 94-year-old family matriarch to consign a pricey painting they were storing at her house.

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