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National

California earthquake alerts to

become available statewide

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services says earthquake early warning alerts will become publicly available statewide starting Thursday.

The warnings produced by the ShakeAlert system will be pushed through a smartphone app and the same wireless notification system that issues Amber Alerts.

The system detects the start of an earthquake and calculates location, intensity and alerts areas where shaking is likely to occur.

The system’s statewide debut coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that ravaged the San Francisco Bay area on Oct. 17, 1989, as well as Thursday’s annual Great Shakeout drill.

The alerts have been in development for years and last year were made broadly available to businesses, utilities, schools and other entities. The only current large-scale notification system is for Los Angeles County.

Alaska to look at oil spill

plan requirements

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Thirty years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the state of Alaska is looking at whether to change its requirements for oil spill prevention and response plans.

Some say Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration has failed to adequately explain the need for any changes and fear the process could lead to a watering down of environmental regulations.

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune said there’s no intent to do away with the plans. He said the department wants to make sure the rules are not outdated.

Brune said he has heard from many Alaskans that contingency plans “are unnecessarily burdensome while lacking corresponding environmental benefits.”

He did not specify the source of the complaints but said there have been comments from industry and individuals outside of industry that the documents have gotten too big and “things just continue to get added and added and added.”

He also said he has heard from those who think the rules don’t go far enough. The department is taking public comment as it considers whether to propose changes.

Oil tankers, drill rigs and oil pipelines are among those required to have spill prevention and response plans, according to the department’s website.