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The nation in brief: YouTube restores Trump’s account

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | March 18, 2023 at 4:28 a.m.

YouTube restores Trump's account

YouTube restored former President Donald Trump's account Friday, making it the last major social media platform to do so more than two years after the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

YouTube said in a tweet that it had "carefully evaluated the continued risk of real-world violence while balancing the chance for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run up to an election."

The move means Trump now has access to his Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts. Still, he has made a commitment to his own social media platform, Truth Social, and it's unclear how or if he will use those accounts in the campaign.

Wisconsin's secretary of state resigns

MADISON, Wis. -- Doug La Follette, Wisconsin's Democratic secretary of state, resigned Friday three months into his 11th term in office.

Gov. Tony Evers appointed former Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who ran for U.S. Senate last year but lost in the primary, to fill out the four-year term. Wisconsin's secretary of state is not in charge of elections and has few official duties.

La Follette, 82, won reelection in November over a Republican who wanted to shift election duties to the office.

La Follette -- a distant relative of "Fighting" Bob La Follette, a progressive governor and 1924 presidential candidate -- was first elected secretary of state in 1974. After a failed try for lieutenant governor in 1978, he won the office in 1982 and has won reelection nine times.

Republicans have gradually stripped the office of almost all its duties and staff and relegated La Follette to a cramped office in the Capitol basement. However, since the 2020 presidential election, Republicans have been mulling shifting oversight of elections to the secretary of state. The office hasn't played a role in Wisconsin elections since 1974.

States told to allow train wreck waste

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday ordered states to stop blocking contaminated waste from the fiery train derailment in Ohio from being sent to hazardous waste storage sites around the nation.

A handful of politicians and states have sought to block shipments from East Palestine, including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who last week said he had stopped waste from the derailment from coming into his state.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said there was no reason for states to block shipments of the type of waste that certified facilities handle routinely.

"This is impermissible and this is unacceptable," he said.

In a letter sent to all states, the EPA said blocking the shipments would probably violate a federal law dealing with the interstate transport of waste as well as the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which the agency said limits states' power to stop the movement of hazardous waste.

Although it's not clear what steps the EPA might take if states don't cooperate, the agency told railroad Norfolk Southern on Friday that it expects the company to take legal action if it is unable to ship the waste to certified disposal facilities.

The EPA already ordered Norfolk Southern to cover the costs of cleaning up from the Feb. 3 derailment that toppled 38 rail cars. No one was hurt, but concerns over a potential explosion led state and local officials to approve releasing and burning toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars and forced the evacuation of half the village.

Ohio this week filed a lawsuit against the railroad to make sure it pays for the cleanup and environmental and economic damage along with groundwater and soil monitoring in the years ahead.

Norfolk Southern has said it is committed to cleaning up the site and helping the community recover.

Many residents remain worried about what they might have been exposed to and how it will affect the area in the years ahead. Government officials say tests over the past month haven't found dangerous levels of chemicals in the air or water in the area.

Army investigating death at Texas base

FORT HOOD, Texas -- The U.S. military is investigating the death of a soldier at a Texas Army post that in recent years has struggled with homicide, suicide and sexual assault among its troops.

Fort Hood officials said this week that Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer who spent 15 months with the 1st Cavalry Division, died Monday. Officials at the military instillation 150 miles southwest of Dallas did not release further information about Basaldua Ruiz or the circumstances surrounding her death. They said her family would be provided with support and "all releasable information."

Fort Hood was the site of the 2020 killing of Vanessa Guillen. A fellow soldier suspected in her killing died by suicide on the day her remains were found. That soldier's girlfriend later pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder after the fact and three counts of making a false statement.

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