SOUTH DAKOTA: Fifth Dem senator to retire
Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson plans to retire at the end of his term, party officials said Monday, a departure that gives Republicans a prime opportunity to pick up a seat as they attempt to win back control of the U.S. Senate in 2014. Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2006 but returned and won re-election in 2008. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Johnson is the fifth Senate Democrat to decide to retire. Carl Levin of Michigan, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey also say they won't run for re-election in 2014. Two Republican senators have said they plan to retire. Republicans must gain six seats to win a majority, and South Dakota now leaps to the top of the party's list of most favorable states.
MONTANA: $1.7M fine sought for oil spill
Federal pipeline regulators have proposed $1.7 million in penalties against Exxon Mobil Corp. for a pipeline rupture that spewed crude oil into the Yellowstone River. The U.S. Department of Transportation said in a notice sent to the company Monday that Exxon employees failed to close a valve that could have significantly reduced the size of the 63,000-gallon spill. The agency also faulted the company for not addressing flood risks or taking measures to prevent a spill into the scenic waterway. The July 2011 rupture from a pipeline under the river fouled 70 miles of the scenic Yellowstone's banks, killing fish and wildlife and prompting a massive, months-long cleanup.
WASHINGTON STATE: 18 years for terror plot
A man who plotted to attack a Seattle military complex with machine guns and grenades was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison. Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, 35, was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart to be supervised for 10 years after his release. Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to murder U.S. officers and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Public defender Jennifer Wellman said her client was remorseful and argued he had been manipulated by a confidential informant.