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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC-TV MyFoxAL.com)-- The latest Alabama news form the Associated Press.

WATER POLLUTION:
   ADEM commission calls for study on water pollution standards

   MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama Environmental Management
Commission has denied a petition by environmental groups that urged
the state to adopt stricter standards to protect its waterways from
cancer-causing pollutants.
   After its unanimous vote yesterday, the commission will allow a
committee to review Alabama's water quality standards and report
its findings in six months.
   Commission member Doctor Laurel Gardner says the petition has
been denied, it has not been killed.
   The groups that filed the petition had asked that Alabama join
28 other states that require carcinogen levels in streams to be low
enough that no more than one in one million people could get cancer
from them.
   Alabama uses a less protective risk factor that allows one in
100,000 people to get cancer.
   Alabama Power Company, the Business Council of Alabama, the
Alabama Coal Association and the Alabama Pulp and Paper Council all
objected to stricter pollution rules.
   Clean water advocates said they were disappointed that the
commission discussed the economics of regulation so much and the
cost of cancer so little.
   "It was a loss for public health," says Cindy Lowry, executive
director of the Alabama Rivers Alliance.
  
PREACHER-SEXUAL MISCONDUCT:
   Georgia evangelist held on sexual misconduct charge in Alabama

   PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) -- An evangelist arrested in Atlanta
earlier this week has been extradited to Alabama to face a sexual
misconduct charge involving a teenage boy. The suspect, 30-year-old
Christopher Bennett, is president and C-E-O of Chris Bennett
Ministries.
   He was arrested Wednesday in the Atlanta area and charged with
second-degree sodomy, Russell County Sheriff's Lieutenant Heath
Taylor says in Phenix City.
   He says the charge stems from a Russell County High student's
claim that Bennett had inappropriately touched him in 2004 at
Bennett's apartment when the boy was 14 or 15.
   Bennett was held at the Fulton County Jail until Thursday, when
he waived extradition and was taken to the Russell County Jail.
   Bennett was charged with another sexual offense in College Park,
Georgia last year, Taylor says.
   He says the circumstances in both allegations, while unrelated,
are very similar.
   Taylor described Bennett as being cooperative with
investigators.

SHOALS-DRAFT BEER:
   Draft beer sales hinge on Florence ordinance OK

   FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) -- The Florence City Council votes Tuesday on
an ordinance allowing draft beer sales by September First, with
beer distributors already getting prepared. The Alabama Legislature
approved the draft beer proposal May 30th, but it still requires
the council's approval.
   City officials chose September First for sales to begin, giving
distributors time to obtain equipment they need.
   Mayor Bobby Irons said discussions with distributors led to an
initial October First starting date.
   City Council member Angie Pickens, who introduced a resolution
for the council to seek state legislation on the issue, says the
September First date is a compromise between her and the mayor.

HOMELESS ATTACKS:
   4 Huntsville boys arrested in homeless attacks

   HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- Four Huntsville boys -- ages 11 to 14 --
have been arrested on second-degree robbery charges in attacks on
several homeless people.
   Police say the incidents occurred on Stokes Street and the
investigation continues. The four boys were booked yesterday in the
Neaves-Davis Center for Children.
   Huntsville Police Sergeant Mark Roberts says the boys had
entered a homeless camp near First Stop homeless day center at
least four times in recent weeks.
   They are accused of slashing tents and damaging other property
on June 21st. The boys allegedly began shooting plastic BBs into
the camp.
   On Monday, one teen threatened to rape a camp resident and when
her friend, Mark Evett, tried to defend her, he was hit in the
temple with a rock.   Several other camp residents were injured in the scuffle.
   Roberts says the boys were charged with robbery after police
found that $20 was stolen from a homeless man's wallet during the
Monday assault.
   Gail Scott, director of First Stop shelter, says the public has
been calling to offer help.
  
POLICE CHIEF SLAYING:
   Sept. 17 trial set for man charged in Grant police chief
slaying

   GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- A judge set a September 17th trial
date for a young man charged with capital murder in the 2003
shooting death of Grant Police Chief Verlon Lemaster.
   Trial for Brian Butler, who was 17 at the time of the murder,
has been moved from Marshall County to Saint Clair County because
of publicity.
   Marshall County Circuit Judge Tim Jolley, who will preside at
the trial, set the trial date Thursday.
   Jolley said the death penalty is not an option for prosecutors
because of Butler's age at the time of the murder.
   If convicted, he will be sentenced to life in prison without
parole, said District Attorney Steve Marshall.
   A trial date for co-defendant Jerid Eldridge, also 17 when
Lemaster was slain August 15th of 2003, has not been set.
   According to authorities, the two teens were hiding in a closet
of a Grant home when police arrived to pick up Butler as a runaway.
   Butler came out of the closet and allegedly fired a .45-caliber
semiautomatic pistol several times, striking Lemaster twice,
killing him, authorities said.
  
OFFSHORE DRILLING:
   Florida senators fight seismic exploration in Gulf

   MIAMI (AP) -- Florida's U-S senators are opposing a 10 (m)
million-dollar proposal to conduct a seismic inventory of oil and
natural gas resources in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
   Senators Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson promised yesterday to
block the progress of a 32-point-3 (b) billion-dollar Senate energy
and water bill that includes the money for seismic exploration in
the Gulf.
   Nelson took the Senate floor to complain that the senators'
agreement to back expansion of offshore drilling in the Gulf in
exchange for language protecting Florida from further exploration
was being broken.
   Florida politicians have historically opposed Gulf drilling
because of fears it will cause spills and pollution that could
damage the state's beaches and environment and interfere with
military training and weapons testing.
  

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