Associated Press

Federal officials have reached a settlement with a natural gas company over the costs of field work at abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.

Under the settlement announced Monday, El Paso Natural Gas Company LLC must repay the government about $500,000. The company is the corporate successor to former uranium mine operators near Cameron from 1952 to 1961.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working to identify parties responsible for hazardous or potentially hazardous waste.


Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are among those set to testify about border drug trafficking at a field hearing of a U.S. Senate committee in Phoenix.

Ducey is expected to outline his new efforts to use state police to beef up border security during Monday's Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. The Republican governor has ordered the Department of Public Safety to create a strike force to aid federal, county and local law enforcement in addressing drug trafficking and human smuggling.

David Wallace/The Republic

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered state police to create a border strike force to help law enforcement agencies along the Mexican border respond to crimes.

The strike force hasn't been formally announced, but The Associated Press confirmed its existence Thursday after obtaining a letter the governor sent to the Cochise County sheriff.

The force is designed to work with state, local and federal agencies to "stop border-related crime."

Alexa Rogals/The Daily Times via AP

Livestock will again be able to use the San Juan River now that Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye says the river is safe again.

Watering activity was suspended in the wake of the Gold King Mine spill in southern Colorado in August.

The Gallup Independent reports that the Navajo Environmental Protection Agency Water Quality Program advised the president that the river was safe for livestock based on samples collected from the river.

Officials working on the Proposition 123 campaign, the agreement to settle a long-running K-12 funding lawsuit, say they expect millions in contributions supporting the effort.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that campaign manager J.P. Twist says $4 million is a reasonable target for fundraising efforts.

Many are looking at state Treasurer Jeff DeWit to head the opposition. A DeWit spokesman says the treasurer has no immediate plans to take part in a campaign against Proposition 123.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Newscom

About a third of the Arizonans who bought health insurance on the federal marketplace for 2015 will have to find a new provider following action by state insurance regulators to suspend the state's nonprofit insurance co-op's ability to sell new policies.

The suspension of Meritus Health Partners means about 59,000 people will need new insurance.


The Federal Communication Commission is lowering the rates for in-state telephone calls for prisoners, leaving the Arizona Department of Corrections with a potentially large financial hit.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that the FCC's decision earlier this month to cap call rates will likely take money away from prison education programs.

Prison calls, which normally cost 24 cents per minute, will now cost 11 cents per minute. Calls typically generate about $4 million a year for the department.

The Arizona House has passed a package of bills that will pump $3.5 billion into K-12 education and settle a five-year-old lawsuit filed by schools that didn't receive required inflation boosts during the Great Recession.

Thursday night's action sends the package of bills to the Senate. It came without any Democratic votes on two of the bills, but with unanimous support for the third bill in the Republican-controlled House. That legislation actually appropriates the money.

Michael Schennum/The Republic

Republican state Treasurer Jeff DeWit is urging Arizona lawmakers to revise a deal that would settle a school funding lawsuit.

DeWit said in an email to lawmakers Tuesday evening that the agreement hammered out between Republican lawmakers, schools and Gov. Doug Ducey puts the principal of the state's permanent land trust at risk. If it is adopted without changes he warns it will be tied up in court for years and keep schools from getting additional cash.

The Arizona Republic

Republican members of the Arizona House mostly appear supportive of a proposed settlement to a long-running school funding lawsuit, but some are asking tough questions.

Many members briefed Tuesday by GOP leaders and attorneys who represented the state say they'll be happy to see schools get increased funding and to get the five-year-old lawsuit behind them. Others say they need to see the actual language in legislation before they agree to vote yes.