This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on how utilities stall progress on alternative energy, how liberal governors are fighting back against President Donald Trump's deportation of Cambodian refugees, and who is legally responsible for prison and jail suicides.
Here are a few more stories we've been watching this week.
Oil From a 14-Year Spill Is Finally Being Contained
The United States Coast Guard has announced that it has finally begun to collect and contain oil from an ongoing spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Washington Post reports. The spill began when Taylor Energy's oil platform sank as a result of a mudslide caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. According to one analysis, in the years since, between 1.5 million and 3.5 million barrels of oil have spilled from the site into the gulf.
Since the new containment system was installed in late April, more than 30,000 gallons of oil have been collected. Coast Guard Captain Kristi Luttrell said Thursday that "the system is working and the once predominantly large surface sheen has been reduced to barely visible," the Associated Press reports.
California Concludes That PG&E Lines Caused the Camp Fire
The Camp Fire, California's deadliest and most destructive ever, killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise in Butte County six months ago. Now, following a long investigation, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has concluded that the Pacific Gas and Electric Company's power lines ignited the fire.
In a statement, PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy in January, said it "accepts this determination," which accords with the company's previous statements about the fire. "Our hearts go out to those who have lost so much, and we remain focused on supporting them through the recovery and rebuilding process," the company said.
Taiwan's Legislature Votes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Lawmakers in Taipei on Friday voted to approve Asia's first same-sex marriage law. In 2017, Taiwan's constitutional court struck down the Civil Code's definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, and gave the legislature two years to amend the code or pass a law regarding same-sex couples.
"We hope this landmark vote will generate waves across Asia and offer a much-needed boost in the struggle for equality for LGBTI people in the region," Annie Huang, acting director of Amnesty International Taiwan, said in a statement, adding that the Taiwanese government "must not stop here; it needs to act to eliminate all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identities and intersex status."
The new law will take effect on May 24th.