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Ranchers, lawmakers protest EPA flyovers

DES MOINES — The Environmental Protection Agency’s use of airplanes to scour for signs of improper disposal of livestock waste has angered ranchers and some members of congress.

The dispute is centered in Nebraska, where ranchers complain the EPA kept its aerial inspections quiet until revealing them at a meeting three months ago.

Ranchers complained to their members of congress, who seem to be nearly as annoyed with the EPA’s sluggish response to their inquiries as they are about the flights themselves.

The EPA says the flights are a cost-effective way to protect waterways from runoff carrying livestock waste.

The EPA says the flights have led to 39 enforcement actions against Iowa livestock farmers and 14 against those in Nebraska.

COMMERCE

Construction spending rose 0.9 percent in May

U.S. builders increased their spending in May by the largest amount in five months. a surge in home building and an increase in nonresidential projects helped offset a fifth monthly decline in government building projects.

The commerce department says construction spending rose 0.9 percent in May, following a 0.6 percent rise in April. It was the biggest percentage gain since december.

The May increase pushed spending to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $830 billion. that is 11.3 percent above a 12-year low hit in February 2011. still, the level of spending is roughly half of what economists consider to be healthy.

Residential construction rose 3 percent to an annual rate of $261.3 billion, further evidence that housing has finally started to mount a modest recovery.

CAMPAIGN

Romney planning to visit Israel over the summer

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning a trip to Israel this summer.

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