Five hundred goats save the Ronald Reagan library from wildfires

Animal team charged with eating through 13 acres of scrubland that could have fueled California’s Easy fireGoats are released at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, California, during a similar crisis in 2012. Photograph: Juan Carlo/APDiligent work by a team of 500 goats has helped save the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library from wildfires that are ravaging parts of California.The library deployed the goat squadron during the spring in order to munch their way through around 13 acres of scrubland around the library that could’ve provided tinder-like fuel to a wildfire.This preventive action created a fire break between the library and the Easy fire, which has menaced thousands of homes in the Simi Valley near Los Angeles. More than 1,000 firefighters are tackling the blaze, which caused flames to approach the presidential library from a nearby hillside. Treasures saved include a piece of the Berlin Wall and Air Force One.“We actually worked with the Ventura county fire department in May and they bring out hundreds of goats to our property,” Melissa Giller, a spokeswoman for the library, told ABC. “The goats eat all of the brush around the entire property, creating a fire perimeter.”The goats were sourced from a firm called 805 Goats, which oversees an army of horned contractors, including Vincent van Goat, Selena Goatmez, Goatzart and, more prosaically, Oreo. The company charges fire-threatened clients about $1,000 per acre of goat-cleared land. It plans to expand its herd to cope with a growing wildfire threat in California, fueled by the climate crisis.Goats are growing in popularity as a tool to combat wildfires across the western US, as they are viewed as cheaper and more environmentally friendly than teams of human workers using chemicals. They are also used for general weed clearance in other parts of the country, such as in New York City’s Prospect Park.A heavy dependence upon goats does carry risks, however, as residents of West Boise, Idaho, found out to their cost last year when a herd of more than 100 goats rampaged through the neighborhood. The invaders caused carnage in flowerbeds and lawns before breaking a fence and it took two hours for the goats to be rounded up.

U.S., allies working to offset loss of Iranian oil: Mnuchin

The United States is working with allies to ensure adequate global oil supplies after its sanctions barred nations from buying Iranian crude, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday. Mnuchin spoke to reporters during a trip to India – which was one of the main importers of Iranian oil until New Delhi stopped the shipments this May in the aftermath of the U.S. sanctions. “We are working with our allies to make sure that there is significant supply in the market of oil to offset sanctions,” said Mnuchin, who is on a regional tour to try to build up support against Iran.

The Latest: PG&E equipment sparked 3 Bay Area fires

Northern California officials say Pacific Gas & Electric Co. equipment caused three fires that broke out in San Francisco suburbs earlier this week. The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District confirmed Friday that the utility’s power lines sparked a pair of fires Sunday in Lafayette east of San Francisco. One of the fires destroyed the Lafayette Tennis Club.

Chris Christie Among Lawyers Making $15 Million in 1MDB Pact

(Bloomberg) — The biggest recovery ever from an American anti-corruption crackdown is proving lucrative for former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.A major deal struck by the U.S. for fugitive financier Jho Low to give up almost $1 billion in assets allegedly stolen from a Malaysian investment fund comes with a provision to pay his lawyers. As part of the 1MDB settlement, the Justice Department allowed for $15 million to be paid to a group advising Jho Low, including the law firm Christie set up after two terms as New Jersey’s governor.Those proceeds will come from Jho Low’s stake in EMI Music Publishing, which has grown to about $415 million. That investment ballooned after he initially put in a little more than $100 million stolen from 1MDB, according to prosecutors. The two sides agreed to the provision to allow the lawyers to extract fees from Low, whose assets and accounts have been seized or monitored by authorities across the world.“We were pleased to help negotiate this historic resolution in order to preserve the tremendous value of assets involved,” Christie said in a statement after the Justice Department announced the settlement agreement on Wednesday. It still needs approval from a federal judge.Christie, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 before dropping out and endorsing Donald Trump, set up his own law firm last year, the Christie Law Firm LLC. The other firms that will receive proceeds of the 1MDB deal for legal expenses are Kobre & Kim LLP and Lowenstein Sandler LLP.The agreement comes even before the criminal charges against Low have been resolved. In the settlement, the Justice Department cautioned that the released funds should be used only for the Low family’s legal fees and costs related to the lawsuits, and can’t be routed back to Low or his family.The cases were resolved in a “collaborative and fair way that includes payment of our legal fees,” said Robin Rathmell, a lawyer at Kobre & Kim.(Updates with lawyer’s comment in last paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Sridhar Natarajan in New York at snatarajan15@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, David S. JoachimFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.