Damaged Bridge Halts 1,000 Barges Carrying Agricultural Exports

Damaged Bridge Halts 1,000 Barges Carrying Agricultural Exports

In another sign of America’s aging and vulnerable infrastructure, last Thursday a crack in a bridge over the Mississippi river halted hundreds of cargo ships along the nation’s most significant route for agricultural exports, not to mention that the bridge was shut down to auto traffic causing huge backups on I-40 in Tennessee. 

Why This Matters: First the Colonial pipeline and now this — our nation’s infrastructure is in need of bolstering.

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Colonial Pipeline is Back Up and Running, EPA Issues Waivers to Stabilize Markets

Colonial Pipeline is Back Up and Running, EPA Issues Waivers to Stabilize Markets

Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday evening that it would relaunch after it was shut down for five days due to a cyberattack. Still, shortages in the southeast linger, and environmental advocates worry that an easing of regulations on fuel vapor restrictions may do more harm than good. 

Why This Matters: The Colonial incident highlights two significant issues facing the U.S. energy sector.

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NC Denies Pipeline Project Permit Due to Water Quality and Project Risks

NC Denies Pipeline Project Permit Due to Water Quality and Project Risks

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) on Monday rejected the permit application of the MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline project, a $458M, 75-mile extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) that would cross numerous water bodies. 

Why This Matters: This is yet another blow to the natural gas and pipeline industries.

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Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory.  Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.

Why It Matters:  The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.

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Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Pipeline Development Under Old Appalachian Trail

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Pipeline Development Under Old Appalachian Trail

The Supreme Court by a 7-2 majority handed the Old Appalachian Trail, national parks and trails, and their visitors a major setback, ruling yesterday that the Forest Service has the authority to permit a pipeline to be constructed underneath the trail despite the objection of the agency that manages it as a national park “unit,” the National Park Service.

Why This Matters:  Conservatives often make the slippery slope argument opposing parks when they are created — that is exactly what fishers claimed to persuade President Trump to allow fishing inside the NE Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument last week.

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NY Denies Water Permit to Build Pipeline for Gas, Wants to Build Transmission Line Instead

NY Denies Water Permit to Build Pipeline for Gas, Wants to Build Transmission Line Instead

New York state environmental regulators denied for a third time a permit for a pipeline that would transport fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York City and Long Island for two reasons: water quality in the Long Island Sound and fidelity to the state’s new law that requires the New York to transition its power sector to net-zero emissions by 2040 and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. 

Why This Matters:  This is how the stimulus funding from the federal government should work — it must be used to build cleaner and more efficient new infrastructure that decreases our dependence on fossil fuels.

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