Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation Passed…

So, the bill has finally passed. However, president Obama is likely to veto it. The Keystone XL Pipeline has been debated on for a very long time but it passed on January 29th after the addition of 41 amendments to the bill.

The legislation passed 62 to 36, which mainly came from the Republican Party though nine of the Democrats present also voted for the passing of the bill. However, Obama will definitely veto it, which would then require the two-thirds needed of the Senate to pass the bill to override Obama’s veto.

Regardless of the incoming veto, Republicans are happy because of two things: one, that the bill even made it onto the president’s desk and second, that there is greater cooperation between the two parties in the Senate. The opinions of both parties were taken into consideration when amendments were being placed on the bill.

Of those two things, I am really only happy with one. The idea that the two parties can discuss and cooperate in the passing of a bill is great. It cuts down greatly on the amount of gridlock as well as allows for the timely passing of new bills.

However, I do not agree with the pipeline, itself, as it is literally a tube that runs through America carrying tons of oil a day. For one, if accidents occur, it would be on American land. Second, that oil is not even being used domestically; it is being shipped out to other countries through the Gulf of Mexico. Third, America (I imagine) is receiving little profits from having the pipeline through the country as this is Canadian oil. So, Obama… slam that veto down!!

– Huy D.


Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation Likely Due to Be Passed

There has been much debate over the passing of the Keystone XL Pipeline and with good reason. On one side, it is said to boost the economy because it would create jobs. On the other hand, it’s a pipeline that runs through the United States and if accidents should occur, the environmental problem will be on American soil.

According to Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer on Face the Nation, the legislation would not even provide for many jobs. It would create several thousand jobs initially; however, by the end of construction, there would only be 35 permanent jobs. Therefore, he and other Democrats would propose amendments to the bill that would make it more of what Republicans call the legislation, a “jobs bill”.

They would make sure that the steel used in the construction would be American-made. Also, they would make sure that this Canadian oil from the pipeline would be used in America because as it stands, most, if not all, of the oil transported would be sent to foreign countries. To this, the Democratic senator says, “makes no sense.” Not only that, they would create many jobs through clean energy.

If this bill does pass Congress the first time, the president is likely to veto it. However, the bill, Schumer says, would likely to be struck down the second time even with the amendments. Schumer believes that the bill would only satisfy the interests of the oil and pipeline industry and not of the public. However, this legislation will soon begin the political progress as this is notably one of the GOP’s first actions after its majority goes into Congress.

– Huy D.

Water Act of 1972 Proposal Against Beer Business

Water Act of 1972 is a basic regulation to help keep our everyday usage of water clean and safe to drink or cook food. As new proposals are being pass many business owners are raging because of how it will affect their businesses. Because of the proposal, there will more restrictions for farmers to look out for. With that in mind, “one example cited by opponents is potential restrictions on fertilizer and pesticide use.” With more restrictions on farming there will be an effect on the pricing of the crops like grains and hops for instance. With the prices of those crops going up the brewing company will continue the effect and raise their beer prices. It’s a chain effect that will affect the whole country.

It’s good that the Water Act will be stricter because with that it will push people to find other alternative safe resources to grow crops. Also, to develop more technology to fix the problems and advance into a more efficient way of farming instead of staying still in the same process that has negative side effects. Some people are afraid of changes because they are new to and have no experience of it. I afraid of trying new things because I don’t what affect it may have on me. New things can turn into one way or the other, but if people are not willing to try it then they will not advance and that apply to our country as well.

Obama proposal has sparked a water fight in the beer business

*Phiseth O.

Oil Industry Fights Back on Fracking Bans

Many cities nationwide have imposed bans on the oil practice of fracking while some others have set a multi-year suspension on fracking. Now, the oil industry has begun its assault on removing these bans.

The oil industry says it is the state’s power to ban fracking and not the municipality’s. However, residents have voted for the bans and the industry, in response, sued the cities who initiated the bans. One such city is Longmont, Colorado where in July, a district court judge threw out the ban but the city plans to appeal.

The oil industry hopes to wear down cities through lengthy court battles by forcing them to use up too money. Some cities have already buckled to this tactic such as Lafayette, Colorado. Longmont plans to continue the ban despite the legal battle; the oil industry will do the same in hopes that it will be able to reach the estimated 500 million dollars of natural gas under the town.

If these legal battles continue, then appeal after appeal could make its way to the Supreme Court where a precedent could then be set for the power of local districts. This battle could decide whether these districts can ban a practice of an industry if the residents there are against it, in their rights as property owners (who decide how they want to live). On the other hand, the battle could go in favor of the industry and that these practices will continue to be in the discretion of the states, on the basis of present law and that the industry would provide for national prosperity.

– Huy D.

Are the Agencies Really Representing the Public Interest?

 -Bill’s full interview with Wood

As our country continues to progress into a more efficient industrials, our environment continues to regress. The government has been passing many regulations to stop and to improve the regression of the environment, but so far it is not going anywhere. “Agencies in charge of implementing environmental laws…are meant to represent the public interest — not corporations and moneyed interests.” (Wood). When in the process of making an environmental regulation it may get affected by many factors and one of them is the corporation. For agencies in the government to work properly they needed money and where might some of the money be coming from? Corporation sponsor; there will always be conditions along with those money. Many of those conditions are going toward the corporation’s interest. Don’t get me wrong, the public interest also included too, but the corporation’s interest will alter the regulation.

One can view that this country is in control in the hand of the rich indirectly. Money can buy anything and the government is included. Our world itself is running on money. As our country becoming more developed our system of government also becoming more corrupted.

-“Environmental Agencies Are Failing Us

*Phiseth O.

New York Set to Ban Fracking

In light of health issues and questionable economic benefits, New York governor, Andrew Cuomo and his administration is set to ban fracking. The decision rests in the hands of environmental commissioner, Joe Martens and health commissioner, Howard Zucker who are ready to make a decision banning the practice after the next environmental impact study.

Fracking has generated billions of dollars and reduced energy bills but there has been great opposition to the practice by people against the air and water pollution that it produces. Also, Marten notes that despite the the great amount of money generated, the economic viability of the project is worse than thought. The factors to that being the low cost of oil, high cost of industry oversight, and water supply protections.

Although the oil industry is disappointed at New York’s ban, they can still look to Pennsylvania for their drilling. However, there is already a noticeable ripple effect in motion as cities across the nation are banning fracking. New York can likely start this same effect among the states so who is to say that Pennsylvania will not follow suit. If environmental impacts (and their cost to clean them) outweighs the benefits of fracking, Pennsylvania would seem likely to ban it as well, then where would the industry go?

As of now, the public seems untouched by the environmental issue and more concerned about their financial status so they will be more willing to support the industry but there will be a time when a new line emerges: How can you argue against global warming; I’m sweating now, today, where I live.

– Huy D.

EPA First Coal Ash Regulation

In this Feb. 5, 2014 photo, coal ash swirls on the surface of the Dan River as state and federal environmental officials continued their investigations of a spill of coal ash into the river in Danville, Va.

In this Feb. 5, 2014 photo, coal ash swirls on the surface of the Dan River as state and federal environmental officials continued their investigations of a spill of coal ash into the river in Danville, Va.

If people think EPA have regulations for coal ash you’ll wrong. In fact there is none! For the first time, EPA released a regulation to deal with coal ash. Before the regulation the way to deal with the coal ash was left for the state to deal with. So now EPA finally take a stand to reinforce the way to deal with coal ash by labeling the coal ash as a “solid waste” and that’s like your ordinary household trash. With that regulation the EPA will require the storages site to have regular inspections. “Ponds that are currently polluting groundwater will have to close. New ponds will need to be built away from wetlands.” All other options, like the enforcement of these rules, are left for the states.

Some people may feel great about this, but not so much for the environmentalist. They think that the EPA could’ve go even further with the regulation. They think that the coal ash should’ve been classified as “hazardous waste”, why? It’s because “coal ash often contains a variety of toxic elements like selenium, mercury, and lead (although the exact amounts vary).” If organisms, including human, were to take in those chemicals their health will be at risks. Though the con side is that by labeling the coal ash as “hazardous waste” it will “cost companies $1.4 billion per year, or $20 billion in all.” Based on 2012 statistic, “the nation’s coal plants generated some 110 million tons of it. About 40 percent of that ash gets recycled to help make concrete, pavement, and other materials.” With that in mind, if EPA were to classified coal ash as “hazardous waste”, then the recycling companies may not want to buy them.

It may not be a strong start for EPA regulation on coal ash, but it’s the first step. Things may improve because now there’s a regulation that will keep an eye on the storages sites. Though, if things don’t turn out right the EPA can always reinforce it later on.

-“The EPA is regulating coal ash waste. And environmentalists aren’t happy.

-“EPA sets first national standard for coal waste

*Phiseth O.