Read today’s news from around the state and country. Each day in the Roundup we cover politics, always with a side of bold humor. We think politics should be fun, informative and encourage us all to take action.
Southern Leg of KXL To Carry Oil By Year’s End: While the State Department’s review is still pending, TransCanada officials say they’re expecting oil to begin flowing through the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline by the end of the year. The portion of the pipeline that crosses Oklahoma and Texas is about 80 percent complete, officials report, despite reports of dents, dings and other shoddy “anomalies.” Coming soon to an environmental disaster near you. Read more here.
Maine Voters Reject Tarsands: ExxonMobil is planning on repurposing a 63-year-old pipeline to transport tar sands oil, which would take Canada’s petro product through Otisfield, Maine. Voters there overwhelmingly passed a resolution prohibiting the move making them the seventh Maine town to officially oppose the proposal. This is important because there are a number of local bodies with existing — or in York County’s case, proposed — anti-pipeline resolutions, and we’ll want to look at how the oil giants deal with other town who stand up to them to get a precedent for what we can expect locally, and how we can further our cause here. Also, it’s important to support your neighbors! Contact Otisfield officials here to congratulate them, and read more on the resolution here.
Farm Bill Keeps Food From the Nation’s Poor: The Republican-controlled House failed to pass the Farm Bill in June, much of the reason being that they thought the $20 billion cut from the food stamps program was too small. This, Tom Laskawy, founder and executive director of the Food & Environment Reporting Network, is evidence of a vast and determined effort to get nutritional policy out of the Farm Bill. Republicans don’t think it’s the government’s job to take care of the nation’s impoverished, and would rather take the necessary investment that would require and redirect it to strengthening big ag. “War on Poverty” indeed. Read more here.
Let’s Produce Lincoln’s Power Here: A clean energy initiative, Power Lincoln Locally, is looking for your petition signature and any other support you can lend to their push for green, home-grown energy. Specifically, the group aims to create Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Contracts for renewable energy contractors — say, a lady with a solar panel on her roof — to do business with local utilities. Big stuff, guys. The group has run the numbers and a 43 megawatt Lincoln CLEAN program would create over 1,000 jobs and deliver over $155 million in local benefit. Literally, they would make it rain. Sign up and read more here.
NY Nurses Urge Stopping KXL: Citing the horrific aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the New York Nurses Association is calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. The group’s new release Monday cites the EPA’s concerns with the project as well as the strong rhetoric the President deployed during his last State of the Union address pushing for stronger policy against a hazardous environment. Specifically, the nurses — as well as we here at Bold Nebraska — are calling for the President to come to logical conclusion of the statement he made in his June 25 climate speech — ” … our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” Obama said. How exactly you can introduce 830,000 barrels of crude to the energy market without making things a little sultry for everyone is beyond anyone around here. NY Nurses, we stand with you. Read the full release here.
Coal Industry Losing In Public Debate: A presentation delivered to the American Coal Council shows a perhaps surprising revelation from the enemy camp: they’re listening. Not only that, they know we’re right. A marketing firm deployed a presentation on branding issues with coal — specifically, that people are tired of it, that they’re ready to move away from fossil fuels — and the bad press they’re getting from news organizations that are wising up. This is what’s typically referred to as the “war on coal” in political rhetoric, but it’s one that it seriously looks like we’re winning, message wise. Read more here.
Independence Day With Climate Change: Average U.S. temperatures are expected to rise between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, which is going to put a number of dampers on Fourth of July celebrations in the future. For one, bee-endangering environmental practices are going to make it harder to find food, water shortages mean beer is going to be more expensive and drought-related fire risks will make fireworks shows less likely. In short, the Independence Day of a warmer future sucks. Read more about the summer bummer here at this HuffPo infographic.
Nebraska State Sen., KXL Advocate Cited in Ethics Complaint: A petition filed by the Center for Media and Democracy cites Papillion State Sen. Jim Smith for failing to report $1,447 in gifts he received on a trip to the Alberta tar sands. The trip was an opportunity for he and eight other state legislators to rub elbows with the oil industry elite including TransCanada. Read more here.
Climate Change Compromises Firefighting: As temperatures creep ever warmer, fires are becoming more dangerous making conditions more hazardous for firefighters. Grist argues the connection between climate change and the worsening wildfires — one of which recently claimed 19 firefighters in Arizona — is definitely there. Increasing temperatures are lengthening and strengthening the fire season, and fire fighter training is quickly becoming outdated with the intensifying conditions. Read more here.
Have Something To Say About York’s Anti-KXL Resolution? The York County Board will meet July 9 to discuss — and hopefully pass — a resolution barring the Keystone XL from coming through their area. BUT, they want to hear what you have to say about it first (and I’m sure you have something to say about it). Their contact info to submit opinions as well as a KXL-critical comment from Greg Awtry, publisher of the York News Times, can be found here.
Refiners Are Not Passing Along Crude Savings: “Even though Canada’s heavy crude has gotten a lot more expensivein 2013 — it’s now trading at $82.34per barrelcompared to $96.50 per barrel for U.S.benchmark oil — refiners that buy it still pocket a double-digit discount that doesn’t get passed long in lower gasoline prices,” an InsideClimate News report reads. So, in short letting the Keystone XL pipeline far from guarantees lower or even steadier gasoline prices, the report notes citing issues with infrastructure and delivery systems. Despite high domestic production and low demand, U.S. consumers still spent 4 percent of their household income on fuel in 2012, the highest percentage in 30 years. Refiners still have a say in this, but as far as the discerning bystander can tell, they’re more interested in making money than helping you and I save. Read more of InsideClimate News’ report here.
Janssen Calls For Blood Over Parody: No, State Sen. Charlie Janssen still hasn’t gotten over this year’s bombastic “Sine Die Show,” a parody video produced every year for and by lawmakers staff closing the Unicameral session. You’ll remember the video features an actor portraying the gubernatorial candidate doing it “Gangnam Style” as it were, kissing his wife and taking money from lobbyists (all perhaps accurate, mind you). In the first on-camera comments since the video, Janssen said someone owes his wife an apology and called the video inappropriate. Try your strained sympathies for the embattled senator with the new story here.
Widows Seeks Answers in Husband’s Death at Keystone Construction: Kevin Fairman was working on TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline project when a heavy piece of equipment struck him. His widow is seeking deposition in the individuals with personal knowledge of the incident to investigate a potential lawsuit, according to the Southeast Texas Record. Read more coveragehere.
LJS Op-Ed Blasts Johanns Yellow Position on Green: In a letter comparing the momentum gathering behind the environmental movement to that which coalesced in the Civil Rights Movement, Donna Roller rebukes Sen. Mike Johanns in Sundays Lincoln Journal Star for countering the President’s climate change initiative with dated and misinformed skepticism toward climate science, and a high five to big oil. “People are demanding as their right clean air, water and a planet our children and grandchildren can live on. Failure to recognize the possibility that we are heading for a climate disaster is foolish, for it only serves the senator’s desire to be right.” Agreed. Read the rest here.
Texas Senator Clotheslines Prolife Legislation, Sneakers Blow Up: Right before state Sen. Wendy Davis began her successful 13-hour long filibuster of a restrictive anti-abortion bill in the Texas Capital, she grabbed her Mizuno running shoes. Because it’s the internet, the shoes’ page on Amazon are blowing the hell up with cheeky and hilariously rude comments. “Raise a feminist army and lead the charge when your competitors cheat and change the rules on you. These Mizuno’s are built to protect your feet from mudslinging and add sunshine to the political process. Highly recommended for fierce women and anyone who’s not a Greedy Old Prick (GOP),” and “Fits perfectly up a republican’s rear end,” are among the more colorful. Click here for more comments.
Ohio Legislation Restricts Access to Erectile Dysfunction Drugs: State Sen. Nina Turner’s bill prohibits men from getting a prescription for Viagra or other comparable products until they’ve been to a sex therapist, received a cardiac stress test and got a notarized document affirming impotency. Citing concerns with men’s health and fervently denying her critics’ concerns that this is a supplement to anti-abortion legislation, Turner has submitted Senate Bill 307, which includes continued monitoring for men getting these drugs and counseling about “pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice,” a statement that makes one want to double check the year on the calendar, right? Read more here.