The Senate approved a $109-billion transportation bill today by a margin of 74-22. The bipartisan bill highlights the political pressure felt in both parties to bolster job creation, modernize an outdated transportation system and implement measures to reduce the nation's oil addiction.
With the federal highway trust fund set to expire March 31, House Republicans will likely abandon their version of the bill that reads like a wish list for Big Oil by tying provisions to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline and recklessly expand offshore drilling to transportation policy and infrastructure. Even Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), an early advocate of the House bill, has come to his senses and adjusted his position.
“With the number of amendments that came up to open up lands and waters to oil drilling or force the Keystone XL pipeline to be built, the Senate showed it is committed to keeping the transportation bill free of new favors to Big Oil,” said David Moulton, senior legislative director for The Wilderness Society. “Senators also showed their support for proven conservation by passing a 2-year funding guarantee for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
“The Senate transportation bill is a laudable bipartisan milestone at a time when Congress seems otherwise paralyzed and deadlocked," said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. "The bill will help rebuild America and create thousands of new jobs in the process including in transit, bike paths and programs to help get kids to and from school safely. Most notably the bill includes two of the most important conservation investment measures in decades—the RESTORE Act, which would dedicate BP fines and penalties to Gulf restoration, and a long-term reauthorization and new funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund."
“Although there is room for improvement, this bill takes important steps forward in repairing our existing infrastructure and investing in clean, convenient transportation options such as transit, biking and walking," said Michael Brune, executive director of Sierra Club.
Unfortunately, the Senate missed a chance yesterday to extend renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives by rejecting Sen. Debbie Stabenow's (D-MI) transportation bill amendment.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.
Transmission lines from the Churchill Falls generating station in Labrador. Douglas Spott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Atlantic sturgeon were brought to the brink of extension in the 20th century and are now are listed as an endangered species. NOAA
Near Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Churchill (Grand) River downstream from Muskrat Falls. Douglas Sprott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Construction of the Site C dam in British Columbia in 2017. Jason Woodhead / CC BY 2.0
The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is the first U.S. offshore wind farm. Dennis Schroeder / NREL / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.
The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.
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By Teri Schultz
Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.
Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.