Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

Posts in "Environment"

October 24, 2014

Friday Q & A: Former Federal Pipeline Regulator Brigham McCown, Part One

81089067 445x290 Friday Q & A: Former Federal Pipeline Regulator Brigham McCown, Part One

Gasoline tanker cars parked at a refinery in California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Brigham McCown served under President George W. Bush as acting head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA), which regulates shipment of materials ranging from oil to hazardous medical waste.

He also served as chief counsel of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees trucking and buses.

He has formed the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, a non-profit that will promote “innovative technologies and safer outcomes for national infrastructure projects.”

Here are some excerpts of our conversation with McCown:

Because of the public’s fear of accidents in shipping crude oil by rail, is more shipment going to shift to pipelines?

In a lot of instances, transportation infrastructure tends to lag the development of areas…. We’re now obtaining oil from locations where we previously haven’t.

While there is a mature pipeline infrastructure system in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, for example, it’s not unusual that that infrastructure lags behind production in the Bakken.

Full story

October 22, 2014

Boeing: Oil Price Won’t Hurt Demand for Fuel-Efficiency

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Boeing is counting on sustained demand for its fuel-efficient 787 aircraft (Photo credit should read Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing reported healthy profits Wednesday as Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney assured investors that declining oil prices won’t crimp airlines’ desire to buy more fuel-efficient planes.

McNerney seemed to allude to events such as the shooting down of Malaysia Flight 17 over Ukraine in July when he said, “Notwithstanding a somewhat richer mix of global economic and geopolitical developments throughout this year, which we are monitoring very carefully, global passenger traffic trends are strong and air cargo traffic continues to gradually improve, although the latter still remains a watch item for us.”

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Bipartisan Accord on Travel Ban? Well, Maybe

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New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There was bipartisan accord in Tuesday night’s New Hampshire Senate debate that barring travelers from three Ebola-affected African countries is, or at least might be, necessary.

And there was bipartisan accord about the need to be bipartisan. And yet Republican candidate Scott Brown repeatedly attacked President Obama’s handling of the Ebola outbreak.

Full story

October 15, 2014

Ebola Issue Poses Campaign Opportunities And Risks

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Colorado Republican Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With Election Day 20 days away, the Ebola outbreak has become a campaign issue — on that presents as many pitfalls as opportunities.

Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, will get an opportunity Thursday to demonstrate that he’s engaged in dealing with the outbreak.  Full story

October 14, 2014

European Agency Doubts Value of Ebola Screening

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Travelers at the international arrivals terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport where new Ebola screening began Saturday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investing time and money in examining passengers from Ebola-affected countries at five U.S. airports, our colleague Paul Jenks reports that the European counterpart to the CDC came out with a report over the weekend that questions the value of such an effort.

The European agency says entry screening “is likely to have an exceedingly low yield and represents a high investment, which may only contribute to a limited extent, to the prevention of importation of the disease.” More here….

 

The Week Ahead: Foxx And Inhofe, Delta’s Assessment, Ebola Hearing

457060106 445x289 The Week Ahead: Foxx And Inhofe, Deltas Assessment, Ebola Hearing

A plane about to land at JFK airport in New York City, where new Ebola screening began Sunday. (Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

This week’s transportation events range from a big House hearing on the Ebola outbreak to an Oklahoma event pairing conservative Sen. James M. Inhofe with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Full story

The Container’s Friday Q & A: Railway Supply Institute’s Tom Simpson, Part Two

174775715 445x296 The Containers Friday Q & A: Railway Supply Institutes Tom Simpson, Part Two

Workers at an oil rig in Watford City, N.D., part of the Bakken oil boom (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Here is part two of our conversation with Tom Simpson, the president of the Railway Supply Institute, about demand for tank cars and the new safety rules proposed by federal regulators.

Full story

October 10, 2014

A Look Back: Ebola Economics, Jihadists With European Passports & Biden On LaGuardia

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Travelers at Kennedy Airport in New York (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

The risk of Ebola infection and the economic damage Ebola fears could wreak on aviation and tourism were big themes of our week.

As the Obama administration revised its plans to screen air passengers for signs of the deadly infection and as one Ebola-infected patient died in Dallas, some wondered about the efficacy of airport screening. Full story

The Container’s Friday Q & A: Railway Supply Institute’s Tom Simpson, Part One

 

81931675 1 445x289 The Containers Friday Q & A: Railway Supply Institutes Tom Simpson, Part One

Domestic crude has been increasingly shipped by railroad tank cars (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Abundant domestic oil and big harvests mean boom times for U.S. railroads and lots of work for the companies that make rail cars.

Accidents such as last year’s derailment and fire in Lac Megantic, Quebec which killed 47 people have dramatized the tank car safety issue.

We spoke with Tom Simpson, the president of the Railway Supply Institute, which represents rail car manufacturers, about his industry.

Full story

October 9, 2014

Ebola Response: Economics As Well as Epidemiology

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Lufthansa crew members walk through Hong Kong’s airport in 2003 wearing masks to protect against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). (Photo: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

A couple of times during his Ebola briefing for reporters Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded as much like an economist as an epidemiologist.

Frieden noted that the 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which hit China and neighboring countries “cost the world more than $40 billion, but it wasn’t to control the outbreak. Those were costs from unnecessary and ineffective travel restrictions and trade changes that could have been avoided.”

Full story

October 8, 2014

Airports Await Details on Tighter Screening

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Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty Images)

U.S. airport operators hope to get the details Wednesday of the Obama administration’s proposal for tighter screening of arriving passengers with Ebola symptoms.

Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will address an Airports Council International – North America conference this morning in Arlington, Va. Full story

October 6, 2014

Efficacy Of Screening At Center Of Ebola Travel Debate

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The debate continued through the weekend on whether the Obama administration needs to do more to keep people infected with the Ebola virus from flying to the United States or to stop them at U.S. ports of entry.

Late Friday afternoon, Deputy National Security Adviser Lisa Monaco said the administration had already taken steps to ensure that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) workers “are trained to identify symptomatic individuals” who arrive at ports of entry.

Full story

October 3, 2014

A Look Back: Ebola, Aftermath of An ATC Fire, Industry Reacts to Oil Tanker Car Rules

453306488 1 445x310 A Look Back: Ebola, Aftermath of An ATC Fire, Industry Reacts to Oil Tanker Car Rules

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to reassure travelers this week about the Ebola virus (Photo: Jewel SamadAFP/Getty Images)

This week the Ebola virus dominated the news — including transportation news — as one case of a person infected with Ebola was reported in Dallas.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to assure travelers that the man who flew to Dallas from Liberia had not been infectious while on board the airplanes he took.   Full story

Cruz Asks Huerta Whether FAA Will Ban Flights To Ebola-Affected Countries

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Our Roll Call colleague Niels Lesniewski has the details as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asks Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta whether he plans to stop allowing flights to countries with a significant Ebola outbreak.

You may recall that Cruz was quick to assail the FAA in July when it prohibited U.S. flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport due to rocket fire from Gaza.

Cruz accused President Obama of using the FAA “to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands.”

October 1, 2014

With New DOT Ruling, Millions Hang In The Balance

81931675 445x289 With New DOT Ruling, Millions Hang In The Balance

Railroad oil tanker cars (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

One-eighth of an inch could determine how many millions of dollars crude oil shippers will have to pay in order to comply with a potential new rule change.

Shippers of Bakken crude oil have long argued that rail is the future of shipping and that rails “offer flexibility, optionality, rapid transit, market penetration, all the while requiring low levels of capital.” But due to several high-profile disasters related to rail shipping of Bakken crude, the Department of Transportation has published a proposed rule change (the Enhanced Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains) that it hopes will reduce much of the risk associated with rail shipping.

Full story

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