President Barack Obama announced that the decision regarding the permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline will be put off until after the Presidential election. He wants to make the decision 18 months from now.
The announcement follows tremendous pressure from environmental groups who want to block the pipeline as a means of blocking the development of the oil sands in Canada and, in general, the continued use of fossil fuels in the US.
The postponement is a second one following that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who postponed a decision that was expected at the beginning of this year. President Obama promised a decision then by the end of the year. In the interim the environmental impact study reported that the project will impose no significant environmental impacts. But, that's not enough for the environmentalists or anti-energy groups who want them to start all over and re-do the environmental impact study.
The Missouri River Basin governors were told earlier this week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposes a proposal to lower the level of a North Dakota reservoir in the hopes of alleviating flooding along the Missouri River.
In a memo to various impacted states to discuss at a future meeting, Brian P. Dunnigan, director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, wrote: "The Missouri basin governors recently received a copy of the Corps' response to (North Dakota state engineer) Todd Sando's proposal to lower the level of Garrison reservoir to elevation 1835.0 feet at the start of the 2012 runoff season. General McMahon concluded that the most prudent action is not to implement the plan proposed by Mr. Sando, despite the fact that several basin Governors have voiced their support for the plan."
If the federal government has its way, it may soon cost more to drive.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month on the nation's Highway Trust Fund, which said all 50 states received more in highway funds than they paid in highway taxes from 2005 to 2009.
The fund, which helped to build 4 million miles of roads and 600,000 bridges, was augmented with about $30 billion in general revenues since fiscal year 2008.
The United States has suffered a plunge in the level of economic freedom enjoyed by its citizens over the past ten years, according to the Cato Institutes' annual report Economic Freedom of the World for 2011.
The average economic freedom score for the US ranks it tenth, as a place of personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets – all of which are considered the foundations for economic freedom.
The US is exceeded in economic freedom by Hong Kong (9.01 out of 10), Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Chile, the United Kingdom, and Mauritius. The US score was 7.60.
One of the authors of a report accusing TransCanada of exaggerating the number of jobs and impact that would be created by the Keystone XL pipeline faced harsh questioning from a Nebraska legislative committee last week.
The exchanges occurred during the public hearing on a bill (LB4) that would allow the governor to have the final say on oil pipelines in Nebraska. Hearings on two more pipeline bills continue Wednesday during this special legislative session of the Nebraska Legislature.
Canadian Consulate representative Ladan Amirazizi got a standing ovation from members of the Montana Chamber of Commerce following her address about the relationship that exists between Montana and Canada – between the US and Canada. Obvious to all, in the banquet room, was that it was a spontaneous and sincere salute from Montana business people to Canada. It was a "thank you," an international handshake of respect – it was profound recognition of what the two peoples on both sides of the border mean to each other.
Amirazizi was the keynote speaker during the Montana Chamber of Commerce's annual conference held in Billings, an organization that is celebrating their 80th year. Amirazizi is the Acting Consul General and Senior Trade Commissioner for the Consulate General for Canada. Based in Denver, she is the official liaison for Canada for four states, Colorado Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. Amirazizi noted that Montana has as an especially strong relationship with Canada.
The Big Sky Business Journal
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