Tuesday Roundup: No Post Office Bill

Russell Train, EPA founder, dies • Obama widens lead among Latinos • No Farm Bill vote this week • Tribes eye Keystone route through Oklahoma

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There will be no Postal Service reform bill passed before the November election, reports The Hill. 

The reason for the no-vote in the House? “House Republicans have acknowledged that one of the reasons for the current delay on postal reform is that it could be a tough vote for some of their conference, especially those members from more rural areas,” the Hill’s Bernie Becker reports.

The House said it would take up a postal bill over the summer, but didn’t. Now Congress is about ready to leave town until after the election.

Legislators are currently working to get something in the pipeline that could pass before the end of the year.

The Senate has passed a bill. Senators are urging the House to pass any bill at all, so the whole mess can be straightened out in a conference committee.

One of the major differences between House and Senate versions is delivery days. The House is recommending that the USPS switch to a five-day delivery. The Senate supports six day delivery.

Russell Train Has Died — Republicans started the Environmental Protection Agency and one of its architects was Russell E. Train. Train died Monday at his farm in Bozeman, Montana. He was 92. 

Train helped to develop the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and to convince the Nixon administration to create the EPA. Later, he joined the World Wildlife Fund as president.

He recounted a dinner he attended with a newly elected Nixon in New York. “I emphasized that concern for the environment cut across geographic boundaries and across economic groups,” Mr. Train wrote, “and suggested that an environmental agenda could be a unifying political force.”

The Tribes and Keystone XL — TransCanada plans to build its $7 billion, 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline through the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, and that route “has unearthed a host of Native American opposition, resentments and ghosts of the past,” reports the Washington Post’s Steven Mufson. 

There apparently is a dispute as to whether gaining tribal support for the project is “a courtesy, as the company puts it, or a legal obligation.” The tribe is worried that the pipeline could dig up unmarked graves or other sacred sites.

“There is no legal obligation to work with the tribes,” said Lou Thompson, TransCanada’s top liaison with Native Americans. “We do it because we have a policy. We believe it’s a good, neighborly thing to do.” He said the pipeline “is not passing through any tribal lands.”

That’s not how the tribes see it, however.

Obama and Latino Vote — The President’s lead among Latino voters is growing. A tracking poll by Latino Decisions, taken after both conventions, finds that Obama has picked up three points on Romney and now leads among Latino voters 68 to 26 percent. 

Sen. John McCain got 31 percent of the Latino vote in 2008; George W. Bush won 40 percent in 2004.

The Coal Vote — Both the Obama and Romney campaigns are promoting coal, according to reporter Sean Cockerham. 

The reason for the pair’s interest in coal can be summed up in a word: Ohio.

Community College Enrollment Dropping — Community colleges nationally are reporting “significant drops in the number of students signing up for classes this fall,” reports Tim Barker in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

College officials said there are just fewer students of college age. High school classes are getting smaller and so will college classes.

No Farm Bill Vote — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that there will be no votes on the Farm Bill before the November election. The current Farm Bill expires on September 30. 

Obesity Rate Could Double in WV — A new report finds that the obesity rate in West Virginia could reach 60.2 percent by 2030 if trends continue. 

West Virginia would be one of 13 states topping the 60 percent rate. They include Mississippi, Oklahoma, Delaware, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas and South Dakota. 

 

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