Wednesday Roundup: Michelle’s Steak

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There are multiple reports out this morning that the Obama administration will today reject a permit request for the Keystone XL pipeline. There is supposed to be an announcement at 3 p.m. Eastern.

This was totally expected, as this story tells us. Meanwhile, the debate over the pipeline continues and the question remains: How many jobs will the Keystone XL pipeline create?

TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline that will take oil sands oil in Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, puts the total at 20,000 jobs, 13,000 in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing.

Opponents say the number is quite a bit smaller, no more than 6,000, according to the U.S. State Department and Cornell University.

Lisa Song at InsideClimate News explains that much of the confusion comes about because everybody is using a different definition of a “job.” 

The trouble is that employment will be intermittent and largely short-term as the pipeline is built. Still, Bloomberg Government finds that TransCanada’s estimate is far above the number of workers the company hired to build the first Keystone XL pipeline, which began operating in 2010 and runs from Alberta to Oklahoma.

• Overpumping from aquifers may close 80,000 acres in the San Luis Valley in Colorado, the Denver Post reports

Snowfall is short in the mountains nearby and that makes a strong spring runoff less likely. That leaves “leaders in an area that’s already among the poorest in the state … bracing for a major economic hit,” reports Bruce Finley. “Agriculture alone cannot sustain the economy of the San Luis Valley,” Colorado agriculture commissioner John Salazar recently told residents.

• This is the winter without snow (unless you live in Alaska, and are covered over in the stuff). 

“The snowless winter of 2012 is a national phenomenon,” the Washington Post reports. “Outside of Alaska (brutally cold and buried in snow), the Pacific Northwest and the Arizona mountains, America is strikingly snow-starved.”

There’s just not enough moisture, the paper reports, and this is part of a long-term trend.

Study finds that new health care law is improving health insurance coverage of young adults. 

Young people are getting more insurance at work and they are staying on their parents’ policies in greater numbers.

• Another test has found that LightSquared mobile Internet technology interferes with military and aviation systems, the Washington Post reports

The LightSquared satellite service was promoted as a way to extend broadband to rural areas, but tests found that the technology interfered with Global Positioning Systems. Deere Co., the tractor maker, said LightSquared would ruin the GPS systems used in its farm equipment. Now another test finds the technology will interfere with the military.

LightSquared needs Federal Communications Commission approval to proceed. That seems unlikely now.

“There appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS,” wrote Ashton Carter, deputy secretary of defense, and John Porcari, deputy secretary of transportation, in a letter.

• We notice that First Lady Michelle Obama had a nice steak for her birthday (dining at BLT Steak in D.C., where steak dinners begin at $50). 

Now, we can only hope that she revives efforts started earlier in her husband’s administration to give beef producers a better shake in the marketplace.

 

 

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