Gulf Coast residents report more cases of depression after BP spill • Vilsack harbors presidential ambitions • TransCanada condemns Texas land to build Keystone XL • Local eating is more important to consumers than organics
A Gallup Poll finds that Gulf Coast residents remain worse off “emotionally” two years after the BP oil spill.
Gallup interviewed 1,200 people in 25 counties on the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas. Compared with those interviewed inland, Gulf residents showed much higher rates of depression in 2012 than pre-spill, in 2010.
“Residents of Gulf Coast-facing counties were 31% more likely to report having ever been diagnosed with depression in January through April 2012 than they were in the same time period before the oil spill,” Gallup reports.
Gulf residents had increasing levels of stress and were more likely to report feeling sad after the oil spill.
At the same time, Gallup found that levels of satisfaction and optimism were rising among Gulf Coast residents.
• Six months from Election Day, the U.S. Senate race in Virginia is tied.
The Washington Post reports that the two former governors running — Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen — are tied at 46 percent each among registered voters.
The two are running to replace Democrat Jim Webb, who is leaving the Senate.
• While we’re on the Senate, today is primary day in Indiana, where long-term incumbent Richard Lugar is in trouble running against a more conservative Republican opponent.
A poll a few days ago had Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock 10 points ahead of Lugar, who has been in the Senate for 36 years.
• Projections are usually just wind. But, for the record, some economists figure that by 2030, 42 percent of Americans will be obese.
• The Obama administration will approve gas drilling (about 3,500 wells) on public lands in eastern Utah. The project is being run by Anadarko Petroleum.
• More than half of consumers now say it’s more important to buy local foods than it is to buy organic foods. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan says the local food movement is “the biggest retail food trend in my adult lifetime.”
A locavore index ranks Vermont as the top state in a commitment to raise and eat local foods, based on the number of farmers markets and community supported agriculture farms. The state has 99 markets and 164 CSAs.
• The Des Moines Register’s Christopher Doering has a feature on Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack as he prepares to push a Farm Bill through Congress.
Vilsack also said he might consider running for President in 2016.
• Beef Products Inc. has permanently closed three plants (one each in Iowa, Kansas and Texas), laying off 650 workers. The plants were closed temporarily in March after the “pink slime” controversy tarnished beef in the eyes of consumers.
• Save The Post Office has an interesting bit of history, looking back to 1976 when a recession led to calls for closing 12,000 small post offices to save money.
Congress acted and saved the system.
• Federal and state mine safety agencies are moving quickly to replace emergency breathing devices (self-rescuers) for their own employees but will give mine operators until the end of 2013 to replace the devices for working coal miners.
Ken Ward Jr. reports in the Charleston Gazette that miners have long said existing self-rescuers don’t work properly. Last month, two federal agencies said they would phase out these devices — giving mine operators a long lead time.
But federal and state agencies are pressing to replace these self-rescuers for their own inspectors.
• The New York Times reports on one Texas rancher who didn’t want to allow the Kystone XL pipeline to cross her property. So, the company (TransCanada) condemned.
Turns out that in Texas, private property owners have little leverage when pipeline companies want to cross a piece of land.