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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Sunday
Aug282011

Keystone XL Pipeline Project 

August 26, 2011

The U.S. Department of State has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. Below are the link to the U.S. Department of State website, the Executive Summary of the Final EIS, Notice of Public Meetings and a link to comments on the Final EIS by the Consumer Energy Alliance.

U.S. Department of State website including a link to complete EIS.

 

 

 

 

CEA Praises U.S. State Department Release of Final Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL Pipeline: EIS Supports Earlier Findings that Pipeline will have Limited Adverse Environmental Impacts

Consumer Energy Alliance

August 25, 2011

The State Department today released its final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline.  The EIS, which supports the department’s initial finding that the Keystone XL pipeline will have limited adverse environmental impacts, is a victory for American consumers.

Michael Whatley, executive vice president of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), praised the announcement and released the following statement: “We are glad that the State Department has issued this favorable final statement and that the process of approving the pipeline is moving forward.  The Keystone XL pipeline is being built in a way that is safer and steadier than any other in the country.  This is a huge win for American consumers.  The pipeline will not only help lower fuel prices but it will create 20,000 much needed high-wage jobs in America’s heartland,  generate more than $20 billion in economic growth, and significantly reduce our dependence on oil from unstable regimes.”…

Rich Moskowitz, vice president and regulatory affairs council at the American Trucking Association and chairman of CEA stated: “The Keystone XL will significantly lower diesel prices by allowing the addition of 700,000 barrels of product per day into the US markets.  This will have a positive impact on truckers and the U.S. economy as a whole.”

The 1,700-mile proposed pipeline would deliver 700,000 barrels of U.S. and Canadian crude oil per day to the U.S.  Keystone XL received approval from Canada’s National Energy Board in 2010, but the project also requires a Presidential Permit from the U.S. Department of State because it crosses an international border.   

In June, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) delivered more than 62,000 public comments supporting the project to the U.S. Department of State, all of which came from people living in the six states through which the proposed pipeline will travel: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Saturday
Aug272011

TR Expressway to hold annual meeting in Watford

Click here for complete article > McKenzie County Farmer

August 24, 2011

With thousands of oilfield-related trucks now traveling U.S. Highway 85 on a daily basis, the number one question on the minds of area residents is, “What improvements are in the works for this highway?”

And for residents of McKenzie County, some of those answers will be provided during the annual meeting of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association (TREA), which will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30 at Outlaws’ Bar & Grill in Watford City…

Friday
Aug262011

Texas Department of Transportation to hold Public Meetings

Ports-to-Plains members have an important opportunity to voice their support for the Corridor at a TxDOT public meeting on Thursday, September 1.  TxDOT will host a public meeting in each of its 25 districts throughout the state to provide information and solicit input from the public regarding the planning and funding of a variety of transportation projects.

The discussions will center on recommended revisions to the 2012 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) and the 2011-2014 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The plan revisions will include fund transfer requests and Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 carryover balances. They will also address the reconciliation of Category 5 and 7 funds, and the distribution of Proposition 12 funds.

Ports-to-Plains has been working closely with TxDOT districts and the distribution of Proposition 12 funds could mean a significant investment in corridor projects throughout Texas.  Now we need you to do your part by voicing your strong support for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor, and tell TxDOT how important it is to the economy of your region and all of Texas.

Proposition 12 was approved by voters in 2007 for the issuance of $5B in general obligation debt to be used to improve Texas highways. The first issuance of $2B occurred in 2010. The second issuance, totaling $3B, is scheduled to occur over the course of the upcoming biennium (2012-2013).

The specified funding amounts and categories are:

  • $1.4 billion to be distributed to the 25 TxDOT districts for rehabilitation and safety projects;
  • 600 million for urban and metropolitan mobility projects to be selected by 25 MPOs in the state;
  • $500 million to replace or rehabilitate eight bridges, as specified in legislation;
  • $300 million to be sub-allocated to the four largest MPOs in the state - Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio - for the development of future mobility projects; and
  • $200 million for rural connectivity projects to be allocated by the Transportation Commission.

The Texas Transportation Commission is expected to approve these distributions at its September 2011 meeting. Districts and MPOs are working with local stakeholders to identify, prioritize and select projects during the months of August through October for consideration by the Commission.

The meetings will be held from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, September 1, 2011.

Beginning promptly at 5:30 p.m., TxDOT staff will conduct a brief presentation on the purpose and revisions of the 2012 UTP. Additional information will be available for public viewing and TxDOT representatives will be on-hand to discuss the development process and answer questions. Forms will be provided in order to receive written comments. All interested parties are encouraged to attend.

Information on meetings sites

If you cannot attend one of the meetings, you can still provide valuable input by submitting written comments.  Written comments may be submitted on the UTP website at: http://www.txdot.gov, using search engine keyword: 2012 UTP; by email at: FIN_UTP@txdot.gov; or by mail to: TxDOT Finance Division UTP, 150 E. Riverside Drive, Austin, Texas, 78704.

Public comments will be received until September 26, 2011.

Thursday
Aug252011

US-Canada oil pipeline is crucial

Click here for complete article > Cincinnati.com

August 24, 2011

Environmentalists are determined to block the construction of oil pipelines like the Keystone XL from Canada. Thirty-nine environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Conservation Law Foundation, recently sent a joint letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opposing the Keystone project. They disregard the economic consequences of their actions. Tens of thousands of jobs - including many at steel companies in Ohio - are at risk…

Tuesday
Aug232011

Montana communities consider joining Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Last week, Joe Kiely, Vice President of Operations for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, hosted by Bob Sivertsen, President of the Highway 2 Association,  traveled 950 miles around Montana looking at its transportation infrastructure and meeting with Montanans in Billings, Shelby, Havre and Glasgow.  Montana, like the other nine states in the Ports-to-Plains region, has an economy built on natural resources: energy, agriculture and tourism.  Montana exports over $1.7 billion domestically by truck within the PTP region.  Montana exports another $9.1 million along the corridor to Mexico by truck, and increase of 680% since 2004. In 2010 Montana exported $209 million by truck through Montana border crossings, an increase of 117% since 2004.

Kiely stated: “The Ports-to-Plains Alliance supports significant reform of the federal surface transportation programs, including development of a clear and compelling federal vision.”  With the reality of fewer transportation funds in the future, there needs to be far more focus in federal transportation funds which now fund 108 programs.  Three programs that should be included are Rural Connectivity and Mobility, Freight Transportation and Rural Safety.

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance has created a Congressional Ports-to-Plains Caucus. The Caucus will serve as an informal group of members dedicated to issues related to the Ports-to-Plains corridor, rural transportation and economic development, and will have a goal of educating other members on the importance of this subject.  Invitations from the Caucus co-chairs have been sent to members inviting them to participate.

Montanans were saluted for their local efforts to advocate for local transportation and economic development activities, but were encouraged to band together with like communities to address issues in transportation and economic development.  Several key issues that fit that need are rural transportation funding, the movement of oversized and overweight loads and border crossings.  Expanding the rural voice to find solutions for problems across ten rural states will benefit the local efforts in the long run.  Montanans were urged to come together in a regional effort to participate as Alliance members of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance, based in Lubbock, Texas, is a non-profit, non-partisan, community-driven advocacy group led by mayors, councilpersons, economic development officials, business and other opinion leaders from a ten-state, 2300-plus mile economic development corridor between Texas, and Alberta, Canada. Over the past decade, Ports-to-Plains Alliance members have raised over U.S. $1 billion in federal funding for road improvements in the ten-state Ports-to-Plains region. Today, we collaborate with our federal and state leaders, partners in Canada and Mexico, and industry partners, to deliver the infrastructure, food and fuel to secure the quality of life of America's great cities. At the same time, we embrace America's new energy economy, and are capitalizing upon wind power, biofuels and other innovation sectors to renew one of America's greatest legacies, the rural heartland.

Tuesday
Aug232011

JAY AMBROSE: Don't be alarmed, fracking isn't a public health threat

Click here for complete article > San Angelo Standard-Times

August 22, 2011

Jay Ambrose is former Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers…

The misinformation was so great in a recent guest op-ed in the Denver Post that it could not have been manufactured by one person alone. It took a consumer group organizer, a member of the Sierra Club and a trouper from George Soros's MoveOn.org to misrepresent a salvational technology known as fracking as a weapon of mass destruction.

You better have a cardiologist standing by, for what this committee said was that fracking has "caused livestock and crops to die from tainted water, people in small towns to black out and develop headaches from foul air, and flames to explode from kitchen taps."…

Tuesday
Aug232011

Opinion: Fracking and the road to energy independence

Click here for complete article > Chicago Tribune

August 22, 2011

Spectacularly vast stores of natural gas — by some estimates a staggering 837 trillion cubic feet — trapped in shale formations thousands of feet below our nation's surface could endow America with decades of energy independence.

But the method of exacting the natural gas, a process nicknamed fracking, could be the next environmental superdebate. Maybe it won't be as cosmic as the battle over global warming, but it certainly could rival the acid rain hysteria of the 1970s and the '80s…

Saturday
Aug202011

Sen. Boxer Plans a Four-month Extension of SAFETEA-LU

Click here for complete article > Transportation Issues Daily

August 19, 2011

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) will take up a four-month extension of SAFETEA-LU on September 8th.   Committee Chair Boxer relayed this to some stakeholders late Thursday, according to Jeff Davis of Transportation Weekly…