|Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Environment’|
President Requests Funding for Transit Construction Projects
Published Monday, May 18th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
According to the Department of Transportation, last week President Obama sent to Congress a request for $1.83 billion in funding for major transit projects, which promises to create jobs and increase both bus and light transit rail options for commuters and travelers. More than $600 million of the funds are for new projects in places such as New Jersey and Colorado, adding up to 39 projects. The announcement detailed 29 projects of which have received federal commitments for funding in previous years; the last 10 are split between new major transit capital construction and the expansion of smaller transit projects.
The emergence of new construction projects for mass transit has come from the presidential initiative to increase the construction and use of alternative transportation to cut emissions and create jobs. Currently, emissions from cars contribute 88.4% of the US share of carbon dioxide, 56% of all carbon monoxide, and 55% of our share of oxides of nitrogen. Currently, the total highway system mileage (distance measured in miles) has increased steadily since 1975 to 4.016 million miles of roads, which handle a steady increase in national miles driven year after year. However, transit rail miles, which includes commuter rail, has surged and ebbed to settle at 6,972 miles of track in 2006.
In an ongoing investigation by the Associated Press, pharmaceuticals were found in fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving 5 major US cities. Medicines found include treatments for high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression. These findings have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to expand similar research to more than 150 different locations. Much of the contamination comes from unmetabolized residues of pharmaceuticals and unused drugs flushed down the drain. According to researchers on the project, a person would have to eat hundreds of thousands of fish fillets to get even a single therapeutic dose. Yet, researchers have found that constant exposure to the diluted doses is harming fish, frogs, and other aquatic animals.
These reports come as every age group takes more and more pharmaceuticals each year with the older generations experiencing the greatest increase of all age groups. Of the waters tested, well over 34% contained pathogens—an agent that causes disease such as bacterium and fungus—including 7% pesticides, 5.4% chlorides, 3.7% mercury, 2.5% phosphorus, 2.0% copper. Of the endangered and threatened aquatic species, the United States holds 325 of the 430 species. US funding for the Superfund to clean-up environmental problem areas has remained very flat at $1.2 billion.
In the news, the Sierra Club, an environmentalist group, has opposed the plan to import hydroelectric power from Quebec. In a statement released by the group, “New York Power Authority is in preliminary discussions and considering the liability of a new contract with Hydro Quebec,” a Canadian supplier of hydroelectricity. The Contract would call for the installation of four new dams, which the Club said would destroy the Romaine River of Eastern Quebec.
Water is the leading renewable energy source used by electric utilities to generate electric power; it accounts for nearly 6% of all electricity produced in the United States. Hydroelectric power facilities can generate enough power to supply 28 million households with electricity, the equivalent of nearly 500 million barrels of oil. Many of the best locations to set up hydroelectric facilities have already been developed. Currently, researchers are working on advancing turbine technologies that will not only help maximize the use of hydroelectric power, but also minimize adverse environmental effects. Environmental effects include damming rivers and streams, which affects the habitats of the local plant, fish, and animal life.