Keystone XL Pipeline Approved in Nebraska
November 20, 2017
Congress faces growing health crisis in Puerto Rico; Leading Economic Indicators increased by 1.2 percent in October.
- Keystone XL pipeline approved to run through Nebraska. Developers of the Keystone XL pipeline received approval on Monday allowing the pipeline to run through Nebraska, clearing a key hurdle in the fight to build the project. The decision came after a rupture in TransCanada’s Keystone system spilled an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota last week. Nebraska regulators voted 3-2 to move the project forward and allow Keystone XL to cross the state, though the approval didn’t cover TransCanada’s preferred route through the state. The approval comes 8 months after President Trump issued a presidential permit for the $8 billion, 860 barrel per day project. Only the Trump administration has to issue permits for the pipeline now, although several permitting decisions are subject to legal challenges. Regulators in Montana and South Dakota, the two other states Keystone XL would cross, already approved the pipeline, and Nebraska was the last major state needed. [The Hill]
- Congress faces growing health crisis in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funding crisis is deepening, adding another issue for Congress to deal with. Hurricane Maria seriously damaged Puerto Rico’s health-care system, and none of the federal disaster relief money to date has been earmarked for the Medicaid program. A $44 billion supplemental payment request from the White House on Friday said that the administration was “aware” that Puerto Rico needed Medicaid assistance, yet put the onus on Congress to act. Advocates and lawmakers are now turning to the upcoming year-end spending bill as a solution, as the bill may become a “Christmas tree” loaded up with policy provisions. Yet there is no guarantee that the Medicaid money will make it in, as lawmakers are grappling with immigration, Trump’s proposed border wall, ObamaCare payments to insurers, and an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- Leading Economic Indicators increased by 1.2 percent in October. Leading economic indicators rose by 1.2 percent in October, twice as much as the 0.6 percent increase predicted by economists polled by Reuters. Conference Board research director Ataman Ozyildirim said in a statement, the index “suggests that solid growth in the US economy will continue through the holiday season and into the new year.” In September, the index decreased 0.2 percent, according to the Conference Board. The index is a closely followed indicator for the health of the U.S. economy. The Conference Board tracks 10 components, including manufacturers’ new orders, stock prices and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance. [CNBC]