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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Groups challenge proposed refinery near Columbia River

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024   

A lawsuit is challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision not to require a permit for the construction of a new refinery on the Columbia River.

NEXT Renewable Fuels has proposed a refinery for renewable diesel and a rail yard in Port Westward, near Clatskanie, Ore. Columbia Riverkeeper and 1000 Friends of Oregon are challenging the lack of permitting needed for the project.

Audrey Leonard, Columbia Riverkeeper staff attorney, said the construction could threaten levee infrastructure and low-lying farmland nearby.

"The reason that a permit would be required is to just ensure that all that activity doesn't degrade or harm the infrastructure," she explained.

The road could impact levee infrastructure built in 1915 to protect more than 5,700 acres of farmland. Leonard noted that NEXT has said it will need to conduct studies to determine how much weight the road and levee can withstand. The Army Corps of Engineers claims the project will have no impact on the levee.

Leonard added there is concern for a nearby Columbia River estuary as well.

"It's a really important part of the Columbia River, really important for salmon and other fish," she explained, "and essentially, increasing more fuel traffic by barge, feedstock traffic, increases the risk of spill."

In their legal complaint, Columbia Riverkeeper and 1000 Friends of Oregon say the project will destroy 120 acres of wetlands and store more than a million barrels of diesel and aviation fuel near the Columbia River.

Disclosure: Columbia Riverkeeper contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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