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Stabenow, Peters Denounce Republican Opposition to Protecting Michigan’s Environment

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters expressed disappointment after their amendment to protect Michigan’s environment and enhance oversight over aging pipelines in the Great Lakes, such as those underneath the Straits of Mackinac, was defeated today. The amendment, which was offered during Senate consideration of legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, was opposed by a majority of Republicans.
‘It is totally unacceptable that my Republican colleagues voted against putting pipeline safety standards first,’ said Senator Stabenow. ‘We have a 60-year-old pipeline running under the Great Lakes and if that pipeline breaks, it will be a disaster like nothing we’ve seen in Michigan before. We need to put pipeline safety first to make sure we prevent harmful and costly oil spills like the one that happened in the Kalamazoo River from ever happening again.’
‘I am disappointed the Senate failed to pass this critical, commonsense amendment that would improve oversight for pipeline safety,’ said Senator Peters. ‘Following the catastrophic oil spill that contaminated the Kalamazoo River, Michiganders know that a pipeline leak can have devastating consequences. I am committed to ensuring a disaster like that never happens again in Michigan or across the country, and I will continue working to prevent pipelines from posing a threat to the Great Lakes or Michigan’s environment.
The amendment would require the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to certify that they have the resources necessary to conduct proper oversight of pipelines in the Great Lakes before approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It also would require PHMSA to develop recommendations for special conditions to apply to pipelines in the Great Lakes, similar to the 59 special conditions developed for Keystone. This measure will ensure the agency responsible for overseeing petroleum pipelines has the resources required to do the job.

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NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Releases 2014 Annual Report

The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has issued its 2014 annual report examining NASA’s safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns to agency and government officials.

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NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Captures Best-Ever View of Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres on Jan. 25, and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the first human-made probe to visit a dwarf planet.

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TRADOC commander emphasizes new operating concept at USAREUR headquarters

Gen. David Perkins, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, visited U.S. Army Europe headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, Jan. 26, to speak with leaders about the Army’s new operating concept; win in a complex world.

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Improved Army system, training to increase vigilance

Soldiers of a U.S. Army research center have worked to improve training for fellow Soldiers on a quick-reaction intelligence capability that better supports the system in the field and potentially reduces reliance on reach-back and in-field contractor support.

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Army Special Operations Command evolves in changing world

Special operations must continue to evolve as the military faces increasing unconventional threats, said Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

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Army Corps of Engineers caring for people, environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working on important projects worldwide that often go unnoticed — as compared to a large natural disaster when Corps activities get more visibility. Here are some snapshots of work they’ve been doing just over the last several weeks.

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Senator Stabenow Introduces Measure to Stop U.S. Postal Service Facilities Closures

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today introduced an amendment that would stop the U.S. Postal Service from continuing the closure of facilities for two years, preventing delays in services that will impact Michigan families and small businesses. Sen. Stabenow joined Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 11 other senators in authoring this amendment to legislation currently before the Senate. The amendment would also re-establish overnight delivery standards for first-class mail.
‘The post office provides a critical basic service to everyone no matter where you live. Closing facilities and cutting services will lead to delays that will harm Michigan businesses and families,’ Stabenow said. ‘I remain committed to stopping closures and ending a requirement by law that the Postal Service overfund retiree health care, which is the biggest reason for its recent operating losses.’ The Postal Service announced in July 2014 that they would begin consolidating facilities. So far, 82 mail processing facilities are being consolidated, including mail processing centers in Kingsford, Kalamazoo, and Lansing. Last November, Sen. Stabenow sent a letter to the Postmaster General asking for the consolidations and closures to be delayed until studies are completed and customers are informed and given an opportunity to share concerns. Sen. Stabenow also sponsored the Postal Service Protection Act last year, which ends a requirement by law that the Postal Service overfund retiree health care at a cost of $5 billion a year. This unnecessarily burdensome requirement that no other business must follow is responsible for nearly all of the Postal Service’s recent operating losses. This legislation also allows the Postal Service to modernize with new products and services.

Read more here:: Senator Stabenow Introduces Measure to Stop U.S. Postal Service Facilities Closures

Senators Stabenow and Kirk Elected Chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) were elected by their Great Lakes colleagues to Chair the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. The Task Force is a bipartisan working group that advocates for the protection of our Great Lakes.
As Chairs, Senators Stabenow and Kirk will convene meetings of members and staff representing the states bordering our Great Lakes and will coordinate efforts to provide agency oversight and advance legislative initiatives and funding priorities.
‘No other state has more at stake than Michigan when it comes to the protection of our Great Lakes and the issues we face today are as challenging as ever,’ said Stabenow. ‘This is an important leadership role that will continue to give Michigan a strong voice as we work together to protect our Lakes and water resources. I look forward to working with my co-chair, Senator Kirk, and our task force members as we tackle these critical challenges.’
‘As Co-Chairs, my colleague Senator Stabenow and I are committed to cleaning up toxic hot spots, removing the threat of invasive species and ending sewage dumping in the Great Lakes, the Crown Jewel of the Midwest’s ecosystem, once and for all,’ said Kirk. ‘It is crucial that we work together with this bipartisan Task Force to protect the reverence of the lakes and ensure they remain clean and contaminant-free for the next generation.’
Sen. Stabenow’s record on Great Lakes issues is longstanding. Her first legislation to pass the Senate was a ban on drilling for oil and gas in the Great Lakes. She authored the bipartisan Stop Invasive Species Act to address the threat from Asian carp, has championed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through Congress, and authored the 2014 Farm Bill, which included a historic investment in land and water conservation.
Senator Kirk has served as a Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force since 2011 and believes the lakes are our country’s most precious natural resource. Throughout his time in Congress, Kirk has fought to restore contaminated hot spots, such as Waukegan Harbor in Illinois, to their full economic and environmental potential. The Senator continues to work across the aisle and with local stakeholders to advance legislation to ban sewage dumping in the Great Lakes and combat the threat of invasive species. Additionally, Kirk has co-authored comprehensive Great Lakes legislation to authorize key programs to restore and protect the Great Lakes, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
The Senate Great Lakes Task Force was founded in the mid-1980s and is associated with the Northeast-Midwest Institute.

Read more here:: Senators Stabenow and Kirk Elected Chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force

NASA Observes Day of Remembrance

NASA will pay will tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues, during the agency’s annual Day of Remembrance Wednesday, Jan. 28.

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