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Saturday, February 4, 2012

H.R. 7: Truck Weights to Increase. WHY?

In doing my pre-dawn Saturday morning webscan of national and local papers, I caught this headline about new legislation written by a Congressman from Florida that would allow the maximum weight of tractor-trailers to increase by 21%, or 17,000 lbs.

Imagine that: almost 50 tons of who knows what barreling down our highways...like Rte. 6. My second thought was: Gee, what's this all about? So I tracked down the page for H.R. 7, downloaded a copy...and started to do a caffeine-induced light speed scan of the 847 pages and various sub-titles.

It's going to take me some time to digest the entire bill, but for those that really understand the Marcellus Shale play's "big picture", take a gander at the language in Title X:

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(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

(1) There are 926 ports served by federally maintained channels which handle more than 2.2 billion tons of cargo annually, and this figure is expected to increase.

(2) More than $1.1 trillion in foreign commerce enters the United States through the Nation's ports annually, and this figure is expected to increase.

(3) Expansion of the Panama Canal system in Central America will likely be completed in 2014, and this will present opportunities and challenges for the Nation's economic well-being.

(4) Insufficient maintenance dredging of the Nation's navigation channels results in inefficient water transportation and harmful economic consequences.

(5) In 1986, Congress created the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to provide funds for the operation and maintenance of the Nation's navigation channels.

(6) The fiscal year 2011, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund equity grew by 13.7 percent from fiscal year 2010 (to $6.42 billion) and total annual receipts increased 17.3 percent (to $1.6 billion).

(7) Despite growth of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund continue to decline.

(8) Despite growth of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, federally maintained channels are only at their authorized widths or depths 35 percent of the time, thereby restricting access to the Nation's ports for both imports and exports.  ( Comment: EXPORTS...like natural gas overseas? )

    (b) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is not being used for its intended purpose and charging maritime commerce a harbor maintenance tax while failing to provide the service for which it was established is unfair and places the Nation at economic risk;

(2) the Administration should request full use of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for operating and maintaining the Nation's navigation system; and

(3) Congress should fully expend the amounts in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to operate and maintain the Nation's navigation system. ( Q?: For whose benefit ? )

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Next...check out this video from November announcing this upcoming legislation:

With the recent revelation that the Sierra Club had accepted $26 million from Chespeake Energy, I hope everyone grasps the true extent of the natural gas industry's meta$tatic $tranglehold on anyone and everyone that can be bought. What would you do for $26 million? Or $2.6 million. Or, let's say...~$260,000?

Folks, no matter where you look; in Towanda...in Harrisburg...or in Washington, it doesn't take much to connect the dots. Through a series of intersecting and overlapping trails, they all lead to Canonsburg...and Tulsa...and Oklahoma City...and Texas...and....

Want to change what's happening?  For starters, one by one by one, vote them all out in upcoming elections.   
And NEVER, EVER give up.


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