January 22, 2013
Deficit reduction in the United States refers to taxation, spending, and economic policy debates and proposals designed to reduce the Federal budget deficit. Government agencies including the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Treasury Department have reported that the federal government is facing a series of important financing challenges. In the short-run, tax revenues have declined significantly due to a severe recession and tax policy choices, while expenditures have expanded for wars, unemployment insurance and other safety net spending. In the long-run, expenditures related to healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are projected to grow faster than the economy overall as the population matures.
There is an international interest in issues surrounding global warming in the United States due to the U.S. position in world affairs and the U.S.’s high level of greenhouse gas emissions per capita. In 2012 the United States endured its warmest year on record, and the 13 warmest years for the entire planet have all occurred since 1998, according to data that stretches back to 1880.
The Keystone Pipeline System is a pipeline system to transport synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from the Athabasca oil sands region in northeastern Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the United States, which include refineries in Illinois, the Cushing oil distribution hub in Oklahoma, and proposed connections to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas.
It consists of the operational “Keystone Pipeline” and “Keystone-Cushing Extension”, and two proposed pipeline expansion segments, referred to as Keystone XL Pipeline and the Gulf Coast Project. After the Keystone XL pipeline segments are completed, American crude oil would enter the XL pipelines at Baker, Montana and Cushing, Oklahoma.
The Keystone XL has faced lawsuits from oil refineries and criticism from environmentalists and some members of the United States Congress. In January 2012, President Obama rejected the application amid protests about the pipeline’s impact on Nebraska’s environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region. On March 22 Obama endorsed the building of its southern half that begins in Cushing, Okla. The President said in Cushing OK on March 22, “Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”
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