Archive | Infrastructure

Britain Eyes CO2 for More Oil Production

DURHAM, England, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Britain could reap a $240 billion North Sea oil bonanza using carbon dioxide to extract oil, but only if the current infrastructure is enhanced, a study says.

Research at Durham University shows that using CO2 to enhance recovery could yield an extra 3 billion barrels of oil during the next 20 years, a university release said. That amount of oil could power, heat and fuel transport in Britain for two years with every other form of energy switched off, researchers say.

The process is almost carbon neutral, with almost as much carbon being put back in the ground as would be taken out, they say.

“Time is running out to make best use of our precious remaining oil reserves because we’re losing vital infrastructure as the oil fields decline and are abandoned,” Jon Gluyas, a professor in Durham’s department of earth sciences, say. “Once the infrastructure is removed, we will never go back and the opportunity will be wasted.

“We need to act now to develop the capture and transportation infrastructure to take the CO2 to where it is needed,” Gluyas said.

Oil is usually recovered by flushing oil wells through with water pressure. Since the 1970s oil fields in Texas have been successfully exploited by pumping CO2 as a liquid into parts of the reservoirs water injection doesn’t reach, resulting in a 4 percent to 12 percent increase in oil production.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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World 'water Threats' Mapped in Study

NEW YORK, Sept. 29 (UPI) — Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with an “insecure” supply of fresh water due to scarcity and pollution, U.S. researchers say.

The study that mapped water availability and quality down to the regional level shows 3.4 billion people live in areas of severe “water threats,” the BBC reported Wednesday.

“What we’ve done is to take a very dispassionate look at the facts on the ground — what is going on with respect to humanity’s water security and what the infrastructure that’s been thrown at this problem does to the natural world,” study leader Charles Vorosmarty from the City College of New York said.

“What we’re able to outline is a planet-wide pattern of threat, despite the trillions of dollars worth of engineering palliatives that have totally reconfigured the threat landscape,” Vorosmarty said, referring to the dams, canals, aqueducts and pipelines employed by the developed world to safeguard drinking-water supplies.

Conserving water through reservoirs and dams works for people, but not nature, the researchers said, and they urged developing countries not to follow the same path.

Instead, they say governments should invest in water-management strategies that combine infrastructure with “natural” options such as safeguarding watersheds, wetlands and floodplains.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Tunnel Under San Francisco Bay Begun

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24 (UPI) — A project to create a 5-mile-long tunnel under San Francisco Bay to carry billions of gallons of water to Bay Area communities has begun, officials said.

When the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s $4.6 billion project to overhaul the area’s water system is completed in 2015, the Bay Division Pipeline 5 will replace two decaying pipelines that now traverse the bay on wooden trestles, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

“These pipelines are old, and they leak,” commission general manager Ed Harrington said. “The question is, do we really want to depend on them in a major earthquake? We really count on this system working, even if others fail.”

The current water network serves 2.5 million customers in San Francisco, the East Bay and the Peninsula. A failure at the trans-bay pipeline during an earthquake could cut off water to businesses, homes and public service agencies for weeks or even months, officials warn.

“This infrastructure was built in the 1920s and 1930s — it wasn’t meant to last this long,” Bob Mues, tunnel project construction manager, said.

“This is state of the art,” he said of the new project.

The underground pipeline won’t cross any major fault lines, but will lie between the San Andreas and Hayward faults.

Because earthquakes cause more shaking at ground level than below it, experts say the pipeline’s location is considered more secure.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Boosting Palestinian Health Care

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Palestinians will no longer be referred to Israel or abroad for medical treatment but treated locally, Palestinian Health Minister Fathi Moghli said Sunday.

Moghli told the Palestinian Maan news agency funds will be funneled into the local health system to boost the quality of work and improve healthcare in the Palestinian areas.

Only in isolated cases will Palestinians be permitted to travel abroad for treatment, he said.

“We endeavor to reduce the cases which need referral abroad as long as they can receive adequate treatment locally,” Moghli said, adding that between 2008 and 2009, the number of patients being treated abroad was reduced by 50 percent.

More than $100 million had been spent on referring patients outside the Palestinian areas for treatment, which has now been reduced to $50 million, he said.

The funds will now be used to develop and build medical centers and hospitals, Moghli said.

“We have already prepared a comprehensive plan for next year to be submitted to the government. The plan includes a vision to promote medical services and secure a sustainable infrastructure within Palestinian hospitals and medical facilities,” he said.

“For the first time, we have 380 resident doctors practicing to specialize in 32 fields. We will soon become suppliers of specialized physicians to neighboring countries,” he told the agency.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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EPA Sets Mercury Limits for Cement Plants

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 10 (UPI) — The Environmental Protection Agency says it has completed regulations limiting the release of mercury and other toxic air pollutants from cement plants.

These are the first federal restrictions on emissions from existing cement kilns. They are meant to reduce the annual emissions of mercury 92 percent, hydrochloric acid by 97 percent and sulfur dioxide by 78 percent by 2013, the Los Angeles Times.

Environmentalists in California, the nation’s largest producer of cement, applauded the EPA action.

“From the Bay Area to San Bernardino, Californians are going to have cleaner, healthier air thanks to the EPA’s new rule,” said James S. Pew, a staff attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice.

Cement producers criticized the new rules, saying regulations could lead to plant closures and job outsourcing.

“More cement will need to be imported to make up for shrinking domestic supply,” said Brian McCarthy, chief executive and president of the Portland Cement Association in Skokie, Ill. “We fear this could constrain the U.S. government’s efforts to stimulate the economy, create jobs and rehabilitate the nation’s infrastructure.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Africa Cellphone Benefits Need Support

DALLAS, Aug. 9 (UPI) — The explosive growth of cellphone use in Africa isn’t enough to drive the continent’s economic growth without accompanying infrastructure, economic experts say.

Researchers at Southern Methodist University say that while there is evidence of positive short-term impacts, so far there’s limited evidence mobile phones have led to large-scale improvements in African countries, a university release says.

Cellphones can do only so much, the researchers say, as long as many Africans still struggle in poverty and still lack reliable electricity, clean drinking water, education or access to roads.

“It’s really great for a farmer to find out the price of beans in the market,” said SMU economist Isaac Mbiti, who has seen the impact of the cellphone boom firsthand in his native Kenya.

“But if a farmer can’t get the beans to market because there is no road, the information doesn’t really help. Cellphones can’t replace things you need from development, like roads and running water.”

Mobile phone coverage has jumped from 10 percent of the population in 1999 to 60 percent in 2008 despite the extreme poverty of many Africans, Mbiti’s research found.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water, Education, Electricity, Infrastructure, Other0 Comments

New Children's Hospital for Montreal

MONTREAL, July 16 (UPI) — Shriners Hospitals for Children says it will construct a $100 million hospital in Montreal on land adjacent to its current 85-year-old facility.

The new facility will replace the Montreal’s Children’s Hospital, which is in need of repair, as part of the McGill University Health Center, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Friday.

The announcement came after 10 years of delay, bids by other cities to have the hospital moved and after the plan was almost derailed by the recession, CBC news said.

But Quebec “fought hard to ensure that the hospital stayed at home,” provincial Health Minister Yves Bolduc said.

“The construction project … is part of the investments we have made to upgrade our infrastructure in the healthcare system,” Bolduc said.

“We have known for some time that a new hospital was needed and we have focused our efforts on making this become a reality for our patients,” Gary Morrison, former chairman of the board at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada, said.

The new hospital, with 22 single-patient rooms, four operating rooms and more than 25,000 square feet of research space, is expected to be completed by 2014, CBC News reported.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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White House Orders Pathogen Policy Changes

WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) — The White House says President Obama has ordered fundamental changes in the way hazardous pathogens and toxins in the United States are secured against misuse.

Research on Biological Select Agents and Toxins is critical for the development of tools to detect, diagnose, recognize and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease of both natural and deliberate origin, the White House said Friday.

The expansion in the last 10 years of the infrastructure and resources dedicated to BSAT work, coupled with the discovery that the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks may have been a U.S. government employee, underlines the need to ensure BSAT are properly secured against possible misuse or attempts to harm people, animals, plants, or the environment, administration officials said.

Under Obama’s executive order, federal activities for securing BSAT will be consolidated under revised regulations jointly overseen by the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture with support from the Department of Justice and the FBI.

The order, issued after an administration-led review of federal policies and procedures associated with the security of BSAT, calls for “significant improvements in the structure, coordination, and oversight of these activities across the Federal government.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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$250 Million for Preventive Healthcare

WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) — The U.S. government has allocated $250 million for fiscal year 2010 for several preventive healthcare programs, officials said.

“Our current healthcare system leaves many Americans without the preventive care that stops disease and illness before they start,” Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said in a statement. “What we need is an approach to healthcare that keeps people from getting sick in the first place, and that addresses the underlying drivers of chronic disease.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, a Prevention and Public Health Fund was designed to help create the infrastructure to prevent disease, detect it early and manage conditions before they become severe, and more costly, Benjamin said.

The $250 million is being allocated for:

– $126 million will support federal, state and community preventive healthcare initiatives; the integration of primary care services into publicly-funded community-based behavioral health settings; obesity prevention and fitness; and tobacco cessation.

– $70 million will support state, local and tribal public health infrastructure to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.

– $31 million for data collection and analysis and to improve transparency and public involvement in the Clinical Preventive Services Task Force.

– $23 million to expand Center’s and Disease Control and Prevention’s public health workforce programs and public health training centers.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Study: Saving Rainforests May Cut Poverty

ATLANTA, May 25 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve demonstrated that saving rainforests and protecting national parks and reserves reduced poverty in two developing countries.

The study, led by Georgia State University Associate Professor Paul Ferraro, looked at the long term impact of economically depressed people living near parks and reserves established in 1985 or earlier in Costa Rica and Thailand.

“The results are surprising,” Ferraro said. “Most people might expect that if you restrict resources, people on average will be worse off.”

Ferraro’s team speculates the conservation of biodiverse areas might have helped the poor because of tourism and infrastructure, such as new roadways, which may have provided new economic opportunities.

While Costa Rica and Thailand are not representative of all developing nations, Ferraro said the study’s findings are promising. He said the study can be replicated elsewhere in the world to look at the impact of efforts to protect the environment and reduce poverty — two of the United Nations Millennium Development goals.

The research that included Kwaw Andam of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Katharine Sims of Amherst College, Margaret Holland of the University of Wisconsin and Andrew Healy of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Conservation, Infrastructure, Other0 Comments

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