Extra Extra : Infrastructure

Regulators lack resources to confront risks posed by exploding oil trains

Almost a year and a half after an oil train explosion devastated a Quebec town —and after three railcar explosions in the United States — those headline-grabbing measures have turned out to be less than they appeared. Idling oil trains are still left unattended in highly populated areas. The effort to draft new safety regulations has been bogged down in disputes between the railroads and the oil industry over who will bear the brunt of the costs. The oil industry is balking at some of the tanker upgrades, and the railroads are lobbying against further speed restrictions. The story and video ...

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Six years after Hurricane Ike, Texas coast remains vulnerable

Hurricane Ike sent a clear message that the people and vital energy industry of greater Houston, one of America's largest urban areas needed protection from rising seas. Six years later, it remains an easy target as storm surges grow increasingly more destructive. Many major coastal cities are in the same boat.

A Reuters analysis of RealtyTrac data for the third installment of the “Water’s Edge” series found that at least $1.4 trillion worth of businesses and homes line the country’s tidal shores, yet the U.S. lacks a unified national response to rising sea levels. The ...

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Poorly rated nursing homes got HUD-guaranteed mortgages anyway

Hundreds of the country’s worst nursing homes have received mortgages backed by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity.

HUD requires nursing homes applying for construction and rehabilitation loans to provide quality reports. Still, an analysis of loan and ratings data found that the number and volume of one-star facilities receiving HUD insurance climbed every year from 2009 to 2012.

Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes

About every other day over the past decade, a gas leak in the United States has destroyed property, hurt someone or killed someone, a USA TODAY Network investigation finds. The most destructive blasts have killed at least 135 people, injured 600 and caused $2 billion in damages since 2004.

A crack found in a cast-iron service main caused an apartment building explosion in Birmingham, Alabama last year. Alabama Gas Corp. built and operated that pipeline, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, one of the Gannett-affiliated publications involved in the project.

The Advertiser recently went to court over Alagasco documents it obtained ...

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Tracking federal, state aid money after the deadly Oklahoma tornadoes

An investigation by Oklahoma Watch and KGOU found that almost three-fourths of the people who applied for FEMA aid following the killer twisters in Oklahoma last year were rejected.

While tens of millions of dollars in state and federal aid were released following the storm, the process of receiving and using those funds hasn’t always gone smoothly.

According to Oklahoma Watch:

“At least three cities and a school district had requests denied because the damage was determined to be unrelated to the disaster. Others were turned away because the project was too small, under $1,000, to be eligible ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Fatal flaws in Oklahoma’s execution system, absent city council members, teacher misconduct

Fatal Flaws: How Oklahoma’s lethal injection process went wrong | Tulsa World

Nearly 15 years after Stephanie’s murder, Lockett lay dying as her family watched along with a gallery of law enforcement officials, prison administrators and journalists through the window of Oklahoma’s execution chamber.

State officials had promised in court records and interviews that Oklahoma’s new execution protocol would dispatch him swiftly and painlessly. They were so confident in this assurance that Gov. Mary Fallin ordered Lockett to be executed April 29, the same night another convicted killer was set to die.

Lockett’s death didn’t ...

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Many displaced by superstorm Sandy still wait for housing help

Seventeen months after Congress authorized up to $16 billion to fix homes wrecked by superstorm Sandy, tens of thousands of people still are living in damaged houses or paying rent on top of a mortgage as they wait for rebuilding help, reports The Wall Street Journal. About 15,000 New York City residents are seeking aid, but city officials say only 352 have so far received a check or city-provided home construction.

Lack of funding, territorial disputes allowing for crumbling railroad bridges in Colorado

The York Street railroad bridge in Colorado is one of many with serious structural damage. KDVR - Denver reviewed safety inspections for more than 150 railroad bridges and then visited dozens of the most damaged ones.

About one-quarter of those which crossed a city or county road either flunked their latest safety inspection or were deteriorating toward a state inspectors call “structurally deficient.”

The station created a list and map of the 25 worst railroad bridges in Colorado based on poor structural scores, number of years inspectors have labeled the bridge deficient, lack of repairs and additional inspection notes such as ...

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San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge rusting in vital areas

New York gas mains installed in 40s leaking, prone to explosions

It is a danger hidden beneath the streets of New York City, unseen and rarely noticed: 6,302 miles of pipes transporting natural gas.

Leaks, like the one that is believed to have led to the explosion that killed eight people in East Harlem this month, are startlingly common, numbering in the thousands every year, federal records show.