President Biden’s huge infrastructure bill is finally seeing the end of the road. The nearly 2,000 page bill covers infrastructure improvements—everything from roads to broadband. The package also includes funding for projects that would build up the country’s climate change resilience. Some climate change experts say the budget doesn’t go far enough and other analysis says the bill would not pay for itself. Umair Irfan, staff writer at Vox, walks us through the bill, new fuel economy rules for electric vehicles, a Tesla lithium-ion battery fire, and more science news from the week.
Wait, Am I Going To Need A Booster Shot?
Just this week, health officials announced that New York City will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for some indoor activities, like dining and exercise. It’s the first city to institute this type of policy, and it’s all in an effort to get more people vaccinated, as the Delta coronavirus variant has forestalled efforts to curb the pandemic.
Spikes in cases are happening all around the country, just as kids are getting ready to go back to the classroom. This is renewing debates about masks, and prompting lots of questions: Are we going to need booster shots? How much should we worry about breakthrough infections? And is full FDA approval of vaccines going to make a difference for those hesitant to get vaccinated?
Joining Ira to break down the latest pandemic quandaries is Céline Gounder, epidemiologist and professor at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine in New York City.
Local Communities Spar Over Minnesota Oil Pipeline
After months of lawsuits, protests, and arrests in northern Minnesota, a controversial oil pipeline is still under construction. Candian energy company Enbridge, Inc., says the Line 3 replacement pipeline, necessary to improve the safety of an aging pipeline.
In 1991, Line 3 ruptured, causing the largest inland oil spill in the United States. The new pipeline will be both higher capacity, and follow a different route past lakes, rivers, and other state waters. But in the midst of a severe state-wide drought, the pipeline’s construction process requires the company to temporarily pump tens of millions of gallons of groundwater. Meanwhile, drilling fluids have been spilled at least once into a nearby river.
Science Friday news director John Dankosky talks to two reporters, Minnesota Public Radio’s Kirsti Marohn and Indian Country Today’s Mary Annette Pember, about the water impacts of the pipeline construction, and why communities along the route remain divided about its value.