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Nation's largest oil refinery forced to shut down as Harvey floods Port Arthur

money.cnn.com - Julia Horowitz and Jill Disis - August 30th 2017

The largest oil refinery in the country is shutting down as Hurricane Harvey causes more catastrophic flooding, and more have followed suit.

Early Wednesday, Motiva said it started closing its Port Arthur refinery "in response to increasing local flood conditions." The plant won't open until flood waters recede.

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Global fuel prices jump as Harvey's impact ripples beyond U.S. Gulf

reuters.com - Erwin Seba and Devika Krishna Kumar - August 31st 2017

Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact on the energy industry spread worldwide as flooded U.S. refiners and closed fuel pipelines threatened to squeeze national supply, roiling global fuel markets and rerouting millions of barrels of fuel to the Americas to avert shortages.

The storm, which lashed Louisiana with rain on Thursday, has pummeled the U.S. Gulf Coast, immersing Houston, Texas, and the surrounding area in several feet of water and forcing the closure of about a quarter of U.S. refining capacity.

Benchmark U.S. gasoline prices RBc1 and margins RBc1-Clc1 surged anew on Thursday.

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Harvey’s Toll on Energy Industry Shows a Texas Vulnerability

A vessel, the Signet Enterprise, sinking on Saturday near Port Aransas, Tex.; its crew was rescued. The narrow shipping channel near Port Aransas may be the most threatened choke point on the Gulf Coast. Credit U.S. Coast Guard, via Getty Images

Image: A vessel, the Signet Enterprise, sinking on Saturday near Port Aransas, Tex.; its crew was rescued. The narrow shipping channel near Port Aransas may be the most threatened choke point on the Gulf Coast. Credit U.S. Coast Guard, via Getty Images

nytimes.com - Clifford Krauss and Hiroko Tabuchi - August 29th 2017

For years, much of the nation’s refinery capacity and chemical production have been concentrated along the swamps and narrow inlets of the Gulf of Mexico, risking devastation in a monster storm.

The pounding being endured by coastal Texas will probably be the biggest test of that risk so far, and energy experts say it raises questions about the area’s role as a hub for such crucial and environmentally sensitive industries.

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Port Arthur Faces Harvey Flooding Disaster: ‘Our Whole City Is Underwater’

Video: Homes and shelters were flooded and the largest oil refinery in the U.S. was shut down after heavy rains flooded Port Arthur, east of Houston, overnight Tuesday. By MALACHY BROWNE, BARBARA MARCOLINI and CHRIS CIRILLO on Publish Date August 30, 2017. Photo by Beulah Johnson, via Associated Press. 

12newsnow.com - August 31st 2017

nytimes.com - Jonah Engel Bromwich - August 30th 2017

Even as the sun began to show in Houston on Wednesday, signaling a small measure of hope after days of devastating rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey, a region east of the city faced disaster anew after it was pummeled by rain overnight.

Residents of cities in Jefferson County, Tex., about 100 miles east of Houston, were desperate for help Wednesday morning after rain there caused floodwaters to rise precipitously and lightning made things particularly difficult for those responding to the storm.

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Storm Harvey: Up to 2,000 rescued as Houston hit by 'catastrophic floods'

bbc.com - August 27th 2017

Up to 2,000 people have been rescued from floods in and around Houston, as Tropical Storm Harvey continues to batter Texas with heavy rains.
There are reports of possible deaths in submerged vehicles, but investigations continue, Chief Darryl Coleman of the Harris County Sheriff's Office said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told the media he could not confirm storm-related deaths.

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Report: Trump Dissolves Climate Change Advisory Panel

cbsnews.com - by Rebecca Shabad - August 21, 2017

The Trump administration has decided to dissolve a federal advisory panel that contributes to a report that measures the current and future impacts of climate change on the U.S., The Washington Post reports.

The acting administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Ben Friedman, informed the chair of the advisory committee that the agency would not renew its charter, which expired Sunday, the report said. This comes two years after NOAA formed the panel, called the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, whose 15 members were tasked with advising government and private sector stakeholders on navigating climate change.

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Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment
http://sncaadvisorycommittee.noaa.gov

Membership - Appointments
http://sncaadvisorycommittee.noaa.gov/Membership

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Zika Linked to Rising Tide of Serious Neurologic Complications in Adults

CLICK HERE - JAMA Neurology - Neurologic Complications Associated With the Zika Virus in Brazilian Adults

medscape.com - by Nancy A. Melville - August 15, 2017

A rising tide of serious neurologic complications among adults in Brazil has been linked to the spread of the Zika virus, new research shows.

"Our study is the first prospective study assessing the occurrence of neurological complications in adults secondary to Zika virus infection, with all previous data based solely on case series and case reports," senior author, Osvaldo Jose Moreira do Nascimento, MD, PhD, from the Neurology Department at Universidade Federal Fluminense, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, told Medscape Medical News.

"We observed an increase in the admissions of patients with inflammatory complications, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), myelitis and encephalitis."

The study was published online August 14 in JAMA Neurology.

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CLICK HERE - Neurological complications associated with Zika virus in adults in Brazil

 

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Texas Doctors Under-Test for Zika

CLICK HERE - CDC MMWR - Notes from the Field: Zika Virus-Associated Neonatal Birth Defects Surveillance — Texas, January 2016–July 2017

Zika birth defects reported in 8% of zika infected Texas mothers

zikanews.com - by Don Ward - August 12, 2017

Zika virus testing for both travel-related cases and local transmission, need increased surveillance from Texas physicians, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A recent CDC analysis found that 57% of infants or fetuses for whom Zika testing was indicated, did not receive tests.

This is important because 8% of Texas infants or fetal losses were delivered with lab-confirmed Zika.

The Texas birth defect rate of 8% compares with 5.5% for the entire USA, and 4.4% in USA territories.

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Alaskan Towns at Risk from Rising Seas Sound Alarm as Trump Pulls Federal Help

           

Residents of Shishmaref voted to relocate to the mainland, but in common with other Alaskan towns, there is no clear source of funding to do this. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Communities in danger of falling into the sea say assistance from Washington has dried up: ‘It feels like a complete abdication of responsibility on climate change’

theguardian.com - by Oliver Milman - August 10, 2017

The US government’s withdrawal from dealing with, or even acknowledging, climate change may have provoked widespread opprobrium, but for Alaskan communities at risk of toppling into the sea, the risks are rather more personal.

The Trump administration has moved to dismantle climate adaptation programs including the Denali Commission, an Anchorage-based agency that is crafting a plan to safeguard or relocate dozens of towns at risk from rising sea levels, storms and the winnowing away of sea ice.

Federal assistance for these towns has been ponderous but could now grind to a halt, with even those working on the issue seemingly targeted by the administration.

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Climate Report: Hottest Year, Highest Greenhouse Gas Marks, Record Sea Levels

CLICK HERE - American Meteorological Society - State of the Climate in 2016 - Special Supplement to the - Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society - Vol. 98, No. 8, August 2017 - (298 page .PDF report)

cnn.com - by Steve Almasy - August 10, 2017

The records highlighted in the "State of the Climate in 2016" report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sound ominous.

• Global land surface temperatures last year were highest in 137 years of record keeping.

• Sea surface temperatures were also at their highest.

• Sea levels were at record highs in the 24 years that satellite record keeping has been used.

• Greenhouse gas marks rose faster than any year and carbon dioxide readings were above a 400 parts per million average for the year for the first time.

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