DOT To Map Out Nation’s Time Zones After Report Shows No Official Map Exists

A person may take knowing the local time for granted, but an official review revealed that there is no single, accurate map showing the nation’s time zones and local observance of Daylight Saving Time. CNN reports: Federal transportation officials are now at work creating an accurate map of the nation’s time zones, according to a report by the inspector general for the Department of Transportation. The issue came up, the inspector general’s office said, after the US Senate passed legislation this year to end the biannual time turn by making Daylight Saving Time permanent.

Investigators found no single map accurately showing the boundaries nationwide and said several sources of time information on the DOT website contained errors, such as inaccurately noting the time practices in some localities. For example, one map incorrectly identifies a deviation in Nevada: “Elko County, NV is shown as the location that changed time zones rather than the correct location, the city of West Wendover.”

“The official boundaries are narratively described [in federal regulations] with various types of coordinates and geographic features such as lines of longitude, State or county lines, and rivers,” the report stated. The inspector general report said the Transportation Department is responsible for keeping the clock because of the importance of time to travel. It said the original five time zones have expanded to nine.

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US Senate Finally Passes Its Massive Climate Bill

Slashdot reader Charlotte Web writes: At 3:02 p.m. EST, vice president Kamala Harris began presiding over the U.S. Senate.
After a vote on the very last proposed amendment, the Senate heard these final remarks from Democrat Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer on what he called “the boldest climate package in US history.”

“It’s been a long, tough, and winding road. But at last — at last — we have arrived. I know it’s been a long day and long night, but we’ve gotten it done….”

“It’s a game changer. It’s a turning point. And it’s been a long time coming.

“To Americans who have lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill is for you…
And to the tens of millions of young Americans who spent years marching, rallying, demanding that Congress act on climate change, this bill is for you. The time has come to pass this historic bill.”

One by one, Senators delivered their votes for the official tally, and at 3:18 PST Harris announced that “On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50.” And with the vice president casting deciding votes in an equally-divided Senate, “the bill as amended is passed.”

And the Senate broke into spontaneous applause.

The bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to vote on it Friday.

As Slashdot reported last week:

The bill helps U.S consumers buy electric vehicle chargers, rooftop solar panels, and fuel-efficient heat pumps. It extends energy-industry tax credits for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources — and for carbon capture technology. In fact, most of its impact is accomplished through tax credits, reports the New York Times, “viewed as one of the least expensive ways to reduce carbon emissions.

“The benefits are worth four times their cost, according to calculations by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.” One example is ending an eligibility cap on the $7,500 tax credit for consumers buying electric vehicles.

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America’s ‘Transformative’ Climate Bill Would Fund EV Purchases – While Penalizing China

This week U.S. lawmakers drew closer to passing a $369 billion bill with wide-ranging climate provisions.

It helps U.S consumers buy electric vehicle chargers, rooftop solar panels, and fuel-efficient heat pumps. It extends energy-industry tax credits for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources — and for carbon capture technology. In fact, most of its impact is accomplished through tax credits, reports the New York Times, “viewed as one of the least expensive ways to reduce carbon emissions.

“The benefits are worth four times their cost, according to calculations by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.” One example is ending an eligibility cap on the $7,500 tax credit for consumers buying electric vehicles:

Currently, the credits are phased out after a manufacturer has sold 200,000 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Restoring the credits would be huge for Tesla and General Motors, which have used up their quotas, as well as companies like Ford Motor and Toyota that will soon lose access to the credits. The new tax credit, available through 2032, would make vehicles from those companies more affordable and address criticism that only rich people can afford electric cars…

As it exists, the 200,000-vehicle cap on tax credits would provide a competitive advantage to market newcomers like BYD of China that are expected to use electric vehicles to enter the U.S. market. They could have benefited from the credit while Tesla, the Texas-based company, could not. The Democratic climate legislation would flip that. As written, the bill appears to disqualify cars not made in North America from the credit. Cars made in North America by foreign companies like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota or Volvo would qualify, but imported models would not.

In fact, the 725-page legislation also includes “a strong dose of industrial policy,” with several provisions that “appear designed to undermine China’s hold over the electric vehicle supply chain… It favors companies that get their components and raw materials from the United States or its allies, while effectively excluding China.”

“I think it is absolutely a transformative bill,” said Leah Stokes, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who specializes in energy and climate change…

Cars would qualify for the full credit only if their batteries were made with materials and components from the United States and countries with which it has trade agreements. The percentage of components that have to meet those restrictions to qualify for the credit would increase over time, under the bill. That provision is aimed at encouraging domestic development of businesses like lithium mining and refining.

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Weed Killer Glyphosate Found In Most Americans’ Urine

An anonymous reader quotes a report from U.S. News & World Report: More than 80% of Americans have a widely used herbicide lurking in their urine, a new government study suggests. The chemical, known as glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has said. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, a well-known weed killer. The U.S. National Nutrition Examination Survey found the herbicide in 1,885 of 2,310 urine samples that were representative of the U.S. population. Nearly a third of the samples came from children ages 6 to 18.

Traces of the herbicide have previously been found in kids’ cereals, baby formula, organic beer and wine, hummus and chickpeas. In 2020, the EPA determined that the chemical was not a serious health risk and “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. However, a federal appeals court ordered the EPA to reexamine those findings last month, CBS News reported. In 2019, a second U.S. jury ruled Bayer’s Roundup weed killer was the cause of a man’s cancer. It was only the second of some 11,200 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial in the United States. Another California man was awarded $78 million (originally $289 million) in the first lawsuit alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.

A study published around the same time as those rulings found that glyphosate “destroys specialized gut bacteria in bees, leaving them more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.”

Further reading: ‘It’s a Non-Party Political Issue’: Banning the Weedkiller Glyphosate (The Guardian)

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In Private, Vulnerable Senate Dems Back Off Tech Bill

A bipartisan legislative effort to rein in the nation’s largest tech companies is facing fresh resistance from a faction of Senate Democrats over complaints the measure could threaten their chances of holding their slim majority, 10 people familiar with the matter told POLITICO. From a report: The internal opposition comes as Democratic leaders are pushing for a vote on the bill by summer, in an effort to pass what has become a central element of the party’s broader antitrust agenda. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, S. 2992 (117) — led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — would ban major tech firms like Amazon and Google from favoring their products over their competitors. For example, the legislation would bar Amazon from promoting its own private-label products over rival items on its e-commerce platform. The bill marks the most serious attempt at tightening oversight of the tech industry in years and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with support from both parties earlier this year. Yet in the days since Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Klobuchar he would hold a floor vote as early as next month, several Democratic senators have privately expressed deep reservations about voting for the legislation, particularly with a midterm election looming, in their conversations with Schumer and other Democratic offices.

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