Around the Nation

Around the Nation

Friday, July 25, 2008

House Rejects Measure To Sell Oil From Reserve

The House rejected legislation to sell 70 million barrels of light, sweet crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and replace it with heavy, sour crude.

The bill would have required the sale of 10 percent of the emergency stockpile's holdings on the open market over six months. Proceeds from the sales would have been used to buy an equivalent amount of heavy crude, which is cheaper.

The White House had threatened to veto the measure.

Democrats pushed the bill, hoping to lower surging oil prices by selling more of the reserve's sweet crude, which is desirable because it has less sulfur and is more easily refined into gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products.

The House voted 268 to 157 in favor of the legislation, but the measure fell short of obtaining a two-thirds "yes" vote that is required when the chamber suspends its rules to quickly act on a bill.

Convention Protection Sought

Environmentalists have asked the government to suspend rail shipments of hazardous materials near the Democratic and GOP presidential conventions in Denver and St. Paul, Minn., citing a 2003 federal study that found that a ruptured 90-ton tanker car of chlorine could kill or injure tens of thousands of people. The convention sites are within eight miles of plants that store large amounts of chlorine, sulfur dioxide or hydrofluoric acid, the group Greenpeace said, urging the government to test plant security and recommend use of safer chemicals.

Possible Tornado Kills at Least 1

BOSTON -- Severe thunderstorms and a possible tornado tore into central and eastern New Hampshire, killing at least one person and trapping others in homes, residents and local media said. Gov. John Lynch declared a state of emergency in five counties, and a woman was killed in Epsom, the Union Leader newspaper reported.

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