90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Harlem Blast And Our Natural Gas Infrastructure

New York’s explosion in Harlem is a grim reminder of the country’s  enormous and aging  gas infrastructure.  We’ll look at the risks and looming costs of what lies beneath.

Firefighters look over the site of a building explosion in New York, Friday, March 14, 2014. Using sound devices to probe for voices and telescopic cameras to peer into small spaces, workers searching a pile of rubble from a gas explosion in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, continued to treat it as a rescue operation, holding onto the possibility of finding survivors from a blast that brought down two apartment buildings and killed at least eight people. (AP)

Firefighters look over the site of a building explosion in New York, Friday, March 14, 2014. Using sound devices to probe for voices and telescopic cameras to peer into small spaces, workers searching a pile of rubble from a gas explosion in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, continued to treat it as a rescue operation, holding onto the possibility of finding survivors from a blast that brought down two apartment buildings and killed at least eight people. (AP)

They’re still digging in New York – East Harlem – trying to find bodies and gas lines after the big explosion last week that brought down two buildings and left eight dead.  Exact cause of the explosion is still not named, but everyone’s looking at old gas pipes – a century and more old.  America’s natural gas infrastructure leaks many billions of cubic feet of gas every year.  You may smell it on your street.  And that’s just the beginning of this country’s infrastructure issues.  Roads, bridges, airports, water systems. This hour On Point:  On gas and beyond, the bill due for American infrastructure.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Chris Kirkham, business reporter for the Huffington Post. (@c_kirkham)

Rob Jackson, professor of environmental sciences at Duke and Stanford.

Robert Puentes, senior fellow with the Brookings Institutions’ Metropolitan Policy Program. (@rpuentes)

From Tom’s Reading List

Associated Press: Explosion a Reminder of NYC’s Aging Infrastructure — “Even while the cause remains unknown, a deadly blast that leveled two buildings served by a 127-year-old gas main has provided a jarring reminder of just how old and vulnerable much of the infrastructure is in New York and many other cities nationwide. A detailed report issued only a day before Wednesday’s explosion in East Harlem estimates that $47 billion is needed for repairs and replacement over the next five years to spare New York from havoc.”

The Wall Street Journal: Aging Park Avenue Gas Pipe Eyed as Possible Cause of Explosion — “Authorities said they had yet to pinpoint the cause of the blast, which leveled two apartment buildings and killed at least three people and injured more than two dozen. If officials determine that the explosion was caused by a gas pipeline, it would likely rank among the deadliest such incidents since February 2011, when a gas pipe exploded in Allentown, Pa., killing five people.”

Washington Post: U.S. Infrastructure gets D+ in annual report — “Using ratings by civil engineers in every state, the ASCE gave the national infrastructure an overall grade of D-plus, an average pulled down by some of the biggest problem areas — aviation, drinking-water supply, roads, transit and sewage treatment “

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

 
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment
 
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February
Friday, Feb 20, 2015

We explain what happened with the old podcast feed this week and last, share some other Oscar categories and reminisce about the golden days of Double Rainbows and Honey Badgers who just don’t care.

More »
Comment