Mar 7, 2017

Why Trump can't claim credit for Exxon’s Gulf push

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The White House yesterday claimed credit for Exxon's announcement that it's investing $20 billion (some of which began a few years back) in a suite of refining, petrochemical and liquefied natural gas projects along the Gulf Coast. The company says it's creating around 45,000 construction and permanent jobs. "President Trump made a promise to bring back jobs to America. The spirit of optimism sweeping the country is already boosting job growth, and it is only the beginning," the White House said, while Trump tweeted a shorter version and even made a video touting the investment as the result of "our policies."

What we're hearing: Analysts point out that investments on this scale were set in motion well before election day, and that it's a logical business move to capitalize on massive shale oil and gas resources that Exxon and other companies are developing in the region. Exxon itself noted that the U.S. shale boom is spurring growth of downstream industries. The Houston Chronicle reports that "nearly all the projects ... were underway or announced before the election."

The White House will probably have more chances to claim the industry's wins as his own and get a political lift; the Wall Street Journal reports that Chevron is expected to unveil new plans this week.

Nonetheless, there is optimism in the industry that Trump will help with easing delays and removing administrative hurdles to pipelines (like the Dakota Access line he already approved) and other infrastructure projects.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,446 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).