Tag Archive for 'water policy'

Power Plants Face EPA Cooling-Water Rules to Protect Fish

Entergy said last month that it was worried the EPA rule would force it to to spend $1.2 billion building two cooling towers at its Indina Point plant. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg

“Utilities such as Entergy Corp. (ETR) face U.S. rules aimed at preventing fish from being sucked into cooling-water systems and costing industry $384 million a year, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

“The Obama administration’s proposal introduced yesterday will affect more than 1,200 facilities and save billions of aquatic organisms, including 615 million fish and shellfish a year, the agency said in an e-mailed statement.

“The EPA rule, part of a court settlement with environmental groups, will cover power plants and factories that pull water from rivers or lakes to cool machines. Existing facilities will work with states to determine how to meet the requirements while new units will have to use closed-cycle cooling, a system that draws less water and ensnares fewer fish.

““The EPA’s approach is likely to minimize the industry’s cost of compliance,” Hugh Wynne, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Co. in New York, wrote today in a report to clients.

“The EPA’s pending proposal under the Clean Water Act had been singled out by energy companies, industry groups and Republican lawmakers as a regulation that may burden electric utilities and cause some coal-fired power plants to shut down.

“Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, in December said the rule might cost utilities as much as $300 million per site for coal-fired plants and as much as $1 billion for nuclear generators, exceeding the EPA’s projections.

Exelon Corp. (EXC), owner of the most U.S. nuclear plants, said today the EPA’s proposed standard doesn’t require existing plants to build costly cooling towers.”

Read more: Bloomberg

Feds privatize Canadian water with AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement

“The record-setting $130-million NAFTA settlement with AbitibiBowater has effectively privatized Canada’s water by allowing foreign investors to assert a proprietary claim to water permits and even water in its natural state, said trade lawyer and Council of Canadians board member Steven Shrybman, in a presentation to Parliament today.

“”It would be difficult to overstate the consequences of such a profound transformation of the right Canadian governments have always had to own and control public natural resources,” said Mr. Shrybman in his presentation to the Standing Committee on International Trade, which is studying the AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement from last August.

“”Moreover, by recognizing water as private property, the government has gone much further than any international arbitral tribunal has dared to go in recognizing a commercial claim to natural water resources.”

“In 2008, AbitibiBowater, a Canadian firm registered in the United States, closed its pulp and paper mill in Grand Falls-Windsor, NL. The company asserted rights to sell its assets, including certain timber harvesting licenses and water use permits. These permits were contingent on production. More importantly, under Canada’s constitution, they are a public trust owned by the Province, not by private firms. So the Newfoundland government moved to re-appropriate them as it has a right to do under Canadian law. AbitibiBowater sidestepped the courts to challenge the Newfoundland government.”

Read more: Public Values

Texas agency: Gas driller didn’t contaminate water

Photo retrieved from: i.ehow.co.uk

“Texas regulators determined Tuesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was wrong when it concluded a gas driller had contaminated domestic water wells in North Texas.

“The unanimous decision by the Railroad Commission of Texas marked the latest battle between state agencies and the EPA in a long, drawn out war that has evolved from disputes over environmental issues into a fierce debate about states’ rights. The Railroad Commission blasted the EPA, accusing it of shoddy testing methods and jumping to conclusions.

“”I see this as sort of a cavalier attempt by the federal government to reach its arms into our state’s jurisdictions,” said Commissioner Michael Williams, who is resigning his post on April 2 to run for U.S. Senate as a Republican.

“The government, he told the Associated Press, wants to “adversely affect the domestic energy industry.”

“The commission’s decision means Range Resources can continue its natural gas operations in Parker County, just west of Dallas, and is not obligated by the state to provide the impacted families with clean water.”

Read more: SF Chronicle

Federal Appeals Court could repeal water deadline; Judges may ask corps to refigure use of Lake Lanier

Photo retrieved from: tinapeacock.files.wordpress.com

“The fate of Lake Lanier as the primary water source for metro Atlanta, including Gainesville, is now in the hands of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

“But at least one observer to a three-hour hearing on the matter Wednesday, Lake Lanier Association attorney Clyde Morris, said he feels “cautiously optimistic” the three-judge panel will rule in Georgia’s favor, based on some of its questions and banter with attorneys.

“”Obviously, there’s a lot of work still to be done by the court before the decision comes out, but it was clear the judges had read the briefs (and) had examined the record in detail,” said Morris, who attended the hearing but did not present any arguments.

“Georgia is asking the court to overturn a July 2009 ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson that gave the state three years to work out an agreement with neighbors Alabama and Florida — foes in the 20-year water dispute — or face not being able to withdraw water from the North Georgia reservoir.”

Read more: Gainesville Times

Ottawa committed to improving water quality for Canadians: minister

“The federal government is tackling Canada’s water concerns by developing several programs and regulations that will help with water quality monitoring, restoring lakes and treating waste water, Environment Minister Peter Kent said at a news conference Thursday.

 ”Despite projected cuts to several environmental initiatives, Kent promised that “significant investments” will be made so that officials can carry out monitoring and clean up in problem areas while new regulations will protect fresh water resources.

“”We take the issue of water so seriously we are trying to ensure we are among one of the leaders when it comes to monitoring water quality,” Kent said at the end of a week-long Canadian Water Network conference on creating a global approach to maintaining the resource. About 300 scientists and policy-makers from around the world met in Canada for the event.

“”We are committed to making (water) a priority for individual Canadian households. Every drop counts,” he said.”

Read more:  The Vancouver Sun

Smart water meters, dumb meters, no meters

“How is it possible that a place like California, with such a long and painful history of water problems, remains so far behind the curve of smart water management? How is it really possible that things considered basic, fundamental, taken-for-granted in other places are still missing here? And are water managers and users so insular that they really think they’re doing a good job with water?

“That’s a rhetorical question: California is not ahead of the curve in anything “water.” It is dealing with 21st century water problems with 20th century (or is it 19th century) water policy and politics. Some remarkable, innovative efforts are underway, but they remain the exception, not the rule.

“Water Numbers: To date, Sacramento still has meters in only 25 percent of its houses and has no intention to meter everyone in a reasonable time period. And they’ve made ridiculous arguments that it would cost too much to put meters in. The Sacramento City Council has authorized a first phase to put in 1,735 meters for $20 million. Explain, then, how come the City of Ottawa will spend $25 million to install 190,000 smart meters? In the arid San Joaquin Valley, south of Sacramento, more than half of all residents are not metered. Fresno, the region’s largest city, charges single-family households a flat rate, regardless of how much water they use. And what do you know? Fresno’s water rates are among the lowest, and their water use among the highest, of anyone’s in California. Average Fresno residential use is 290 gallons per person per day. The state average is 135. For the same amount of water (22,440 gallons, more than enough for a family of four for a month) City of Fresno customers pay, on average, a monthly water rate of only $28.33, compared with San Francisco’s $89.57 and San Diego’s $95.48 (see the figure below). At least Fresno is beginning to slowly add meters.”

read more: SFgate

EPA proposes rainwater-trapping rules for D.C.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans Wednesday to require “green roofs,” rain barrels and other measures that trap runoff at new and redeveloped buildings in the District, making the city a test case for an ambitious effort to stop pollution from flowing into rivers along with the rain.

“The EPA’s plan, contained in a proposed permit for the District’s storm-sewer system, would require developers to trap 90 percent of the water that falls on a plot during a storm.”

“In the EPA’s plan, “you’re using water on site as an asset, rather than a waste product,” said Jon Capacasa, director of the water protection division of the EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional office. He said the changes were part of a larger effort, begun with a presidential order last year, to improve the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. “The local water bodies need these levels of [storm water] control to be healthy,” he said.”

read more: Washington Post

Water conservation program caused L.A.’s string of water main breaks, report finds

“At various locations in the L.A. Department of Water and Power distribution system, water pressure fell significantly on Mondays and Thursdays after the beginning of the water-rationing program on June 1, 2009, the report said.

“Those water pressure drops on these days were caused by an increased water flow during the watering of lawns,” the report said. “As a result, the cyclic levels of water pressure increased and accelerated the metal fatigue failures of aged and corroded cast-iron pipes.”

“A team of scientists charged with looking at the pipe breaks concluded that the city should rework its conservation plan, which limited the use of sprinklers to Mondays and Thursdays.

“One alternative would be to require homes with even-number addresses to conserve on even-numbered days and requiring homes with odd-numbered addresses to conserve on odd-numbered days, the team said.”

read more: Los Angeles Times

Reflecting on World Water Day

“World Water Day provides an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come and reflect upon how much we have still to do. Today is a reminder of how we should treat this valuable, precious resource. As we reach for the handle to adjust the temperature for our morning shower, or flush the toilet, or water the lawn, or turn on the tap to get a glass of clean water, we should all consider the millions of people everywhere who are walking miles to get to untreated water to sustain life in communities and villages off the proverbial grid. Our shared challenge on World Water Day, and every day, is to identify and implement solutions to the many challenges associated with water quality, access and availability.”

read more: Huffington Post

Renewed Support for an Everglades Land Deal, but Cost Is Still in Question

“The water district has a complicated mission. Formed in 1949, it represents the interests of 16 counties that support it with property taxes. In return, it accepts responsibility for “balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply.”

“Everglades restoration became an important component in 2000, when the district became the lead agency for the largest environmental restoration effort ever attempted. But with fickle weather and a complicated system of canals, pumps, lakes and artificial marshes, the district struggles with protecting its residents and nature.”

read more: New York Times