WaterBriefs: American Rivers decries handing waterways over to hydropower industry

Nov. 18, 2005
Also in this report: Globetech Environmental's Beiseker plant acquisition delayed; First Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup project complete; AquaCell picked for Raytheon project; Washington Group expands contract with Caterpillar; Minn., Ohio watershed groups receive EPA grants; TTCM China signs two contracts with Chong Qing; Sentinel Solutions chooses leasing company; Invensys to supply digital turbine control at AEP's Cook nuke plant; Pittcon 2006 to host first-ever Sunday technical program...

In other news below:
-- Globetech Environmental's Beiseker plant acquisition delayed
-- Ingersoll-Rand microturbine certified by California Air Resource Board
-- Greek shipping firm pleads guilty to concealing vessel pollution
-- First Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup project, Black Lagoon, now complete
-- AquaCell selected for Raytheon water project
-- Itron joins EPA's National Environmental Performance Track program
-- Washington Group expands facility management contract with Caterpillar in Europe
-- Vermillion River watershed receives EPA grant
-- Central Ohio watershed group to receive EPA grant
-- TTCM China signs two contracts with city of Chong Qing
-- Hendrx achieves atmospheric water generation breakthrough for 50% greater daily volume
-- Level 5 Networks speeds advancements in computational fluid dynamics
-- Sentinel Solutions announces final choice for leasing company
-- Invensys to supply upgraded digital turbine control systems at AEP's Cook Nuclear Plant
-- Pittcon 2006 announces early kickoff with first-ever Sunday technical program

Group acuses Bush Administration of handing rivers to hydropower industry
WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 16, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- A new federal rule, produced behind the scenes, will hand electric utility lobbyists a big victory at the expense of states, tribes, communities, and the environment tomorrow, conservationists warned. The Bush administration will grant sweeping new authorities to electric utilities to scrap already completed negotiations over the future of dammed rivers -- and then restart talks under new rules that stack the deck against measures to protect river wildlife, provide public river access, or otherwise accommodate the needs of up and downstream neighbors.

This sweeping change, which will rewrite rules for ongoing negotiations at 112 hydro licensing projects on 95 rivers in 24 states, goes far beyond what Congress required in the Energy Policy Act. Adding insult to injury, the agencies will jointly release "final" rules without ever providing the public an opportunity to comment on a draft.

"This measure is profoundly unfair to everybody who has negotiated with electric utilities in good faith, sometimes for years and years," said Robbin Marks, who directs the hydropower reform campaign at American Rivers. "The energy bill was bad enough, but now the Bush administration is going the extra mile for hydropower lobbyists to pad industry profits at the expense of rivers and their neighboring communities."

The energy bill, signed into law by President Bush in August, hands hydroelectric dam operators new leverage to weaken environmental standards. The procedures allow energy companies to challenge requirements that they build fish passage to allow fish to move around dams; protect lands on and around rivers; or help keep water clean and at natural flow levels. The law now permits industry to propose its own preferred protection measures, which federal agencies must accept.

"The new rules skew and dilute so many protections for rivers that our government is ashamed to let us comment on them," said Steve Moyer, vice president of Government Affairs and Volunteer Operations of Trout Unlimited.

Despite years of negotiations between states, local governments, tribes, and federal agencies negotiating environmental standards for dam operations, the new rules allow utilities to retroactively challenge protection measures -- even after they've been finalized as part of the licensing process. Utilities will be able to exploit this unfair advantage to evade the installation of fish ladders, avoid improving water flow and ignore fish and wildlife up and downstream of their dams on rivers across the country.

The hydropower dam licensing process brings dams into compliance with today's laws, updating operations and modernizing the way old dams are run. Licensing has a legacy of on-the-ground success in restoration, and of progress by states, local governments, tribes and federal agencies working in concert to protect the public's rivers from abuse by hydropower dams. The new rules provide significant advantages to utilities.

According to American Rivers, the rules are rigged to favor industry in the following ways:
-- Industry Encouraged to Reopen Previous Licensing Decisions – The rules allow environmental protection measures to be reopened. This opportunity is available to all parties but industry has the greatest stake in ensuring that environmental protection measures for rivers be reconsidered.
-- Final Rules Squelch Public Participation in Decisions that Affect a Public Resource: Rivers - The decision to forgo notice and comment is unfair, is a radical departure from past practice on rules concerning hydropower licensing, and is contrary to the message sent by Congress in the Energy Bill that public participation is critical.
-- Incentives to Abolish Environmental Conditions Proposed By Agencies in Favor of Conditions Proposed by Others - The preamble in the rules instructs agencies to forgo the work involved in defending their environmental measures by accepting alternative environmental measures proposed by industry and others.
-- Incentives to Agencies to Accept Requests for Trial-Type Hearings – The default process is the trial-type hearing that requires resource agency staff to defend the scientific basis of their decisions. If agencies do nothing the hearing occurs; they need to provide evidence to back up the claim that the trial-type hearing is not warranted.
-- Only Industry Can Afford to Participate - The timelines for participation in the trial-type hearings are ridiculously short and the information requirements are huge. No additional funding is being provided to resource agencies to do the extra work, and the burden on other stakeholders is so onerous that they may be precluded from participating altogether.

While some dams benefit society, they cause considerable harm to rivers, as well as local communities. "Dams have depleted fisheries, degraded river ecosystems, and diminished recreational and economic opportunities on rivers across the nation," added Marks. "Most existing dams could be operated in new and improved ways that reduce their current impacts on rivers. But this administration has opted to give the hydropower industry what it wants rather than protecting communities and the rivers that belong to all of us."

A full analysis is available at: www.americanrivers.org/hydroruleanalysis.
Case studies are available at: www.americanrivers.org/hydrocasestudies.


Among other recent headlines:
Globetech Environmental announces Beiseker plant acquisition update -- CALGARY, Alberta, Canada, Nov. 16, 2005 -- Globetech Environmental Inc. announces that Beiseker Medical Waste Treatment Facility Management has renegotiated the terms required to close the Beiseker Plant acquisition. The original terms called for a cash payment of $1 million to close the acquisition by a Nov. 11 closing deadline...

Ingersoll-Rand Energy Systems' microturbine certified by California Air Resource Board's (CARB) 2007 emissions standards for distributed generation technologies -- Its 250kW microturbine sets new environmental benchmark for onsite power generation sources -- DAVIDSON, NC, Nov. 16, 2005 -- Ingersoll-Rand Energy Systems, a business of leading diversified industrial firm Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd., announced that its 250 kW microturbine system has achieved a significant milestone, becoming the first and only microturbine to be certified by the California Air Resource Board's (CARB) 2007 emissions standards for distributed generation technologies. Today, microturbines are used in a wide range of environmental, process and commercial applications, such as wastewater treatment and agricultural facilities, landfills, oil production facilities, hospitals and industrial plants...

Karlog Shipping Company Ltd. pleads guilty to concealing vessel pollution -- WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2005 -- Karlog Shipping Company Ltd. -- operator of a fleet of cargo freighters based in Piraeus, Greece -- pleaded guilty to making false statements and obstructing justice in connection with the overboard discharge of waste oil through a hidden bypass pipe on the M/V Friendship, a Greek-registered cargo ship, the Justice Department announced. Under the terms of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Karlog Shipping was ordered to pay a $1 million fine, to develop a comprehensive court-monitored environmental management system, and to serve three years of probation. The comprehensive environmental management system will be a fleet-wide program designed to ensure that the company properly supervises all of its vessels, preventing future illegal discharges and ensuring that vessels are in compliance with environmental laws moving forward...

Black Lagoon cleanup, the first Legacy Act project, is now complete -- TRENTON, MI, Nov. 16, 20005 -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner announced that agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality have completed the cleanup of contaminated sediment in the Black Lagoon, an inlet of the Detroit River. This $9.3 million project was the first funded under the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002, a special initiative to clean up the 31 pollution hotspots on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes. For many years, the Black Lagoon was a trap area for contaminated sediment (mud) moving downstream from Detroit-area industries. Over the past 13 months, more than 470,000 pounds of contaminants were removed from a one-mile stretch of the inlet. EPA and MDEQ coordinated the removal of 115,000 cubic yards of sediment polluted by PCBs, mercury, oil, grease, lead and zinc...

AquaCell selected for Raytheon water project -- RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA, Nov. 15, 2005 -- AquaCell Technologies Inc.announced that its Aquacell Water Inc. subsidiary, a manufacturer of water treatment and purification systems for municipal, industrial and commercial applications, has been selected as a sub-contractor for a comprehensive water treatment project for existing equipment at a Raytheon Missile Systems facility. The Raytheon Company with 2004 sales of $20.2 billion, is a world leader in developing defense technologies and converting those technologies for use in commercial markets...

Itron joins EPA's National Environmental Performance Track program -- SPOKANE, WA, Nov. 15, 2005 -- Itron's Waseca, Minn., plant was named a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Environmental Performance Track program, joining more than 300 U.S. companies committed to consistently exceeding environmental regulation standards. Since June 2000, Performance Track members have been leading by example and taking extra steps to reduce and prevent pollution, while improving productivity, according to the EPA...

Washington Group expands facility-management contract with Caterpillar facilities in Europe -- BOISE, ID, Nov. 15, 2005 -- Washington Group International announced that a company joint venture, Washington Zander Global Services GmbH, is now providing facility-management services for several Caterpillar office and production facilities in Europe. The contracts were awarded to Washington Zander Global Services GmbH, a joint venture of Stuttgart, Germany-based M+W Zander and Washington Group International, under a master agreement for worldwide facility-management services Washington Group signed with Caterpillar in early 2004. The scope of work available under the master agreement includes buildings and grounds maintenance; food, janitorial, and mailroom services; utilities, water/wastewater, and waste management; and other related services. The scope at each facility varies according to local needs. Other facilities currently serviced under the master agreement include multiple office sites in the United States and South America...

Vermillion River watershed receives EPA grant -- FARMINGTON, MN, Nov. 15, 2005 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen the Vermillion River watershed in Minnesota to receive a $675,000 Targeted Watershed Grant. It is among 12 watersheds nationwide eligible to receive part of $9 million for innovative water quality protection projects. The grant will be given to the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization to protect a high-quality trout stream in an urbanizing area through the development of a trading program. The EPA grant with $250,000 in matching local funds will be used to preserve the cold water inflows that make the river a perfect trout habitat. It will allow landowners to buy or trade infiltration and buffering functions. The 372-square-mile watershed is the largest in the Twin Cities region...

Central Ohio watershed group to receive EPA grant
CHICAGO, Nov. 15, 2005 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen the Huff Run Watershed Restoration Partnership, a project of Rural Action Inc., in central eastern Ohio to receive a $711,301 Targeted Watershed Grant. It is among 12 watersheds nationwide eligible to receive grants for innovative water quality protection projects. Extensive coal mining has severely damaged the relatively small, 14.7-square-mile watershed and degraded water quality and habitat for aquatic creatures. Grant funds will be used to build wetland treatment ponds that have been shown to be effective in removing substantial amounts of aluminum and iron from highly acidic waters...

TTCM China signs two contracts with the city of Chong Qing -- MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, Nov. 15, 2005 -- TTCM China Inc., a leading supplier of glass-reinforced plastic pipes, announces that it has signed two major contracts with the city of Chong Qing, the capital of Si Chuan Province. For the first contract, TTCM will supply and build the water systems in the Chong Qing city chemical industrial park. The second contract is for TTCM to supply all the water pipelines and construct the entire water supply network system in Chong Qing city's Chang Shou District.
These two contracts are worth approx. $1.7 million dollars (US)...

Hendrx achieves atmospheric water generation breakthrough for 50% greater daily volume SAN DIEGO, Nov. 15, 2005 -- Hendrx Corp., a leading developer, manufacturer and worldwide distributor of water generation, filtration, ionization, and purification devices, is pleased to announce its recent breakthrough in achieving a 50% increase in the water generation capabilities of their largest industrial water generators. Currently, Hendrx's largest Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG) product is the Big Blue 5000, which produces 5,000 liters (1,320 gallons) of pure, healthy drinking water daily. However, due to recent technological advancements and the Company's expanded production capabilities, Hendrx will soon begin manufacturing units capable of generating up to 7,500 liters or 2,000 gallons of fresh drinkable water every day...

Level 5 Networks speeds advancements in computational fluid dynamics -- EtherFabric high performance interconnect solution to be showcased at Supercomputing 2005 -- SUNNYVALE, CA, Nov. 14, 2005 -- Level 5 Networks, a leading developer of high-performance Ethernet network interface cards, announced that in tests done by Level 5 Networks its EtherFabric product was shown to accelerate Fluent application performance by as much as 150%. The Level 5 Networks interconnect product has been benchmarked on the Fluent computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software from Fluent Inc., one of the world's largest providers of CFD software and consulting services. The combined solution will help engineers in industries such as automotive, aerospace, power generation and biomedical shorten design cycles while reducing the number of IT resources needed to run the computations. The broad physical modeling capabilities of Fluent are applied to industrial applications ranging from air flow over an aircraft wing to combustion in a furnace, from bubble columns to glass production, from blood flow to semiconductor manufacturing, from clean room design to wastewater treatment plants...

Sentinel Solutions announces final choice for leasing company -- TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2005 -- Sentinel Solutions Inc., a company developing products for monitoring the safety and toxicity of public water has announced its approval of Total Leasing Cambridge Inc. as its preferred leasing company. Total Leasing Cambridge Inc. brings water industry experience and expertise to the table and is well positioned to serve clients by offering flexible and adaptable agreements...

Invensys to supply upgraded digital turbine control systems at AEP's Cook Nuclear Plant -- Multiple Invensys products to work together in fast-track implementation for main turbine and feed water pump turbine project -- FOXBORO, MA, Nov. 14, 2005 -- Invensys Process Systems will supply American Electric Power with Triconex electronic control systems for the main turbines and feedwater pump turbines on both units at the Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Mich. TRISIM Plus software from SimSci-Esscor will simulate the Triconex digital controllers and will be added to Cook's existing plant simulator. Invensys also will supply Wonderware InTouch human machine interface (HMI) software and IndustrialSQL Server plant historian, as well as start-up and training services to support the Invensys products. Mechanical interfaces and installation will be supplied by others. The dual-unit 2,143-megawatt Cook Plant is Michigan's largest nuclear station, capable of providing enough power to serve more than 1.5 million typical homes. The new digital systems will replace existing controls in an upgrade project that is on a fast track to meet AEP's implementation goals...

Pittcon 2006 announces early kickoff with first-ever Sunday technical program -- PITTSBURGH, Nov. 14, 2005 -- The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) announced that, for the first time, it will present a full technical program on Sunday afternoon, March 12. Beginning at 1 p.m., the Sunday technical program features a diverse schedule of Invited Symposia, Workshops, Posters, Contributed Technical Sessions, a plenary lecture, "Watching Biochemistry Inside Living Cells and Organisms," by Dr. Roger Y. Tsien, and presentation of the Pittcon Heritage Award to Masao Horiba, Horiba, Ltd. The Sunday program also marks the beginning of the three-day New Product Forum, where Pittcon 2006 Exhibitors present new products, techniques, and applications on display during the exhibition. These changes jump start the week long scientific conference and exposition to be held, March 12 -17, 2006 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla...


In earlier newsbriefs, see: "WaterBriefs: U.S. Senate confirms Georgia native to national post" -- Also in this report (Nov. 14, 2005): Trinity River Authority supports Tarrant water district in voluntary water conservation; Electronic Control Security Inc. launches water supply security initiative; SABESP posts a 12.5% net revenue growth; Utah court reinstates antitrust claims against regional water district; U.S. Green Building Council recognizes bottling facilities; Vidler Water, Lincoln County Water District agree to sell water in Nevada; Southwest Water initiates CEO succession process; $10M initiative to help California dairy, other CAFOs protect water quality; DWR releases draft EIS/EIR for South Delta Improvements Program; California's Water Future Coalition mobilizes to support Bay-Delta water resource plan; EPA announces $740K award to improve Presumpscot River Watershed; Upper Sevier River water quality project receives $600K EPA grant; TTCM China signs a new water pipeline project; Devcon acquires to security companies, one deal valued at $65.5M; Steelworkers Union requests data citing DuPont's past mismanagement of nuke site; WEF supports Sen. Paul Simon Water for the Poor legislation...


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