Thursday, August 31, 2006

Advocate: Sun saves money
Orlando Sentinel - Orlando,FL,USA
... Florida Renewable Energy Association, a small statewide advocacy group championing alternative energy sources such as solar power, wind power and hydrogen fuels ...

US Department of Energy Funding More Research at Northern Power on ...
Yahoo! News (press release) - USA
... of technologically advanced, renewable wind energy solutions.". ... installs and services reliable power solutions for ... distributed generation and hydrogen technology ...

Not everyone waits on energy
Edwardsville Intelligencer - Edwardsville,IL,USA
... "I don't scream about that anymore. It's being done," he said. He understands the possibilities of solar power, wind power and hydrogen-fueled automobiles. ...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

GLRPPR Web Site Update, August 2006

Hello, GLRPPR Members! Below are a few highlights of recent additions to the GLRPPR web site. I hope you will take a few minutes to look at these new features. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

GLRPPR web site ( update, August 30, 2006
  • The Website of the Month for August is the Green Cleaning Pollution Prevention Calculator: (Note: See the highlights of new items added to the Sector Resources and Topic Hubs below for information on a related resource, the Ashkin Group’s new Green Cleaning University.) The web site of the month for September will be the Green Chemical Alternatives Purchasing Wizard:
  • Remember: National Pollution Prevention Week is September 18-24. See for more information. If you have P2 Week activities that you would like to see added to the GLRPPR online calendar, send an email about the events to Joy Scrogum at
  • Don’t forget to check out the recently released Pollution Prevention for Arts Education Topic Hub ( ). This Topic Hub was developed by GLRPPR, and describes the health and environmental hazards found in art education settings, including the theatrical arts. Ideas for using pollution prevention in the art classroom, including suggestions for alternative, more environmentally friendly materials and products, are provided. The contents are applicable to all educational institutions, including K-12, colleges and universities, and informal education programs. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Carol Knepp at
  • Other recently released Topic Hubs, developed by other Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) centers, include NEWMOA’S Lead Topic Hub ( and PPRC’s Semiconductor Manufacturing Topic Hub (
  • A new Sector Resource on Sustainable Product Design has been added to the GLRPPR web site ( If you have suggestions for resources or contacts to include within this Sector Resource, send them to Joy Scrogum at
  • A "Recycled-content Products" subcategory has been added to the following Sector Resources: Recycling & Waste Exchange; Consumer Information & Resources; and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP). See
  • New resources have been linked to in the Topic Hubs and Sector Resources. Here are a few to check out:
--Electronic Product Assessment Tool (EPEAT):
--Compact Fluorescent Lighting in America: Lessons Learned on the Way to Market:
--Green Cleaning University:
--Green Seal Environmental Standard for Recycled-Content Latex Paint:
--National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program:
--Minnesota Renewable Energy Gateway:

Joy Scrogum
Information Specialist
Illinois Waste Management and Research Center
Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Greening Schools

Environment Illinois : Ask legislators to support the Illinois Mercury Rule

I want to report some great progress in our effort to protect public health from mercury contamination. Last Monday, Dynegy Inc. became Illinois's second major coal-fired power company to announce its support of the Illinois Mercury Rule proposed by Governor Blagojevich in January. With your help, we've persuaded two out of the three major power generators in our state that they can and must install modern mercury controls to reduce this toxin by 90 percent.

We've got momentum on our side, but our campaign for the mercury rule isn't finished. The state's largest air polluter, Midwest Generation, still opposes it, and the rule still has to pass the legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).

The twelve legislators on JCAR will decide for all Illinoisans whether to adopt this rule. Please help us today by asking JCAR to support the Illinois Mercury Rule. Then ask your family and friends to help by forwarding this e-mail to them.

To take action, just click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser.


Last Monday's Chicago Tribune report on the agreement with Dynegy:,1,3114607.story

Environmental advocate Max Muller's letter in the Peoria Journal Star urging Midwest Generation to install pollution controls:

Governor Blagojevich's press release on the new multi-pollutant provision of the mercury rule:

We're not counting our chickens on a mercury victory until they're hatched. To keep the heat on and seal the deal, we've launched an ad campaign this week on the CTA, which will be followed up by print ads in several state newspapers next month. Be sure to look for our ads!


Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that harms people and the environment. Developing fetuses and children are especially at risk as even low-level mercury exposure can impede brain development, causing learning disabilities, impaired memory and motor skills, and decreased IQ. Our state ranks sixth for mercury emissions nationwide, and 71 percent of those emissions come from coal fired power plants.

Following a 2-year campaign by our office to build support for mercury standards, the Governor proposed the Illinois Mercury Rule in January. It requires power plants to install available and affordable mercury controls that can capture 90 percent of mercury pollution before it leaves the smokestack. But until recently, owners of Illinois's coal fired power plants were united in their opposition to it.

Three weeks ago week the Governor's office and Illinois EPA announced that they had worked with Ameren power company to propose a new, "multi-pollutant" provision to the mercury rule. On Monday, Dynegy Inc. agreed to support the rule with the new provision as well. Under the deal, these two power companies agreed not only to install mercury controls by 2009--maintaining one of the most protective mercury rules in the nation--but also to dramatically cut lung-harming soot and smog pollution.

In contrast, Midwest Generation, the state's biggest air polluter and the owner of the five old dirty coal plants in the Chicago area and one in Peoria, prefers to spend its money on lobbyists and lawyers to fight the rule, rather than bring its plants up to modern standards. With Midwest Generation still opposed, and with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) vote on the rule still ahead of us, the fight for the mercury rule isn't over.

The twelve state legislators on JCAR will decide for all Illinoisans whether to adopt this rule. Please help us today by asking JCAR to support the Illinois Mercury Rule. Then ask your family and friends to help by forwarding this e-mail to them.

To take action, just click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser.


Rebecca D. Stanfield
Environment Illinois State Director

P.S. Thanks again for your support. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.

---------- Logo
Monday, August 28, 2006

News of Note

The Pope's weekly blessing this Sunday included an environmental message and a plea for conservation. Find out what he said here.

Today's News

Acid Rain Affects Large Swathes of China
Acid rain caused by sulphur dioxide spewed from factories and power plants affected a third of China's vast land mass last year, posing a threat to food safety, Xinhua news agency said citing a parliamentary report.

Thousands Search for India's Tigers
Tens of thousands of forest workers are fanning out across India's jungles and national parks to count the country's endangered tigers, officials said on Friday.

Brown Bear Released in French Pyrenees Dies in Fall
A Slovenian brown bear, one of five released in the French Pyrenees earlier this year, has been found dead at the foot of a cliff after an apparent accident, authorities said on Sunday.

Power Plants Seek Solutions to Mercury
Designed by power company researchers, a new system called Toxecon prevents gaseous mercury from escaping into the atmosphere by mixing it with carbon, creating ash that is collected in the fabric bags and trucked to landfills.

New Orleans Sets Storm Anniversary as Deadline for Home Gutting
New Orleans city officials have set Tuesday -- the storm's first anniversary -- as the deadline for homeowners to gut or otherwise clean up their properties.

Illegal Trade in 'Get Rich' Algae Expands Deserts
Facai (pronounced fa-tsai) is a blue-green algae that grows in the sandy semi-desert of western China, anchoring the fine soil in place and retaining moisture to support other plants in an area struggling to stop the desert expanding.

>>>More articles at

Network Member News

Woolly Bully is Sticky Nuisance: Find Out How to Control the Pest
By: UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
Researchers have found a way for growers and homeowners to save money and time by knowing when and how much insecticide to apply to control the Asian hackberry woolly aphid.

Conservation Groups Challenge Agency’s Refusal To Protect Recently Discovered Salamander
By: Center for Biological Diversity
A coalition of conservation groups filed suit in California state court on Thursday, challenging the Department of Fish and Game's (DFG's) failure to protect the recently discovered Scott Bar Salamander under California's endangered species law. Rather than herald the new species - a rare subset of a threatened species - DFG stripped the salamanders of protection, subjecting them to the immediate threat from logging operations.

The Trust for Public Land Honored for Exceptional Work Using GIS Technology
By: the Trust for Public Land
This July The Trust for Public Land (TPL, was announced as a recipient of a 2006 "Special Achievement in GIS" Award for its outstanding use of geographic information system (GIS) technology. ESRI, the world leader in GIS software, presented the award at the Twenty-sixth Annual ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, California, before thousands of GIS professionals.

2007 BEADS Walkathon Aims to "Break the Chains of Illiteracy" for African Women
By: African Wildlife Foundation
With support from AWF, an organization called BEADS is improving the livelihoods of Maasai communities in Kenya. BEADS, which stands for Beads for Education, Advancement Development and Success, supports educational sponsorships for girls, career counseling, community service projects, HIV/AIDS prevention, and famine relief programs.

CNN's Andy Serwer to speak at University of Florida Greenbuilding Conference in September
By: EnviroGLAS Products Inc.
Serwer will join four others on a panel and workshop called “Educating the Next Generation of Green Builders”. The panel will exchange ideas and strategies with the audience about how to educate young people to construct buildings that are healthy and environmentally responsible.

New IFAW Report Uncovers Public Safety Dangers at Big Cat Facilities
By: International Fund for Animal Welfare
A new report released today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) documents a pattern of public safety and animal welfare violations at U.S. facilities that house and exhibit big cats - such as tigers, lions, panthers and jaguars. "Fatal Attractions," the new IFAW report, culminates an 18-month investigation of 42 USDA-licensed facilities in 11 states. Prompted by over 100 big cat incidents and over a dozen fatalities in the past decade, the report provides recommendations for changes to federal and state policy.

Volvo Names Children's Health Advocate Hometown Hero
By: California Safe Schools
Children's environmental health advocate and humanitarian, Robina Suwol, Executive Director of California Safe Schools (CSS), was selected by Volvo as one of 250 semi-finalists for the fifth anniversary Volvo For Life Awards, a program that honors hometown heroes.

U.S. Leads World in Climate Refugees
By: Earth Policy Institute
Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in late August 2005, forced a million people from New Orleans and the small towns on the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts to move inland either in state or to neighboring states, such as Texas and Arkansas. Although nearly all planned to return, almost a year later 375,000 - or a full third of those million evacuees - have yet to return...Interestingly, the country to suffer the most damage from a hurricane is also primarily responsible for global warming.

Pest Management Tool for Stone Fruit Growers
By: UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
Knowing when to put up pheromone traps for peach twig borer, or what pests are best managed during their dormant stage is just some of the information available to growers in the newly released University of California Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Peaches and Nectarines.

Great Ape Trust Awards $22,000 in Conservation Grants
By: Great Ape Trust of Iowa
Great Ape Trust of Iowa announced today the Des Moines-based scientific research facility will provide $22,000 dollars for conservation efforts of orangutans in Indonesia and bonobos in Africa.

Editor's Note : 'Network News' features press releases submitted directly by organizations in ENN's member network. This content is not specifically endorsed or supported by ENN and is not subject to ENN's editorial process.

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Cellulosic Ethanol Summit -- November 13-15, 2006 -- Washington, DC

November 13-15, 2006 * Almas Temple * Washington, DC
The agriculture, biotech, chemical, oil, developer
and financial communities come to Washington
for a major industry building event

Keynote Address:
Agriculture's Role in Building a National Cellulosic Ethanol Industry

Michael Johanns
Secretary of Agriculture

About the Summit

The Cellulosic Ethanol Summit will be the first major event where all the communities in the cellulosic ethanol value chain will come together in one spot to discuss how to build a new national cellulosic ethanol industry. Leaders from the agriculture, industrial biotech, chemical, oil, developer and financial communities-communities that normally don't communicate amongst themselves in the ordinary course of events-will be on hand to share their perspectives on what is needed to form an efficient and effective value chain to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production.

Supporting Organizations


Hear from the Industry Leaders

Abengoa Bioenergy, Inc.
Ag Country Farm Credit Services
Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM)
Auburn University
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
Celunol Corporation
Ceres, Inc.
Dartmouth College
Diversa Corporation
Ducks Unlimited Office of Government Affairs
DuPont Central Research & Development
Dyadic International, Inc.
Environmental Defense
Fieldstone Private Capital Group, Inc.
Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Grant Four-D farms
Hamilton Clark & Co.
Idaho National Laboratory
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Iogen Corporation
Mascoma Corp.
National Association of Conservation Districts
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Corn Growers Association
National Farmers Union
Natural Resources Defense Council
NatureWorks LLC
Novozymes France S.A.
Prospect Energy Corporation
Richards Farms, Inc.
Riverstone Holdings
USDA (invited)

Network with All the Communities in the Value Chain
and Establish Productive Ongoing Relationships

The Summit will provide a rich opportunity for offline discussions, where everyone will have the chance to meet other groups from the value chain and to establish ongoing relationships, and thus serve as a springboard for more profound discussions in the future.

To Register and Obtain More Information

Please visit the Summit website at or call (818) 888-4444

Media Partners

See upcoming Infocast events

Information Forecast, Inc. • 6800 Owensmouth Avenue, Suite 300 • Canoga Park, CA 91303 •
(818) 888-4444 •
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Great Lakes Daily News: 25 August 2006
A collaborative project of the Great Lakes Information Network and the Great
Lakes Radio Consortium.

For links to these stories and more, visit

Short-term burns have lasting impact on habitat
At Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Michigan's Upper Penninsula, intentionally ignited fires regenerate wildlife habitat and reduce built-up organic fuel loads on the forest floor after a 90-year history of wildfire suppression in the area. Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (8/25)

Taft visits Ohio's purchases for Lake Erie islands parks
New state parkland on Ohio's Lake Erie islands is one piece of a broader vision for recreation and ecotourism in Lake Erie. Source: The Toledo Blade (8/25)

Rochester mayor explores other ferry bids
It's been more than three months since the city of Rochester announced the sale of its fast ferry to Euroferries, Ltd., but the deal has not closed. Source: WHAM-TV (8/25)

Lake Huron conference underlines progress on cleanup
Acrimony will be replaced by co-operation as cottagers, farmers and politicians gather this weekend to talk about how to improve the health of Lake Huron. Source: The Kitchener Record (8/25)

A little resort on a big lake
Located on a lustrous stretch of beach on Lake Michigan's west coast, the village of Saugatuck is a laid-back, upscale resort community with a tolerant attitude. Source: The New York Times (8/25)

Commercial fishermen plan to sue MDNR
A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources decision last month not to expand commercial fishing of lake trout has commercial fishermen on Lake Superior thinking about a lawsuit. Source: Cook County News-Herald (8/24)

Sault. Ste. Marie engineer denies source of sewage
The director of engineering services for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is issuing an open invitation to inspect the city's sewage plant to those who blame it for fouling the waters of the St. Mary's River. Source: Sault Ste. Marie Evening News (8/24)

Secrets of deep lure treasure seekers
Members of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates are preparing to unveil their latest discovery -- the wreck of the Hennepin, a wood-hulled steamer that plummeted to her demise 79 years ago in Lake Michigan. Source: The Kalamazoo Gazette (8/24)

Linking atmospheric mercury to fish advisories
A newly published study suggests that reducing the amount of mercury that rains down on lakes also decreases the production of methylmercury, a toxic organic form of mercury that accumulates in fish. Source: Environmental Science and Technology (8/23)

Company with Muskegon ties buys three freighters
The company that once operated vessels well-known in Michigan like the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper, the S.S. Aquarama and the car ferry Highway 16 has purchased three large Great Lakes freighters. Source: Muskegon Chronicle (8/21)

Climate change having impact?
Climate change may be affecting water levels in the Great Lakes, but other factors such as the ongoing rebound of the land from the glaciers may also have an effect. Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (8/21)

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Biodiesel--National Biodiesel Board

Find Biodiesel Anytime, Anywhere in the U.S. with a New Toll-free Number

Dear Daniel,

As truckers and other motorists increasingly demand homegrown biodiesel, a new toll-free number will help them find retail availability anywhere in the United States. Today, at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS), the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) announced the launch of 866-BIODIESEL. The Biodiesel Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The same retail locations can be found online at or, but the hotline will help those on the road find biodiesel more conveniently.

Read the news release for more.

Feeling the HEAT This Summer? Stop Global Warming Now.

Scientists warned that extreme weather would be a sign of climate change. And sure enough, one year after Katrina, the most disastrous hurricane in U.S. history, we're experiencing record high temperatures across the country.

This summer's triple digit heat wave has killed 19 people in Texas, 31 in New York, and 20 in Oklahoma.

It's clear that global warming has arrived and brought with it a glaring responsibility for leaders to act.
Sign the petition to demand global warming leadership now!

The U.S. contributes almost one quarter of the global total of carbon dioxide emissions, which are the main cause of global warming. This makes us the world's worst offender.

To ensure everyone's future on this planet, our country must lead the way on clean energy. The League of Conservation Voters has launched a campaign -- The Heat is On: Demand Global Warming Leadership Now! -- calling on Congress, the President, and both political parties to begin tackling global warming and implementing solutions to our world's energy needs THIS election season. Join them in their call to action by signing the petition now.

Practical solutions for combating global warming already exist, including:
  • New energy technologies that create jobs and build our economy
  • More fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Cleaner power production
  • Industry caps on global warming pollution and incentives to meet them
As candidates for Congress and local races begin gearing up for elections, now is the time to remind them that they hold the key to solving our epic energy problems.

Tell our nation's present and future leaders that you want their commitment to a better energy future, starting now! Go to:

Thanks for your help today.

Lauren Alvarez,
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

We'll share ideas on green energy, say GE and BP - United Kingdom
... "The new technology might use hydrogen or fuel ... Powered by solar power, wind power and wave power, the Orcelle is a prototype of the next generation of freight ...

Williams looks to Iceland, Norway for resource-industry ideas
CBC - Newfoundland & Labrador - St. John's,Newfoundland,Canada
... also learn about alternative forms of energy, including hydrogen and geothermal ... on energy policy, including alternative energies such as wind power, by November ...

US Business Economists See Higher Oil Price Ahead
FN Arena News - Sydney,Australia
... such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind power by enough ... replace oil as a major power source, with ... respondents suggesting geothermal and hydrogen power sources are ...

Purdue University President Comments at Energy Security Summit
AScribe (press release) - USA
... Engineers at Purdue are focusing on a new way to produce hydrogen for fuel ... In high-efficiency wind turbines, current technologies for wind power are based on ...

Magnecules of MagneGas from Waste Streams
PESN - Eagle Mountain,Utah,USA
... While hydrogen can be generated using power from clean sources such as solar or wind to power electrolysis, the volumes necessary for large-scale ...

Driving America in a New Direction
ChronWatch - Alamo,CA,USA
... and innovation in the solar and wind power business, and ... of cheap electricity from nuclear power plants can ... used to generate large volumes of hydrogen to fuel ...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Earth Policy News: Hurricane Damages Soar to New Levels

Eco-Economy Update 2006-8
For Immediate Release
August 29, 2006


Insurance Companies Abandoning Homeowners in High-Risk Coastal Area

Janet Larsen

Damage from hurricanes is soaring off the charts, bankrupting insurance companies and depriving property owners of insurance in high-risk areas. During the 1960s, worldwide damage from windstorms with economic losses of $1 billion or more totaled just $4 billion. In the 1970s the figure rose to $7 billion, and in the 1980s it topped $24 billion. Next came the 1990s, when hurricane losses soared to $113 billion. Then during the six years from 2000 to 2005, hurricanes left a staggering bill of $273 billion. (See data at

Two trends are largely responsible for the growing costs of windstorm disasters. One, rapid coastal development is bringing more people and more expensive infrastructure into vulnerable areas. And two, hurricanes (called typhoons in the western Pacific) are growing stronger and lasting longer, fueled by higher sea surface temperatures. They are also widening their geographic range, invading areas previously considered safe from the wrath of windstorms.

Last year was the worst ever for storm-stricken areas and the companies that insure them. Losses from the eight major storms of 2005 exceeded $170 billion, half of which was insured. Three of the storms were in the Pacific, but the Atlantic storms racked up 98 percent of the economic costs.

The unusually long North Atlantic hurricane season that extended from June into the New Year brought a record 28 named storms, taking us through the alphabet and into Greek letters. This is nearly three times the average annual number of storms over the past century. Fueled by high surface water temperatures, four hurricanes--Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma--reached maximum strength, the highest number of Category 5 storms ever in a single season.

Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast of the United States in late August 2005,was the most financially devastating storm on record, with damages from winds and the record storm surge exceeding $125 billion. Although Katrina reached top wind speeds of 175 miles (282 kilometers) per hour, it had weakened to Category 3 by the time it hit the U.S. Gulf Coast. Powerful Rita’s arrival a few weeks later marked the first time two Category 5 storms developed in the Gulf of Mexico in one season. Then came Wilma, which devastated parts of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and went down in history as the most intense Atlantic storm ever.

Storms in 2005 were not only strong, they were more widespread. Hurricane Vince, which struck Spain in October, traveled farther north and east than any Atlantic tropical cyclone. A month later, Tropical Storm Delta also moved into uncharted territory for Atlantic hurricanes, crossing the Canary Islands. Stronger storms in unexpected places, like these and Brazil’s 2004 Hurricane Catarina, the first hurricane recorded in the South Atlantic, are prompting insurance companies to rewrite their catastrophe models.

Of the 90 or so tropical cyclones that are born each year, about half grow strong enough to be classified as hurricanes. The ingredients needed to whip up a hurricane are sea surface temperatures of at least 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) and favorable wind conditions. Higher sea surface temperatures drive more-powerful storms.

Over the last three decades, tropical ocean surface temperatures have risen by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit (half a degree Celsius), an increase of a scale not seen in at least 150 years and perhaps unprecedented over several thousand years. Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports that hurricanes and typhoons in the Atlantic and North Pacific have doubled in power over this period. Storms are also lasting longer than before. And as temperatures rise from increased greenhouse gas emissions, even stronger storms are on the horizon. Warmer air also holds more water vapor, increasing rainfall and thus flooding.

Already more hurricanes are reaching the top-rated Category 4 and 5 strengths. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have shown that in ocean basins around the world, one out of every three hurricanes in the 1990s and early 2000s became that powerful, compared with fewer than one out of every five during the late 1970s and 1980s. Stronger storms are disproportionately more destructive. While a Category 1 storm has wind speeds of 74–95 miles per hour and can result in a storm surge of some 4 feet (1.2 meters) above normal, a Category 5 storm--with double the wind speed--can bring on a storm surge of more than 18 feet.

The recent spate of powerful hurricanes in the southern United States has put many insurers out of business or into liquidation, leaving customers scrambling to find new coverage, an increasingly difficult endeavor. Many hurricane-prone property owners are facing a doubling or tripling of insurance rates over the next several years. The world’s largest insurer, American International Group Inc., is no longer taking on new policies in some Gulf Coast communities. Allstate, one of Florida’s largest insurers, dropped 95,000 policies in 2005 and plans to drop an additional 120,000 this year. As state or federal insurers jump in to cover properties that private companies will no longer touch, essentially subsidizing development in risk-prone areas, they often incur large deficits that someone, generally the taxpayer, must cover.

Not only are southern states affected: Allstate is dropping 28,000 of its New York policyholders as well. Neither Allstate nor MetLife will take on additional customers on Long Island, New York, which was the direct target of the legendary 1938 “Long Island Express” Category 3 hurricane. According to AIR Worldwide, a risk-modeling and technology firm that serves the insurance industry, a Category 5 storm hitting the New York area today would incur $96 billion in losses. In Miami, a storm of that strength would rack up a bill of $155 billion.

More than 40 percent of the U.S. population resides in coastal counties, many of which are growing fast. The country’s most rapid population growth has been in Florida, the state most at risk from hurricanes, with 1,350 miles of coastline and no point farther than 80 miles from the water. The population along the hurricane-prone coast between North Carolina and Texas more than tripled, from 10 million to nearly 35 million, over the past 50 years.

One in every 10 people on the planet lives in an extremely vulnerable zone within 60 miles of a coastline and less than 33 feet above sea level, and more people seem to be heading in that direction. In developing countries, where insurance now covers less than 2 percent of the costs of “natural” disasters (compared with the United States, where half are insured), hurricanes can set back development by decades. When Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras and Nicaragua in 1998, for example, it took more than 11,000 lives and left a destruction bill exceeding the two countries’ gross domestic products.

Stronger storms coupled with larger vulnerable populations represent a recipe for economic and humanitarian disaster. The $273 billion in damages from major storms so far this decade will continue climbing. Departing from the temperatures we have known means that the past can no longer be used as a guide to the future. Climate patterns become more difficult to anticipate and the risks harder to predict.

At some point, the human tides may turn and more people may move inland, as we have recently seen with the abandonment of communities ravaged by Katrina. In the meantime, the question becomes not whether we can afford to reduce the carbon emissions that are raising the earth’s temperature, but whether we can afford not to.

# # #

Additional data and information sources at or contact jlarsen (at)

For reprint permission contact rjk (at)

Alternative sources solution to energy needs
Kolkata Newsline - New Delhi,India
... solar energy, wind energy, biomass and hydrogen. Energy generated from a simple reaction between hydrogen and oxygen can be used to provide a car with power. ...

Ocean energy gets a deeper look - Springfield,MO,USA
... already exist to move and store hydrogen, he said. ... over other renewable energy forms, such as wind and solar ... That means ocean power systems cost less to build ...

Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc. and Aditya Birla Group's Grasim ...
PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA
... "Wind farms and solar stations can also utilize hydrogen by- products as a reliable source for low cost, environmentally friendly fuel in our Oxx Power gensets ...

Nuclear to the rescue
American Daily - Stow,OH,USA
... be used directly to desalinate sea water, produce hydrogen from water ... the need to construct long, expensive power lines (from distant wind turbine sites ...

The Birth of Hydrogen Energy in Maine
Fuel Cell Works - USA
... Foundation said, “Hydrogen energy is well suited for use with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro, and provide peak power when the ...

Fuels of the future
Indianapolis Star - United States
... turbines for high-efficiency wind power and decreased ... keep operating during electrical power interruptions. ... Electrochemical methods and hydrogen energy systems ...

Silicon Valley wants to solve world energy problems
iTWire - Australia
... gasoline-electric hybrids, forget biofuels, forget experimental hydrogen fuel cells ... key weakness with their favoured solar and wind power electricity generation ...

Alternative-energy choices on display
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Cleveland,OH,USA
... Prius that was modified by inventor Stan Ovshinsky to run on solid hydrogen. ... Daryl Stockburger and Brian Starry are experts in the application of wind power. ...

Simmons-Kunstler interview
Energy Bulletin - USA
... But the bottom line is that no combination of alternative fuels whether they are synthesized coal liquids or wind power solar power hydrogen. ...

Money flowing to new ideas in energy
Boston Globe - United States
... Start-ups working with solar, battery, hydrogen, wind, and fuel cell technologies raised ... more powerful and durable than the batteries that now power hybrid cars ...

Pioneer Press - St. Paul,MN,USA
... Experience, including tips on energy efficiency at home and how to switch to renewable power sources. ... There are displays on wind, solar, hydrogen and more ...

Crested Butte joins wind power parade
Summit Daily News - Frisco,CO,USA
... Wind power now provides 2 percent of all electricity used ... Wind and other forms of alternative energy are "now ... retrofitted to be powered by hydrogen, and also ...

Australia should follow road to nuclear fusion
The Age - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia
... Based on existing technology, fusion power plants could be ... renewable energies such as wind and solar ... incorporate a fusion reaction - hydrogen, or thermonuclear ...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What YOU can do about sewer runoff into the Great Lakes...

The following is excerpted from a truly excellent article on the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District's Deep Tunnel system. Considered controversial by many media outlets and the general public, it is looked to by water management agencies and experts around the country and the world, as the most progressive system around.

At the tail end of the excerpt are simple, inexpensive things you personally can do to reduce storm runoff into the sewer systems in your area, which is the major cause of sewage overflow events into the lakes. I will also provide a link to the full article at the end. I highly recommend reading the full article to my readers.

Dan Stafford - GL Zephyr publisher

The Deep Tunnel
Perhaps no aspect of MMSD is misunderstood as much as the 19.4-mile-long Deep Tunnel, which runs 300 feet beneath area waterways, with a storage capacity of about 405 million gallons. It has been blamed for not doing the job it was built to do, as well as causing the water table to draw down and damage the pilings of numerous Downtown buildings, including the Boston Store.
“This area loves to debate whether the Deep Tunnel was a good idea or not,” said MMSD spokesman Bill Graffin. “We’ve been doing it for 20 years, and we’ll probably do it for a lot longer. We can look at the future, and what it’s going to take to further improve the waterways, or we can keep debating whether the Deep Tunnel was a good idea.”
In Chicago, a deep tunnel system five times the size of Milwaukee’s is nearing completion. Unlike in Milwaukee, Chicago’s system is being hailed by the media there as a modern wonder, MMSD officials point out.
While acknowledging that MMSD needs to do more to get overflows and volumes down, Executive Director Kevin Shafer says that expanding the tunnel to prevent future overflows would be prohibitively expensive—an estimated $8 billion to $9 billion.
Instead, Shafer says MMSD is focused on a long-term, multifaceted strategy designed to reduce stormwater runoff, which is a major cause of sewage overflows into the lake.
“It’s just an evolution,” Shafer said of MMSD’s efforts and the public’s expectations. “In 1972, the Clean Water Act passed, and everyone started looking at the point sources, the treatment plants. We addressed those very well in Milwaukee, even though we still have to do better on that. Now we are evolving to the next thing we need to do for water quality here in Milwaukee, which is containing stormwater runoff.”
West Allis Mayor and MMSD Commissioner Jeannette Bell called MMSD’s track record of cleaning up sewers and local waterways one of the best in the nation. “To go from 50 or 60 overflows per year down to two—that’s a significant improvement,” Bell said. “There is no system that can be built so large that a rainfall wouldn’t come and overload it.”
Despite her organization’s ongoing scrutiny of MMSD, Broaddus, of Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers, says that her group doesn’t consider the Deep Tunnel a failure.
“What we are saying is that MMSD can do a whole lot better,” Broaddus said. “The question is not ‘Does the Deep Tunnel work?’ But what is the most cost-effective way to reduce overflows and the amount of sewage going through our system? We still have overflows and increasing amounts of rainfall getting into our system.”
Three years ago, before Theiler left the DNR for Seattle, he was brought in to lead an audit of MMSD operations, which includes the privatized management system run by United Water Service. Assisted by some of the best water-quality specialists from the DNR, the audit determined that “for the critical operations, they were doing a good job,” Theiler said.
That assessment isn’t always shared by residents of southeastern Wisconsin, although perhaps it should be.
“We should be really proud of the system that we have put in place,” Shafer said. “You can go to UWM to analyze their water-quality data and see the scientific proof, or you can just go to the riverfront in the summertime. This body of water has really improved.”

MMSD Defined
MMSD, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, is a state-chartered regional agency providing both wastewater treatment and flood management to about 1.1 million people in 28 different communities covering 420 square miles. This area includes Milwaukee, Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, and small parts of Racine and Washington counties. Each community owns and runs its own sewer system. Everything flows downstream to the Jones Island treatment plant, and to a separate treatment plant in Oak Creek.
The Deep Tunnel came online in the latter part of 1993, at a cost of about $1 billion, and was designed to keep combined sewer overflows to a minimum. Other related improvements totaled $1.3 billion, for a total of $2.3 billion. About 45% was paid by federal grants. As part of a $900 million Overflow Reduction Plan, MMSD is currently expanding the Deep Tunnel system.
Stormwater and non-agricultural polluted runoff have been identified as the biggest source of pollution. Stormwater results from rain running off of streets, yards, roofs and parking lots. Occasionally, the regional sewer system is overwhelmed by flows from the combined sewers. When this happens, flows are diverted to the Deep Tunnel for storage until there is room at the treatment plants to clean the excess wastewater.
Along with stormwater, Combined sewers take in wastewater from residential showers, sinks and toilets. Combined sewers are typically found in older sections of Milwaukee and Shorewood.
During heavy rains, Combined sewer overflows can lead to stormwater pollutants and untreated sewage entering rivers and Lake Michigan. The untreated sewage may contain potentially harmful bacteria. MMSD estimates that combined sewer overflows consist of about 85% stormwater and 15% sewage.
Overflows occur when a storm provides more rainwater than the system can handle. These overflows can occur even when the Deep Tunnel is not at full capacity. Wastewater from the combined sewer areas of Milwaukee and Shorewood hits the tunnel shortly after a storm. The combined sewer area accounts for roughly 5% of the district’s total coverage area, compared to 95% for separate sanitary sewers intended to carry only human waste matter. Whereas the wastewater from the combined sewer areas arrives quickly, it can take hours for flows from the separate sewer area to reach the Deep Tunnel. Because the overflows from separate sewer areas are more harmful to the environment, MMSD needs to ensure that there is enough room in the tunnel for that wastewater.
Sewer Wars: This protracted dispute between the city and suburbs stemmed from a period dating back to 1982 when city residents favored using the traditional property tax method to pay for capital improvements by MMSD. On the other side, suburban residents wanted to do it on a flow basis, giving their group the acronym FLOW (Fair Liquidation of Waste). Had the suburban approach been adopted, costs would have been shifted onto city residents, said MMSD lobbyist Bill Broydrick. A $140.7 million settlement was reached in 1996 to recoup capital costs for sewerage charges.
In 1972, the Clean Water Act gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to create legal standards for pollution control. The act also funded construction for sewage treatment plants to deal with both point-source and non-point-source pollution.
The Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC), a regional governmental agency, is updating a Regional Water Quality Management Plan for the greater Milwaukee watershed. SEWRPC is also providing input to help MMSD formulate its 2020 Facilities Plan, which outlines substantial future capital improvements. SEWRPC maintains up-to-date reports on the current status of water quality in the region, which is monitored by two boats that go out and regularly take samples on area waterways.
Overflow Reduction Plan: Stipulated by the DNR and court-ordered, the overflow reduction plan is $900 million worth of work that will be done by 2010. This includes more Deep Tunnel expansion, treatment plant upgrades, and sewer rehabilitation.

Take Responsibility
There are steps we can all take to promote water conservation and lessen the risk of sewer overflows.
Back in May, MMSD officials took some ribbing after sending out a press release asking the public to limit water use in advance of predicted rain. But any public discussion is a signal that people are becoming more aware. The fact is we each use about 65 gallons of water per day. Using less water when there is heavy rain helps reduce the risk of sewage overflows.
“We are trying to help people understand that they have a role in helping improve water quality in Lake Michigan and our rivers,” said Kevin Shafer, MMSD’s executive director. “Landscaping firms are calling asking for information—it’s something that we are starting to see.”
From planting rain gardens and rainwater trees, to installing green roofs, disconnecting downspouts and using rain barrels—there’s an entire litany of things that can be done by developers and homeowners to reduce the amount of water running off into the sewer system, Shafer said.
MMSD sells rain barrels on its Web site, and had sold 2,500 before the spring/summer season started this year. Built out of old pickle barrels by the Milwaukee Community Service Corps, the 55-gallon rain barrels have a hole in the top with a screen over it and a tap on the bottom with a valve on it. The water that hits your roof is collected, and it can be used again later on.
“I have two rain barrels at home and I use the water to water my plants,” Shafer said. “Last summer was kind of dry, and I had water in my two barrels until the middle of August. We get calls from all over the U.S. from people who want to buy them.”
Rain gardens have plants that have a deeper root system, which keeps the soil turned up and absorbs more water. A proper rain garden will absorb 30% more than a well-manicured lawn.
For more information about rain barrels, rain gardens and other water conservation measures such as limiting water use inside your home, go to the MMSD Web site at:

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Earth said near point of no return - San Francisco,CA,USA
... plug-in hybrid, bio-diesel fuels, hydrogen power, and E ... Today, coal-fired power plants in 38 states are ... renewable technologies like solar or wind, a significant ...

... Unless the electricity used to generate it comes from wind power or wave power, you're creating emissions in making the hydrogen which rather defeats the object ...

Renewable energy measure headed for vote in Fargo
Grand Forks Herald - Grand Forks,ND,USA
... Renewable power sources include solar, wind, biomass, liquid fuels, geothermal and hydrogen. At least half of the electricity would ..

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Great Lakes Daily News: 24 August 2006
A collaborative project of the Great Lakes Information Network and the Great
Lakes Radio Consortium.

For links to these stories and more, visit

A serene scene in jeopardy?
The serenity found at Yellow Dog Plains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is
threatened by a plan for a 90-acre sulfide mining operation. Source: Traverse
City Record-Eagle (8/24)

Bird-bashing season
The double-crested cormorants of the Thousand Islands have everyone in a flap --
being accused of random pooping, alleged over-fishing, fouling private property
and denuding shrubs. Source: Ottawa Sun (8/24)

Gunfire on Lake Huron?
The U.S. Coast Guard is proposing to create 26 "safety zones" throughout the
Great Lakes -- including six on Lake Huron -- for live gunfire training.
Source: The Saginaw News (8/24)

Lampreys make a surprise showing
Many anglers who fish the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair have been surprised
this summer to find small lampreys clinging to muskellunge, catfish, pike,
walleyes and even smallmouth bass. Source: Detroit Free Press (8/24)

Minnesota beach closings drop
For the first time since June 8, no Minnesota beaches on Lake Superior or the
Duluth harbor recorded elevated bacteria levels. Source: Duluth News Tribune

Ottawa rejects Arctic protection for belugas
Although the beluga whale is a protected species in the St. Lawrence Seaway,
Canada's federal government has rejected an advisory body's recommendation that
the marine mammal be protected in Arctic waters. Source: Ottawa Citizen (8/24)

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District - Why does everybody hate it?
Despite local criticism, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is regarded
both nationally and internationally as a model system -- one that officials
from other sewerage districts study when they want to upgrade their facilities.
Source: The Shepherd Express (8/23)

Future of the fast ferry terminal
Some local leaders have suggested that the now virtually empty Rochester Ferry
Terminal would be a perfect location for SUNY Brockport's marine research
facility. Source: WHEC-TV (8/23)

Great Lakes Children's Museum prepares for childplay again
After a year without a building, the Great Lakes Children's Museum will reopen
on September 16 with a grand celebration at their new facility in
Greilickville, Mich. Source: Grand Traverse Herald (8/23)

Zebra mussels making Lake Michigan look pretty clear
Arriving in the ballast water of ships, the nonnative zebra mussel has invaded
the Great Lakes and many inland lakes. Source: Petoskey News-Review (8/23)

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