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NFC: Fw: RiverCurrents: November 2, 2001

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RiverCurrents: November 2, 2001 
Brought to you by www.americanrivers.org: 
The online community for river activists and river friends 
AOL KEYWORD: American Rivers 
RiverCurrents is a weekly summary of river news and information as
by media outlets across the country. The inclusion of a story or point of
in RiverCurrents does not necessarily indicate endorsement by American
If you have clarifications or corrections about a story in RiverCurrents,
send them to asouers at amrivers_org. 
In river news this week... 
* Arsenic in drinking water 
* Protection proposed for the Great Pee Dee River 
* Oregon coastal coho 
* Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 
* Montana's Milltown Dam 
* In memory: nation loses two legendary river advocates 
Missouri River update 
***Saving America's Longest River*** 
To date, over 10,000 Americans have sent their 
comments to the Army Corps of Engineers, 
calling for Missouri River restoration. 
Help us reach 15,000! It's free and it only takes 
a couple minutes to submit your comment. 
Take Action Now: www.SaveTheMissouri.org 
This week's river news 
1) Arsenic in drinking water 
The Bush administration announced Wednesday that it will adopt the tough
established by the Clinton administration for arsenic in drinking water. 
In March, the EPA suspended one of the last acts of the Clinton
administration, a tightening 
of the long-standing federal standard for arsenic levels in drinking
water from 50 parts per 
billion to 10 parts per billion. 
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman
justified the suspension 
by saying that the Clinton rule had been hastily adopted without adequate
scientific study or 
consideration of costs to small communities that would be forced to
change their water filtration systems. 
But Whitman announced this week that the new 10 parts per billion
standard is necessary to 
"improve the safety of drinking water for millions of Americans and
better protect against the risk 
of cancer, heart disease and diabetes." 
Administration critics greeted this announcement by saying the EPA had no
choice but to retain 
the 10 parts per billion standard. They argued that a National Academy of
Sciences study 
(released in September) commissioned by the administration showed that it
actually should have adopted 
an even tougher standard of 3 parts per billion. (Washington Post,
"They're moving in the right direction, but they did it because they had
no choice," said Sen. 
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). 
As reports the Washington Post, Boxer said the study concluded that an
arsenic standard of 
10 parts per billion would produce a cancer risk that far exceeds what
the EPA considers acceptable. 
"They ordered a new study as a delaying tactic, and it came back and bit
them in the arsenic," Boxer said. 
Need a map? 
Here's an easy way to get maps of rivers (It's free to build a map
If you choose to order a waterproof map, mytopo.com will donate 15% 
of the sale to river conservation efforts. 

2) Protection for the Great Pee Dee? 
Blackwater swamps and sloughs...white sandy beaches...tupelo, palmetto,
and cypress... 
The Great Pee Dee River and its unique attributes would be protected as a
state scenic 
river under a proposal being floated by the South Carolina Department of
Natural Resources. 
As reports the Columbia State (10/31/01), the designation would affect
nearly 70 miles of the river. 
County governments along the river and the General Assembly must approve
the proposal. 
"The Great Pee Dee has remained largely undeveloped, making it a guardian
of South Carolina 
natural and human history," said Rich Scharf of the Department of Natural
An often repeated story (which may or may not be true) is that the Pee
Dee River was the 
inspiration for Stephen Foster's famous song "Old Folks at Home." Rather
than using the 
name "Pee Dee" in his song, Foster chose the name of a river he had never
seen. Foster 
supposedly preferred the sound of "Swannee" (sic) in his lyrics. 

Learn more about the rivers of South Carolina: 
South Carolina Rivers Fact Sheet:
Learn more about state river protection programs: 

Book of the week -- don't miss this great read 
"The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History" by Libby Hill 
"Well researched and rich in detail, this can be an eye-opening read for
residents as well as river lovers everywhere." 
When you use the link above to buy the book, ten percent of your purchase
goes to 
river conservation efforts. If you're having trouble with this link,
click here and type 
"Chicago River" into the search box: 

3) Northwest salmon 
A federal judge on Tuesday refused to temporarily restore Oregon coastal
coho salmon 
to the threatened species list while conservationists work to overturn
the September ruling 
that removed the fish's protection (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/31/01). 
In September, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Hogan threw out a 1998
National Marine 
Fisheries Service regulation that protected wild Oregon coho salmon but
not those raised 
in hatcheries. He said it didn't make sense to distinguish between the
two because they 
were genetically similar. 
Conservation groups filed a motion asking Hogan to restore the fish's
protection while they 
try to intervene in the case. But as reports the Chronicle, "on Tuesday
Hogan said the fish 
were in no imminent danger of extinction. He also said he did not want to
interfere with 
federal biologists who are continuing to discuss whether the fish merit
protection. Hogan said 
he would take more time to decide whether the environmentalists could
appeal his ruling." 
"Since Hogan's ruling, logging has already begun on some federal lands
where it was previously 
protected to save coho habitat." (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/31/01) 
Get the inside scoop on Capitol Hill 
Stay tuned in to energy legislation, appropriations, and other federal
policies affecting rivers. 
Visit our weekly River Policy Updates: 
4) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 
Eight major environmental groups sent a letter to the Senate Governmental
Committee this week asking the panel to exercise its oversight rights and
whether the Interior Department has been withholding information on the
Arctic National 
Wildlife Refuge to enhance the pro-drilling argument. (Greenwire,
The letter came in the wake of reports that the Fish and Wildlife Service
withheld key 
reports from Congress. The reports found in 1995 that drilling in the
refuge's coastal plain 
could violate the International Agreement for the Conservation of Polar
As reports Greenwire, the group Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility also 
claimed this week that Interior Secretary Gale Norton withheld
information from the Senate 
Energy and Natural Resources Committee when asked to answer questions
about caribou 
activity in the coastal plain. 
River events calendar 
Nov. 3: Watershed Celebration Day, West Virginia 
Nov. 5 & 6: Pacific Rim Salmon and Steelhead Conference, Oregon 
Nov. 6 & 7: Lake Michigan State of the Lake, Michigan 
Nov. 12-15: Annual Water Resources Conference, New Mexico 
For all of these events and more, visit the River Events Calendar: 
This calendar is a joint project of American Rivers and River Network. 
Email asouers at amrivers_org to get your river event posted. 

5) Montana's Milltown Dam 
The Associated Press reported this week about the debate over Montana's
Milltown Dam. 
Approximately 6.6 million cubic yards of mining waste is trapped behind
the dam at the 
confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers. It's enough waste "to
cover an NFL stadium 
and some of its parking lot." (Baltimore Sun, 10/28/01) 
Environmentalists and others want to remove the sediment-- contaminated
with arsenic, copper, lead, 
and other metals-- from the river bottom. They also want to remove the
dam that is nearly 
a century old and return the river to its natural state. Dam removal
could also open up habitat 
for threatened bull trout. 
The dam and its Milltown Reservoir are the nation's largest Superfund
The contaminated sediment is the result of decades of mine waste that
washed 120 
miles down the Clark Fork River from Butte and Anaconda. 
The US EPA is now studying cleanup options. Two ideas are at the top of
the list: The first is a 
$20 million plan to upgrade and strengthen the dam which was built in
1907, and leave the sediment 
behind it untouched. The second plan would cost $120 million and would
remove the sediment and 
tear down the dam. 
Tracy Stone-Manning, executive director of the Clark Fork Coalition, says
that for long-term 
river health, removing the sediment and the dam is "absolutely the right
thing to do... The 
confluence of two rivers behind an aging dam is a terrible place for
millions of yards of toxic waste." 
As the AP reports, "some envision the confluence of the two rivers one
day returning to its wild 
glory, full of challenging rapids for kayakers and rafters." 
Arco, the company that is responsible for the cleanup, opposes dam

To learn more about the debate, visit the website of the Clark Fork

6) In memory 
The nation lost two legendary river advocates in October. Frank Craighead
was one of the 
principal architects of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. James Phillips was
a clean water 
warrior known as "the Fox." 
Read a tribute to these two men: 

About RiverCurrents 
RiverCurrents is a weekly summary of river news and information as
by media outlets across the country. The inclusion of a story or point of
in RiverCurrents does not necessarily indicate endorsement by American
If you have clarifications or corrections about a story in RiverCurrents,
send them to asouers at amrivers_org. 
To unsubscribe to RiverCurrents, please email asouers at amrivers_org 
with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line. 

About American Rivers 
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American Rivers 
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protecting and restoring 
rivers and to fostering a river stewardship ethic. 
If you'd like to support our conservation efforts, please consider
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