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NFC: Fw: RiverCurrents: February 8, 2002

Robert Rice
NFC president

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: American Rivers <action at action_amrivers.org>
To: robertrice at juno_com
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 14:10:49 -0800 (PST)
Subject: RiverCurrents: February 8, 2002
Message-ID: <3709218.1013206249125.JavaMail.IWAM_EUG-APP01@eug-app01>

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In this issue...

* FISH Act would protect rivers
* Why hydropower isn't "green"

* Mid-Atlantic: Residents plan suit over polluted drinking water 
* Southeast: Enron and the Everglades
* Great Lakes: Mississippi River National Center to open
* Midwest: New rules would protect Illinois rivers
* Rockies: Agreement reached in logging dispute
* Southwest: Groups sue Utah forests to protect rivers
* Northwest: Condit Dam removal gets support

* Cast your vote for "an energy bill we can live, breathe, and swim 
* At-home tip: how is your thermostat set?

* How you can join American Rivers



FISH Act would protect rivers

Representatives John Dingell (D-MI) and Edward Markey (D-MA) this 
week announced a bill that would reform hydropower regulations and 
ensure a better balance between protecting the environment and 
generating electricity on hundreds of rivers across the country.

Members of the Hydropower Reform Coalition urged swift action on the 
Federal Investment in Sustainable Hydropower Act (FISH Act), which 
would curb abuse of regulations that allow utilities to put off 
upgrading equipment or adopting new operations that would protect 
fish and wildlife, water quality, tribal interests, and riverfront 

Get the full story here:


Why hydropower isn't "green" - get the truth on dams, rivers, and 
energy production:



1)        MID-ATLANTIC
Camden residents plan suit over polluted drinking water

Camden, New Jersey residents may file a lawsuit against city 
officials and the Pennsauken Sanitary Landfill. Residents say their 
drinking water came from a contaminated well field in Pennsauken that 
is now a federal Superfund site.

"For a quarter-century, large portions of the city of Camden received 
tainted water...with the knowledge of many agencies and entities," 
Keith Walker, a former Camden mayoral candidate who has been 
organizing public meetings on the issue, told the Philadelphia 
Inquirer (02-05-02). "A lot of citizens are aghast." 

The Inquirer reports that the six wells, "contaminated with chemicals 
and heavy metals known to cause cancer and other health problems, 
served 50,000 people who lived south and west of the Cooper River in 
Camden. They were closed, one by one, from the early 1970s to 1998, 
when the wells were declared a Superfund site."

An attorney for the landfill, said that any well contamination 
occurred before the township or the county owned the landfill, and 
that private industry should be held responsible.

** Flyfisher's Delight **

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wear. $2 of every purchase is donated to American Rivers conservation 
efforts. Click here to take a look: http://www.allabouttrout.com/

2)        SOUTHEAST
Enron and the Everglades

In 1999, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush met with an Enron Corp. subsidiary, 
Azurix, to discuss the possibility of letting the company help pay 
for the ambitious $7.8 billion Everglades restoration project -- In 
return, Azurix would be allowed to sell Everglades water.

But as the Washington Post reports (02-08-02), "while Azurix's well-
connected officials did get a meeting with the governor and his 
aides, their bid to start privatizing Florida's most precious 
resource went nowhere...Water still belongs to the public here."

"Boy, that was a near-disaster," Fred Rapach, a top water official in 
Palm Beach County, told the Post. "Azurix had the ear of everyone in 
the state, from the governor on down. Whew."

"We almost sold out Florida's water to a company that was falling 
apart," said Nancy Brown, president of the Florida League of 
Conservation Voters. "Jeb is lucky we didn't, because he was totally 
behind it."

But Bush spokeswoman Katie Baur told the Post that while the Governor 
was =91intrigued,' he was not behind the idea.

The state must still come up with its $3.9 billion share for the 
Everglades restoration project that will restore more natural water 
flows and help 68 endangered species.

3)        GREAT LAKES
Progress for Mississippi River National Center

Saint Paul, Minnesota will become the site for the long-planned 
Mississippi River National Center. 

The center will serve as the National Park Service's visitor facility 
for the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and will 
provide visitors with an extensive array of information including 
brochures, books, maps, and exhibits, as well as electronic 
technology. Rangers will be available to connect visitors with 
Mississippi River parks and other sites.

The McKnight Foundation donated $500,000 to make the center, located 
within the Science Museum of Minnesota, a reality. The center, 
expected to open in 2003, will be open to the public free of charge.

The MNRRA became part of the National Park System in 1988.  The 72-
mile stretch of river begins at the Mississippi's confluence with the 
Crow River near the cities of Dayton and Ramsey, and stretches just 
south of Hastings. 


The Environmental Protection Agency's Wetlands Division is sponsoring 
a wetland photography contest focusing on images that show the 
functions and values of wetlands. 

They are seeking high quality photographs of wetlands in different 
regions of the United States and at different seasons of the year. 

The deadline for submission is March 1, 2002. 

For more information and details on how to submit your photographs 
visit www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/photocontest.html or call 1-800-832-


4)        MIDWEST
New rules would protect Illinois rivers

The most pristine rivers and streams of Illinois may soon enjoy new 
protections. As reports the Chicago Tribune, the state is considering 
new rules that would protect "outstanding resource waters" from 

Forty-five rivers and streams in the state -- roughly 100 miles of 
waters -- could one day qualify for the designation and benefit from 
the new protections. These rivers and streams that maintain high 
water quality and diversity of species include streams associated 
with the Rock, Fox and Des Plaines Rivers; portions of the Kishwaukee 
River; and Nippersink Creek in McHenry County.

The rules state how groups and individuals can nominate a river 
for "outstanding resource water" status. After a river is 
designated, "no discharges into it would be allowed except under rare 
circumstances, and in those cases, only briefly, and only if they do 
not harm the water."

In addition, the rules "would outline ways to increase protection for 
waterways that aren't pristine and would include a provision 
requiring, for the first time, that polluters consider ways to get 
rid of treated wastewater other than dumping it into nearby streams" 
(Chicago Tribune, 02-04-02).

Environmentalists say the changes are long overdue, "finally giving 
teeth in Illinois to federal clean water standards that date to the 

The rules could be adopted by the state within the two months. 

5)        ROCKIES
Forest Service and environmentalists settle logging dispute

The United States Forest Service has agreed to significantly reduce 
the size of a timber sale in Montana's Bitterroot National Forest 
that burned in wildfires in 2000.

The decision caps a long series of negotiations. The Forest Service 
originally wanted to allow logging on 41,000 acres, but this week's 
agreement maintains that 14,000 acres will be logged. 
Environmentalists fought the logging, saying it would "cause 
widespread erosion and damage to streams that are home to the 
federally protected bull trout. They said the sales were evidence of 
the Bush administration's appeasement of industry with publicly owned 
resources" (New York Times, 02-08-02).

Tim Preso, a lawyer for EarthJustice in Bozeman, who negotiated for 
environmental groups, told the New York Times that the outcome should 
show the Forest Service that "we will fight for every acre on these 

In the agreement, most of the roadless land is protected from 
logging. The agreement also removed areas that are important habitat 
for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

"It's kind of a mixed bag," said Larry Campbell, executive director 
of the Friends of Bitterroot, "but overall I do feel pretty good."

6)        SOUTHWEST
Groups sue Utah forests to protect streams

Environmental groups sued in Federal District Court last week, 
accusing four national forests in Utah of violating the Wild and 
Scenic Rivers Act (Greenwire, 02-05-02).

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Natural Resources Defense 
Council, Redrock Forests, and Forest Guardians charge that Fishlake, 
Dixie, Ashley and Manti-La Sal national forests never completed 
required studies, or that the studies were inadequate.

The 1968 act is the strongest statutory tool for protecting natural 
rivers. Dams are forbidden, inappropriate streamside development can 
be limited and growth better managed, and essential natural values 
are maintained. 

The Forest Service is required by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and 
National Forest Management Act to study rivers for possible inclusion 
in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and to develop management plans 
to protect river values along these corridors.

Among the lawsuit's allegations:

* Fishlake never conducted any eligibility studies on rivers within 
its boundaries.

* Federal agencies have studied six rivers in Ashley; however, they 
did not forward formal recommendations to Congress as the act 

* Dixie only studied its rivers that lie within the Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument.

* Manti-La Sal prepared, but never finalized, a 2000 draft 
eligibility determination report to investigate its rivers. 
(Source: Greenwire)

"Incredibly, Utah is the spiritual birthplace of the act, yet some 30 
years after its passage, Utah still has no designated wild and scenic 
rivers," said Scott Cameron, clean stream coordinator for Forest 

According to the National Park Service's Nationwide Rivers Inventory, 
more than 60,000 miles of rivers in the U.S. qualify for inclusion in 
the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. But today, little more than 11,000 
miles enjoy such protection.

Read more about wild and scenic rivers:

7)        NORTHWEST
Condit Dam removal wins early backing

Removal of the 89-year-old Condit Dam on the White Salmon River "got 
a qualified thumbs-up from the nation's dam-licensing agency" last 
week, reports The Columbian (01-31-02).

In 1999, Pacificorp proposed to breach Condit Dam rather than install 
costly fish ladders. The plan enjoys support from fish and wildlife 
agencies, environmentalists, and tribes.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission did not 
recommend dam removal last week, but its draft environmental impact 
statement said that Pacificorp's plan "would provide the best and 
most cost-effective means" for removing the dam and the sediments 
behind it while protecting the environment.

The 125-foot-tall dam would be the largest ever removed in the United 

American Rivers, a party to the settlement, welcomed the news.

"From American Rivers' perspective, that is a tremendous outcome for 
us, at least at this point in the proceedings," American Rivers' 
Katherine Ransel told The Columbian. "We didn't have any sense of how 
FERC would react to any dam removal proposal. The staff is struggling 
procedurally with these dam removals all over the country."

Dam removal would re-open as much as 30 miles of stream habitat above 
the dam to salmon and steelhead. 

Read more:
Removing dams that don't make sense -- a look at today's dam removal 


Cast your vote for "an energy bill we can live, breathe, and swim 

The Senate is poised to act on a national energy bill, and your 
Senators need to hear that the public supports stronger environmental 
protections at hydropower dams, not weaker standards proposed by some 
utilities and their lobbyists. 

Click here to take action-- we appreciate your help!


AT-HOME TIP: your home's thermostat

Saving energy helps the environment and saves you money. Make sure
to check your thermostats:

In the winter, the recommended daytime setting is 68 degrees, at 
night it's 55 degrees. In summer, turn it to 78 degrees.

(Source: Seattle City Light)

For more energy saving tips, click here:



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RiverCurrents is a weekly summary of river news and information as 
reported by media outlets across the country. The inclusion of a 
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