Thursday, August 9, 2007

News Digest for August 9, 2007

All the links in today’s news digest lead to current stories. Please note that some media organizations update their web sites regularly, which may result in broken links in the future.


The News Digest will be on vacation August 13 through August 24. Some ‘Loonies’ and ‘Toonies’ are in the offing…


Transpontine • \trans-PAHN-tyne\ • adjective – *1: situated on the farther side of a bridge 2 British: situated on the south side of the Thames

After crossing three bridges in his search for a fancy haggis restaurant, Dagwood had to admit that his last river crossing had placed the business of his desire on the transpontine side of the Willamette River.



News Release – Congress overwhelmingly supports hydropower as renewable. In a stunning 402-9 vote, the House sent a clear message of support for the nation's hydropower resources when it voted to reaffirm its recognition of hydropower as a renewable energy resource. (National Hydropower Association);jsessionid=64531CD56F2C8B1448675059DB02F5CD?id=49602&src=rss

Here’s a link to the text of the bill:

State council questions go-ahead for coal gasification plant – A state agency agreed Wednesday to begin the legal process to permit Energy Northwest's proposed coal gasification plant near Kalama over strong objections that its carbon reduction plan isn't a plan at all. (Tri-City Herald)

Power sales won't stave off Chelan County PUD rate hikes – The good news: The Chelan County PUD's wholesale power revenues are more than 300 percent above expectations through the first half of 2007. The bad news: That's still not enough to avoid rate hikes slated for 2008. (Wenatchee World)

Workers at Seattle City Light give communication poor marks in survey – But most satisfied with their jobs (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Heat is on for TVA – Electricity use in the Tennessee Valley jumped to a record high Tuesday as Chattanoogans sweltered through the hottest day so far this year. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News)

Heat prompts brownout in US Mid-Atlantic (Reuters)

News Release – PJM Orders Mid-Atlantic Voltage Reductions as Heat Wave Continues

A Sudden Storm Brings New York City to Its Knees – A brief but fierce storm drenched the New York region just before the morning rush yesterday, paralyzing the transit system, flooding major thoroughfares, cutting off electricity to thousands of homes and causing confusion that lingered through a humid, sweaty day. (NY Times)

Ohio – Electricity bills put more heat on users: Costs may go up 19%, but there's no power shortage. Expect the hot summer weather to burn a hole in your pocket. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News)

The Baltimore Sun Jay Hancock column: Let's see why grid watchdog barked – Don't do it, Mid-Atlantic States. Don't accept the electric grid's offer to settle your complaint. Don't let the dirty secrets that have begun to emerge get covered up.

Oklahoma coal plant foes lose court ruling – The Oklahoma Supreme Court turned back an effort Tuesday to stop a set of regulatory hearings on a proposed $1.8 billion coal-fired power plant.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky – Judge rejects coal plant permit: says state erred in granting document. An enormous coal-burning power plant planned near Mammoth Cave was dealt a setback by a Kentucky court yesterday. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News)

Canada – Former Amaranth trader cries foul over FERC accusations – Brian Hunter, the former trader at Amaranth Advisors LLC, says he considered stepping down as president of his new Calgary-based hedge fund, Solengo Capital Advisors, because it has become "paralyzed" in the face of accusations by U.S. regulators. (Globe and Mail)


Albany, Oregon Democrat-Herald – Keep science in its place: In Washington, Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee this week examined whether the Bush administration — namely Vice President Cheney — had exerted undue political influence in the dispute over Klamath Basin water in 2001. (Thanks to Terry Flores for the tip)

Canada – Warming threatens crucial Fraser habitat, study says. The Fraser River delta could lose up to one-third of its tidal marshes -- critical habitat for both juvenile salmon and waterfowl -- during this century due to rising sea levels resulting from global warming (Victoria Times-Colonist)

San Francisco Bay – Petitions say more Delta fish in trouble – Another dwindling Delta population fish should be added to the list of endangered species, environmentalists contend in petitions filed Wednesday. (Contra Costa Times)

Involves Jefferson County PUD Project – State spurns funding for Beckett Point archaeology; Kessler 'surprised'. The state Department of Ecology denied Jefferson County a $250,000 grant to help fund an archaeological study and other work related to a Beckett Point septic system project where Native American remains were found in late May. (Peninsula Daily News)

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Guest Columnist – Oil spills from a shellfish grower's view: Brett W. Bishop, If our generation can come to terms with the threat that pollution poses to clean waters, another generation can grow clams in Little Skookum Bay. If we fail and water quality is lost, we are finished.

Experts seek the cause of 'river nose' – An advocacy group tests the Columbia River to try to pin down the source of recreationists' illnesses (The Oregonian)

Canada – B.C.'s coal bed dreams inch ahead amid border impasse – As two coal-based mining projects begin to move ahead in British Columbia, an effort by the province and neighbouring Montana to work together on the environmental effects of mining has cooled off. (The Globe and Mail)


Washington state agency approves wind farm for 2nd time – For a second time, a Washington state agency has recommended that the governor approve a proposed central Washington wind farm despite objections from Kittitas County citizens and officials. (The Columbian)

Tri-City Herald, Chris Mulick Blog – Controversial wind project again sent to governor

Report: Wind energy demand up; problems hamper industry (Minneapolis-Saint Paul Business Journal)

Guest Opinion – Cape Wind issue dogs U.S. Senator Kennedy (Cape Cod Today)

The Daily Show Covers Cape Wind – In a recent broadcast, Comedy Central's Daily Show covered the proposed Cape Wind project to be located in Nantucket Sound. Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones takes a humorous look at the issues surrounding the controversial wind power project. (

Critiques of House energy bill – Most environmental groups applaud, but the legislation's requirement for renewable sources of electricity is one main point of contention. (Christian Science Monitor)

Michigan – City may invest $1 million to save on energy costs: Muskegon Heights officials are planning to invest $1 million to make city hall, the police and fire departments and downtown library more energy efficient. (Muskegon Chronicle)

Bodman: DoE will have conservation plan in place by next year – The U.S. Department of Energy will have its plan for cutting energy use ready by next year, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said Wednesday. (The Associated Press)

Lure of high corn prices adds to farmers' hesitancy to consider grasses as alternative ethanol crop – As researchers look for alternatives to corn as sources to make ethanol, many farmers remain hesitant to start growing other crops. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News)


Australia – Rural climate change skeptics shock kayaker


Data centers suck down energy, mostly for cooling – New processors, virtualization could help (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

San Francisco Bay Guardian Editorial – Say goodbye to Earthlink. Supervisors ought to immediately pursue plans for a municipal broadband network

Md. Panel Grills Verizon Over Delays in Repairs – Maryland regulators demanded an explanation from Verizon officials yesterday of why hundreds of customers have waited days and even weeks for telephone repairs this year, exceeding the state standard for missed service appointments for five months running. (Washington Post)

Google Isn't Always The Best Search Choice – Google has turned into a household verb, but that doesn't make it the last word in Web search. (Washington Post)


Wash. Marine released early in case of slain Iraqi civilian – Two Marines who pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the death of an Iraqi civilian have been released from military prison four months early. “…Jerry Shumate Jr., of Matlock, Wash…sentenced to 21 months in prison as part of plea deals which…admitted to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice. They were released Monday to "ensure fair treatment," the Marines said in a statement.

Northwest Wheat Farmers Get Best Price in Decades (NW Public Radio)

Audit Slams Politicians' European Vacation – A group of Kitsap County politicians we caught taking a 17-day, tax-funded junket to Europe has just been reprimanded by the State Auditor. (KIRO-TV, Seattle)

Judge refuses to dismiss suit against title insurance firms “…report said that insurers regularly broke a state cap on inducements to real estate middlemen who could steer buyers their way, driving up policy costs…” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)


Giant Lego man found in Dutch sea

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a baby…A New Zealand couple is looking to call their newborn son Superman -- but only because their chosen name of 4Real has been rejected by the government registry.

Who Flung Poo? Farmer attacks police with muck spreader

Do I have to draw a map for you? As many as 11 million British motorists are unable to read a basic road map, according to a survey released Monday.