Wednesday, September 12, 2007

News Digest for September 12, 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.


Sisyphean • \sis-uh-FEE-un\ • adjective – of or related to Sisyphus - a legendary king of Corinth condemned eternally to repeat the cycle of rolling a heavy rock up a hill in Hades only to have it roll down again as it nears the top

Unto the young Pat Wood the Sisyphean task of ramming electricity deregulation down the throats of unwilling states was given. In some remote and gullible lands, the daunting task of this errant knight was successful, but the results were horrendous. Like the multi-headed hydra confronted by Hercules in one of his 12 labors, Sir Wood found that his legacy may be more of a patch of thorns instead of a rose garden of delight. “Watch how you roll,” advised the sage Duke McCullough, “or the rock may roll over thee.”


2008 will be warmest in 100 years, Farmer's Almanac says – The Old Farmer's Almanac says it used time-honored, complex calculations to predict that 2008 will be the warmest year in a century, along with a bit of folklore — years that end in "8" have weird weather.


Montana – Great Falls coal plant to move forward. A proposed coal-fired power plant that would provide electricity for at least 60,000 people in central and south-central Montana doesn't need financing help from the city of Great Falls to succeed, its developer said this week. (The Missoulian)

TVA in good shape despite problems, CEO says – To provide electricity to its nearly 9 million customers, the Tennessee Valley Authority smashes atoms, burns coal and gas, and uses water. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News via

New Orleans – Businessman Ordered Jailed in Dispute with Utility. A judge ordered a businessman jailed Tuesday in an unusual case involving a corroded light pole, an injured street vendor and what the businessman calls a vindictive utility company. (NY Times)

San Francisco Chronicle Guest Commentary: Christine Todd Whitman – Nuclear energy needs to grow. Summer - a time for vacations, the beach, fun in the sun - and high electricity bills. “…Relative to other sources for electricity, nuclear power has the lowest production cost per kilowatt hour. The average fuel cost for nuclear plants last year was 0.45 cents/kwh, compared to 1.36 cents/kwh for coal and 3.44 cents/kwh for natural gas…”

Astorian Editorial – Is the fix in on LNG at Bradwood? It is time for Kulongoski and other coast governors to set a standard. You are not alone if you were surprised at the Clatsop County Planning Commission's favorable decision on NorthernStar's land-use application to build a liquefied natural gas terminal at Bradwood.

Cowlitz PUD lowers rate for low income, disabled clients (The Daly News, Longview)

Minnesota – Utilities step up power shut-offs: Xcel, CenterPoint find more customers behind on their bills. After Ana Rodriguez lost her job in January, she had the electricity to her house in St. Paul's West Seventh Street neighborhood shut off by Xcel Energy, not once, not twice, but three times.

Illinois – Ameren Customers to Receive Rebates (Forbes)

The Winner's Circle – Lobbyists are amassing on Capitol Hill. Energy legislation is pending. It's not just any bill. It's one that will touch every dimension of the sector from the greenies to the fossil fuel factions to the nuclear power sector. (EnergyBiz Insider via

Tip-from Samuel Insull – A Rebuttal to Dr. Hogan: "Looking for the 'Voom’ – Earlier this year, Dr. William Hogan issued a paper on the regulation of wholesale electricity markets titled, "Acting in Time: Regulating Wholesale Electricity Markets". Mr. McCullough has written a rebuttal to Dr. Hogan's paper noting that the market set-up favored by Dr. Hogan will not reduce price volatility, and does little to encourage the investments needed to meet our nation's growing demand. (Links to PDF File)

Colorado – Burying lines could go to voters. Mayor John Hickenlooper is backing a plan to ask Denver voters next year whether or not they would pay to bury power lines that run through city parks. (Rocky Mountain News),1299,DRMN_15_5695125,00.html

Energy Pulse Commentary – Mega Hydraulic Storage for Future Power Generation

Started by faulty electrical work in home – A little extra something in the smoke at Oakland home fire. Firefighters battling a blaze at a home in the Oakland hills this morning discovered a marijuana-growing operation, authorities said. (San Francisco Chronicle)


Seattle Times guest columnist: Cathy McMorris Rodgers – Salmon and dams can coexist on the Snake River

News Release via KCBI, Boise – Congress Urged to Oppose Anti-Salmon Measure

British Columbia Hydro reservoir levels near all-time high – BC Hydro reservoir levels are at their fourth highest level on record thanks to this spring's unusually high snowpack. (Vancouver Sun)

California Officials Tackle a Toothy Lake Predator – For the last decade, California has waged a Sisyphean battle against the northern pike, a fish and a voracious eating machine. (NY Times)

Water Board Tours Fish Habitat Projects – Members of the Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB) toured fish habitat projects in the Stanley Basin last Thursday during a work session prior to the Boards regularly scheduled meeting. (KBCI, Boise)

On the Washington Coast – Science: Effort to revive bird population blossoms (The Columbian)

Chelan County PUD looks to tap into new aquifer – The Chelan County PUD will study an aquifer near Beebe Bridge to see if it's large enough to help alleviate demand on the Wenatchee area's water supply. (The Wenatchee World)

Surprise offer for Lake Tapps – The cities of Auburn, Bonney Lake and Sumner are expected to submit a joint proposal to Puget Sound Energy today to buy Lake Tapps as a potential domestic water source. (News Tribune, Tacoma)

Consultant to study Hoquiam’s dam issue – The City Council approved $6,000 on Monday to hire a consultant in the city’s quest to bring down the Little Hoquiam River dam in the city’s watershed. (Daily World, Aberdeen)

Water crisis squeezes California's economy – A recent federal ruling to reduce the amount of water that flows through the delta is likely to boost food prices and trim jobs in agriculture. (Christian Science Monitor)

Restoring original waterways – Nason Creek to flow into historic channel for first time in 50 years Restoring original waterways (The Wenatchee World)


Massachusetts – More spin at Cape Wind hearing: No new ideas heard

Arizona – County supervisors set to OK backyard wind towers. When William and Janeen Scharf sought permission to install a Southwest Windpower turbine at their Doney Park home this summer, a Coconino County board turned them down. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News via


Power companies get incentive to save kilowatts – “…three states are launching programs to conserve energy and curb global warming while preserving utility profits. Idaho has enacted the nation's boldest plan to encourage efficiency by guaranteeing that utilities won't sacrifice profits by sel ing less electricity…”

Federal Efficiency Standards Result In Less Efficient Washers – As of January, the Department of Energy requires washer makers to use 21% less energy, but some makers are meeting the standards by decreasing how well their products actually wash clothes, according to Consumer Reports. (The Consumerist. Note: the comments section may contain PG-13 language)

New Zealand – Government blasted over DIY 'death traps'. Aluminum foil stapled under the floors of houses as insulation could become a death trap and the Government has done little to warn of the dangers, says a coroner.


Nevada regulators reject GHG emissions standard for power plants – Nevada regulators on Friday rejected a proposal to stop approving new coal-fired power plants and adopt a carbon dioxide emissions standard that essentially would bar conventional coal-fired plants from being built. (Platts News Service)

Climate Change's Great Divide – Lawmakers Favor Carbon Caps, Trading; Economists Prefer a Tax. The biggest political battle in Washington over climate change may not pit Democrats against Republicans. Instead, it could be economists versus politicians. (Wall Street Journal)


Official: 'Massive' Damage to China from Hacking – Charge Seen as Response to Reports of Chinese Hacking in Western Countries (Washington Post)

Digital Voice: Whether You Want It or Not, It’s Comcastic! Consumers are up in arms about Comcast's latest innovation: Want It or Not Digital Voice. (Turn.Org)

Congressional Research Service – The Transition to Digital Television: Is America Ready?

Internet Users Join Search for Steve Fossett – In Nevada, the search for missing aviator Steve Fossett goes on — and now thousands of amateurs are joining in from their desks. (National Public Radio)

News Release – The Catch-22 of Powering Today's Corporate Data Centers – Consulting Firm Report Offers Multi-Pronged Route Away From the Power Drain (PR NewsWire via Yahoo News)


BRUSH FIRE IN DAYTON AREA – Fire crews remain on the scene of a brush fire in the Dayton area. According to the State Department of Natural Resources, the fire on Martin Road near Mill Five is contained and about 17 acres in size. Just about all fire departments in Mason County and the DNR responded to the blaze that was reported about 7:30 Tuesday night. The cause of the fire on Green Diamond Resource Company land is under investigation. Three engines, two tenders and three ten-person inmate crews from Mission Creek Corrections Center will be on the scene today. No other details are available. (KMAS Radio, Shelton)

Horizon Air cancels many flights – Horizon Air, one of the busiest carriers at Portland International Airport and other regional airports, is canceling more than 100 flights today to carry out emergency inspections of landing gear on many of its aircraft. (The Columbian)

Feds tab I-5 as 'corridor of the future' – The U.S. Department of Transportation has named Interstate 5 as a "corridor of the future" and is providing millions of dollars to upgrade I-5 from Washington to California. (Portland Business Journal)

Case of the missing gift cards: Mail carrier is stung – A video and transmitter lead to a worker scheduled to plead guilty

Get healthy or else: More firms are imposing health surcharges on out-of-shape workers (Everett Herald)


No clucking in Soap Lake – An ordinance to allow chickens in the city limits failed with a 2-5 vote during a Wednesday night Soap Lake City Council meeting. (But a huge Lava Lamp? You Bet!)

(No prehensile toes yet!) UC to ask for removal of tree-sitters: University tells judge that the protesters have become dangerous – UC Berkeley will ask a judge today to order the removal of more than a dozen tree-sitters from an oak grove near Memorial Stadium. (Contra Costa Times)

Bank robber uses own check in robbery;_ylt=AlVmcFY4M.jfw9mpGReTn1vtiBIF

Mugger in Germany foiled by blind judo expert – A blind judo expert astounded a mugger by pinning him to the ground after he tried to steal his cigarettes;_ylt=As4pA8bgULMKujbPiZfFUl7tiBIF