Friday, October 26, 2007

News Digest for October 26, 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.


Flabbergast • \FLAB-er-gassed\ • transitive verb – To overwhelm with shock, surprise, or wonder: dumbfound

(See the first story under Energy and Utility Issues)



Trick or Treat! Canadian investors to buy Puget Sound Energy (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Here’s the Google news search on this story:,GGLJ:2006-46,GGLJ:en&q=puget+energy&um=1&tab=wn

Natural gas prices drop 18 percent – More than 2,000 local customers will pay less for natural gas this winter. The average Cascade Natural Gas residential customer will see the monthly bill drop by almost 18 percent, or about $13. (Wenatchee World)

Northwest Natural rates to be cut by 9 percent – Northwest Natural Gas Co. has been given the go-ahead to reduce rates, effective Nov. 1, the first reduction in five years. (The Columbian, Vancouver)

Pace of coal-power boom slackens – Rising construction costs and potential climate legislation in Congress halt at least 18 proposed power plants in the past nine months. (Christian Science Monitor)

California – City fires up power plant: Natural-gas facility will provide 40 percent of Roseville's power. Roseville's first power plant -- and largest construction project to date -- officially opened last week with a ceremonial flip of the switch. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, via Power Marketing Association Online)

New era for nuclear could open via tax breaks, fast-track regulation and climate change: Milken Institute Review (Utility Automation and Engineering),-fast-track-regulation-and-climate-change:-Milken-Institute-Review/

Parties reach deal in California-Oregon Intertie dispute – The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late Wednesday said a PacifiCorp, Pacific Gas and Electric and the California Independent System Operator had reached a settlement in their dispute over which would manage the entire California-Oregon Intertie, three major AC power lines that bring power direct from hydroelectric plants in the Pacific Northwest to Los Angeles. (Platts Energy News)

Power line will fire up Alaska, not B.C. critic suggests (

News Release – Women’s Energy Network: Calling All High School Girls – The Energy Industry Wants You! (Electric Energy Online)

News Release – USDA Awards More Than $1.6 Billion In Electric Loans. $38 million goes to Kodiak Electric Association (US Dept’ of Agriculture)!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2007/10/0310.xml

FERC – Hydropower - Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric Project located in Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Orangeburg, and Sumpter Counties, South Carolina. (Project No. 199-205)


British Columbia – Farmed Atlantic salmon found in Clayoquot rivers. The Westerly has confirmed that shortly after a net breach at a salmon farm in Clayoquot Sound last month a small number of Atlantic salmon were found in nearby rivers. (The Times Colonist, Victoria)

Schools of chum salmon charge through town. The Kennedy Creek estuary at low tide is a quiet place — until small schools of chum salmon blow into town. (The Olympian)

Oregon governor’s marine reserve survey has coast in turmoil (Eugene Register Guard)

Bureau provides Odessa study results – Columbia Basin residents got to hear the latest on a study of ways to increase groundwater into irrigated land within the Odessa Subarea. (Columbia Basin Herald)

Montana Environmental Standard Upheld – A judge upheld Montana water-quality standards aimed at protecting rivers in the Powder River Basin from pollution caused by coal-bed methane development. (The Associated Press)


Quilcene solar pair becomes Puget Sound Energy's 200th to feed power to grid (Peninsula Daily News)

Developer touts planned Moxee tire plant as green energy source – They are called ecoblocks, not baled tires. (Yakima Herald-Republic – Good God! As long as it’s not coal!)

Would use construction waste – Activists Oppose Wood-Burning Power Plant “…It's absurd that a power plant could emit 7,200 pounds a year of lead and 1,400 pounds per year of arsenic and be considered a clean energy source…” (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, via Power Marketing Association Online)

California – Wood-burning limits set. Air board OKs curbs on winter use of fireplaces, wood stoves in county. By an 8-3 vote, Sacramento air quality managers approved a two-stage plan to curtail wood burning in Sacramento County during winter. (Sacramento Bee, may require free registration. Now wait a minute. Isn’t wood burning supposed to be carbon neutral?)

Pacific Northwest “Hydrogen Highway” Proposed (NW Public Radio)


GE hopes to cut mercury in "green" light bulbs (Reuters)

News Release – Prototype "Energy Smart" office slated for construction in Vancouver (Bonneville Power Administration)


Cement Industry Is at Center of Climate Change Debate (NY Times)

Seattle P-I Guest Columnist – Be wary of climate policy development. Imagine you are an advocacy group and want to sway a government's policy development, but really want to keep your activism a secret. You could learn a lot by observing and then avoiding the practices of the Center for Climate Strategies, a group of global warming worrywarts.

British Columbia government eyes carbon tax in next budget – Levy on gasoline could be a start, says finance minister (The Times Colonist, Victoria)

(The Big Stick) The second inconvenient truth – We must tax greenhouse gases or they will keep rising; wishful thinking about voluntary cuts just won't work (Vancouver Sun)


Microsoft quarter brings back boom – Stellar first-quarter results and a substantially improved outlook spurred Microsoft shares to levels not seen since July 2001. (Seattle Times)

Senate OKs 7 more years of tax-free Net access, e-mail – Scarcely a week before an existing ban on Internet access taxes is set to expire, the U.S. Senate late Thursday voted to let the prohibition live on for seven more years. (CNET News)

Telcos: IPTV Needs Fiber To The Home – Service providers at TelcoTV endorsed fiber to the home (FTTH) as the best access medium for IPTV, but said it's the services that will really set them apart from cable and satellite competitors. (Light Reading)

After major projects fail, Wi-Fi reborn as cities refine approaches – Municipal Wi-Fi projects, all the rage last year, have fallen into a funk, if you believe the press reports about delays and problems for big deployments in cities like San Francisco, Chicago and Houston. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Trio who ripped off Microsoft get prison – Three people convicted of scamming Microsoft Corp. out of millions of dollars by reselling sharply discounted software were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. (Associated Press, via the Columbian)


Cost of gas soars again, state hit hard – Washington now has third-highest price in U.S. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Tight supplies, speculation send oil, gas prices to new highs (San Francisco Chronicle)

A cautionary tale – Largest PDC fine hits hospital administrators. The state Public Disclosure Commission imposed the largest out-of-court fine in its history Thursday, accepting a settlement that would require two administrators at a Renton hospital to pay more than $120,000 for using public money on a tax levy and annexation proposal. (Associated Press, via the Columbian)

Insurance agents' letters broke rules, group says – Letters sent by some of the state's largest insurance companies warning policyholders that their rates would increase if Referendum 67 passes are illegal campaign contributions, an advocacy group for retired people said Thursday. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Skydiver memorial Saturday in Snohomish – A memorial service for nine skydivers and the pilot killed in a plane crash near White Pass is scheduled for tomorrow in Snohomish.

Everett wood chip fire burns for months, upsets neighbors (KOMO-TV, Seattle)

Fox’s Coverage of World Series Has Taco Filling – I’ve rarely seen a sponsor so overtly and shamelessly integrated into a game, which is great news for those who love what Taco Bell is giving away: crunchy seasoned beef tacos. (NY Times)

FEMA Workers Masquerade As Reporters – One way to get decent coverage in this rough-and-tumble city is to arrange to have your own employees interrogate you at your news conference.


Judge returns disputed Oregon deer to family

Stupid signs for everyone! Oops! Drivers sink into wet concrete – As many as 10 vehicles drove around barriers and onto freshly poured concrete on a busy thoroughfare during rush hour.;_ylt=AnHZNANOIWphP6hMpZAHk7vtiBIF

Harry Potter a left-wing hero? Harry Potter -- left-wing hero of the intellectual aristocracy against the materialist middle classes? Well, yes, according to the French daily Liberation.;_ylt=AlZ9oZjizDTEAUo9F2GCeeftiBIF

Teenager in go-kart leaves police standing – A teenager speeding through a German town in a go-kart with seven squad cars in hot pursuit managed to give the frustrated officers the slip, police said on Friday.;_ylt=AvxEL9StyGOGvxVMdEqMoVntiBIF

Man arrested after saving pair from fire;_ylt=Agfotm08jPQKpZ0XQXnpRSTtiBIF