Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

Project Healing Waters

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Monday, November 24, 2008

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From the Aspen Daily News: "The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board Thursday agreed to spend up to $100,000 to design and help build a small and 'moderately difficult' kayak park in the Roaring Fork River in Basalt, just upstream of the Elk Run neighborhood.

"The funding was granted at the request of Pitkin County Attorney John Ely, who said a recently completed $10,000 feasibility study by The McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group in Denver concluded the park would be both a recreational and environmental improvement.

"If the $100,000 expenditure for the kayak park is approved by the county commissioners, about $75,000 will be paid to Jason Carey of River of Glenwood Springs to design a kayak wave, a small boat ramp and riverside trails."

Category: Colorado Water
5:56:37 PM    

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USGS: "The first comprehensive reconstruction of an extreme warm period shows the sensitivity of the climate system to changes in carbon dioxide (CO2

Category: Climate Change News
5:34:47 PM    

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Up at the GOAT Ed Quillen gets in on the discussion around President-Elect Barack Obama's choice to lead Interior, along with a little history, of course. From the article: "As in Lincoln's day, Interior is a cabinet slot almost guaranteed to go to a Westerner.

Here's a link to my column from the Examiner. I list all the departments under Interior. Denver used to be called the Washington D.C. of the West -- a nod to the number of federal employees here. There are still a lot of federal employees here in Colorado.

Coyote Gulch wants to know more about Rep. Raul Grijalva's position on water issues before we weigh in.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
5:18:32 PM    

Here's a list of names of potential nominees to lead the Department of Interior from the Associated Press. From their article:

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz.
Former Gov. John Kitzhaber, D-Ore.
Former Gov. Tony Knowles, D-Alaska.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.

From Wikipedia:

Mike Thompson -- "Thompson was the House sponsor of the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which was signed in to law by President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006. The bill protected 275,830 acres (1,116.2 km2) of federal land as wilderness and 21 miles (34 km) of stream as a wild and scenic river, including such popular areas as the King Range and Cache Creek. Thompson worked with Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California in the 5-year effort to pass the bill."

Tony Knowles -- "Knowles was chair of the Western Governors' Association in 1997, two-term chair of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission, and a member of the Pew Oceans Commission (POC)...Knowles pushed Canadian officials to adopt his 'safe passage' principle to protect Pacific salmon and their freshwater habitat, leading to the successful negotiation of the first coast wide salmon treaty in decades...On November 7, 2006, Knowles lost the Governorship in the general election to Republican Sarah Palin. Although many had predicted a close race, including pollsters for both parties, Knowles lost by 7 points, polling lower than in his 2004 bid for the U.S. Senate. Due to his early support for Barack Obama, his status as a former Governor of a western state, and his long-term involvement in oil and energy concerns, Knowles has been discussed as a potential Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Energy in an Obama cabinet."

John Kitzhaber -- "Kitzhaber developed several policy initiatives related to natural resources during his two terms as governor. The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds attempted to restore dwindling runs of endangered native salmon species to Oregon's rivers and streams. The plan was a collaborative effort that encouraged federal, state and local government agencies to work with private landowners to restore watershed health and recover endangered salmon runs. Kitzhaber also took a high profile and controversial stand in favor of breaching several Northwest dams to help restore salmon populations. Managing growth, particularly in the Willamette Valley, drew Kitzhaber's attention as well. A staunch supporter of Oregon's comprehensive land use system, he fought against attempts to weaken its protection of farmland and enforcement of urban growth boundaries. Kitzhaber also created the Governor's Growth Task Force and the Willamette Valley Livability Forum to help gather accurate information and outline integrated approaches for developing sustainable communities. His related Community Solutions program attempted to focus the efforts of numerous state agencies, other governments, and interested groups in collaborative problem solving and coordination to manage various community development projects across Oregon...

"Kitzhaber serves as the Director for the Center for Evidence Based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. He holds an endowed Chair on Health Care Policy with The Foundation for Medical Excellence, an Oregon based public, nonprofit educational foundation. On January 13, 2006 Kitzhaber launched the Archimedes Movement, an organization seeking to maximize the health of the population by creating a sustainable system which uses the public resources spent on health care to ensure that everyone has access to a defined set of effective health services. The goal is to create not only this vision for a more equitable and sustainable system but also the tension necessary for its realization."

Raúl Grijalva -- "As member and later chairman of Pima County Board of Supervisors, Grijalva was widely regarded as the leading political supporter of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, an ambitious and highly regarded county program for planned land-use and biodiversity conservation. He has consistently supported endangered species conservation and wilderness issues then and as a Congressman...Grijalva is a strong supporter of sovereignty and government-to-government relationship[s]."

Thanks to McJoan over at the Daily Kos for the link. She has a nice post up about the The Choice to Clean Up the Bush Mess at Interior. From the article:

At Interior, I expect that Grijalva and Thompson have a leg up. Thompson has been heavily pushed by hunting and fishing organizations, as well as by influential Congressman George Miller. Arizona representative Raul Grijalva meets a couple of key criteria

Choosing the congressman, who was just re-elected to his fifth term, would please both Latino advocates and the environmental community. Grijalva boasts a 95 percent lifetime score with the League of Conservation Voters, and he oversaw a federal study that linked oil and gas development on public lands with the decline in Western hunting habitat. He has also questioned the cheap grazing permits the Interior Department has leased to ranchers in the West.

For the rest of the west--the drought stricken interior--Grijalva would probably be a better choice than Thompson. One factor is the inherent hostility of most of the Interior west to California--a Rocky Mountain state secretary would have an advantage in dealing with the interior states governors and lawmakers. That perhaps shouldn't be a factor, but it's a reality. As an outspoken and constant critic of the Bush administration, last month he issued a scathing report titled "The Bush Administration's Assaults on Our National Parks, Forests and Public Lands," accusing Bush of carrying out "a concerted strategy" of reducing protections for federal properties, "opening up these lands for every type of private, commercial and extractive industry possible." Grijalva has an in-depth understanding of how we got into this mess, and would have a leg up on figuring how to get us out.

As for the other contenders, Kitzhaber is a phenomenal politician--the anti-politician. He's a consensus builder and is insanely popular in Oregon. But he's been out of the public spotlight, by choice, since he left the governor's office in 2004. Tony Knowles, the former governor of Alaska, would be a slightly controversial choice because of his past support for development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (as pretty much all Alaska politicians do). After these past eight years, I'd argue for an Interior Secretary with an inherent skepticism toward more drilling.

That Grijalva is apparently a leading candidate (though his spokesperson claims that he hasn't been contacted) is highly encouraging. The environment and the stewardship of our public lands is one area in which a "mandate for reconciliation" should definitely be put aside in favor of as complete a reversal of Bush policy as possible.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Memo to the Obama transition team: Coyote Gulch is available.

Category: Colorado Water
6:25:03 AM    

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In anticipation of new federal rules on mercury emissions businesses are gearing up to make some dough on compliance. Here's a report from the Chemical & Engineering News (Marc Reisch). From the article:

By 2013, if a long-anticipated federal rule imposing such regulations nationwide goes into place, mercury control will be big business. Suppliers of abatement chemicals and catalyst control technologies expect a market of $500 million a year or more. Many providers are racing now to position themselves for this new market. For the near term, utilities are adopting activated carbon to control mercury emissions. Activated carbon is usually made by heat-treating coal to create a porous structure. Its largest application, consuming about 250 million lb per year in the U.S., is removing organic contaminants from drinking water.

When injected into power plant flue gas, activated carbon adsorbs mercury and then gets captured in the plant's waste fly ash. The technology reduces mercury emissions by 90% or more, meeting both state and the anticipated federal targets. Bob McIlvaine, president of the consulting firm McIlvaine Co., projects that the U.S. market for activated carbon in flue gas treatment will jump from about 10 million lb in 2010 to 350 million lb by 2013. Demand "could be huge," he says. Major activated carbon producers Norit and Calgon Carbon are adding capacity now, and at least one new supplier, ADA Environmenal Solutions (ADA-ES), is building a new plant to meet the anticipated demand.

But McIlvaine cautions that other solution providers find the mercury-reduction market tantalizing. Some selective catalyst-reduction systems already use urea and a metal or zeolite catalyst to remove nitrogen oxides from power plant flue gas. Makers of these systems are working now to tweak catalysts to also remove mercury. Gold or platinum catalysts might do the trick too. And a professor at Washington University in St. Louis is investigating the use of titanium dioxide as both a catalyst and adsorbent to remove mercury. A federal rule, when it comes, will most likely require the best available technology to remove mercury from flue gas. "How that will be done is still up in the air," McIlvaine says. And so although activated carbon looks like the best available technology now, after 2013, a better or cheaper technique might emerge, he says.

Calgon Carbon is taking a conservative approach to the activated carbon market. Bob O'Brien, senior vice president of the firm, acknowledges that mercury abatement "looks like a big growth opportunity for us and the activated carbon industry in North America," but he wonders how big the market will actually be. "Opportunities based on environmental regulations often start with talk of huge markets. In the end, though, the markets are usually smaller than were originally expected," O'Brien says.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
5:57:11 AM    

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan: "Saudi Arabia last week honored Chih Ted Yang, a civil engineering professor at CSU, with an international prize for water engineering. The award is one of the most prestigious awards for water-related subjects in the world, according to a Colorado State University news release. Yang is the recipient of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, Surface Water Branch: Sedimentation Control in Surface Water Systems. The honor comes with a personal award of 500,000 Saudi Riyals, or about $133,000. Yang accepted his award and presented the keynote address Nov. 16 at the Third International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environments in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

"Yang is the Borland Professor of Water Resources and director of the Hydroscience and Training Center in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU. He is a world-renowned expert in sediment transport and river morphology."

Category: Colorado Water
5:49:23 AM    

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Congratulations are in order for Fort Collins utilities. From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

The Water Treatment Facility recently received the Director's Award from the Partnership for Safe Water, ranking it as one of only six treatment plants in Colorado and approximately 200 nationwide to receive this prestigious award in 2008. The award recognizes the utilities' commitment to provide great-tasting, high-quality and cost-effective water.

In addition, the Water Treatment Facility received the Bronze Environmental Achievement Award from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or CDPHE, for its energy optimization accomplishments, resulting in substantial natural gas savings. These savings were achieved by integrating conservation practices into everyday processes and procedures.

Category: Colorado Water
5:45:24 AM    

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