Top Global Contractors for major construction projects

China leads the construction world

Vikrant Kelkar | Mumbai | Oct. 30, 2012

View Original Article.

A recent poll of top 225 global contractors by Engineering News-Record magazine has five Chinese construction companies in the top ten. This poll merely hints at increasing Chinese influence on the construction world. Their dominance was always imminent as in the past decade Chinese construction has become synonymous with painstaking formulation of big project followed by its successful execution that too on time. The world maybe facing an economic downturn but China seems unaffected by the prevailing conditions as one often hears stories of China bagging many key development projects around the world and also fulfilling its demand (demands of more than a billion) at home. But what exactly is the reason behind this unexpected growth?
The Chinese construction powerhouses are state-controlled and are often given special attention in the state’s developmental policies. Hence the reason for the emergence of these companies is a very conducive construction environment at home. Moreover in the recent times, the government of China has undertaken enormous infrastructure projects to transform the country into a modern image of self-reliance–the 2008 Beijing Olympics was a sincere yet dazzling show of its strength. This sort of large undertaking and its execution will certainly evoke awe and fear in any company but in the case of Chinese companies, it is the other way around. They have flourished with every project so much so that they have been posting growth of double digits in the past decade. But their burgeoning is not only limited to its domestic market, they have also become leading construction players in the global arena.
Today, some of the excellent examples of Chinese strides in global construction field are much sought after — China State Construction & Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC).  China State Construction & Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), deemed by International Construction magazine as the world’s biggest builder, is revamping the Alexander Hamilton Bridge in New York, erecting a huge tower block in Moscow and also creating a colossal tourist resort in the Bahamas. Meanwhile, China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) is building Mecca’s new metro system.
While Chinese companies have dominated the list of global contractors, Indian construction giants have also fared well. L&T was ranked 29 in the 2011 list but in 2012 it has climbed two spots to end up at 27 while Punj Lloyd stood at 109 (as against 127 in 2011). But Shapoorji Pallonji, with regard to the previous year’s ranking, has jumped more than 50 spots to end up at 148. The other include Ircon International ranking 224 in 2012.

 

Top Global Contractor

Darryl Brown in Caribou – 2 Articles

The first article, East-West Maine highway may be privately built toll road, is from October 23 and announces Brown’s upcoming October 29 meetings in Aroostook County.  This provides a good outline of proponent talking points.

The second article, Proposed Highway To Bring Great Development, is from October 29.  It includes a video with many of Brown’s powerpoint slides, which are new.  One new selling point includes a multi-use recreation trail.  Also of note, the reporter says that MDOT was at the table.  This meeting was at Northern Maine Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Mobilize Maine.

There is a lot of information about Mobilize Maine and Eastern Maine Development Corporation in the Timeline of E/W Activity.  Although Mobilize Maine and the regional development corporations say that they promote “asset-based” development, the East-West Corridor is clearly not asset-based, but rather needs-based, i.e. to fill the “hollow middle.”

Oregon to try rock salt for snow removal

The Associated Press
Posted:   10/26/2012 09:44:00 PM PDT

PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon has long avoided the use of rock salt for snow removal but now it plans a five-year pilot project to use salt strategically on two routes typically hard-hit by winter storms.The Oregonian reported Friday that ( http://is.gd/afSTbh) it obtained a state Transportation Department document that says the agency wants “another tool in the toolbox” to keep roads clear.

Transportation Department spokesman Dave Thompson acknowledges that rock salt is “stuff we said we wouldn’t use in the past.” However, he says occasional use would help make for “consistent highway conditions” between Oregon and neighboring states that use salt.

The plan calls for using solid rock salt on an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 5 where it crosses the Siskiyou Pass at the California border, and along 120 miles of U.S. Highway 95 between the Nevada and Idaho borders.

Thompson said there are no plans to use salt in the Portland area because of its corrosive effects on bridges.

Oregon Environmental Council clean water advocate Teresa Huntsinger said many other states are trying to reduce the use of road salt. Concerns include possible residue contamination of water supplies and damage to vegetation.

Still, with California, Nevada and Idaho using salt on roads during snowstorms, the contract can be dramatic: clear driving in those states, packed snow on the highway in Oregon, Thompson said. The need to chain


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up vehicles in Oregon leads to traffic delays and, in some cases, crashes, he said.”We want to provide the safest possible roadway system,” says a seven-page, question and answer document outlining the plan. “These two pilot projects will help us determine if, in specific, limited situations, salt can help us do that.”

State transportation officials recognize the dangers posed by salting roads to remove snow. A separate “best practices” document, written by department engineers and downloaded from the Internet, calls salt, “the most mobile, the most corrosive and the most likely deicer chemical to negatively impact surface and groundwater resources.”

The plan did not go through the state Transportation Commission, which sets broad policy for the department, said Shelly Snow, an Oregon transportation spokeswoman.

“Our maintenance folks can make this kind of decision on their own,” Snow said. “They did in this case.”

Snow said department officials checked with the state Department of Environmental Quality and with the National Marine Fisheries Service, both of which approved the pilot project.

There’s still the question of explaining this to the public.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to word it,” Thompson said. “This is a major change.”

Source:  http://www.marinij.com/tablehome/ci_21866818/oregon-try-rock-salt-snow-removal

Oregon Environmental Quality Commission rejects petition for more pesticide regulation

Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission today rejected a petition from Northwest Environmental Advocates to increase regulation of pesticides that can harm salmon and steelhead on the endangered species list.

The commission voted 5-0 to reject the petition from Nina Bell, the environmental group’s director. Among other measures, Bell’s petition would have required significantly increased buffer zones for spraying certain pesticides near streams.

The petition focused on pesticides that the National Marine Fisheries Service has identified as harmful to fish and other aquatic life. The federal reviews indicate that some pesticides are harmful even when used according to label instructions approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, the petition notes.

Farm and forest groups opposed the petition, noting that pending lawsuits have challenged NMFS’ conclusions. Critics say NMFS’ assumptions about pesticide use don’t reflect what’s actually happening on the ground.

DEQ staff also opposed the petition, saying that it hopes to expand voluntary pesticide stewardship partnerships to address pesticide pollution in priority watersheds.

The National Academy of Sciences is reviewing the scientific methods used to assess pesticide risks, DEQ staff noted. EPA will use the academy’s conclusions, due in 2013, to decide how to implement NMFS recommendations for pesticide use.

Bell has filed numerous successful lawsuits on water pollution issues, including the suit that prompted Portland to clean up sewage overflows. After the vote, Bell said she plans no further action in the short term.

But pesticide rules are subject to challenge under the Endangered Species Act: “Eventually,” she said, “that’s certainly something that could come up.”

Source:  http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/10/oregon_environmental_quality_c_1.html#incart_river

Huge Bottling Plant Threatens Our Quality of Life

Wednesday, October 10, 2012, The Anacortes American

Letters to the Editor
Huge bottling plant threatens our quality of life
How will one of the largest water bottling plants just off Highway 20 on Reservation Road help the people of Skagit Valley? The land will be located within the Anacortes city limits, gracing them with tax revenues. Jobs have been promised, though unlikely there will be many.
This appears to be municipality business; after all, it is, or will be, within the city limits, though the residents will seldom see or hear it, or even deal with train congestion as most folks in Anacortes don’t “go over the bridge.” Anacortes is nicely insulated from the traffic on Highway 20.
But what about the impact of these trains going through Mount Vernon, Burlington and Highway 20? The entire rest of the county will be heavily impacted by train congestion, but stand to gain nothing from it.
Steve Winters with Tethys Enterprises had first said there would be four mile-long trains (round-trip makes that eight mile-long trains) each day. Add to that the extra train(s) Shell and Tesoro is filling with crude oil products and an extra 18 trains a day filled with coal, shopping in Mount Vernon or Burlington will require several railroad stops. All told, we could have well over 30 trains a day.
Who pays to have the road and rail crossing re-done at all the intersections? Do the people of Anacortes pay for this or will it be the citizens of Skagit County? I do not want to pay higher taxes so Tethys can profit from selling our water.
We can use some good industry in this county. The powers that be in Anacortes are looking in the right direction for themselves, but I think the inconvenience to the good people of Burlington and Mount Vernon and to citizens crossing Highway 20 is too high a trade-off.
Adding more trains to our transportation system right now is not a good idea for the people of Skagit County. The very quality of life in this beautiful valley is at stake. That many trains would encourage more business of the same in the future.
This will change the culture, the environment and the people of our valley forever. Let’s keep our valley a quiet place filled with pristine waters, scenic walking trails, agriculture, abundant bird life and a recovering salmon industry.
We are a bright and innovative people in this valley; we can do better than a bottling plant.
Judy Booth
La Conner
 
Source: URL

Oregon’s Department of Agriculture Looks to Protect Waterways from Pesticide Runoff

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–October 16, 2012.  The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is looking to revamp the way it enforces the 1993 Agricultural Water Quality Management Act in order to decrease the amount of pesticides that end up in the state’s waterways from agricultural nonpoint source pollution. The new plan, which was unveiled last December, will work by taking a firmer approach than the current plan, which on sporadic complaints for enforcement and cooperative action by residents through soil and water conservation districts. While a new plan could benefit the health of Oregon residents and its waterways, it is in danger because politicians and some farmers believe it will be overly burdensome and increase costs.

Oregon is no stranger to problems with pesticide contamination of its water. The state of Oregon has a complex and diverse agricultural economy which ranges from forestry products to seed crops. Oregon also has thousands of miles of waterways. Roughly 15,000 miles of these waterways are listed as impaired, and nearly half of the 11,000-plus miles of waterways in Willamette River basin need more streamside plants, according to a 2009 state report. These plants help reduce the amount of run off by reducing the amount of pesticides that can reach water-ways. Zollner creek, which runs through the flatlands below Mt. Angel Abbey in the Willamette Valley, was found to be contaminated with pesticides, including the chemical diuron, which is harmful to fish and aquatic organisms. The stream has registered high levels of pesticides and fertilizers since the mid-1990s, and contamination levels detected in the Zollner and around Oregon are high enough to cause harm to aquatic life, including native salmon and steelhead.

ODA Director Katy Coba and her staff floated the new, firmer approach to water quality late last year: The state would target limited resources to the most polluted streams, ramp up education of landowners and accelerate restoration projects, tapping state and federal subsidies. Over time, trees, shrubs and grasses would shade and cool rivers and filter pesticide and fertilizer runoff, benefiting threatened salmon runs. Before-and-after water monitoring would confirm long-term results. As a last resort, ODA would pursue uncooperative landowners, starting with warnings, instead of relying on outside complaints for enforcement. The department unveiled the proposal in December before the state’s water quality committee, including an aerial photo of the threatened Zollner watershed.

This new plan is seen as an improvement from the old system, which relied on outside complaints and cooperative landowners for improvements, leaving gaps which threatened water quality. An example of the problems this faced was last year Marion County’s soil and water conservation district decided to upgrade water quality along Zollner Creek. Conservation districts are government entities that work with landowners and operators who are willing to help them manage and protect land and water resources on all public and private land. While notices went to 75 farmers and land owners only five responded. Two eventually agreed to soil testing, and “Because of a lack of access on private land and interest by landowners,” the district reported to the state in July, “Efforts would be better spent on other projects.” The patchwork of voluntary projects, and a dearth of river data from years past, make it tough to demonstrate the results that environmentalists, federal regulators – and judges – increasingly demand.

The movement to this new system will be politically challenging for ODA because some farmers and conservation districts see the new proposal as a sign of a more active and intrusive governmental agency. In a January letter, the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts warned that farmers and ranchers might believe districts “are conspiring with ODA to set them up” for water quality violations. ODA, with just six field staff in its water quality program for 38,000 farms needs the conservation districts, which it leans on heavily for information and ground work in order to be successful.

Farmers are also concerned. John Annen, whose family has grown hops for more than a century along Zollner Creek, stated “I’m all for the clean rivers and the fish and all that — they were here before we were…But I don’t want somebody out here telling us what to do.” Farmers were also worried about the cost of creating stronger buffer zones. Federal and state subsidies only cover three-quarters of buffer installation, and while rent payments are supposed to address lost land value, land can range up to $12,000 an acre in the area. However, without proper action, and no matter the cost, pesticide pollution in these streams will affect the health and environment of Oregon residents.
Legislators from both parties are watching ODA closely as the proposal moves forward. If they don’t like what they see, bills to restrict or expand ODA’s authority could pop up in the Legislature next year and the future of this program may be in jeopardy after the November 6th elections.

To eradicate pesticides runoff in our waterways and our environment Beyond Pesticides supports farms that work to transition to organic methods of production. Organic food contributes to better health through reduced pesticide exposure for all and increased nutritional quality. In order to understand the importance of eating organic food from the perspective of toxic pesticide contamination, we need to look at the whole picture —from the farmworkers who do the valuable work of growing food, to the waterways from which we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. Organic food can feed us and keep us healthy without producing the toxic effects of chemical agriculture.

It is important to make your voice heard on organic standards. See Beyond Pesticides’ Keeping Organic Strong webpage for more information on the issues going on right now at the fall NOSB meeting. We will be updating this webpage with our perspectives,, so be sure to check back as new information is added.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science-a-environmental/37450-oregons-department-of-agriculture-looks-to-protect-waterways-from-pesticide-runoff.html

Nestle Peddling tap Water As Spring Water, Suit Claims

By Gavin Broady

Law360, New York (October 11, 2012, 1:36 PM ET) — Nestle Waters North America Inc. has been selling bottles of municipal tap water and falsely marketing it to consumers as 100 percent natural, spring-sourced water, according to a putative class action removed to Illinois federal court Wednesday.

Plaintiff Chicago Faucet Shoppe Inc. claims that Nestle — which removed the suit to federal court — has falsely represented to consumers that 5-gallon bottles of Ice Mountain water are sourced from springs and contain only naturally occurring minerals, when in fact the bottles are filled with water not from natural springs but from municipal water systems, according to the complaint.

“The Ice Mountain 5-gallon bottles would have cost less and would have been less marketable if there had been a disclosure that the 5-gallon bottles do not contain 100 percent natural spring water but instead contain resold municipal tap water,” the complaint said. “Nestle Waters’ failure to disclose this critical fact caused consumers to purchase 5-gallon jugs that they wouldn’t have otherwise purchased if that fact was known.”

Chicago Faucet is suing on behalf of all persons in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri who purchased the 5-gallon Ice Mountain bottles, claiming unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices under the Illinois Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and seeking actual and punitive damages, an injunction mandating disclosure and restitution.

Chicago Faucet claims that it began purchasing the 5-gallon jugs — which are sold only over the Internet or by phone, typically to offices or homes — for its Chicago office in 2008.

At an unspecified date thereafter, a Chicago Faucet employee called Nestle to order home delivery of the water and, after talking to several Nestle employees, was informed that the water was not 100 percent spring-sourced, according to the complaint.

Chicago Faucet says Nestle charges a premium for such spring-sourced water and that while bottles of water not advertised as spring-sourced — which are typically presumed to be tap water — have remained stagnant, sales of bottled water from spring sources have grown substantially.

Nestle has marketed the alleged benefits of spring water — including enhanced taste, quality and mineral composition — and has claimed that the springs themselves each have unique “taste fingerprints” in an unscrupulous and unethical manner intended to create demand for the product, according to the complaint.

Nestle Waters is the leading bottled water company in the U.S., with estimated 2010 sales exceeding $4 billion, according to the complaint.

This is not the first time Nestle has been hit with allegations over the sourcing of its bottled water. In 2003, a pair of consumers sued the company in a Connecticut class action over claims that its Poland Spring brand bottled water was falsely marketed as sourced from spring water deep in the woods of Maine when it consisted of tap water. That suit was reportedly settled later that year for a $10 million payout in the form of discounts to consumers and charitable contributions.

Representatives for the parties were not immediately for comment Thursday.

Chicago Faucet is represented by the Law Offices of Michael J. Newman and Cohen & Malad LLP.

Nestle is represented by Jeffrey M. Garrod of Orloff Lowenbach Stifelman & Siegel PA and Sarah Wolff and David Smith of Reed Smith LLP.

The case is The Chicago Faucet Shoppe Inc. v. Nestle Waters North America Inc, case number 1:12-cv-08119, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

–Editing by Lindsay Naylor.

source:  http://www.law360.com/articles/385751/nestle-peddling-tap-water-as-spring-sourced-suit-says

2011 Earthquake Linked to Groundwater Extraction – 2 articles

Manmade quakes: Spanish 2011 deadly tremor caused by water extraction – study

Deadly 2011 earthquake linked to groundwater extraction

By Deborah Zabarenko | Posted 2012/10/21 at 5:47 pm EDT

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2012 (Reuters) — An earthquake that killed nine people in Spain last year may have been triggered by decades of pumping water from a nearby natural underground reservoir, suggesting human activities played a role in moving Earth’s crust, scientists reported on Sunday.

The study published in the journal Nature Geoscience centered on the May 11, 2011, quake in the southern Spanish town of Lorca. In addition to the nine deaths, this relatively modest earthquake of magnitude 5.1 damaged numerous buildings in Lorca, an agricultural center.

The study’s lead author, Pablo Gonzalez of the University of Western Ontario, said he and his colleagues reckoned that the quake was related to a drop in the level of groundwater in a local aquifer, which can create pressure at the Earth’s surface.

To test that theory, they used satellite data to see how the terrain was deformed by the earthquake, and found that it correlated to changes in the Earth’s crust caused by a 273-yard (250-metre) drop in the natural groundwater level over the last five decades due to groundwater extraction.

Their findings suggest that human-induced stress on faults like the one near Lorca, known as the Alhama de Murcia Fault, can not only cause an earthquake but also influence how far the fault will slip as a result.

The groundwater was tapped by deeper and deeper wells to irrigate fruits and vegetables and provide water for livestock.

While this research does not automatically relate to other earthquakes, it could offer clues about quakes that occur near water in the future, Gonzalez said by telephone.

“We cannot set up a rule just by studying a single particular case, but the evidence that we have collected in this study could be necessary to expand research in other future events that occur near … dams, aquifers and melting glaciers, where you have tectonic faults close to these sources,” Gonzalez said.

He said this was different from a rash of minor earthquakes seen in Texas over the last two years, some of which occurred near wells where wastewater was injected deep underground.

In an accompanying article, Jean-Philippe Avouac of the California Institute of Technology said the implications could be far-reaching “if ever the effect of human-induced stress perturbations on seismicity is fully understood.”

“For now, we should remain cautious … We know how to start earthquakes, but we are still far from being able to keep them under control,” Avouac wrote.

(Reporting By Deborah Zabarenko)

Oregon denies water permit for Australian company

October 19, 2012

GRANTS PASS, Oregon (AP) — The state of Oregon has denied a water permit for an Australian mining company that wants to develop a gravel pit along a tributary of the Rogue River.

The Oregon Department of Water Resources said there is already too much water being taken out of Grave Creek, which flows into the Rogue at the start of the section that is one of Oregon’s most popular whitewater runs.

Water rights program manager Tim Wallin said Grave Creek ranks high on a list of waterways needing more water for salmon, and unless Havilah Resources LLC can secure some other water right to put back in the river, it cannot take out what it needs for mining.

A local representative of Havilah did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.

Conservation groups that had opposed the project praised the decision.

“We commend the Water Resources Department for standing up for one of Oregon’s most special places,” Kimberley Priestley, senior policy analyst for WaterWatch, said in a statement.

The proposed gravel pit would excavate 126 acres (51 hectares) about 12 miles (19 kilometers) upstream of the mouth of Grave Creek, in an area mined heavily for gold since the Gold Rush era.

Havilah proposed drilling 11 wells and pumping 8.5 cubic feet (0.24 cubic meters) per second of the groundwater that feeds the creek. Grave Creek runs from a high of 120 cubic feet (3.4 cubic meters) per second in February to a low of 3.6 cubic feet (0.1 cubic meters) per second in September. After being used in mining operations, water would go through a filtration process and return to the creek.

The water already is too warm to meet state standards for salmon, and withdrawing more water would make things worse, said Wallin. Pumping groundwater would deny water to the creek. The mine would also reduce water flowing downstream to the popular whitewater section of the Rogue.

Havilah has argued in its application that the project would put more water into the creek, and water going into the creek would be carefully filtered

The application denied Oct. 11 was for a temporary permit to allow operations to start prior to securing a permanent permit, Wallin said. The decision on the permanent permit is still pending, but denial of the temporary permit does not bode well for it, he said.

Source:  http://www.kgw.com/news/local/174832111.html

Nestle Peddling Tap Water as Spring-Sourced, Suit Says

By Gavin Broady, Portfolio Media, Inc.

Law360, New York (October 11, 2012, 1:36 PM ET) –Nestle Waters North America, Inc., has been selling bottles of municipal tap water and falsely marketing it to consumers as 100 percent natural, spring-sourced water, according to a putative class action removed to Illinois federal court Wednesday.Plaintiff Chicago Faucet Shoppe Inc. claims that Nestle — which removed the suit to federal court — has falsely represented to consumers that 5-gallon bottles of Ice Mountain water are sourced from springs and contain only naturally occurring minerals, when in fact the bottles are filled with water not from natural springs but from municipal water systems, according to the complaint.“The Ice Mountain 5-gallon bottles would have cost less and would have been less marketable if there had been a disclosure that the 5-gallon bottles do not contain 100 percent natural spring water but instead contain resold municipal tap water,” the complaint said. “Nestle Waters’ failure to disclose this critical fact caused consumers to purchase 5-gallon jugs that they wouldn’t have otherwise purchased if that fact was known.”Chicago Faucet is suing on behalf of all persons in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri who purchased the 5-gallon Ice Mountain bottles, claiming unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices under the Illinois Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and seeking actual and punitive damages, an injunction mandating disclosure and restitution.Chicago Faucet claims that it began purchasing the 5-gallon jugs — which are sold only over the Internet or by phone, typically to offices or homes — for its Chicago office in 2008.At an unspecified date thereafter, a Chicago Faucet employee called Nestle to order home delivery of the water and, after talking to several Nestle employees, was informed that the water was not 100 percent spring-sourced, according to the complaint.Chicago Faucet says Nestle charges a premium for such spring-sourced water and that while bottles of water not advertised as spring-sourced — which are typically presumed to be tap water — have remained stagnant, sales of bottled water from spring sources have grown substantially.

Nestle has marketed the alleged benefits of spring water — including enhanced taste, quality and mineral composition — and has claimed that the springs themselves each have unique “taste fingerprints” in an unscrupulous and unethical manner intended to create demand for the product, according to the complaint.

Nestle Waters is the leading bottled water company in the U.S., with estimated 2010 sales exceeding $4 billion, according to the complaint.

This is not the first time Nestle has been hit with allegations over the sourcing of its bottled water. In 2003, a pair of consumers sued the company in a Connecticut class action over claims that its Poland Spring brand bottled water was falsely marketed as sourced from spring water deep in the woods of Maine when it consisted of tap water. That suit was reportedly settled later that year for a $10 million payout in the form of discounts to consumers and charitable contributions.

Representatives for the parties were not immediately for comment Thursday.

Chicago Faucet is represented by the Law Offices of Michael J. Newman and Cohen & Malad LLP.

Nestle is represented by Jeffrey M. Garrod of Orloff Lowenbach Stifelman & Siegel PA and Sarah Wolff and David Smith of Reed Smith LLP.

The case is The Chicago Faucet Shoppe Inc. v. Nestle Waters North America Inc, case number  1:12-cv-08119, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

–Editing by Lindsay Naylor.

All Content © 2003-2012, Portfolio Media, Inc.