Feds Fund Effort To Cool Northwest Waters With Credit Trading

In the not so distant future, farmers and private landowners in the Pacific Northwest could be paid to plant trees to generate shade in watersheds that fail to meet cold water standards for salmon.

Two conservation groups, The Freshwater Trust and The Willamette Partnership, have worked with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to develop a credit market for reducing water temperature in Oregon.

Now the groups have received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand the project to Washington and Idaho, and to create a standardized thermal credit trading market similar to the existing carbon market.

According to the EPA, more than 35,000 miles of streams and rivers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho are impaired by warm temperatures.

Proponents of thermal credit trading say the system will create an incentive for cost-effective conservation activities, like tree planting and reducing agricultural diversions, that cool water.

This spring, President Obama gave a shout-out to a novel thermal credit program in Medford coordinated by the Freshwater Trust.

Instead of requiring the city’s wastewater treatment facility to install expensive cooling towers to avoid dumping warm water into the Rogue River, Oregon DEQ approved a thermal credit trade.

The wastewater treatment plant will purchase credits from farmers and landowners who agree to plant trees along a 40 mile stretch of the Rogue River, shading and cooling the watershed.

The Freshwater Trust is overseeing the thermal credit swap using a tool developed by DEQ called the Shade-o-lator) to calculate exactly how much new shade to create and how many trees to plant to counteract the warm water discharged by the wastewater plant. DEQ is requiring the wastewater facility to purchase two units of cooling credit for every one unit of heat it contributes to the Rogue River.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says expanding the thermal credit trading system into Washington and Idaho could improve water quality “in a way that is profitable for farmers and landowners, by encouraging them to participate in conservation and basically paying them for environmental results they can gain.”

The Freshwater Trust and the Willamette Partnership will use the grant to work with regulators to develop a unified set of standards to govern thermal credit trading in the Northwest and to recruit participants into the new market. In theory, if state regulators agree to the approach, power plants and wastewater treatment facilities could buy the credits to help comply with Clean Water Act temperature standards.

The Freshwater Trust aims to develop similar credit trading protocols for other types of water pollution, in particular nutrient and phosphorus pollution, but says that temperature is the easiest water quality problem to tackle with a credit trading market.

Source: http://earthfix.opb.org/water/article/feds-fund-effort-to-cool-northwest-waters-with-cre/

Nestles gets to keep taking Michigan water

Defending Water for Life is disappointed but not surprised to see this outcome from the Michigan Court of Appeals:

Why rights-based-ordinances are essential to actual protection: Courts follow laws that regulate environmental damage, they cannot prevent the damage from happening. And Nestle still complains because they’re not taking as much water per minute as they’d like… Here is the article:

Nestle Waters North America had a mixed reaction to an opinion recently issued by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court ruled on an appeal by Nestle Waters to a controversial 2003 Mecosta Circuit Court ruling that was in error and would have shuttered its Michigan operations, if upheld, according to the company. The Court stated definitively that the use of water by Nestle Waters is a beneficial use and ruled that the company’s water use at its Stanwood-based Ice Mountain bottling facility could continue. The ruling today keeps nearly 200 employees working at the facility.

The Court’s ruling also supported Nestle Waters’ legal arguments in upholding Michigan’s historic water use laws, which allow for the balanced and reasonable use of water by all parties. The ruling also affirmed the standards of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act (MEPA), as well.

Continue reading

Alabama Immigration Law: Prove Citizenship or Lose Clean Water Supply

By Ashley Portero | October 10, 2011 12:33 PM EDT

While Alabama’s recently upheld immigration law has been criticized by a number of organizations for provisions that are widely thought to be the harshest in the nation, there’s one measure that can be considered the most draconian of the bunch: namely, a line that has allowed at least one city to cut off clean water to residents who don’t have an Alabama driver’s license.

Under section 30 of the law, known as HB56, anyone lacking the proper immigration papers is considered to be committing a crime if they try to enter into a “business transaction” with the “state or a political subdivision of the state.” Although the law doesn’t define what constitutes a business transaction, some parties apparently believe it includes something as basic to life as clean water.

The community of Allgood features a warning notice stating that, “To be complaint with new laws concerning immigration you must have an Alabama driver’s license … or you may lose water service,” according to multiple reports. The note was posted by the Allgood Alabama Water Works; Allgood Mayor Neil Pane hasn’t publicly commented on the issue.

During an Oct. 7 news conference, The Birmingham News reported, a group of lawyers, educators and children’s advocates said Alabama’s immigration law is essentially a humanitarian crisis, creating an element of fear and racism that has “led to thousands of children being kept home from school, pregnant women being afraid to give birth in a hospital and families having their water supply cut off.”

Mary Bauer, the legal director of the Southern Poverty Law center, told the newspaper the center’s hotline has received thousands of phone calls since the law was upheld and indicated that multiple municipalities may cut off water service to customers with a questionable immigration status. Families are being forced to go without clean water and even indoor plumbing until the decision is reversed in court, an impact of the law she said is blatantly unconstitutional.

Allison Neal, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, told the IBTimes that in addition to Allgood, the Montgomery Water Works is now requesting social security numbers from individuals before setting up water service to their homes. In addition, she said both the Montgomery and Houston County probate offices have indicated that those requesting water sevice must meet the citizenship requirements listed in the new law.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week in an effort to keep Alabama from enforcing HB56. The Justice Department has called the law a “sweeping new state regime” that could strain diplomatic relations with Latin American countries and could impact millions of workers, tourists and students in the U.S.

Link to original article: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/228331/20111010/alabama-immigration-law-cuts-off-water-supply-to-immigrants.htm?cid=2

Canada legally required to take action on human right to water: Report

Ottawa – As the first anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s historic recognition of the human right to water and sanitation draws near, the Council of Canadians is releasing a new report today by chairperson Maude Barlow, titled Our Right to Water: A People’s Guide to Implementing the United Nations’ Recognition of the Right to Water and Sanitation. The report is available here.

The report finds that Canada is legally bound to respect the UN vote, and therefore to address the pressing issue of access to water and sanitation in First Nations communities…



Town of Wales, New York, Adopts Community Rights Ordinance That Bans “Fracking”

Defending Water Congratulates Wales, New York, for protecting their community and their water from the destructive gas drilling practice known as “fracking” which injects water laced with toxic chemicals into the ground to release natural gas from shale rock.

“This local law embodies the will of our residents to protect our natural resources from destruction, so our children and grandchildren can have the quality of life we enjoy.” – Councilmember Mike Simon
The Ordinance includes a local “bill of rights” that asserts legal protections for the right to water; the rights of natural communities; the right to local self-government, and the right of the people to enforce and protect these rights through their municipal government.  [link to full story below] Continue reading

USA Springs says they own government permits!

Water permits at issue in USA Springs request

NOTTINGHAM — Attorneys for USA Springs want the bankruptcy court to make clear that permits previously issued by the state and town are the company’s property, and it will be the court – not local government – that will make the determination of whether they are in effect or not. Continue reading

Collecting Rainwater Now Illegal in many States as Big Government Claims Ownership Over Our Water

July 26, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I’m about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials,that rain belongs to someone else.

As bizarre as it sounds, laws restricting property owners from “diverting”waterthat falls on their ownhomesand land have been on the books for quite some time in many Western states. Only recently, as droughts and renewed interest in water conservation methods have become more common, have individuals and business owners started butting heads withlaw enforcementover the practice of collecting rainwater for personal use.

Check out thisYouTube videoof a news report out of Salt Lake City, Utah, about the issue. It’sillegalin Utah to divert rainwater without a valid water right, and Mark Miller of Mark Miller Toyota, found this out the hard way.

After constructing a large rainwatercollectionsystem at his new dealership to use for washing new cars, Miller found out that the project was actually an “unlawful diversion of rainwater.” Even though it makes logical conservation sense to collect rainwater for this type of use since rain is scarce in Utah, it’s still considered a violation of water rights which apparently belong exclusively to Utah’s variousgovernmentbodies.

“Utah’s the second driest state in the nation. Our laws probably ought to catch up with that,” explained Miller in response to the state’s ridiculous rainwater collectionban.

Salt Lake City officials worked out a compromise with Miller and are now permitting him to use “their” rainwater, but the fact that individuals like Miller don’t actually own the rainwater that falls on their property is a true indicator of what littlefreedomwe actually have here in the U.S. (Access to the rainwater that falls on your own property seems to be a basic right, wouldn’t you agree?)

Outlawing rainwater collection in other states

Utah isn’t the only state with rainwater collection bans, either. Colorado andWashingtonalso have rainwater collection restrictions that limit the free use of rainwater, but these restrictions vary among different areas of the states and legislators have passed some laws to help ease the restrictions.

In Colorado,two new laws were recently passedthat exempt certain small-scale rainwater collection systems, like the kind people might install on their homes, from collection restrictions.

Prior to the passage of these laws, Douglas County, Colorado,conducted a studyon how rainwater collection affects aquifer and groundwater supplies. The study revealed that letting people collect rainwater on their properties actually reduces demand from water facilities and improves conservation.

Personally, I don’t think a study was even necessary to come to this obvious conclusion. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that using rainwater instead of tap water is a smart and useful way to conserve this valuable resource, especially in areas like the West wheredroughtis a major concern.

Additionally, the study revealed that only about three percent of Douglas County’s precipitation ended up in the streams andriversthat are supposedly being robbed from by rainwater collectors. The other 97 percent either evaporated or seeped into the ground to be used by plants.

This hints at why bureaucrats can’t really use the argument that collecting rainwater prevents that water from getting to where it was intended to go. So little of it actually makes it to the final destination that virtually every household could collect many rain barrels worth of rainwater and it would have practically no effect on the amount that ends up in streams and rivers.

It’s all about control, really

As long as people remain unaware and uninformed about important issues, the government will continue to chip away at thefreedomswe enjoy. The only reason these water restrictions are finally starting to change for the better is because people started to notice and they worked to do something to reverse the law.

Even though these laws restricting water collection have been on the books for more than 100 years in some cases, they’re slowly being reversed thanks to efforts by citizens who have decided that enough is enough.

Because if we can’t even freely collect the rain that falls all around us, then what, exactly, can we freely do? The rainwater issue highlights a serious overall problem inAmericatoday: diminishing freedom and increased government control.

Today, we’ve basically been reprogrammed to think that we need permission from the government to exercise our inalienable rights, when in fact the government is supposed to derive its powerfromus. The American Republic was designed so that government would serve the People to protect and uphold freedom and liberty. But increasingly, our own government is restricting people from their rights to engage in commonsense, fundamental actions such as collecting rainwater or buying raw milk from the farmer next door.

Today, we are living under a government that has slowly siphoned off our freedoms, only to occasionally grant us back a few limited ones under the pretense that they’re doing us a benevolent favor.

Fight back against enslavement

As long as people believe their rights stem from the government (and not the other way around), they will always be enslaved. And whatever rights and freedoms we think we still have will be quickly eroded by a system of bureaucratic power that seeks only to expand its control.

Because the same argument that’s now being used to restrict rainwater collection could, of course, be used to declare thatyou have no right to the air you breathe, either. After all, governments could declare that air to be somebody else’s air, and then they could charge you an “air tax” or an “air royalty” and demand you pay money for every breath that keeps you alive.

Think it couldn’t happen? Just give it time. The government already claims it owns your land and house, effectively. If you really think you own yourhome, just stop paying property taxes and see how long you still “own” it. Your county or city will seize it and then sell it to pay off your “tax debt.” That proves who really owns it in the first place… and it’s not you!

How about the question of who owns yourbody? According to the U.S. Patent & Trademark office, U.S. corporations and universities already own 20% of your genetic code. Your own body, they claim, is partially the property of someone else.

So if they own your land, your water and your body, how long before they claim to own your air, your mind and even your soul?

Unless we stand up against this tyranny, it will creep upon us, day after day, until we find ourselves totally enslaved by a world of corporate-government collusion where everything of value is owned by powerful corporations — all enforced at gunpoint by local law enforcement.

Link to article: http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html


Maine may limit use of BPA

The state may ban some uses of a controversial plastic additive as its first “priority chemical” under a new toxic chemical control law.

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection is recommending that bisphenol-A, or BPA, be banned from use in reusable food and beverage containers such as baby bottles and water bottles sold in the state. Continue reading

New Jersey Supreme Court Ruling a Victory for Citizens of Trenton

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

Washington, D.C.-“Yesterday, the Supreme Court of New Jersey overwhelmingly agreed that the people of Trenton should have a say in how public water resources are managed with its 5-1 ruling to allow a referendum regarding the potential sale of a portion of Trenton’s water system to a private company. A local citizen’s group has been engaged in a two-year battle with American Water to allow the citizens of Trenton to exercise their rights to directly participate in the decision to sell off a major component of their publically-owned water system.

“Food & Water Watch applauds the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s validation of the public’s will to have a say in the ways in which their essential water resources are governed and managed. To have denied the referendum would have undermined fundamental principals in state law that guarantee that water resources are managed for the benefit of the public.

“This is a victory for the people of Trenton and a setback for any corporations who may be planning to preempt public participation by shifting the debate from the ballot box to the courtroom.”

“We call on the City of Trenton to swiftly resume the referendum process that was halted last year.”

Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500, kfried(at)foodandwaterwatch(dot)org