Than One in Four Polluters Seriously Violating Clean Water Act Permits
From U.S. Public Interest Research Group
More than one in four (26%) of the nation's largest industrial, municipal,
and federal facilities were in serious violation of the Clean Water
Act at least once during a recent 15-month period, according to a
report released today by U.S. PIRG. "Polluters' Playground: How
the Government Permits Pollution" describes many shortcomings
in the monitoring of water pollution and efforts to deter polluters,
at the same time that the Bush Administration has proposed cutting
the EPA's budget for enforcement.
Water and Environmental Experts Directory Launched by Water Strategist
From Water Strategist
How would you assemble a team of experts in water law, engineering,
and valuation with expertise in water quality in your state? The Water
Strategist Community suggests you start by clicking on a category
of "water experts" at www.waterchat.com.
The Water Strategist Community (www.waterchat.com) today launched
an on-line directory of water experts in the fields of water appraisal
and water brokering, water and environmental law, engineering, water
development, consulting, and research. The Water Strategist Community,
sponsored primarily by Stratecon, Inc., is a virtual water newsroom
and discussion forum that brings together timely water news from over
250 government, corporate, water agency, and environmental sources.
21.05.01: European Bathing
Water Cleaner Again Last Year
Brussels, Belgium, May 21, 2001 (ENS) - Coastal and freshwater bathing
water quality in the European Union continued to improve last year,
according to EU-wide sampling results for the 2000 bathing season
released today by the European Commission.
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/may2001/2001L-05-21-03.html
21.05.01: Eastern Siberia
Floods Worst In 100 Years²
YAKUTSK, Russia, May 21, 2001 (ENS) - Two people are dead and thousands
have been evacuated from towns in Eastern Siberia as a massive snow
the Sayany Mountains has resulted in the worst spring flooding in
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/may2001/2001L-05-21-01.html
18.05.01: Marshlands Of The
Tigris-Euphrates Delta 90 Percent Gone
Washington, DC, May 18, 2001 (ENS) - The once fertile
crescent created by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is rapidly drying
up. Drainage and damming has destroyed close to 90 percent of these
Mesopotamian marshlands, according to thousands of previously unpublished
satellite images donated today by the United States government to
the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP.
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/may2001/2001L-05-18-01.html
Germany's Highest Court Fails to Halt Airbus Destruction of Protected
From International Fund for Animal Welfare
Environmentalists worldwide today decried an announcement by Germany's
highest court - the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht)
that it would not grant an injunction to stop the filling of Mühlenberger
Loch, Europe's largest freshwater tidal mudflat, for the construction
of an Airbus Industrie A380 production factory.
"What seemed unthinkable now appears inevitable," said IFAW
President, Fred O'Regan following the court's decision. "The
unique eco-gem of Mühlenberger Loch , home to thousands of wetland
birds, will continue to be filled. A rare and globally important habitat
will be sacrificed for short-term profit.," O'Regan said.
For more information, contact: Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell, Communications
Manager, International Fund for Animal Welfare. Email : email@example.com.
Web site: http://www.ifaw.org
13.05.01: Dam Decommissioning
In South Moravia,(SE part of CR) between 1969 and
1989 a complex of three dams was completed - so called Nove Mlyny
Dams. Although the dams were only 2 - 9 metres high, due to the fact
that they were built on flat plains, 3200 hectares were covered by
water. Broder area including dams is in the list of Ramsar sites A
major campaign was launched in 1991 with a big demonstration for decommissioning
of two of the dams (3 000 participants). After three years of negotiation
between state authorities and environmentals NGOs it was decided that
the two reservoirs would be partially drained. The water level was
lowered by 85 cm, and it was determined that the situation would be
re-evaluated in approximately 5 years. This year the situation is
crucial because state organization Povodi Moravy (a water management
company) want to raise the water to the former level ( 85 cm higher).
- There is big straggle about competence dealing with water law between
MoE and Ministry of Agriculture and situation is very unclear. If
the water level will be raised, 50 hectares of young forest and other
habitats will be destroyed.
RNDr. Mojmir Vlasin , Ekologicky institut Veronica Panska 9 , CZ-60200
Brno , tel. 420 5 42218351
12.05.01: North America:
Salmon protection reinforced in the Columbia river basin.
Funding was approved Thursday for 11 projects to bolster the salmon
and steelhead populations in the Columbia River Basin while at the
same time, U.S. environmentalists and timber executives were joining
forces to put limits on logging in British Columbia.
the Rio+10 and Beyond : E-Conference Invitation
This e-conference dialogue is being organised to solicit
additional contributions on "Land-related issues" to contribute
to the finalisation of the report to go forward to the CSD Secretariat
and to the participatory process and events leading up to Rio+10.
It is organised by FAO (The Agriculture Department of the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and UNEP (United Nations
Environment Programme), responsible for reporting to the Commission
on Sustainable Development on "Land, Agriculture and Desertification"
and maybe relevant for people concerned with water (irrigation problems).
It will be held from May 3 to 20, 2001 and is open to all individuals
and institutions,Civil Society Organizations, Government, Non-Governmental
Organizations, the Private Sector and International Institutions.
Additional information can be found on the FAO web page at: Rio+10
land site "Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources:
Reporting on Progress for chapter 10 of Agenda 21" at http://www.fao.org/rio10/land/index_en.htm
11.05.01: Chinese dams
are threatening 100 millions people
(Michael Sheridan, Bangkok) A giant Chinese project
to build up to nine dams on the Mekong River poses a threat to people,
wildlife and water systems across southeast Asia, according to a draft
report prepared for the Asian Development Bank.
Governments down-river in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are
said to be too fearful of China to make any public protest over the
plans. The draft report gives a warning that the Chinese dams could
cause intensified flooding, wreck fisheries, damage the environment
and disrupt transport links. The Mekong supports more than 100m people
on its course from the Tibetan plateau to the South China Sea. Floods
claimed more than 500 lives last year, a toll which experts say is
certain to rise as the water flow changes.
Witoon Permpongsacharoen, director of the Bangkok-based environmental
lobby group Terra, said recently: "This is the lifeblood, the
life source, for millions of people. You simply cannot afford to make
any big mistakes with the Mekong."
For full article :
11.05.01 : USA: Federal Energy
Commission reaches for control of hydropower licensing
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has proposed
to centralize all authority for licensing of hydropower installations,
now dispersed amongst several federal and state agencies, in its own
hands. The move has drawn objections from environmental groups and
praise from the electric power industry.
"The licensing process requires a balance between producing power
and protecting the environment at hundreds of private hydropower dams,"
said Andrew Fahlund, chair of the Hydropower Reform Coalition,
FERC issues and oversees operating licenses for approximately 2,500
privately owned hydropower dams across the country. Over the next
decade, the licenses for more than 400 dams affecting 130 different
rivers will expire. During the relicensing process, Federal and State
resource agencies have the opportunity to set minimum protections
for water quality, flow, fish passage and land protection and temperature
For further information : http://www.amrivers.org/
For copies of the GAO Report "Licensing Hydropower Projects:
Better Time and Cost Data to Reach Informed Decisions about Process
For copies of the May 2001 FERC Report: http://cips.ferc.fed.us/cips/default.htm
Articles : http://ens-news.com/ens/may2001/2001L-05-09-01.html
09.05.01 : Balfour Beatty
faces dam clash
Financial Times (London) May 2, 2001
By Kevin Brown.
Balfour Beatty will risk a confrontation with environmental and human
rights campaigners today by advising shareholders to reject a resolution
forcing it to accept stringent guidelines on involvement in dam-building
The construction group confirmed last night that it would advise shareholders
to vote against the resolution, tabled by Friends of the Earth, which
has acquired a Pounds 30,000 shareholding to put its case at the annual
Charles Secrett, executive director of FoE, warned the company that
it would "continue to suffer serious damage to its reputation"
if it did not accept the resolution. Balfour Beatty said it was "evaluating
the wider implications" of the guidelines, drawn up in a report
by the World Commission on Dams, set up by the World Bank and an international
conservation group in 1997.
The company said the guidelines were not intended to be applied rigidly.
However, they would probably force it to withdraw from a Swiss-led
consortium seeking to build a controversial dam at Ilisu, on the Tigris
river in Turkey.
Campaigners claim the dam would lead to mass deportation of the part-Kurdish
local population, environmental degradation, flooding of important
historical areas and even a regional war over water shortages.
All these claims are denied by Turkey, which says the dam is needed
for electricity generation.
01.05.01: Pak Mun Dam Gates
From World Rivers Review
By Aviva Imhof,
In a victory for villagers affected by Pak Mun Dam in Thailand, the
new Prime Minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, has agreed to open the
Pak Mun Dam gates for 4 months this year to conduct studies on fisheries
and social impacts. In exchange, the Assembly of the Poor has ended
their marathon protest outside Government House, where several hundred
people had been camping since last July.
Under the terms of the agreement, the gates of Pak Mun Dam on the
Mun River in Ubon Ratchathani Province will be opened from May to
August while fisheries and social studies are conducted. A decision
will then be made on whether to allow an indefinite opening of the
dam gates. The exact dates of the spillway opening, and the Terms
of Reference for the studies, have been delegated to a committee composed
of a number of Thai academics. The committee was to make its recommendations
as this issue went to press.
The Pak Mun Dam was completed in 1994 with $24 million in funding
from the World Bank. From the outset, the project was highly controversial
due to the predicted impacts on the rich and productive fisheries
of the Mun River, the largest tributary of the Mekong River. As a
direct result of the dam, more than 20,000 people have been affected
by drastic reductions in fish populations upstream of the dam, and
other changes to their livelihoods. Since 1999, villagers have been
living in a makeshift protest village at the dam site, demanding that
the dam gates be permanently opened and the river restored.
Villagers affected by the dam are cautiously optimistic about their
prospects for the future. Said Mrs. Charoen Kongsuk, "We are
happy with the decision made by the government, but the government
is composed of politicians, who do not always keep their promises.
Therefore, we are waiting to see if the government complies with the
agreement and opens the dam gates for four months this rainy season.
We hope that this will be the first step towards permanent opening
of the dam gates and restoration of the Mun River."
Villagers say they will stay at Ban Mae Mun Man Yuen 1 (Long-lasting
Mun River Village 1), the protest village at the dam site, until the
dam gates are permanently opened and reparations have been made to
affected communities. About 500 people are currently living there.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the owner and operator
of the dam, has attacked the government's decision. EGAT claims that
opening the dam gates would result in an economic loss of about 600
million baht ($15 million), and that Thailand cannot afford to forego
the power that would be generated by the dam. This is despite the
fact that Thailand currently has a power surplus of around 40%.
In addition, EGAT claims that opening the dam gates will destroy the
fish cages they have established in the reservoir. The World Commission
on Dams, however, found that reservoir fisheries at Pak Mun had been
a failure, and that the actual fish catch in the reservoir and upstream
is 60-80 percent less than in the pre-dam era, resulting in an economic
loss to villagers of about US$1.4 million per year. The WCD recorded
that 169 out of 265 species of fish in the Mun River were affected
by the construction of the dam. Of these, 56 species have completely
Pak Mun was one of several decisions made by the Cabinet concerning
dam projects in Thailand. The government will appoint a panel to search
for plots of land of 15 rai each (2.4 hectares) as new homes for over
400 families affected by the construction of Sirindhorn Dam, completed
in 1969. These families were never given compensation for their lost
land, and have been squatting on government-owned land for the past
30 years. Tests will be conducted to measure the volume of dust particles
in the air in communities around Lam Ta Khong Dam in the wake of rock
blasting. The government has also agreed to suspend construction on
Hua Na Dam in Si Sa Ket Province, and has established joint committees
to consider complaints on other dams.
Ms. Wanida Tantiwittayapitak, Advisor to Assembly of the Poor, said
the warm treatment that the villagers had received from the Thaksin
Shinawatra government was a stark contrast to the cold-shoulder given
by the Chuan Leekpai administration. Last year, after a series of
protests on the dam and at government house, the Chuan government
opened the dam gates for two months during the rainy season, but made
no commitment for the future.
Chuan's main concession to Assembly of the Poor was an order to open
the gates at Rasi Salai, a dam further upstream of Pak Mun along the
Mun River. The gates have been opened since last July and studies
are currently being conducted which will determine whether the gates
will be permanently opened. The villagers at Rasi Salai have already
witnessed a dramatic increase in fisheries since the dam gates were
opened. They are able to harvest foods such as mushrooms, vegetables
and herbs from the former reservoir, and some are preparing their
formerly flooded lands for cultivation of cash crops and vegetables.
Aviva Imhof Director, Southeast Asia Program International Rivers
Network 1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley CA 94703 USA Tel: + 1 510 848
1155 (ext. 312), Fax: + 1 510 848 1008 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
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