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March 1, 2009

The Portland Press Herald reports that, "Shapleigh residents have banned companies from drawing or selling its water."

SHAPLEIGH
Shapleigh is a town in Maine with a population of approximately 2,326 people. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.

RESIDENTS VOTE AGAINST NESTLE BOTTLING ITS WATER "During a special town meeting Saturday morning, residents voted 114 to 66 to adopt the ban drafted by Protecting Our Water and Wildlife Resources, which had opposed (the Nestle company) Poland Spring's efforts to test, draw, bottle and market the town's water."

POLAND SPRINGS HAD PLANNED TO START DRAWING WATER IN 2011 OR 2012 "Mark Dubois, natural resource manager for Poland Spring, said he was disappointed by the vote at the special town meeting...He said the company would have been looking to draw water from Shapleigh in 2011 or 2012, but noted that it takes a long time to gain the state and local permits that are needed."

March 1, 2009

The National Post reports this morning that, "The House of Commons environment committee is wading into a raging public relations war over the Alberta oilsands with a study of the industry's impact on water resources. The MP who proposed the study is Montreal-area Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia...He said hearings expected to begin Thursday are aimed at reconciling conflicting reports linking oilsands operations to damage and risk to the vast, connected water basins of the Athabasca and Mackenzie rivers -- the source of one fifth of Canada's fresh water."

THE COMMITTEE'S FIRST WITNESSES
"The first witnesses expected at the committee are federal officials from the departments of Fisheries, Environment and Natural Resources. Prominent non-government experts will be called, as will authorities on constitutional jurisdiction."

February 28, 2009

The much-noted 'Scraping Bottom' article in the most recent issue of National Geographic highlights the following points about water and the tar sands.

50 SQUARE MILES OF TAILINGS PONDS
"To extract each barrel of oil from a surface mine (in the Athabasca Valley, the industry) must heat several barrels of water to strip the bitumen from the sand and upgrade it, and afterward it discharges contaminated water into tailings ponds like the one near Mildred Lake. They now cover around 50 square miles." (p.44)

ONE OF THE LARGEST DAMS IN THE WORLD
"Mildred Lake...is now dwarfed by its neighbour, the Mildred Lake Settling Basin, a four-square-mile lake of toxic mine tailings. The sand dike that contains it is by volume one of the largest dams in the world." (p.43)

200,00 POUNDS OF WATER EVERY DAY
"And every day in the Athabasca Valley, more than a million tons of sand emerges from (rock) crushers and is mixed with more than 200,000 pounds of water that must be heated, typically to 175 degrees F, to wash out the gluey bitumen." (p.48)

February 28, 2009

The Los Angeles Times reports today that, "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a statewide drought emergency Friday, urging Californians to cut water use by 20% and easing the way for water sales from Northern California to Southern California cities and San Joaquin Valley farms."

California has a population of 36.8 million people.

WATER SITUATION IS A CRISIS
"Schwarzenegger called the state's water situation 'a crisis, just as severe as an earthquake or raging wildfire.'"

STOPS SHORT OF MANDATORY WATER RATIONING "The drought declaration stops short of mandatory water rationing. But it asks urban water users to step up conservation efforts. And it directs state agencies to cut back on landscape irrigation, including along highways."

STREAMLINES PERMITS FOR DESALINATION OPERATIONS "The directive also orders the state to streamline permitting for water projects, such as recycling or desalination operations, and expedite water transfers to needy irrigation districts and urban areas in Southern California."

February 28, 2009
Sun Peaks Resort

Sun Peaks Resort

In 1992, the Japanese company Nippon Cable purchased the Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, BC, as a 400-bed resort. In 1997, the provincial government approved a 24,168 bed expansion to the resort. In October 2000, the Skwelkwek'welt Protection Centre was established to oppose this $70 million expansion and boycott campaigns began. In 2004, solidarity pickets took place outside Delta and Fairmont Hotels in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Montreal, as a further 6,000-beds were added to the resort's expansion plans.

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