March 2, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports today that, "Canadian federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice lands in Washington today to pursue the Canada-U.S. co-operation on energy and the environment that was promised when the new President visited Ottawa two weeks ago. In meetings with top administration officials, Mr. Prentice will push Canada's proposal for a continental system of emission caps and market-based permit trading that would align Canada's regulatory system with that of our largest trading partner."


March 2, 2009

Chronogram Magazine reports that, "the Kent Film Festival, which bills itself as 'Connecticut’s premier film festival,' is one of the region’s best-kept cultural secrets. For four days each spring, the festival screens world-class feature films in the northwest corner of the Constitution state...(Among the films) being screened at the 2009 installment of the Kent Film Festival is Sam Bozzo’s Blue Gold: World Water Wars, based on the muckraking book by Canadian Activists Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke (Blue Gold: The Right to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water), which first brought the effects of globalization on the world’s water supply to public attention in 2002...Blue Gold will be screened as part of the Kent Film Festival, March 26 through March 28..."

In the article, Sam Bozzo, the film's director, is asked, "What sort of solutions to the water crisis does Blue Gold author Maude Barlow call for?"

March 1, 2009

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

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 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.

"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)

"Mildred 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)

"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)