CA COURT SIDES WITH TRIBES, FISHERMEN, CONSERVATIONISTS ON CLEAN WATER CASE
Judge Orders CA Water Board to Reconsider Regulation of Toxic Waste in Klamath River
Santa Rosa, CA – In a recent ruling that may have broad implications for dams throughout California, Superior Court Judge Elaine Rushing has invited the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to exercise its congressionally mandated authority to regulate water quality.
The ruling stems from a suit filed by Klamath Riverkeeper, the Karuk Tribe, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations against California’s North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. The groups filed suit last August after the Board rejected their petition to regulate toxic waste discharges from PacifiCorp’s Klamath River Dams. PacifiCorp is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
In 2004, the Karuk Tribe found that the massive blooms of blue-green algae behind PacifiCorp’s Iron Gate and Copco dams was indeed the toxic algae Microcystis aeruginosa. This algae secretes a potent liver toxin known as microcystin. Levels of the toxin can exceed water quality standards set by the World Health by as much as 4,000 fold. When no agency took responsibility to regulate the toxin, the Karuk, PCFFA, and Klamath Riverkeeper took action.
“We will not sit idly by and let Buffett’s dams poison the Klamath River, while California does nothing to protect the people of the Klamath from this toxic pollution,” said Regina Chichizola, Klamath Riverkeeper.
The groups first petitioned the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to regulate the toxic discharge from the dams into the river citing California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act. The Board argued that they were pre-empted by the Federal Power Act from taking such an action. The groups then challenged the board’s argument in Superior Court.
According to the groups’ attorney Michael Lozeau, “with this ruling the court invites the Board to rethink its assertion that it is powerless to regulate water quality and protect the public from PacifiCorp’s toxic pollution of the Klamath River.”
The discovery of Microcystis aeruginosa has led regulatory agencies to post signs warning the public to not contact the Klamath River for over 200 miles from Copco Reservoir to the ocean. The warnings come when the blooms are at their zenith during the heat of summer. Unfortunately, this is the time when the public most wants to use the river.
“The state is warning people to not contact the Klamath River during the height of fishing season and during our most important ceremonies. However, our medicine men are obligated to bathe in the Klamath River in late summer in preparation for our World Renewal Ceremonies,” according to Karuk ceremonial leader and Vice-chairman Leaf Hillman.
The judge’s ruling gives the Board 90 days to reconsider the groups’ petition and act. A decision is expected late this summer. If the board accepts the petition and acts to regulate PacifiCorp’s toxic discharge, the ruling could result in the Regional Board’s issuance of water quality requirements and enforcement orders requiring PacifiCorps to take immediate steps to reduce its extreme toxic pollution of the Klamath, as well as its harmful temperature and oxygen-depleted releases.
“It’s high time that somebody stood up to PacifiCorp and held them accountable for their destruction of our river. The Water Board should use its clear authority to protect the public now,” concludes Chichizola.
The EPA recently listed PacifiCorp’s reservoirs on the Klamath River as impaired due to toxic algae and have committed to creating pollution clean up plan, or TMDL to deal with the algae issue.
TOP TEN TIPS FROM BOATU.S. FOR GETTING THE MOST FROM A TANK OF GAS
ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 9, 2008 -- With boaters facing record high fuel prices this summer Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has a few tips that could help stretch their fuel dollars:
1. Leave the extra 'junk' home: Don't load the boat up with weight you don't need. Do a little spring cleaning - unused equipment that has been collecting mildew in the bottom of lockers for years should be taken home.
2. Water weight: At 8.33 pounds per gallon, why keep the water in the tank topped off if you're only going out for the afternoon?
3. Tune her up: An engine tune-up is an excellent investment and should easily pay for itself over the summer.
4. Tune your prop: If your boat goes 30 mph with a like-new prop and only 27 mph with a prop that's dinged and out of pitch, that's a 10% loss in fuel economy, or, you're wasting one out of every ten gallons you put in your tank.
5. Paint the boat's bottom: When boating in salt or brackish waters a fouled bottom is like a dull knife. It takes a lot more fuel to push your boat through the water.
6. Keep the boat in trim: Using trim tabs or distributing weight evenly will help move your boat through the water with less effort - and less fuel.
7. Go with the flow: Consult tide tables and try to travel with the tide whenever possible.
8. Install a fuel flow meter: A fuel flow meter is like a heart monitor; when consumption starts to rise, it's an early warning that something is amiss. A fuel flow meter also allows you to select a comfortable cruising speed that optimizes the amount of fuel being consumed.
9. Do the math: If you don't want to spring for a fuel flow meter (about $300), you can calculate your fuel mileage by dividing distance traveled by gallons at fill-up. Using your logbook, you can then approximate fuel flow using average speeds and time underway.
10. Get a discount: Many of the 885 BoatU.S. Cooperating Marinas around the country offer up to 10 cents off a gallon of gas. To get the discount all you have to do is to show your BoatU.S. membership card. If you aren't already a member, join online now for a special rate of $19.00 by going to BoatUS.com/membership or call 800-395-2628.
BoatU.S is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 650,000 members with a wide array of consumer services including a group-rate marine insurance program that insures nearly a quarter million boats; the largest fleet of more than 500 towing assistance vessels; discounts on fuel, slips, and repairs at over 885 Cooperating Marinas; boat financing; and a subscription to BoatU.S. Magazine, the most widely read boating publication in the U.S. For membership information visit http://www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.
NOAA Proposes Rule to Require Saltwater Angler Registration
NOAA's Fisheries Service is seeking comment on a proposed rule that requires anglers and spearfishers who fish recreationally in federal
ocean waters to be registered before fishing in 2009.
The rule would also require registration by those who may catch anadromous species anywhere, including striped bass, salmon and shad
that spawn in rivers and streams and spend their adult lives in estuaries and the ocean. The proposed rule satisfies the National Academy of Science National
Research Council recommendations to establish a national database of saltwater anglers, and meets the requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The proposed rule is part of a larger initiative of NOAA's Fisheries Service to improve the quality and accuracy of data on marine recreational fishing and catches. The registry will also help measure the economic benefits of recreational fishing on the national and local economies.
"The national registry of saltwater anglers is the key to closing a major gap in information on recreational fishing," said Jim Balsiger, NOAA acting assistant administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service. "It will help us conduct surveys to get a more complete picture of how recreational fishing by an estimated 14 million people is affecting fish stocks. This will lead to better stock assessments and more effective regulations to rebuild and manage these valuable fish."
NOAA may exempt anglers from registration if they already have a state-issued saltwater fishing license or registration, and the state provides sufficiently complete information to place in the national registry. In certain instances, anglers in states participating in regional surveys of marine recreational fishing may also be exempted. The new rule allows states to apply for exemptions. States on the West Coast (including Alaska), the Gulf Coast, and the South Atlantic offer saltwater fishing licenses. Hawaii and the states from New Jersey to Maine do not.
"States without saltwater licenses have a strong incentive to adopt licenses," said Balsiger. "Any fee that a state collects through a license can be used for restoration and fishery management in the state. By law, the registry fee taken by NOAA will offset the cost of issuing the registration. It can not be specifically directed to fisheries management."
Fishermen would be required to be registered annually and NOAA will not charge a registration fee in the first two years. Beginning in 2011, the annual fee will be an estimated $15 to $25 per angler. Anglers under the age of 16 would be exempt from registering and fees would be waived for indigenous people, such as members of federally recognized tribes. NOAA's Fisheries Service recognizes that many indigenous people fish for food as part of ancient cultural traditions. Anglers who fish only on licensed party, charter, or guide boats would also be exempt, since these vessels are surveyed separately from the angler surveys. Also, persons who hold commercial fishing licenses or permits, and are legally fishing under them, will be exempt from the registration requirement.
Registrations will include an angler's name, address, telephone number, and the regions where fishing is conducted. This information will not be made public; it will be used only by NOAA to conduct surveys. The National Academy of Science's National Research Council advised NOAA's Fisheries Service in 2006 to redesign its surveys of recreational fishermen for more accuracy, precision, and transparency.
The NRC's independent scientific review resulted in more than 200 recommendations for improving marine recreational surveys, including the recommendation to establish a national database of saltwater anglers. This recommendation became law in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary fisheries law for U.S. ocean waters, which was reauthorized in 2007. Please see http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/mrip for additional information on this effort, the Marine Recreational Information Program.
For the last 28 years, NOAA's Fisheries Service has conducted recreational fishing surveys through random telephone interviews with residents living in coastal counties. NOAA and its regional and state partners conduct an extensive program of dockside interviews of anglers to obtain data on their catch. The national saltwater registry will enable surveyors to interview
only those people who fish, and will reach all anglers, not only those who live near the coast. To read the proposed rule, go to http://www.countmyfish.noaa.gov.
Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until Aug. 11. They can be mailed to: John Boreman Director, Office of Science and Technology NMFS
1315 East-West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910 Attn.: Gordon Colvin Comments can also be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects.