by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 27, 2011
A report ordered by Congress in 2005 on the connection between U.S. energy production and demands on water supplies is the target of a Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI) against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The litigation was filed after DOE failed to respond to a CSI FOIA request for a so-far-unreleased second portion of a report on the relationship between the nation's water supplies and energy needs. CSI believes this portion of the report will address the water impacts of new electricity generation, including the potential impacts from additional nuclear reactors and from so-called "carbon capture and storage" (CCS) of carbon emitted from the combustion of coal.
According to CSI's complaint, the first part of the report was made public in 2006, but the second portion, titled the "National Energy-Water Roadmap" and drafted by experts at the Sandia National Laboratories, has been held up since July 2006.
According to the complaint: "On information and belief, DOE has blocked the issuance of the Roadmap over the last four years because it shows energy policy has not given adequate consideration to the nation's limited water resources."
Pam Solo, founder and president, Civil Society Institute, said: "This is a classic example of why documents like this should be made public and in a timely fashion. In 2005, Congress mandated a water-energy blueprint as an essential piece of information for energy policy making. Without this roadmap, water availability and water quality issues remain unaddressed.
"As a result, Congress and the President are flying blind without a clear understanding of whether water is available for the proposed expansion of nuclear power plants and 'clean coal' plants under what is euphemistically being termed a 'Clean Energy Standard.' This is not a side issue, but a central and pivotal piece of data that should inform and guide energy decision making."
Solo added: "We are deeply concerned by the appearance that the study was done and then buried (or is currently being watered down) because it raised major and legitimate concerns about the impact of new power generation on increasingly scarce U.S. water resources, particularly in chronically drought-afflicted portions of the nation. If this concern is not merited, then DOE should release the study and clear the air. If our concerns are well founded, we expect to learn more as we vigorously pursue the FOIA litigation."
For a copy of the lawsuit, go here.
On January 25, 2011, CSI released an analysis by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., showing:
+ As growing swaths of the United States face dwindling water supplies and even outright drought, the U.S. electric sector already withdraws 42 trillion gallons of water each year - more than 200 billion gallons a day, the equivalent of more than half of the water flowing through the Ohio River each year.
+ Titled "Benefits of Beyond Business as Usual," the Synapse report for CSI notes: "... we estimate that generators along the Ohio River withdraw so much water that for every gallon which spills into the Mississippi River at Cairo, IL, one cup has passed through a generator on the banks of the Ohio River, and one tablespoon has evaporated to the atmosphere ...According to data collected by the United States Geographic Survey (USGS), water withdrawals from thermoelectric power sources account for 49 percent of total withdrawals in the United States in 2005. This is equivalent to more than 201 billion gallons of water per day that is used for power plant cooling alone."
+ The nearly trillion gallons of water used by coal plant cooling systems each year represents over 2000 gallons for each person in the US.
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Growing urban population strains Chinese cities
Chongqing, China (AFP) June 26, 2011
A forest of buildings and cranes rises through thick fog above roads jammed with cars in a Chinese city the size of Austria and home to more than 32 million people. The southwestern megacity of Chongqing is bursting at the seams as authorities struggle to keep pace with its rapidly growing urban population - a situation seen repeatedly across the vast country of 1.3 billion people. Life ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|