Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hanford: The Next Brouhaha

Tri-City Herald -- By Annette Cary
"The Tri-City Development Council will study whether Hanford might play a role in recycling fuel from commercial nuclear power reactors, a very early step toward a possible return to production at the nuclear reservation. The study will include a look at whether Hanford's Fast Flux Test Facility could be restarted to do testing for the recycling program. The Department of Energy announced Wednesday that Hanford is one of 11 sites across the nation that will be considered for the project. The first step is a study of the sites with $16 million in grants plus $4 million held in reserve."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Proposed LNG Terminal on the Lower Columbia

In an short, interesting article in the Vancouver Columbian, Kathie Durbin reports on those pro, con, and ambivalent to the development of a LNG terminal on the lower Columbia River. The article is so well done that it not possible for me to just grab a couple paragraphs to give a fair summary. If you're interested in the salmon, the Columbia, and development, give it a read -- if only to see how a skillful reporter does her job.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dams and Fish

In anticipation of the 50th anniversity of the closing of The Dalles Dam in March 1957, and the subsequent drowning of Celilo Falls, a new blog has been established by the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. {HT to the Dalles Chronicle.}
"On the morning of March 10, 1957, the massive steel and concrete gates of The Dalles Dam closed and choked back the downstream surge of the Columbia River. Six hours later and eight miles upstream, Wy-am (Celilo Falls), the age-old Indian salmon fishery was under water."

TransAlta closes one Centralia coal mine, plans to open another

"'The maturity of the Centralia mine, its rapidly deteriorating mining conditions and escalating costs from excessive overburden have combined to make the mine uneconomic,' Snyder said. 'In order to produce competitively priced electricity from our Centralia coal-fired plant, we have to meet the fuel requirements for our plant from a more predictable and economic source.'

TransAlta will seek approval for coal mining nearby at a site known as West Field, but that process is expected to take from three to five years, Jackson said. Meanwhile, the company has signed long-term contracts with Rio Tinto Energy America and Peabody Energy for coal with less sulfur and mercury from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and with BNSF Railway Inc. to handle shipments, according to the statement."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Relicensing Grant County PUD Dams

Columbia Basin Herald -- By David Cole
"EPHRATA -- The Grant County Public Utility District received a draft water quality certificate from the state Department of Ecology for the Priest Rapids Hydroelectric Project. The draft certificate, received earlier this month, is currently under review by the utility district's management. The actual document being reviewed, the 'Draft 401 Certification,' refers to Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. It analyzes the effects Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams have on the Columbia River and places conditions on the PUD to protect water quality. The PUD has applied for the water quality certification annually since 2003, most recently October 2006, as a provision of the Clean Water Act. Ecology is seeking public comments on the draft certificate prior to issuing the "Final 401 Certification." Information on submitting comments can be found on Ecology's Web site,"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ecology Delivers Columbia River Report to Legislature

The Dalles Chronicle
"YAKIMA — A new report from the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) takes an initial look at how water from the Columbia River is being distributed now and how much water might be needed to support the region in the future. The report, delivered this week to the Washington Legislature, is required under the state’s new Columbia River water law. It is available online at, click on the “Managing our Water” icon. Written in two sections, the report includes a water-supply inventory, and a long-term water supply and demand forecast. It also identifies conservation and storage projects that might be used to meet future water needs."

Columbia Basin Gas Play

Spokane Journal of Business
"The Columbia Basin long has been believed to hold large amounts of natural gas sealed beneath thick layers of basalt, and the news that completion work was being done at the Mattawa well was met with keen interest. Mattawa is northwest of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. On Oct. 26, the Washington state Department of Natural Resources logged “spectacular results” in an auction of drilling leases in Eastern Washington, says William S. Lingley Jr., the department’s chief geologist. He cautions that industry has to test an area extensively before it can determine whether it’s commercially viable to develop a gas field. While no one knows precisely how big the Columbia Basin geologic formation is, “most people think it extends … to somewhere west of Ritzville,” Lingley says. The Web site Financial Sense Forum says that in the Denver conference, Parker said, “The geologic theory that we’ve all kind of operated under here for the last couple of years, and really was identified by Shell 25 years ago, has been confirmed, if you will, with another well. We believe we have encountered what we hoped to encounter prior to drilling the well, and we will be very interested to see what actual completion results are as we go into the remaining part of this year.” Says Lingley, “What they said in effect was that they had achieved what they set out to do when they drilled this ‘wildcat.’”"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

WW Growth Management Hearings Board: 'No filing by email'

Whidbey-News Times -- By Paul Boring
"A petition filed by the Whidbey Environmental Action Network against Island County regarding an ordinance for existing master planned resorts was denied by the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board on Nov. 16. [snip]

'Having heard the arguments of the parties, reviewed the pleadings filed by the parties, the Petition for Review, and this case’s files and records, the board grants the county’s motion to dismiss WEAN’s failure to timely file its petition for review,' the case file read, adding that e-mail filing is not permitted by the board’s rules of practice and procedure."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hanford: CERCLA Five Year Report Available

"This is a message from the U.S. Department of Energy

The second Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Five Year Review Report for the Hanford Site, November 2006 has been completed.

The purpose of the CERCLA five-year review is to evaluate whether cleanup remedies are protective, and recommend appropriate corrective actions when they are not achieving the established goals. The draft Report was released for public review and comment for a 45-day public comment period. The final Report reflects DOE’s consideration of input from the regulators, Tribal governments, stakeholders and the general public. In response, DOE agrees that in some cases the protectiveness statements made in the public review draft Report overstated the level of protectiveness based on the information available at this time. DOE changed the protectiveness statements to reflect the short-term (interim cleanup actions) and deferred long-term (final cleanup actions) protectiveness statements until final remedies are selected through the CERCLA remedial investigation/feasibility study process. In addition, the Report identifies several actions and proposed schedules to correct decencies identified during the review, including gathering more information to support ecological risk evaluations, development of technologies to support remediation of groundwater, and expansion of the application of existing technologies to cover additional areas and contaminants. For more information on the CERCLA Five Year Review Report for the Hanford Site, to view the report and public comments and responses, visit our website at under the public involvement section. Below is a brief summary of the protective determinations. In the 100 Areas, interim actions are meeting the cleanup goals in the short-term (interim cleanup actions versus final Record of Decisions (RODs). The review determined that most of the groundwater interim actions in the 100 Areas are meeting the interim cleanup goals. For example, the strontium-90 groundwater plume at the 100-N Area is an exception. An alternative technology approach is currently being tested. Groundwater contaminant plumes in the 100 Area that do not yet have cleanup remedies will be covered in future Record of Decisions (RODs). For the 200 Area Source (soil) Operable Units final remedies have not yet been selected or implemented therefore, protectiveness determi­nations cannot be made. Two pump-and-treatment systems and a vapor extraction system have been installed as interim actions to prevent further migration of groundwater contamination until final cleanup goal are established. Protectiveness determinations for the pump-and-treat and vapor extraction interim remedies are being deferred until final remedies are selected through the CERCLA remedial investigation/feasibility study process. The cleanup actions to remove, treat, and dispose of contaminated soil from the 300 Area are designed to be consistent with final cleanup actions. Additional final remedial actions are not anticipated; therefore, the selected interim cleanup action is protective or will be when completed. Clean up of the uranium plume in the 300 Area groundwater has not achieved the objectives. Because the initial cleanup action was not successful, additional technologies are being evaluated to select more effective remedies in the future. The selected cleanup actions will be evaluated in future five-year reviews. The cleanup actions for the 1100 Area Operable Units meet the cleanup goals and have been completed. The remedy remains protective, and the 1100 Area NPL site has been deleted from the list."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Department of Energy Requests Extension of Comment Period on Hanford Vit Plant 2+2 Plan

"The U.S. Department of Energy has requested an extension of the comment period. Ecology agrees to this request. Changes to the original announcement are underlined and bolded. Washington State’s Department of Ecology invites you to comment on a permit modification for Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). The plant will change millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste, now stored in aging underground tanks, into glass. The draft permit incorporates the following changes into the WTP Permit, Chapter 10 and Attachment 51 of the Dangerous Waste Portion of the Hanford Facility Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit. The melter configuration is changed from one high-level waste (HLW) melter and three low-activity waste (LAW) melters to two HLW and two LAW melters (2+2) Detailed designs for the HLW melters are added. The permit would include secondary containment calculations for the pretreatment facility. A public comment period runs from October 9 through January 5, 2007. Ecology will consider all comments it receives during the comment period. Ecology will also issue a response to comments when it issues the final decision on the modification."

Monday, November 06, 2006

AquaEnergy Files for Construction License

Press Release
" AquaEnergy Group Ltd, an Ocean Energy division of Finavera Renewables,has now submitted an application for a license to construct the Makah Bay Offshore Wave Energy Pilot Project. This application marks a significant milestone for wave energy development in the United States."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scoping Begins on Washington State's Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan

From the Fishnews Listserv digest
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries have announced their intent to gather information to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement related to a permit application from the Washington Department of Natural Resources for the incidental take of species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The permit application would be associated with the Washington Department of Natural Resource's Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan. Scoping meetings are scheduled in Spokane, Ellensburg, Bellingham, Longview, and Seattle, WA. For more information, please read the Federal Register notice.

Send any comments to by December 8. In the subject line, please include Washington DNR Aquatics HCP EIS. For more information, contact John Stadler at (360) 753-9576."