Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Running Dry" Documentary Film on Global Water Crisis

The 25th Bicentennial Groundwater Conference in Sacramento, California is to include a special screening of the documentary "Running Dry".

The compelling documentary feature film will be shown October 25, 2005 at 7:00PM for the 25th Bicentennial Groundwater Conference in Sacramento, California.

The film will be introduced by the writer, producer and director of "Running Dry", Jim Thebaut, president of the Chronicles Group. A panel discussion regarding solutions to water crisis issues will follow the premiere.

"Running Dry" was inspired by the late Senator Paul Simon¹s powerful book "Tapped Out." Jim Thebaut, the film's producer and director, had been developing the project in association with Simon until his recent death. Simon's widow, Patricia Simon, has continued her husband's legacy by working with Thebaut and will be present at the premiere.

Award-winning actress Jane Seymour narrates the film, as it takes viewers on a journey that explores the impending severity of the global water crisis throughout specific regions in southern Asia, northern China, the Middle East, Africa and the American southwest.

Various experts and world leaders, including former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, are interviewed throughout the documentary stating their concerns, not only about their own regions, but also about the challenges that exist throughout the world.

Every day an average of 9,500 children die due to the lack of water or disease caused by polluted water. "Running Dry" promotes and reinforces the message that water is a precious global resource, while also presenting a variety of solutions that are available to solve the crisis.

The "Running Dry" project is designed to be a comprehensive public information education project concerning the evolving water crisis.

The documentary was fully funded and made possible by a grant from American Water, as well as a substantial grant provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Other public and private entities have also contributed to the evolution of the project.

For more information about the film and the Running Dry Project please go to the website

The Conference and the showing are to be at the Hyatt Regency, 1209 L Street, Sacramento, 95814, across from the Convention Center. (Thomas Bros Map p297 D4)

Call Kim Dixon, at dominion3 public relations (323) 466-3393 to get more details.

The 25th Bicentennial Groundwater Conference

For 50 years, the Biennial Groundwater Conference has provided policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, and educators the opportunity to learn about the current policies, regulations, and technical challenges affecting the use and management of groundwater in California. This year, the conference is being held concurrent with the Groundwater Resource's Association's monthly meeting.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Advocates question radiation standards

EPA urged to withdraw Yucca proposal


WASHINGTON -- Environmental and health advocates on Tuesday urged the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposed radiation standard for Yucca Mountain, saying it sets bad precedent and weakens safeguards.

"Hurricane Katrina taught us that unexpected catastrophic events are possible and that we need to pay more attention to public health, not less. The Bush administration and EPA should go back to the drawing board," said David Hamilton, Sierra Club global warming and energy director.

Hamilton's comments typified those of a dozen speakers at the fourth and final public hearing on the EPA's draft radiation exposure regulations for the proposed Nevada nuclear waste repository. Three hearings were held in Nevada last week.

Several others spoke favorably of the EPA effort.

David Wright, a member of the South Carolina Public Service Commission, said to the extent the agency attempted to set protections that would cover up to a million years, the proposal was "well-reasoned."

The radiation standard is a key measure that the Energy Department must show through computer modeling that it can meet in order to win a repository license for the site located 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas

The EPA, responding to a 2004 federal court ruling that threw out an earlier radiation safety plan, has proposed a new two-part standard.

For the first 10,000 years of repository operations, DOE would need to show that a person living about 11 miles away would be exposed to no more than 15 millirem of radiation annually.

For comparison, EPA officials have said that a chest X-ray exposes a person to 10 millirem and a mammogram exposes a person to 30 millirem.

For the long term, beyond 10,000 years, when scientists are less certain of predicting climate, geology and societal conditions, EPA proposed an annual exposure limit of 350 millirem out to 1 million years.

"Our proposal, we believe, is protective and appropriate," said Elizabeth Cotsworth, director of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation.

She said she was unsure when EPA would issue its final decision after weighing public reaction.

Representatives of public interest groups testified the EPA plan was flawed.

Robert Musil, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said the EPA "for decades" had argued for radiation standards of 15 to 25 millirem, "and that doses above 100 millirem per year produce unacceptable levels of risk."

A Yucca standard of 350 millirem would risk more cancer deaths.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Small bottled water companies worried about water tax

PORTLAND, Maine --Some small companies that sell spring water in Maine fear they'll be hurt and possibly driven out of business by a proposed tax targeting the nation's biggest bottled spring water company.

The tax, which could to go to a referendum vote next year, surfaced as a response to the rapid expansion of Poland Spring.
Poland Spring would pay $100 million a year under the proposed tax of 20 cents per gallon of water drawn from the ground.

But many of the two dozen smaller bottled water companies in Maine, some of which would pay nothing under the terms of the tax, are as firmly opposed to the new fee as is Poland Spring, a Nestle subsidiary with nationwide distribution.
Bryan Pullen, for one, said his Summit Spring brand, which he sells to 2,000 customers in Maine and New Hampshire, could be wiped out entirely.
"It's a crippling tax," said Pullen.

The proposed tax would apply to water drawn from Maine aquifers for sale as bottled water. The tax, which would only apply to sales in excess of 500,000 gallons a year, would be used to fund an independent board to oversee and monitor the state's aquifers.
Pullen, who borrowed $1 million to buy the spring, said he sees the fee as a tax that would be most damaging to small businesses and arbitrarily target the users of one particular resource.
"Is there a tax on Maine lobster because we take Maine lobster and sell it all over the world?" he asked.

A spokesman for the citizens' group that submitted more than 50,000 signatures to get the water tax on the 2006 ballot said he believes the bottlers were overstating the effects of the tax.
"Our belief is people would be willing to pay an additional 3 cents (per 20-ounce bottle) knowing that the money was going to be invested in Maine for sustainability," said Dick Dyer of H2O for Me.

Tom Brennan, natural resources manager of Poland Spring, said the company's size would help it withstand the tax. But if the proposal were to pass, he said, Nestle would stop selling water from Maine and concentrate on its other seven brands.
Many owners of smaller water companies in Maine note that they don't have the resources of Poland Spring, which has the backing of a multinational corporation and multiple water supplies in other states.

Rebecca Evangelista, general manager of Mount Desert Spring Water in Southwest Harbor, said expansion plans at that company are on hold until the issue is settled.
The Maine secretary of state has a March deadline for validating the petitions. If validated, the proposal would be considered by the Legislature, which must either approve the tax or send the question to voters.
Information from: Portland Press Herald,
© Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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