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Atlantic CoastWatch January-February, 2008

Cuba Verde
News For Coastal Advocates
Even before Fidel Castro’s resignation as Cuba’s president, environmental-
ists had been wondering what will happen. The island’s isolation and poverty were
exacerbated by the United States’ embargo imposed in 1962. The loss of the z
island’s economic support from the Soviet Union, when that empire collapsed in
1991, has led to an unusual situation which has proved to be double-edged –having Cuba Verde 1
both negative and positive implications for its environment.
Coral Sensibilities 1
On one hand the island has escaped the development that otherwise would
have exploded in this tropical paradise. Because of the fierce control of the govern-
ment and lack of entrepreneurial development, areas of great bio-diversity, such as Sayings 2
the Zapata swamp, have been preserved. The waters around the island, which are
the habitat for many marine species, have not suffered from the pollution, boat Courts & the Seashore 3
traffic and destructive fishing methods that beset other parts of the Caribbean. And
though the coral reefs have been damaged by bleaching, “diving in them is like JFK Goes Geothermal 3
going back in time 50 years” according to David Guggenheim, one of the organizers
of a recent conference on Cuba’s environment held in Cancun, Mexico. ME Wetland Fees 3
On the other hand, the island’s infrastructure is old and failing. Havana
Harbor is a prime example. According to Granma, the government newspaper, the
Publications 4
original sewer system was built in 1915 and was designed for a population that was
one third its present size. Joseph Scarpaci, co-author of Havana: Two Faces of the PA Towns Revolt 4
Antillean Metropolis, says that $30 billion dollars would be needed to upgrade
Havana’s water and sewer sytems. The Luyano River, the largest of three rivers Budget Smudget 5
which feed into the bay, is filled with pollutants and untreated sewage. A waste
water treatment plant is finally being built on this, the dirtiest of the rivers in the NJ Nukes Fish 5
Farming Salmon Questioned 6
Because of its dire circumstances, Cuba has not had the luxury to imple-
ment many conservation initiatives. However, just recently, encouraged by the
World Wildlife Fund and a grant of $400,000 from the Canadian International Coal Wars Fester 7
Development Agency, the Cuban Ministry of Fisheries has resolved to end the
harvesting of all marine turtles. The fishermen dependent on the catch will be NJ Loosens Its Buffers 7
provided with funds and technical assistance to retrain and equip them for alterna-
tive fisheries. Let us hope for more of the same in the post-Fidel era. SC Mercury Rising 8

Cruise Ship Dumpings 8

Coral Sensibilities
Swimmers beware! Your visits can contribute to the demise of coral reefs!
A paper published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Recurring
entitled Sunscreens Cause Coral Bleaching by Promoting Viral Infections, examines People; Awards; Species &
the negative effects on corals of several components of regular sunscreens when
Habitats; Restorations;
diluted in the surrounding water. The ingredients cause coral bleaching by activating
certain viruses that kill algae that grow symbiotically within the corals. Report Cards; Products;
What to do? There are sunscreens available, such as those with titanium Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
oxide and zinc oxide, which are not harmful. Caribbean Solutions offers a product nonprofit newsletter for those con-
with these two active ingredients combined with herbal essences. Check the cerned with environmentally sound
Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database; or perhaps, better yet, wear development between the Gulf of
surf shirts built with fabrics that offer a high SPF rating. Maine and the eastern Caribbean.
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 12, No. 1 Sayings - The First Decade
A project of the Sustainable Aft View
Development Institute, which Our service began to take shape early in 1997, when those of us working
on communications about the coastal environment sensed a gap. The mainstream
seeks to heighten the environmen-
media was doing at least an adequate job of presenting readers and viewers with
tal quality of economic develop- “big” national or international stories. Local papers and NGO publications did a
ment efforts, in coastal regions, by pretty good job of keeping up with local issues. But in between, at the level of river
communicating information about or watershed or estuary, there seemed to be less coverage. This suggested a
better policies and practices. SDI “news need” for an environmental activist sitting, say, in North Carolina to be
is classified as a 501(c)(3) organi- better kept abreast of helpful new ideas originating elsewhere, whether in New
zation, exempt from federal England or Florida.
income tax.
Initial efforts to bridge this gap, tracking relevant news occurring along the
Atlantic coastline from the Canadian Maritimes down through the eastern Carib-
Board of Directors
bean, have developed into a multi-faceted 365 day of the year news service, with
dramatic changes in our web capabilities and offerings just launched at the begin-
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair
ning of 2008. Atlantic CoastWatch began with start-up funding from the Henry Luce
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus
Foundation and a big boost early on from EPA. The initial effort was the prototype,
Roger D. Stone, President
tersely worded 8 page bimonthly newsletter, first published in hardcopy and online
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer
in December 1997.
Gay P. Lord, Secretary
Nelse L. Greenway
By 2001, SDI’s board of directors approved a new program area: a
David P. Hunt
comprehensive news headline service called Coastal News Nuggets. This new
Hassanali Mehran
program began with a weekly web posting of ongoing research and e-mailing of
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff
those news items. In early 2004 we programmed an online database, so that we
could post News Nuggets on a daily basis. Initially around 200-350 stories were
being posted each week. After 9/11/01 the average dropped to below 100, and
stayed at such significantly lowered levels for the next two years. But in the time
William H. Draper, III
since, thanks in large part to the combined impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the Al
Gary Hartshorn
Gore film An Inconvenient Truth, media coverage of coastal and environmental
Stephen P. Leatherman
stories grew steadily and peaked during the last year. We are now posting between
Jerry R. Schubel
500-750 stories each week; since June 2001 we’ve collected and delivered around
Christopher Uhl
180,000 headlines and links to sources.
We have also learned how the ideas within stories have been transformed
into local actions. All along, we have been able to keep on thanks to faithful support
Roger D. Stone, Director & President
from some 200 individual donors, small family foundations, and especially our
Shaw Thacher, Executive Director
largest and most loyal benefactor, the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
Ron Grandon, Contributing Editor
Anita Herrick, Contributing Editor
Bow View
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor
Now once again we are initiating a significant upgrade and re-launch of the
News Nugget services. With significant support from the Marpat and Munson
Foundation Donors
Foundations and programming assistance over the last 8 months from Interna-
tional Land Systems, we have developed the infrastructure to offer the region a
Avenir Foundation
Coastal Community News Service. To the existing news nuggets listing we are
The Fair Play Foundation
adding the ability for subscribers to comment on each news story and setup
The Madriver Foundation
customized e-mail subscriptions. We have also designed a new “news/comment-
The Curtis and Edith Munson
ing” portal so that any group in our region can distribute their own news listing and
commenting services – with a minimum of maintenance or management costs.
The Summit Fund of Washington
In addition to enabling local groups to have news automatically listed from
The Environmental Film Festival in
the Atlantic CoastWatch news pool (according to state or topic), they can also add
the Nation’s Capital, formerly operat-
local stories. We have not merely developed an improvement to our own site’s
ing under the auspices of the Sustain-
news services but have built the underpinnings so that coastal organizations can
able Development Institute is now
collaboratively collect, share and redistribute that news and commentary relevant
functioning independently with its own
to their communities and regions. This is a novel approach, not yet found anywhere
501(c)3 determination from the IRS.
else. Meanwhile, we will also continue to offer both the print and web versions of
our bimonthly newsletter. Overall, we feel well positioned to document the particu-
lars of how our coastal environment is faring—and to provide opportunities for
those concerned to discuss the ever-expanding list of issues on the agenda.

Courts & the Seashore Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of

the Waterkeeper Alliance since its
z New Jersey’s Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act withstood a founding in 1999, has stepped up to
legal challenge by the Warren County Board of Freeholders and nine property chairman. The new president is Steve
owners. ABD Liberty Inc. had sued as it was blocked in its effort to build 26 homes Fleischli, formerly the Santa Monica
on a 93-acre tract in Washington Township. In two separate actions, reported the waterkeeper . The alliance also named
Morris County Daily Record, judges upheld the constitutionality of the act, which Kristine Stratton as its executive
preserves 410,000 acres across 88 municipalities within parts of Bergen, director responsible for day to day
Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren Counties. The decisions operations. Stratton previously
were applauded by state Attorney General Anne Milgram, who saw them as a worked at the Conservation Law
protection for the state’s natural resources and a protection against “unchecked Foundation in Boston and at the
development.” WGBH Educational Foundation. The
nationwide alliance is a coalition of 25
z North Carolina Superior Court Judge Kimberly Taylor overruled neighbor- local Waterkeeper programs,161
ing property owners to allow an Iredell County farmer to start a 500,000 gallon affiliated waterkeepers patrol and
biodiesel plant on his land. The farmer, Phil McLain, told the Charlotte Observer that protect waterways on 6 continents.
he’s not sure how soon he’ll start making biodiesel out of his soybean, canola and
sunflower crops. The Judge said the plan is a bona fide farm use. Charles Vinick resigned as president
of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket
z The “emergency” cited by the US Navy in justifying its Pacific sonar Sound, handing the job to Glen
testing was nothing more, a U.S. District Court judge said, than a creature of the Wattley, a former coal industry
Navy’s own making, “its failure to prepare adequate environmental documents in a consultant and Osterville homeowner.
timely fashion.” According to the Washington Post, the Navy had declared the According to the Cape Cod Times,
emergency after losing another court ruling. Judge Florence Marie Cooper said Wattley asserted the recent Minerals
acceptance of the Navy’s argument would produce “the absolute result of permit- Management Service (MMS) draft EIS
ting agencies to avoid their (environmental) obligations by re-characterizing had not affected a shift the two men
ordinary, planned activities as ‘emergencies’ in the interests of national security, had planned for some time. The MMS
economic stability or other long-term goals.” The Navy will now be forced to draft determined that the Capewind
conduct additional environmental impact assessments. proposal for Horseshoe Shoals would
have no major impacts upon birds,
marine wildlife or recreation.

JFK Goes Geothermal Franklin E. Parker of Morris County,

NJ, credited with a leading role in the
The New York and New Jersey Port Authority plans to use geothermal formation of the Pinelands Commis-
energy to power a building at John F. Kennedy International Airport, claiming the sion, which took over 1.1 million acres
conversion as a first and expecting to follow-up with additional installations. By in southern New Jersey for a national
using the heat of the earth at JFK’s building 254, the authority expects to reduce reserve, died at 82 after a long illness.
other energy consumption and produce an annual 820,000-pound drop in carbon The commission confronted a parade
dioxide emissions. Environment News Service said that the Port Authority has of angry landowners as the reserve
invested in other projects expected to reduce CO2 by four million pounds each year was created in 1979 by then Gov.
by installing LED lighting on the George Washington Bridge and in the Holland Brendan Byrne. According to the
Tunnel, and by placing advanced energy metering systems at all of its facilities. obituary in the Asbury Park Press, the
commission also withstood a move for
a metropolitan jetport on what later
ME Wetland Fees became the Great Swamp National
Wildlife Refuge.

Developers who can’t avoid damaging wetlands, vernal pools or other James W. Balsiger was named acting
protected wildlife habitat will now be able to pay fees instead of attempting to do director of the National Marine
their own restoration. As reported by the Portland Press Herald, the fees will go into Fisheries Service, replacing director
a fund set up cooperatively by the Nature Conservancy, the state Department of Bill Hogarth, who retired in December.
Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers and others. DEP is to Balsiger moves from his post as
enforce the program and the Nature Conservancy will be paid a 3% fee to manage director of the Alaska Fisheries
it. Research Center in Seattle. Announc-
ing the appointment of NOAA’s
The fees are based on the cost of buying real estate and creating new newest acting assistant administrator,
wetlands and are expected to range from $3.96 per square foot in southern Maine retired Navy vice admiral Conrad
to $2.96 in northern Maine. That would total more than $172,000 per acre in Lautenbacher, Jr., noted the broad
southern Maine and $129,000 in the south. Some developers welcome the program responsibilities of NMFS, specifically
as giving them better estimates of a project’s costs. citing “the president’s important goals
of ending over-fishing and promoting
aquaculture to meet the nation’s
ecological and food source needs.”
Bill Read was appointed as the new
director of the National Hurricane z Chesapeake Bay of Light (Mountain Trail Press, 2008) is the title of a 192-
Center this January. He had been the page coffee table book by former Baltimore Sun reporter Tom Horton and photog-
acting director there since August, rapher Ian Plant. The book shows the bay as it looked to John Smith in 1602. Plant’s
when he took over from Bill Proenza photos were taken during voyages in a 17-foot kayak. Finding the purely wild
who was ousted after a mere six places, he said, took some doing.
months’ tenure for publicly airing his
concerns about the deterioration of a z Available online is Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local,
weather satellite, the QuikScat. Read Regional and State Governments, which was developed by the Climate Impacts
has been with NOAA National Group and King County, Washington. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
Weather Service for thirty years. was a contributing partner and will be distributing the guidebook nationally. The
purpose of the book is to help decision-makers at all levels of government to
Awards prepare and plan for the effects of climate change. Url:
Marine biologist Andrew Baker of the
University of Miami was awarded a z Starting at Sea Level (Foggy River Books, 2007), a story by Terry Noble of
$150,00 Pew Fellowship in Marine growing up less than tranquil in the idyllic southern reaches of the Chesapeake Bay,
Conservation, reported the Miami was described by reviewer Dick Wilson in the Bay Weekly as unfolding like a good
Herald. Baker’s work centers on novel. Part of the “history lesson” of the book is a description of the oyster wars in
protection of heat sensitive coral the 1870s between Virginia and Maryland watermen that prompted the formation
against rising water temperatures. of a bay police force by Maryland.
The coral were said to shed needed
algae when temperatures spike. z Feet Wet, Hands Dirty: Environmental Projects in Maryland Public
Schools, showcases projects by 15 elementary schools of the 163 Maryland schools
with Green School status granted by the Maryland Association for Environmental
Species & Habitats and Outdoor Education. Url:
Fishermen off the North Carolina z A new website, H2O Conserve, promises one-stop-shopping for Americans
coast were warned in mid-January seeking to make water conservation part of everyday life. Step One: Acknowledg-
that if the by-catch of endangered ing how much water we really use. Url:
turtles continues, fishing seasons and
catches might have to be cut short. As z Tom Slayton, formerly editor of Vermont Life magazine, has written
reported in the Outer Banks Sentinel, “Searching for Thoreau: On the Trails and Shores of Wild New England” (Images
Blake Price of the North Carolina from the Past, 2007). This paperback shows his delight in Henry David Thoreau’s
Division of Marine Fisheries met with writings and in spending three years extensively retracing Thoreau’s journeys. It is
commercial fishermen to urge illustrated by Slayton’s son Ethan.
minimizing the accidental catches of
the endangered species, which include
green turtles, loggerheads, Kemp’s
ridleys, leatherbacks and hawksbills. PA Towns Revolt Against Bay Strategy
He said officials are seeing three
times as many turtles as ever seen in The Capitol Region Council of Governments, representing 34 towns in the
Pamlico sound, prompting a rejoinder Harrisburg, PA area, sued to block implementation of a Chesapeake Bay Tributary
from fisherman Buddy O’Neal, Strategy, objecting to the cost to the towns. As expressed in an editorial by the
“Maybe then we should be celebrat- Press Enterprise: “Treatment plants discharge a relatively small percentage of the
ing that the conservation measures of pollutants that go into the Susquehanna River ... yet municipalities are being asked
the last five years have worked rather to bear an inordinate share of the financial burden.”The publication said the
than making changes for no reason.” impetus for the strategy “comes from environmental activists in Washington,” but
Price noted that scientists don’t know the $8 to $28 billion cost would be borne primarily by “homeowners whose
the population size, and “It’s not like wastewater is taken away and treated by municipal systems.”
counting marbles in a jar.”
Hanover Evening Sun reporter Ashley Adams noted that the towns are
Spiny dogfish and coastal shark being asked to contribute funds to the lawsuit and that the Hanover Borough
management are covered in a draft Council has “jumped on board.” The Sentinel Online noted a contribution from
plan drawn up by the Atlantic States South Middleton Township. In contrast, the state Department of Environmental
Marine Fisheries Commission, which Protection said Pennsylvania’s farmers are meeting mandatory nutrient reduction
set a March 28 deadline for comment. targets of the Chesapeake Bay Compliance Plan. The Towanda Daily & Sunday
The plan discusses 39 shark species, Review noted a DEP press release, which pointed out that the plan requires 25
which were said to be in a depleted million pounds of nutrient reduction ... “five times the reduction required of sewage
state, vulnerable to collapse. The draft treatment plants.”
plan proposes to protect depleted
species while they are in coastal
estuaries referred to as “pupping
Budget Smudget grounds.”

It happens every year. The President proposes a federal budget, Congress Fishing fleets from more than 30
gnaws away at it or ignores it, and sometime later in the year deals get cut and nations are being enrolled in a
programs actually start happening. Election years hamper the process more than program to protect seabirds attempt-
usual. Nonetheless, various details of this year’s presidental budget are causing ing at their own peril to feed on bait.
unusual levels of alarm among Atlantic coast-watchers. Reported by the Associated Press, the
agreement calls on skippers to fish at
The EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, for example, would lose $1.5 million night, dye bait the color of seawater,
from its current $30.5 million in the Bush Administration budget sent to Capitol Hill attach weights to bait so it sinks
in early February. Also cut in the administration proposal is funding for about 100 quickly, and use flapping streamers to
acres of oyster habitat in the Choptank and Chester Rivers in Maryland and scare the birds away. Nations with
Lynnhaven River in Virginia. “The tide of federal spending is out,” Rep. Chris Van large fleets said to have agreed to the
Hollen (D-Md.) told the Washington Post, “when it should be coming in.” As in the measures include Taiwan, Japan and
current fiscal year, however, Bay advocates can be expected to resist any cuts. The Korea, according to the U.S. National
influential Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said fighting for restoration of environmental Oceanic and Atmospheric
funding would be a top priority for the Maryland congressional delegation. The Administration’s Kim Rivera. The
current $30.5 million includes a congressional add on over last year’s administra- “mandatory” requirements are to go
tion request. into effect this year, Rivera said, in
both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The $255 million in the administration’s proposed budget for Everglades
restoration was called “a kiss on the cheek,” and better than being dumped, by Kirk New Jersey has made available to
Fordham, chief executive officer of the Everglades Foundation, interviewed in the private fishermen for the first time an
Miami Herald. Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Palm Beach Gardens) among others said the automated system meant to track the
amount signals the federal government’s unwillingness to split restoration costs catch of striped bass. Recreational
with the state. fishermen may now register their
catch on the Standard Atlantic
Budget woes pervaded state programs as well as the national scene. Lisa Fisheries Information System. The
Jackson, New Jersey environmental protection commissioner, told the state program is operated by the Atlantic
legislature of wanting to do more with less, elaborating: “The DEP is down 200 Coastal Cooperative Statistics
employees since I took office in 2006 and the likelihood of new resources is slim.” Program.
Her priorities were listed in the Star Ledger as “improving the Highlands preserva-
tion plan, repairing state parks, making the state a leader in confronting climate The Old World climbing fern was
change, controlling vehicle emissions, restoring polluted land, creating a water termed public enemy No. 1 in Florida
supply master plan and fighting sprawl. as officials mounted a herbicide attack
on the invasive species, as described
in an Orlando Sentinel article: “Scien-
NJ Nukes Fish tists fear that the fast-growing fern,
originally imported from Africa and
Asia, will march across Central and
The inflows of fish and shellfish during water intake by the Oyster Creek South Florida like a botanical wildfire.
nuclear plant in Lacey, NJ stirred controversy after disclosure by the Asbury Park It kills all in its path, strangling mature
Press. The report summarized the findings of a state survey showing that 1.3 billion trees and trapping wildlife, from
fish, shrimp and crabs were carried through cooling water of the plant, of which 42- tortoises to wading birds and deer.”
80% were estimated to have survived. In addition, 2.9 million organisms were The herbicides are being applied
trapped against intake screens, of which 97% were thought to have survived. above the St. Johns River headwaters
in Indian River County.
Cynthia Zipf of Clean Ocean Action, a Sandy Hook-based coalition, said the
data demonstrates that the plant is a menace to the ecosystem of Barnegat Bay. Restorations
Oyster Creek spokeswoman Leslie Cifelli said a recent Department of Environmen-
tal Protection decision shows that the proposed operation of the plant through 2029 The Chesapeake’s Poplar Island has
“will meet the safeguards of the coastal zone management program.” Jeff Tittle, been expanded over 10 years from an
who directs the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter observed, “My concern is that... eroded 10 acres to its former size of
basically with this new determination, they’re heading down the road toward 1,000 acres using mud dredged from
relicensing and basically turning their backs on the people of New Jersey. the channel leading to Baltimore. But
for nesting birds it lacked vegetation
The Oyster Creek plant is operated by AmerGen Energy and is the oldest for habitat, without which predators
power plant of its kind in the nation. The state’s environmental protection depart- would have easy pickings. Enter old
ment said it has yet to decide whether to require cooling towers that would allow Christmas trees, many donated last
recycling of the cooling water which would help reduce impacts upon aquatic life. year by Fish and Wildlife Service
employees, and carried by boat from
nearby Tilghman Island. (A Washing-
ton Post reporter observing the
placement of this year’s crop of Farming Salmon Questioned
Christmas greenery noted much of the
island looked like a dusty construction
A new study characterizing fish farming as a disaster for wild salmon
site.) Peter McGowan, a biologist with
stocks won endorsement of leading scientists in Canada, but government officials
the Service, one of many agencies
were hesitant. Published by the Public Library of Science, the study by Jennifer
working on the site, explained that
Ford and the late fishing expert Ransom Myers tied the drastic declines in wild
they are “trying to give the habitat a
salmon in some areas to the passage by wild juvenile salmon on their way down-
jump start”, until trees grow up again,
stream past salmon farming waterways.
and cited a survey that more than 90
percent of last years trees had hosted
Calling the paper “very significant research,” John Reynolds of British
nests of ducks, or mice, voles or other
Columbia’s Fraser University told the Toronto Globe and Mail, “It’s the first time
anybody has put the global data together ... and made it clear that changes need to
be made in the way salmon farms operate.” Trevor Swerdfager, director general
New England commercial fishermen
of aquaculture for the Canadian Fisheries Department, said he would take a close
using the Stellwagen Bank National
look at the study but has so far not seen any proof that salmon farms harm wild
Marine Sanctuary area are beginning
populations. He told CNEWS that stock declines, particularly in the Bay of Fundy,
to bring to shore the wide variety of
are “still a bit of a mystery, but there are other pressures at play that could be
debris they collect, inadvertently or
linked to the reductions.“ The Ford/Myers study compared the survival of wild
otherwise, according to an article by
salmon that travel near farms to those that don’t, finding that upward of 50% of the
Matt Dozier of the National Marine
salmonid that do pass by farms don’t survive.
Sanctuary Program. It is exploring
ways to expand and improve marine
Greenpeace charged in late January that the Canadian aquaculture
debris removal efforts. The program is
industry is not a solution to overfishing and must dramatically change in order to
being spearheaded by 45-year
become sustainable. Growers immediately responded that salmon farmers are
fisherman Frank Mirarchi, operating
creating local solutions to the challenge of sustainability and that they abide by
from Scituate, MA. A one-year
“stringent environmental quality standards, monitoring programs, codes of
demonstration grant from the NOAA
practice, reporting requirements and regulatory responsibilities” The controversy
Marine Debris Program is to track the
was reported in Fishupdate magazine.
amounts, times and locations of
thedebris found by Mararchi and
Said Greenpeace’s Sara King: “Many of the most serious environment
impacts of aquaculture are happening here in Canadian waters, and it’s time the
Canadian government ensured the industry takes responsibility for the damage
The National Marine Fisheries Service
being caused.” The New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association upheld the
said in its latest FishNews newsletter
industry’s stewardship and said East Coast salmon farmers “are also leaders in
that new technology holds promise for
integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, a method that combines several species of
reducing accidental or bycatch of
fish, shellfish and plants in one operation.”
leatherback and loggerhead sea
turtles by up to 90%. The agency
advocates so-called “circle” hooks in
which the point goes back toward the With Appreciation
hook shaft, replacing the traditional J-
hook. NMFS has also developed new We offer special thanks to the Marpat and Curtis and Edith Munson
de-hooking and release techniques, Foundations for the most generous support they have recently extended to enable
including a turtle elevator to bring the us to make major improvements in our overall communications capabilities, and
reptiles aboard to be released.The from the Fair Play Foundation in support of this newsletter.
agency said it is mounting an outreach
program to share the results with Particular mention should also be made of important contributions re-
other fishing nations. ceived from Freeborn G. Jewett Jr., Lee M. Petty, and Simon Sidamon-Eristoff.
Since last fall we have also received wonderful support from these additional
Report Cards donors:

Since the late 1990’s the Gulf of Maine William C. Baker Robert Leeson Jr.
Research Institute (GMRI) in Portland Wendy W. Benchley Hunter Lewis
has been working collaboratively with E.U. Curtis Bohlen Gay P. Lord
fishermen on their studies of fish Barry R. Bryan Natural Resources Defense Council
populations. This collaboration started John S. Chatfield Hector Prud’homme
for money reasons. The Institute Connecticut Conservation Association Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr.
wanted to expand their research on Robert J. Geniesse Hon. John T. Smith
the water, and found it was less Marion S. Guggenheim George and Katharine Woodwell
expensive to hire fishermen to take
them out than to build their own
research vessels. The extra work has
been a boon to fishermen too, provid-
Coal Wars Fester Along Coast ing income in the off-season when
their fishing days have been curtailed.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA’s plans for “trading” But beyond the economics of this
mercury emissions among power companies – set to go into effect in 2010 – sensible solution, the scientists and
“ignored the plain text of the law” and would have been favorable to plant owners. the fishermen have found that they
As reported by the Washington Post Feb. 9, the decision overuled EPA’s establish- can learn from each other. The big
ment in 2005 of a “cap and trade” program in which utilities ahead of the mercury issue that has divided the two groups
emissions standards could trade “credits” to other companies lagging behind. has been the question of mandated
regulations, and that distrust has not
Said Earthjustice attorney James Pew, “This is really a repudiation of the entirely gone away. GMRI has made a
Bush administration’s environmental legacy.” Power companies, however, said point of providing a neutral forum
that without a rule in place, companies will be reluctant to spend money on improv- where the input of both local observa-
ing pollution control. An American Electric Power spokesman said the firm will tions (from the fishermen) and hard
postpone purchases of equipment aimed at reducing mercury emissions, although data (from the scientists) is encour-
it had spent $2.6 billion earlier on controls to reduce smog and mercury. aged. Both groups want to improve
fisheries management, so it makes
The mercury decision is a benchmark in the current war over the siting of good sense for them to work together.
coal-burning power plants. Eastern Seaboard states are at a crossroads in the
current controversies over utilities’ use of coal for new or expanded electricity Bats consuming insects in the upper
production. From Pennsylvania to Georgia and inland from there, coal has been an Hudson River area have five times the
economic force and income generator for generations. At the same time, concern blood levels of polychlorinated
about fossil fuel use is spreading across the area and utilities are being challenged biphenyls (PCBs) as bats in other parts
about their expansion efforts. of the state, according to a study
noted in the Schenectady Daily
Fear of coal power was voiced by 4 environmental groups in Massachu- Gazette. The study is part of the
setts after the commonwealth’s energy secretary turned down their petition calling decades long assessment of damage
for a full-scale environmental review for a plant modification in Somerset. resulting from General Electric’s
Somerset Power LLC is owned by NRC Energy, the 10th largest American power dumping of PCBs into the Hudson until
company. It plans to retrofit a 50-year-old boiler to a plasma gasification process. PCBs were banned in 1977. This work
The petition was filed by the Conservation Law Foundation, backed by several is expected to be completed in five
other environmental groups. CLF charged that the state had allowed the plant to or six years, at which time GE is
“backtrack on its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas pollutants by adopting responsible for cleanup. GE spokes-
experimental coal gasification technology.” Apprehension was expressed also in a man Mark Behan said the assessment
Boston Globe editorial, which called the Somerset decision a “tragic mistake,” is separate from the PCB cleanup
continuing:”This plant was scheduled to shut down in 2010 or to ‘repower’ as a project and that the company is
cleaner plant. NRC now proposes to do neither. Instead, it aims to retain its depen- “preparing to begin one of the largest
dence on dirty fuel, converting the plant’s boiler to ‘plasma gasification’ of coal.” environmental cleanup projects in US
Commenting on Santee Cooper’s plans for a 600 megawatt coal plant in
South Carolina, attorneys general from seven states and the District of Columbia New York-New Jersey, Hampton
wrote that it would “undermine national efforts to protect the environment.” North Roads, Va., Charleston, S.C. and
Carolina’s Division of Air Quality, meanwhile, approved plans by Duke Energy for a Savannah, Ga., ranked along with six
new coal-fired plant in Rutherford County. Construction was to begin Jan. 31. other national ports as severe health
Opponents who had 60 days to appeal, may challenge the permit approval. risks for their surrounding communi-
ties according to a company involved
in research and development of
alternative fuels. Study author James
NJ Loosens Its Buffers Cannon said voluntary guidelines in
New York-New Jersey have met
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility objects to a change in limited success, despite the enthusi-
buffer zone requirements in New Jersey, accusing state Department of Environ- asm expressed by their Green Port
mental Protection commissioner Lisa Jackson of reversing a year-old requirement program. The study, reported by the
for 300-foot buffer zones around streams and lakes. The change allows 150-foot Los Angeles Newspaper Group’s
buffers without any need to demonstrate that reduction provides equivalent Daily Breeze, said Cannon has
environmental protection. Jackson’s new rules, PEER said, “guts” the requirement scheduled meetings with 17 members
for showing equivalent protection. NJ PEER Director Bill Wolfe said DEP “appears of Congress and the Environmental
to be adopting the argument that conversion of buffer lands to housing reduces Protection Agency, stating,”The goal
water pollution compared to farming. By turning tail on this point, Commissioner is to use this information to get some
Jackson has transformed stream buffers into builder speed bumps that will be dialogue going and maybe hold some
easily run over.” feet to the fire.”
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sustainable Development Institute
3121 South St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 338-1017

Fax: (202) 337-9639

Tax-deductible contributions for Atlantic CoastWatch are urgently needed.

Checks can be made payable to the Sustainable Development Institute.


AbTech Industries of Scottsdale, AZ has SC Mercury Rising

been developing a variety of products
for filtering and skimming pollutants out Testing of people for mercury is being considered by the South
of both still and moving water. They Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. According to the
have recently installed their patented Myrtle Beach Sun News, the state has posted warnings at marinas and also
SmartSponge filtration system in the distributed thousands of pamphlets. It tests about 2,000 fish a year but has not
storm drains of South Norwalk, CT. This yet tested humans. The consideration followed a series of articles in the
technology is able to filter out trash, Charleston Post and Courier calling attention to the toxicity of mercury. The Sun
animal waste, oil, grease and bacteria News report noted that the state utility, Santee Cooper, is planning a coal-
before these pollutants reach Long burning plant in Florence County.
Island Sound. In North Carolina, the
Outer Banks’ town of Nags Head is The Sun News editorialized that “government does little to track toxic
hoping to install one of the filters at one effects and complained that there are no accurate data on the Dolphus M.
of the nine outfalls for stormwater Granger Steam Plant, despite it having released in the first nine months of
strung along that coast. The town 2007, 7,968 tons of carbon dioxide and 1,661 tons of nitrogen oxide.” The news
manager is concerned about the cost of service said residents of Pamlico and surrounding communities “would have
the upkeep and hopes that some of the better and longer-lasting opportunities if the plant site were used as a depot for
state funds which have been allocated sustainable energy technology equipment.”
for the filters can be used for mainte-
nance, which can run up to $100,000
annually, reported the Virginian-Pilot.
Cruise Ship Dumpings
Roughly 60 of 130 cruise ships operated by US lines use older technol-
The possibility of tapping the energy ogy for treating wastewater, which doesn’t meet federal standards, according
from the flow of the Gulf Stream was to the Miami Herald, which quoted Teri Shore of Friends of the Earth: “It seems
boosted by a $10 million grant from that neither the EPA under the Bush Administration nor Congress plans to do
Florida Governor Charlie Crist to Florida anything about controlling cruise-ship dumping of sewage or gray water any
Atlantic University researcher Rick time soon....”
Driscoll. As reported by the Palm Beach
Post, Driscoll’s project would place EPA is asking public comment on a draft report, including recommen-
turbines in the ocean stream about 15 dations on “whether and how to better control and regulate” cruise-ship
miles off the shore of Lauderdale- by- pollution both nationally and in Alaska, which has tougher standards. Jackie
the- Sea, where the current runs at Savitz of Oceana, an environmental group, said EPA unfortunately sees dilution
about six miles per hour. His long-run as the solution. Cruise Lines International Association noted that ship capacity
goal is to have 3,000 turbines powering has burgeoned more than 36% since 2002 and said eight new ships are to be
up to 50% of Florida’s total power needs. commissioned this year.