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Volume 15, Issue 22 ~ May 31 - June 6, 2007

Way Downstream

On the Eastern Shore, Blackwater Wildlife Refuge stands to benefit from a consent decree reached with Constellation Energy in which the state is forcing the utility to spend $9 million to clean up three power plants, including the C.P. Crane plant in Anne Arundel. Under the deal, Constellation will also pay a $100,000 fine and $100,000 for the University of Maryland’s tidal marsh carbon sequestration project at Blackwater. That’s a forward-looking project that seeks to combat climate change by preserving tidal marshes, which capture carbon, preventing it from contributing to rising sea levels …

Also on the Shore, a development environmentalists approve. White’s Heritage LLC, developers of Gibson’s Grant in Chester reserved 55 of its 138 acres for a native habitat park and wildlife corridor, managed by Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center. Residents enjoy a mile of waterfront, plus public parks, trails, observation sites, interpretive signage and a community center incorporating existing barns and offering classes on environment and native wildlife. The community will also model environmentally friendly design for stormwater management, soil stabilization and erosion control through ground cover plantings. See for yourself at the groundbreaking June 6;

In Washington, D.C., Rep. Wayne Gilchrest — along with six Republican co-sponsors — is pushing for a new energy policy, based on renewable sources and efficiency. The District 1 rep and friend of the environment — who’s likely to have to fight for his seat in next year’s Republican primary — introduced a House resolution urging the development of clean coal, anaerobic digesters and methane, biofuels including biodiesel and ethanol, wind, solar, ocean energy, hydrogen fuel cells, natural gas, and fission and fusion technologies. To increase energy efficiency, Gilchrest proposes that we increase fuel economy standards and use more efficient light bulbs, appliances and hybrid vehicles …

Also in Washington, new senator Ben Cardin proposed an energy bill of his own. Cardin’s version — the Energy Independence Act — would create a framework for the United States to become energy independent in a decade, getting 90 percent of our energy from domestic sources and moving away from fossil fuels. Besides creating a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission to study and review policy changes, the bill would include more funding for rail systems, buses, subways and light rail …

Around America, Greenpeace rallied advocates in over 50 cities to march for whales as the International Whaling Commission gathered in Anchorage, Alaska. At the annual meeting, delegates from 70 countries debate how, where and why to hunt whales. Protesters rallied for whale protection from not only hunters but also the net-ships, plastic trash and pollution. “With so many other factors impacting whale populations worldwide, it is incredible that the IWC is still entertaining the idea of debating commercial whaling,” said Karen Sack of Greenpeace USA …

Our Creature Feature is a fish story from Indonesia, where Yustinus Lahama and his son caught one of the strangest fish that they and anybody else will ever see. That’s because the huge coelacanth (112 pounds) they hauled in was believed until the 1930s to have gone extinct some 80 million years ago.

The catfish-looking whopper, thought to have been around some 400 million years ago, has been rarely seen since re-emerging and is caught only deep in the sea. When Lahama realized at his home that he had a rare specimen indeed, he tried to save it by placing it in water — but it was too late.

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