Category: Crimes

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the guardian

Environmental groups claim Nestlé is breaking federal law by operating on an expired permit to remove millions of gallons of water from a southern California forest despite the state’s historic drought

A new lawsuit against Nestlé claims the company is illegally pumping millions of gallons of water from California’s San Bernardino National Forest.
A new lawsuit against Nestlé claims the company is illegally pumping millions of gallons of water from California’s San Bernardino National Forest. Photograph: Larry W Smith/EPA

A consortium of environmental advocacy groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the US Forest Service, alleging that the federal agency has allowed food and beverage giant Nestlé to illegally pump millions of gallons of water from California’s San Bernardino National Forest for decades, despite the current historic drought.

The Story of Stuff Project, along with co-plaintiffs the Center for Biological Diversity and the Courage Campaign Institute, claim that Nestlé is breaking federal law, operating on a permit expired nearly 20 years ago, in 1988, removing between 50m-150m gallons of water each year from a creek in the southern Californian forest to use in its Arrowhead bottled water brand. The organizations are asking the US Forest Service to immediately turn off the water spigot and conduct a permit review, assessing the environmental impact of Nestlé’s operations.

“They are taking water from a national forest that desperately needs that water,” said Michael O’Heaney, executive director at the Story of Stuff, a group that advocates to clean up consumer culture. “The Forest Service is obligated by law to ensure the natural resources of the forest are protected.”

Lisa Belenky, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the Forest Service “has a duty to look at permits and make sure they’re current and do an environmental review to make sure it isn’t impacting areas of the forest”.

But Nestlé says it isn’t breaking any laws, and insists that its permit hasn’t expired.


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Apple loses patent lawsuit to University of Wisconsin, faces hefty damages

Apple Inc could be facing up to $862 million in damages after a U.S. jury on Tuesday found the iPhone maker used technology owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s licensing arm without permission in chips found in many of its most popular devices.

The jury in Madison, Wisconsin also said the patent, which improves processor efficiency, was valid. The trial will now move on to determine how much Apple owes in damages.

Representatives for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

WARF sued Apple in January 2014 alleging infringement of its 1998 patent for improving chip efficiency.

Related Stories
Schools that sue: Why more universities file patent lawsuits
Top 100 Innovative Universities: University of Wisconsin System

The jury was considering whether Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X processors, found in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, as well as several versions of the iPad, violate the patent.



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End Of The American Dream

The American Dream Is Becoming A Nightmare And Life As We Know It Is About To Change

American Flag - Proud To Be An American - Public DomainIs the United States an “exceptional” nation?  Well, the facts show that we are, but not for the reasons that you may think.  Now that it is election season, we have all sorts of politicians running around proclaiming that America is the greatest nation on the entire planet.  And just this week, Warren Buffett stated that “America’s great now — it’s never been greater“.  But is it actually true?  Is the United States still a great nation?  I would submit that the numbers suggest otherwise.  I love America, and in my opinion there is not much hope for us until we are willing to admit to ourselves just how far we have fallen.  The following are 36 facts that prove that the United States is an “exceptional” nation…

#1 According to a brand new report that was just released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has the fattest population in the entire industrialized world by a wide margin.

#2 That same report from the OECD also found that we are number one in child obesity.  In fact, at 38 percent our rate of childhood obesity is even higher than our overall rate of obesity.

#3 According to USA Today, the obesity rate in the United States has more than doubled over the past 25 years.

#4The Washington Post has reported that Americans spend an average of 293 minutes a day watching television, which is the most in the world by a wide margin.   And as I have discussed previously, more than 90 percent of the “programming” that we absorb is created by just 6 enormously powerful media corporations.

#5 One study found that the average American spends more than 10 hours a day using some sort of electronic device.

#6 By the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television.

#7 The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.

#8 Out of 22 countries studied by the Educational Testing Service, Americans were dead last in tech proficiency, dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency.

#9 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#10 The percentage of wealth owned by middle class adults is lower in North America than it is anywhere else in the world.

#11 Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.


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Owasso Police Lt. Michael Dwain Denton striking suspect with shotgun butt - (Dashcam screencap)

An Oklahoma cop has been charged with felony assault after beating a suspect with the butt of a shotgun while other officers held him down, Tulsa World is reporting.

Owasso Police Lt. Michael Dwain Denton, 49, has been suspended and faces assault and battery with a deadly weapon and reckless conduct with a firearm following a high speed car chase on June 14, caught on a police cruiser dash cam.

In the video, officers can be seen warily approaching a truck driven by a suspect identified as Cody Matthews.

With fellow officers aiming their weapons at the truck, one officer breaks the driver-side window using his baton. Denton can then be seen entering the picture and using the barrel of his shotgun to strike Matthews in the face before officers drag the man out of the vehicle.


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Published on
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Warning: TTIP Aims To Defang Local Rules Against Hazardous Chemicals

New report finds that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership poses a threat to state regulations against hazardous pesticides, products, and fracking chemicals

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Fracking wells in McKenzie County, North Dakota. (Photo: Tim Evanson/flickr/cc)

Fracking wells in McKenzie County, North Dakota. (Photo: Tim Evanson/flickr/cc)

The mammoth Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) under secret negotiation between the United States and European Union is poised to slash the power of local governments to regulate toxins—from pesticides to fracking chemicals—the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) warned in a report released Tuesday.

Preempting the Public Interest: How TTIP Will Limit US States’ Public Health and Environmental Protections (pdf) is based on an analysis of the European Commission’s proposed chapter on regulatory cooperation from the April 20 round of negotiations. The report follows other analyses of the text which conclude that the TTIP poses a threat to human rights, environmental protections, and democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Beyond the regulatory cooperation chapter, little else is known about the content of the closed-door negotiations over what is set to be the largest bilateral “trade” deal in history.

The chapter’s contents, warns CIEL, highlight the direct threat the TTIP poses to public health and environmental protections on the U.S. state level. This is especially troublesome, the report argues, because federal regulations under the Toxic Substance Control Act have proven “egregiously ineffective”—and could be even further eroded, thanks to the influence of the chemical industry in Congress.

“The bottom line is if you’re trying to make the U.S. compatible with an international standard, and you have minimal federal regulations on the U.S. side, and you have states that go beyond that, the provisions will be used to attack state chemical and pesticide regulations.”
—Sharon Treat, report co-author

In contrast, some state governments have taken the lead in responding to the dangers posed by fracking chemicals, pesticides, and hazardous products by adopting “more than 250 laws and regulations protecting humans and the environment from exposure to toxic chemicals,” the report says.

However, so-called “harmonization provisions” in the EU’s proposal could force states to conform to the lowest common denominator—in this case weaker federal guidelines. As Sharon Treat, attorney, co-author of the report and former Maine state legislator, explained to Common Dreams, “The bottom line is if you’re trying to make the U.S. compatible with an international standard, and you have minimal federal regulations on the U.S. side, and you have states that go beyond that, the provisions will be used to attack state chemical and pesticide regulations.”

What’s more, the report asserts, the proposed chapter calls for an imposition of “multiple procedural mandates—from an early warning system to regulatory exchanges to the trade and cost-benefit impact assessments—that will lead to a regulatory chill caused by delay, increased costs for government, fear of legal challenges, and heightened industry influence and conflicts of interest.”

Beyond their demobilizing effect, such requirements could also expand the power of private interests in corporate tribunals, known as the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) systems.

“If you are requiring state and federal governments to do more studies to review whether a regulation could be done in a way that is less of an imposition on trade or big business, then you could bolster the case of the ISDS systems to block regulations,” explained Treat. “That would be tipping the scales even further in favor of international corporations running roughshod over regulations and procedures to protect public health and the environment.

Given the continued secrecy of the talks, it is not known how the U.S. responded to the proposed chapter, but the researchers at CIEL say the EU’s language alone is cause for alarm. CIEL warns that the “largest chemical and manufacturing corporations on both sides of the Atlantic” are playing a role in pressing the TTIP’s regulatory agenda—and that the U.S. is likely pressing for a similar race to the bottom for EU member states.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is negotiating the TTIP alongside two other secret trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement. All three have come under stiff opposition from social movements and civil societies across the globe concerned that they will bolster corporate power at the expense of people and the planet. Some observers argue that these deals could collapse, in part due to their unpopularity and internal contradictions.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Published on Aug 11, 2015

Gov’t Expert: Fukushima is always on people’s minds… a lot of concern
and worry about radiation’s role in unusual marine deaths — Reports of
shrunken or enlarged organs, black kidneys, sores on liver, slime in
mouth, discolored skin — Mortality in intertidal zone like “we haven’t
seen before” (VIDEO)…

Fukushima fishermen to allow discharge into sea
Nuclear & Energy Aug. 11, 2015 – Updated 01:16 UTC-4
fisheries federation is planning to conditionally allow decontaminated
underground water from the crippled nuclear power plant to be discharged
into the sea.
In exchange, it has asked the government and the
operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to take measures
to prevent negative harmful rumors.
The Fukushima Prefectural
Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations reached this decision
on Tuesday after a conditional agreement by a fishermen’s group in Iwaki
The group handed a written request to officials from the central government and TEPCO.
is asking that strict operational standards be observed for the
discharge and that the process be subject to monitoring by a third
party. It also asks that compensation be paid for harmful rumors.
Electric Power Company is planning to pump up contaminated ground water
from wells near the reactor buildings, decontaminate the water, and
then release it into the ocean.
This measure will be taken to deal with the 300 tons of contaminated water that is being produced at the facility every day.
TEPCO’s plan has been suspended. In February, local distrust of the
operator mounted after it was found to have failed to disclose leaks of
contaminated rainwater into the ocean.
The federation’s chairman
Tetsu Nozaki said it was a very troubling decision, but measures to deal
with the contaminated water are necessary. He said they will make a
final decision after receiving a response.
TEPCO’s Tsunemasa Niitsuma said they appreciate the understanding of the plan, and will try to respond quickly.

Reactor at Sendai plant reaches criticality
Nuclear & Energy Aug. 11, 2015 – Updated 11:07 UTC-4
A nuclear reactor has been restarted in Japan for the first time in nearly 2 years.
No.1 reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture,
southwestern Japan, is the first to go back online under the new
regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
On Tuesday morning, workers in the plant’s central control room operated a lever to pull out the reactor’s 32 control rods.
plant’s operator, Kyushu Electric Power Company, says the reactor
achieved a sustained nuclear chain reaction later on Tuesday and there’s
been no trouble so far.
If all goes well, the reactor is due to
begin generating power on Friday. After gradually raising its output,
Kyushu Electric plans to begin commercial operations in early September.
utility says it will watch carefully for any abnormalities in the
operation of the equipment, as the reactor has been kept offline for
more than 4 years.
Last year, the 2 reactors at the Sendai plant
cleared the new, rigorous regulations introduced after the 2011 accident
at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The necessary inspections were
completed on Monday.
The reactor is the first to go online since September 2013, when the Ohi nuclear plant in central Japan halted operations.

Fukushima update: Challenges remain at destroyed nuke plant…



TEPCO begins pumping up groundwater before dumping in ocean


The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on
Thursday began pumping up groundwater from wells around the reactor
buildings as part of its plan to dump it into the ocean after treatment.

The plan is aimed at curbing the amount of toxic water buildup at the
complex. Tokyo Electric Power Co says radiation levels in the
groundwater are much lower than in the highly toxic water being pooled
inside the reactor buildings, adding it will discharge it only after
confirming it does not contain radioactive materials exceeding the
legally allowable limit.

Even so, fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture had long opposed the plan
amid concerns over pollution of the ocean and marine products. They
approved it last week on condition that the government and TEPCO
continue paying compensation to them for as long as the nuclear crisis
continues to cause damage to their business, among other requirements.

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Collapse of the Industrial Civilization | Interview with Michael Ruppert


Published on Feb 28, 2013

Michael Ruppert let’s fly with both barrels as he speaks on Peak Oil, who the media are serving, and the truth behind Pat Tilman and Christopher Dorner. Ruppert’s candor is so strong that it is clear to see why he has been persecuted for his journalism, and he also shows why he is resilient enough to keep on speaking his truth.

Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World. In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary,Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.


00:01 Coming up on Media Mayhem.
00:50 Welcoming Michael Ruppert
01:44 Getting persecuted as a journalist over Pat Tilman.
04:35 Bringing down the Bush administration.
08:55 The Pat Tilman cover-up.
15:01 Getting push back from controversial stories.
23:14 Media red herrings and distractions from the Right and Left.
27:54 Collapse, peak oil and the Iraq War explained.
36:17 The cognitive dissonance swirling around Christopher Dorner.
45:04 Investigative journalism appears through the cracks.


Part 2



Published on Mar 5, 2013

Collapse mastermind Michael Ruppert joins Media Mayhem to continue his conversation about the dirty secrets of the US government. This time he pulls out the big guns when discussing 9/11, the Bush administration, and why Dick Cheney was such an important (and nefarious) figure.
He also gives his thoughts on President Obama, and the overwhelming force that keeps the machine of US government ticking in the direction of criminality.

Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil andConfronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary, Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.


00:01 Coming Up on Media Mayhem
00:41 The Collapse network of outside media.
03:34 30 years of experience in skepticism.
05:24 Osama Bin Laden and the truth.
09:44 9/11 was orchestrated by Dick Cheney.
11:24 Evidence for his case.
16:33 How Cheney consolidated power so effectively.
20:56 The excuse for the Iraq War, and the connection to Pearl Harbor.
26:12 Halliburton and the C.I.A.
31:44 Working with the LAPD and C.I.A. and coming from a background related to security.
34:34 The C.I.A. drug shipment conspiracy.
36:35 Has the LAPD changed since Rodney King?
40:14 Obama and the machine.
43:52 The balance of power and the executive.


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A photo of a fishmonger peeling the spine from a tuna.

A worker peels the spine from a tuna at New York’s Fulton Fish Market—the world’s largest after the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan—on March 29, 2013.


Brian Clark Howard

Published April 9, 2014

Do you know if the fish on your plate is legal? A new study estimates that 20 to 32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal or “pirate” fishing. That’s a problem, scientists say, because it erodes the ability of governments to limit overfishing and the ability of consumers to know where their food comes from.

The estimated illegal catch is valued at $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion annually and represents between 15 and 26 percent of the total value of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S., report scientists in a new study in the journal Marine Policy.

Study co-author Tony Pitcher says those results surprised his team. “We didn’t think it would be as big as that. To think that one in three fish you eat in the U.S. could be illegal, that’s a bit scary,” says Pitcher, who is a professor at the fisheries center of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

To get those numbers, Pitcher and three other scientists analyzed data on seafood imported into the U.S. in 2011. They combed through government and academic reports, conducted fieldwork, and interviewed stakeholders.

The scientists report that tuna from Thailand had the highest volume of illegal products, 32,000 to 50,000 metric tons, representing 25 to 40 percent of tuna imports from that country. That was followed by pollack from China, salmon from China, and tuna from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Other high volumes were seen with octopus from India, snappers from Indonesia, crabs from Indonesia, and shrimp from Mexico, Indonesia, and Ecuador.

Imports from Canada all had levels of illegal catches below 10 percent. So did imports of clams from Vietnam and toothfish from Chile.

Graphic showing percent of seafood imported into the U.S. that is illegal and unreported.


In response to the study, Connie Barclay, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries, said, “We agree that [pirate] fishing is a global problem, but we do not agree with the statistics that are being highlighted in the report.” Barclay says data are too scarce to make the conclusions verifiable.

But, she adds, “NOAA is working to stop [pirate] fishing and the import of these products into the U.S. market.” She points to recent increased collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and improved electronic tracking of trade data.

Pirate Fishing

The U.S. is important to consider when it comes to fishing because it is tied with Japan as the largest single importer of seafood, with each nation responsible for about 13 to 14 percent of the global total, says Pitcher. Americans spent $85.9 billion on seafood in 2011, with about $57.7 billion of that spent at restaurants, $27.6 billion at retail, and $625 million on industrial fish products.

However, what few Americans realize, says Pitcher, is that roughly 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and about half of that is wild caught, according to NOAA.

Pirate fishing is fishing that is unreported to authorities or done in ways that circumvent fishery quotas and laws. In their paper, the authors write that pirate fishing “distorts competition, harms honest fishermen, weakens coastal communities, promotes tax evasion, and is frequently associated with transnational crime such as narcotraffic and slavery at sea.” (See: “West Africans Fight Pirate Fishing With Cell Phones.”)

Scientists estimate that between 13 and 31 percent of all seafood catches around the world are illegal, worth $10 billion to $23.5 billion per year. That illegal activity puts additional stress on the world’s fish stocks, 85 percent of which are already fished to their biological limit or beyond, says Tony Long, the U.K.-based director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Ending Illegal Fishing Project.

“The ocean is vast, so it is very difficult for countries to control what goes on out there,” says Long. He explains that pirate fishers are often crafty, going to remote areas where enforcement is lax. They may leave a port with a certain name on the boat and the flag of a particular country, engage in illegal fishing, then switch the name and flag and unload their catch at a different port.


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The oceans are vast and humans are small — as the monthlong hunt for a vanished Malaysian jetliner demonstrates. Think of the challenge, then, for law enforcement and fisheries managers in going after fleets of shady boats that engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. These criminals ply the seas and sell their catches with impunity, making off with an estimated 11 million to 26 million metric tons of stolen fish each year, a worldwide haul worth about $10 billion to $23.5 billion. Many use banned gear like floating gillnets, miles long, that indiscriminately slaughter countless unwanted fish along with seabirds, marine mammals, turtles and other creatures.

The danger that illegal fishing poses to vulnerable ocean ecosystems is self-evident, but the harm goes beyond that. Illegal competition hurts legitimate commercial fleets. And lawless fishermen are prone to other crimes, like forced labor and drug smuggling. The convergence of illegal fishing with other criminal enterprises makes it in every country’s interest to devise an effective response.

That’s the job of the Port State Measures Agreement. It is a treaty adopted by the United Nations in 2009 that seeks to thwart the poachers in ports when they try to unload their ill-gotten catches. Many countries have been unable or unwilling to enforce their own laws to crack down on poachers flying their flags.


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Oceana Report Sheds Light On Staggering By-Catch Problem In U.S. Fisheries


Posted: 03/20/2014 5:37 pm EDT Updated: 03/20/2014 5:59 pm EDT






That fish dish at your favorite neighborhood bistro may be hiding a gruesome secret.

“When you buy fish at a grocery store or restaurant, you might also be getting a side order of sea turtle or dolphin to go with it,” said Dominique Cano-Stocco, Oceana‘s campaign director of responsible fishing, referring to the large number of dead sea creatures tossed by fishermen each year.

According to a new Oceana report, United States fisheries discard about 17 percent to 22 percent of everything they catch every year. That amounts to a whopping 2 billion pounds of annual by-catch — injured and dead fish and other marine animals unintentionally caught by fishermen and then thrown overboard. This includes endangered creatures like whales and sharks, as well as commercially viable fish that may have been too young or too damaged to bring to port.

“By-catch is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. today,” Cano-Stocco said. “It’s one of the largest threats to the proper management of our fisheries and to the health of our oceans and marine ecosystems.” Due to underreporting, by-catch numbers are probably an underestimate, she explained.

Released Friday, Oceana’s report strives to highlight the need to document by-catch numbers and develop better management strategies to prevent the high level of unnecessary slaughter in our oceans.


Bull shark trapped in fishing net


The report identifies nine of the worst by-catch fisheries in the nation. These fisheries — defined as groups of fishermen that target a certain kind of fish using a particular kind of fishing gear in a specific region — are reportedly responsible for more than half of all domestic by-catch; however, they’re only responsible for about 7 percent of the fish brought to land, the report notes.

Some of these fisheries reportedly discard more fish than they keep; others are said to throw out large amounts of the very fish species they aim to catch. California fishermen who use drift gillnets (walls of netting that drift in the water) to capture swordfish, for example, reportedly throw out about 63 percent of their total catch.

Between 2008 and 2012, about 39,000 common molas, 6,000 sharks, as well as hundreds of seals, sea lions and dolphins, were seriously injured or killed in the California drift gillnet fishery, Oceana notes.


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Teck smelter spills chemical solution into Columbia River

CBC News Posted: Feb 01, 2014 10:51 AM PT Last Updated: Feb 01, 2014 10:51 AM PT

Teck Resources says between 12,000 and 25,000 litres of a solution containing sodium hydroxide spilled from its smelter in Trail, B.C., into the Columbia River on Tuesday.

Teck Resources says between 12,000 and 25,000 litres of a solution containing sodium hydroxide spilled from its smelter in Trail, B.C., into the Columbia River on Tuesday. (The Canadian Press)

A mining and smelting company spilled a large volume of chemical solution into a domestic sewer line near Trail, B.C., on Tuesday.

Teck Resources says an incident at the Trail Smelter caused between 12,000 and 25,000 litres of a sodium hydroxide solution to flow into a sewer line. That line leads to the Regional District sewage plant, which discharges into the Columbia River.

“Our initial information indicates that the sewage treatment plant process would have a limited effect on that solution as it passed through the plant and eventually discharged into the Columbia River,” said Teck spokesperson Richard Deane.

The solution is usually treated on-site. The company is investigating how it could have drained into the sewer, but says it does not expect there to be any long-term impact on the river’s aquatic life or surrounding environment.

“We are going to be having a third-party environmental impact assessment conducted to confirm whether there will be any impact as a result of this incident,” Deane said.

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Columbia River

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Columbia River
Aerial view of a large river winding through a mountainous gorge. It passes over a dam stretching in four segments from bank to bank across three intervening islands. Highways, passing by clusters of buildings here and there on both banks, run parallel to the river. Whitewater and foam curl downriver from one of the central segments.
Bonneville Dam, in the Columbia River Gorge
Name origin: Captain Robert Gray’s ship, Columbia Rediviva
Nickname: Big River, the River of the West, River Oregon[1]
Countries United States, Canada
States Washington, Oregon
Province British Columbia
 – left Spillimacheen River, Beaver River, Illecillewaet River, Incomappleux River, Kootenay River, Pend Oreille River, Spokane River, Snake River, John Day River, Deschutes River, Willamette River
 – right Kicking Horse River, Blaeberry River, Canoe River, Kettle River, Sanpoil River, Okanogan River, Wenatchee River, Yakima River, Lewis River, Kalama River, Cowlitz River
Cities Revelstoke, BC, Tri-Cities, WA, Portland, OR, Vancouver, WA, Longview, WA, Astoria, OR
Source Columbia Lake
 – location British Columbia, Canada
 – elevation 2,690 ft (820 m) [2]
 – coordinates 50°13′N 115°51′W [3]
Mouth Pacific Ocean, at Clatsop County, Oregon / Pacific County, Washington
 – elevation 0 ft (0 m)
 – coordinates 46°14′39″N 124°3′29″W [4]
Length 1,243 mi (2,000 km) [5]
Basin 258,000 sq mi (668,000 km2)
Discharge for mouth (average); max and min at The Dalles, Oregon, 188.9 miles (304.0 km) from the mouth
 – average 265,000 cu ft/s (7,500 m3/s) [6][7][8]
 – max 1,240,000 cu ft/s (35,100 m3/s)
 – min 12,100 cu ft/s (300 m3/s)
Three-color map of the Columbia River watershed. The watershed is shaped roughly like a funnel with its wide end to the east and its narrow end along the border between Washington and Oregon as it nears the Pacific Ocean. The watershed extends into the western U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana, and the western Canadian province of British Columbia as far east as its border with Alberta. The river itself makes a hairpin turn from north-west to south in British Columbia and another sharp turn from south to west as it nears Oregon.
Columbia River drainage basin
Wikimedia Commons: Columbia River

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America.[9] The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles (2,000 km) long, and its largest tributary is the Snake River. Its drainage basin is roughly the size of France and extends into seven U.S. states and a Canadian province.

By volume, the Columbia is the fourth-largest river in the United States; it has the greatest flow of any North American river draining into the Pacific. The river’s heavy flow and its relatively steep gradient gives it tremendous potential for the generation of electricity. The 14 hydroelectric dams on the Columbia’s main stem and many more on its tributaries produce more hydroelectric power than those of any other North American river.

The Columbia and its tributaries have been central to the region’s culture and economy for thousands of years. They have been used for transportation since ancient times, linking the many cultural groups of the region. The river system hosts many species of anadromous fish, which migrate between freshwater habitats and the saline Pacific Ocean. These fish—especially the salmon species—provided the core subsistence for natives; in past centuries, traders from across western North America traveled to the Columbia to trade for fish.

In the late 18th century, a private American ship became the first non-indigenous vessel to enter the river; it was followed by a British explorer, who navigated past the Oregon Coast Range into the Willamette Valley. In the following decades, fur trading companies used the Columbia as a key transportation route. Overland explorers entered the Willamette Valley through the scenic but treacherous Columbia River Gorge, and pioneers began to settle the valley in increasing numbers, following both routes to enter it. Steamships along the river linked communities and facilitated trade; the arrival of railroads in the late 19th century, many running along the river, supplemented these links.

Since the late 19th century, public and private sectors have heavily developed the river. The development, commonly referred to as taming or harnessing of the river, has been massive and multi-faceted. To aid ship and barge navigation, locks have been built along the lower Columbia and its tributaries, and dredging has opened, maintained, and enlarged shipping channels. Since the early 20th century, dams have been built across the river for the purposes of power generation, navigation, irrigation, and flood control. Today, a dam-impounded reservoir lies along nearly every U.S. mile of the once free-flowing river, and much of the Canadian stretch has been impounded as well. Production of nuclear power has taken place at two sites along the river. Plutonium for nuclear weapons was produced for decades at the Hanford Site, which is now the most contaminated nuclear site in the U.S. All these developments have had a tremendous impact on river environments, perhaps most notably through industrial pollution and barriers to fish migration.


The Columbia begins its 1,243-mile (2,000 km) journey in the southern Rocky Mountain Trench in British Columbia (BC). Columbia Lake – 2,690 feet (820 m) above sea level – and the adjoining Columbia Wetlands form the river’s headwaters. The trench is a broad, deep, and long glacial valley between the Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Mountains in BC. For its first 200 miles (320 km), the Columbia flows northwest along the trench through Windermere Lake and the town of Invermere, a region known in British Columbia as the Columbia Valley, then northwest to Golden and into Kinbasket Lake. Rounding the northern end of the Selkirk Mountains, the river turns sharply south through a region known as the Big Bend Country, passing through Revelstoke Lake and the Arrow Lakes. Revelstoke, the Big Bend, and the Columbia Valley combined are referred to in BC parlance as the Columbia Country. Below the Arrow Lakes, the Columbia passes the cities of Castlegar, located at the Columbia’s confluence with the Kootenay River, and Trail, two major population centers of the West Kootenay region. The Pend Oreille River joins the Columbia about 2 miles (3 km) north of the U.S.–Canada border.[10]

Modified satellite view of the Columbia River watershed showing the course of the river in red from Columbia Lake in British Columbia, Canada, to Astoria, Oregon, in the United States. The maps shows that the river, although flowing on average in a southwesterly direction from source to mouth, changes direction sharply from northwest to south at Big Bend in Canada, from south to west near Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, from west to south near Wenatchee, Washington, and from south to west near the Tri-Cities area in Washington.

Course of the Columbia River

The Columbia enters eastern Washington flowing south and turning to the west at the Spokane River confluence. It marks the southern and eastern borders of the Colville Indian Reservation and the western border of the Spokane Indian Reservation.[11] The river turns south after the Okanogan River confluence, then southeasterly near the confluence with the Wenatchee River in central Washington. This C‑shaped segment of the river is also known as the “Big Bend”. During the Missoula Floods 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, much of the floodwater took a more direct route south, forming the ancient river bed known as the Grand Coulee. After the floods, the river found its present course, and the Grand Coulee was left dry. The construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in the mid-20th century impounded the river, forming Lake Roosevelt, from which water was pumped into the dry coulee, forming the reservoir of Banks Lake.[12]

The river flows past The Gorge Amphitheatre, a prominent concert venue in the Northwest, then through Priest Rapids Dam, and then through the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Entirely within the reservation is Hanford Reach, the only U.S. stretch of the river that is completely free-flowing, unimpeded by dams and not a tidal estuary. The Snake River and Yakima River join the Columbia in the Tri‑Cities population center. The Columbia makes a sharp bend to the west at the Washington–Oregon border. The river defines that border for the final 309 miles (497 km) of its journey.[13]

The Columbia River Gorge, facing east toward Beacon Rock

The Deschutes River joins the Columbia near The Dalles. Between The Dalles and Portland, the river cuts through the Cascade Range, forming the dramatic Columbia River Gorge. No other river except for the Klamath completely breaches the Cascades—the other rivers that flow through the range also originate in or very near the mountains. The headwaters and upper course of the Pit River flows through much of the Cascades; in contrast the Columbia cuts through the range nearly a thousand miles from its source in the Rocky Mountains. The gorge is known for its strong and steady winds, scenic beauty, and its role as an important transportation link.[14] The river continues west, bending sharply to the north-northwest near Portland and Vancouver, Washington, at the Willamette River confluence. Here the river slows considerably, dropping sediment that might otherwise form a river delta. Near Longview, Washington and the Cowlitz River confluence, the river turns west again. The Columbia empties into the Pacific Ocean just west of Astoria, Oregon, over the Columbia Bar, a shifting sandbar that makes the river’s mouth one of the most hazardous stretches of water to navigate in the world.[15] Because of the danger and the many shipwrecks near the mouth, it acquired a reputation as the “Graveyard of Ships”.[16]

The Columbia drains an area of about 258,000 square miles (670,000 km2).[6] Its drainage basin covers nearly all of Idaho, large portions of British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, ultimately all of Montana west of the Continental Divide, and small portions of Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada; the total area is similar to the size of France. Roughly 745 miles (1,200 km) of the river’s length and 85 percent of its drainage basin are in the U.S.[17] The Columbia is the twelfth-longest river and has the sixth-largest drainage basin in the United States.[6] In Canada, where the Columbia flows for 498 miles (801 km) and drains 39,700 square miles (103,000 km2), the river ranks 23rd in length,[18] and its basin ranks 13th in size.[19] The Columbia shares its name with nearby places, such as British Columbia, as well as with landforms and bodies of water.


With an average flow at the mouth of about 265,000 cubic feet per second (7,500 m3/s),[6] the Columbia is the largest river by volume flowing into the Pacific from North America[20] and is the fourth-largest by volume in the U.S.[6] The average flow where the river crosses the international border between Canada and the United States is 99,000 cubic feet per second (2,800 m3/s) from a drainage basin of 39,700 square miles (103,000 km2).[21] This amounts to about 15 percent of the entire Columbia watershed. The Columbia’s highest recorded flow, measured at The Dalles, was 1,240,000 cubic feet per second (35,000 m3/s) in June 1894, before the river was dammed.[22] The lowest flow recorded at The Dalles was 12,100 cubic feet per second (340 m3/s) on April 16, 1968, and was caused by the initial closure of the John Day Dam, 28 miles (45 km) upstream.[22] The Dalles is about 190 miles (310 km) from the mouth; the river at this point drains about 237,000 square miles (610,000 km2) or about 91 percent of the total watershed.[22] Flow rates on the Columbia are affected by many large upstream reservoirs, many diversions for irrigation, and, on the lower stretches, reverse flow from the tides of the Pacific Ocean. The National Weather Service issues tide forecasts for eight places along the river between Astoria and the base of Bonneville Dam.[23]

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