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July 5, 2011

Suit Seeks Release of DOE Energy-Water Roadmap

Brett Walton reports in Circle of Blue that a lawsuit has been filed in Federal District Court in Massachusetts demanding that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) release a crucial study on water supply and energy demand that was ordered by Congress in 2005 and has never been made public. The Massachusetts-based Civil Society Institute (CSI) has brought suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) seeking release of the study, known as the National Energy-Water Roadmap, and a score of documents used in the study’s preparation.

According to a statement by CSI’s president, Pam Solo, CSI is seeking the report because the organization is “deeply concerned by the appearance that the study was done and then buried—or is currently being watered down—because it raised major and legitimate concerns about the impact of new power generation on increasingly scarce U.S. water resources, particularly in chronically drought-afflicted portions of the nation.”

“Without this Roadmap,” Solo said, “water availability and water quality issues remain unaddressed. As a result, Congress and the President are flying blind without a clear understanding of whether water is available for the proposed expansion of nuclear power plants and ‘clean coal’ plants under what is euphemistically being termed a ‘Clean Energy Standard.’ This is not a side issue, but a central and pivotal piece of data that should inform and guide energy decision making.”

Walton points out that the existence of the roadmap is not just a matter of academic curiosity. In many parts of the country, water shortages are already undermining energy production. In a related development, Walton reports that the U.S. Senate is considering the Energy and Water Integration Act, legislation that would mandate more studies on water and energy efficiency and conservation, research on current water use for energy production—both in transport fuels and electricity generation—and technological evaluations. The proposed act calls for shifting the research and report production from the Energy Department to the National Academy of Sciences.

Posted by Rachel Treichler at 07/05/11 11:52 AM



Copyright 2013, Rachel Treichler



About NY Water Law

New York Water Law covers legal developments relating to water in New York and in jurisdictions that may be influential in New York. The author, Rachel Treichler, practices law in the Finger Lakes region.
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