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The Horinko Group's Newsletter: Sustainabulletin

April 2013 — In this month's bulletin...




The Horinko Group's April 2012 Salon



"Promise, Purpose, and Challenge: Putting the RESTORE Act into Context for the Communities and Ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico"

Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy recently released a White Paper entitled, Promise, Purpose, and Challenge: Putting the RESTORE Act into Context for the Communities and Ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, aimed at improving the public’s understanding about the Act and its implications on the ecosystems and communities of the Gulf. 

Tulane University

The RESTORE Act was enacted by Congress in 2012 and redirects a portion of the Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties flowing from the Deep Water Horizon disaster to the Gulf Coast for ecologic restoration, economic sustainability, and the encouragement of Gulf oriented science.

To download the report in its entirety, visit


(Forbes) Taken together the 150-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico up to Baton Rouge is the busiest port in the Western Hemisphere, moving some 400 million tons of cargo a year.  Cargill alone moves more than 90 commodities on the river and operates 1,300 barges. Ingram Barge Co. has roughly quadruple that number.  In all, 16% of America’s coal, 20% of petroleum products and nearly all the fertilizer consumed here are shipped on the Mississippi.  The action here is so thick that the crew of the Ingram calls this “suicide alley."

Cargill shipping barge; Source: Star Tribune

Mississippi View from the John R. Ingram Barge
(Source: Craig Mulcahy)

There’s actually a better name for it: corporate welfare.  Once the thriving centerpiece of 19th- and early-20th-century logistics, and despite the massive profits rung up by companies like Cargill and Ingram, the river barge business has become a ward of government largesse.  Washington picks up more of the cost of riverborne shipping than any other type of logistics enterprise in the U.S. except, perhaps, resupplying the International Space Station.  And yet, despite the efforts of both the Bush and Obama administrations and the growing brawl over shrinking federal dollars, the Mississippi’s river of subsidies stands little chance of shrinking.

To read the full text of the article, visit


Cargill shipping barge; Source: Star Tribune

Excavation prior to cistern construction at WRAP’s next project, Battir Girls High School, West Bank

The Water Resources Action Project (WRAP) recently broke ground on its third project, a cistern system at the Battir Girls High School, located near Bethlehem in Battir, a Palestinian village.  Visited and vetted through WRAP President and THG Managing Partner Brendan McGinnis, the school has 120 female students in three grades.  WRAP funds and constructs rainwater-harvesting systems at schools throughout the Middle East, accompanied by a strong educational program and monitoring procedures.  

Immediate benefits to the school and surrounding community include reliable usage of clean restrooms throughout the entire school year. The school will also be able to implement a summer camp and community garden, both made possible with the installation of WRAP’s rain harvesting project.

On April 9, Mr. McGinnis presented at Monmouth University’s, Global Understanding Convention in New Jersey, providing his first-hand account of the Middle Eastern water conflict, resulting impact on human health and the environment, what difference can be made now, WRAP’s role, and lessons learned along the way.  To view his full remarks and accompanying presentation, visit this month’s featured column at

To learn about WRAP and become involved, visit

Survey Shows Link Between Sustainability Efforts and Corporate Reputation

Sustainability Survey

Source: Hill+Knowlton Strategies

A primary driver of public confidence in a company is its efforts to communicate and deliver on corporate sustainability goals, according to a survey conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

The online survey of 1,000 respondents in the U.S. show a clear link between corporate communications around sustainability efforts and corporate performance and reputation, Hill+Knowlton says.  Some 91 percent of respondents said it was important for corporations to behave sustainably in 2013 and beyond, and that such behavior was critical to companies’ long-term success.

Transparency and communication were also highly valued by respondents of the survey. About 81 percent believe companies should report on their sustainability efforts on an ongoing basis rather than through a static report.  Some 84 percent of respondents said a company can regain public trust through honest and transparent reporting of its efforts to be more sustainable, even if that reporting shows the company has fallen short of its goal.

To read the article in its entirety, visit


Cargill shipping barge; Source: Star Tribune

Image of electric car charging at Fort Bliss
(Source: U.S. Army via Flickr)

(GreenBiz) The Army base in Fort Bliss, Texas, has a goal of getting to net-zero energy.  As part of that, it's about to build a 20 megawatt solar farm — the biggest for the military to date.  It will power all division headquarters and most of the eastern sector of the sprawling complex, and is the first partnership between the military and a major local utility on a renewable energy project of this scale.

El Paso Electric is building the plant, which will come online in 2015.  The Army also plans another 20 MW solar plant and pursuing wind and geothermal projects at the fort.

To read the article in its entirety, visit

Company says the New Product is the "Industry’s first water monitoring smartphone app"

In-Situ Water Monitoring Smartphone App

Source: Environmental Leader

On-site water monitoring instruments manufacturer In-Situ has announced its Smartroll Multiparameter (MP) Handheld Instrument and iSitu smartphone application for environmental monitoring applications.

The company says the new product is the industry’s first water monitoring smartphone app.  Ideal for water quality spot checks, the Smartroll MP Handheld can be used for any surface-water monitoring application, the company says.  No training time is required to use the probe or the intuitive smartphone application.  In-Situ says technicians can instantly read results for 14 water quality parameters by simply using a smartphone, with no bulky handheld meter required.

To read the article in its entirety, visit


Free SSF Webinar: The Long–Term Vision — Developing a “Sustained Climate Assessment”
April 24, 2013 | 1:15 – 2:45pm Eastern| Registration

National Climate AssessmentIn the third session of the National Climate Assessment series, the webinar dicussion will focus on how the assessment could be transitioned from a periodic review of climate change to an “ongoing process of working to understand and evaluate the nation’s vulnerabilities to climate variability and change and its capacity to respond.”

The session’s featured presenter is Jim Buizer, Director of the Climate Adaptation and International Development Institute for the Environment, University of Arizona, is a National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) member and Lead Author of Chapter 30, the Sustained Assessment.   He will discuss the long-term vision for future U.S. climate assessments.

In February, the Security and Sustainability Forum (SSF) also hosted the NCA Director and advisory committee members discussing the findings of the NCA, and last month, hosted a panel of Lead Convening Authors of chapters on regional assessments, energy, and adaptation for a conversation about the implications of the NCA.  The recorded sessions are now available to watch on the SSF website by visiting

Free THG Webinar featuring EPA’s Craig Hooks, Assistant Administrator Office of Administration and Resources Management
Release Date: May 13, 2013 | Free Recording | More Information

Craig Hooks

Craig Hooks

Mr. Craig Hooks, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA’s Office of Administration and Resources Management (OARM), is the featured presenter of the fifth installment in the Mentoring Environment & Energy Together free webinar series.  Mr. Hooks will discuss his career path, accomplishments, priorities for the Agency and OARM, and advice for early career professionals.

The webinar recording will made available on THG’s website on May 13. To hear previous presentations in the MEET series, visit our website at

EPA’s SAB Hosts Webinar on Hydraulic Fracturing Study
May 16, 2013 | 1:00 – 5:00pm Eastern | Registration

U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyU.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced a public meeting and teleconference where the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel will provide feedback on the Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources: Progress Report.  The public will be able to submit comments for consideration by the panel.

For additional information on the webcast, visit the SAB website at

To learn more about the Hydraulic Fracturing Study, visit

One Water Leadership Summit
September 23 - 26, 2013 | Los Angeles, CA | Registration

One Water Leadership SummitWest Coast sunshine, green infrastructure, and resource recovery will be featured at this year’s One Water Leadership Summit (formerly the Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference) on September 23-26 in Los Angeles, CA.  As in year’s past, Spotlight Communities will present models of collaboration, integration, and innovation with an opportunity to discuss climate change as “water change” and how communities are building resilience to adapt despite today’s economic pressures.

Conference registration is scheduled to open May 1 with early bird discounts. For more information, visit their website at


AWRA Group Tours Mississippi and Missouri River Confluence

AWRA boat tripLast month, March 25-27, members and colleagues of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) met in St. Louis for its Spring Specialty Conference focusing on Agricultural Hydrology.  During the three-day gathering, attendees had the opportunity to visit the Corps of Engineers' Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary.  THG’s Senior Advisor and AWRA member, Pat McGinnis, served as Chair of the Field Trip, making arrangements for an evening outing that included a tour of the Sanctuary and boat excursion of portions of Pool 26 providing spectacular views of a number of waterbirds, followed by a nourishing spread arranged by the great folks at the Audubon Center at Riverlands.  The event drew rave reviews.  

Since its creation in 1990, the Riverlands Sanctuary, a fine mix of bottomland prairie, marsh, and off-channel bays, has hosted over 200,000 visits a year, making it a great place for Americans and international visitors to reconnect with one of our nation's greatest water resources, the Mississippi River.

The Horinko Group wishes to thank the AWRA Conference Committee for creating an opportunity for its members to experience a very special place at the Confluence of two our nation's most iconic rivers, the Mississippi and Missouri.  A special thanks to our wonderful hosts, the Corps of Engineers at the Rivers Project and staff at the Audubon Center.  Well done!


Addressing the Middle East Water Crisis (EXCERPT)

WRAP Brendan McGinnis and Bob Cole

WRAP Members Brendan McGinnis and Bob Cole at Al-Afaq rainwater harvesting project in East Jerusalem.

Excerpt from: Remarks from Presentation on the Water Resources Action Project at the Global Understanding Convention

By: Brendan McGinnis, President, Water Resources Action Project

My name is Brendan McGinnis, in addition to helping found The Horinko Group, an environmental consulting firm based in Washington, DC, I’m President of the Water Resources Action Project, or WRAP as we have come to know it, which I will be discussing today.  

Before I provide a brief history of the group and it’s efforts, let’s start with a snapshot of what the water conflict looks like in the Middle East.  More specifically, I’m going to focus on the bordering regions of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan — the initial focus of WRAP’s efforts.  This region is one of growing population that is already dealing with dire water shortage problems.  All three of these bordering countries rely on a shrinking and polluted Jordan River, and adding to this problem, the number of rainy days continues to decrease each year.  So, as you can imagine, freshwater is a precious resource for this region and its people.