Energy & Environment

Going for the Flow

For folks who don't live in Indiana--and even for many who do--it's tough to stay on top of what time it is there. The majority of the state doesn't observe daylight-savings time, but the intra-state divisions--15 counties make the daylight-savings switch while 77 don't--create a state of confusion.

Numerous attempts have been made to bring Indiana up to speed with its neighbors and unify the time system, but none has yet succeeded. Now the movement has a new champion in recently elected Governor Mitch Daniels.

Daniels argues that it's an economic development issue, that existing businesses are hampered by the time confusion and that new industries would be more interested in coming if the state were in clock lockstep. In particular, he sees opportunities for expansions of airport hubs and of logistics and computer-related industries.

The state's chamber of commerce is in sync with Daniels' call for change, pointing to missed meetings and flights and botched phone calls as problems caused for businesses in the state. "We're out of step with the rest of the country," says Ellen Whitt, a spokesperson for the governor.

Those opposed to the new timing range from residents who don't want to reset a multitude of clocks twice a year to agricultural interests that benefit from the regularity of the current schedule. In the past, every effort to change the state's time system has been turned aside but, with the momentum from Daniels' win and some new faces in the legislature, supporters are looking to this year as their best hope for success.

January 2005
 

Florida is jump-starting its plan to restore the Everglades. A new timetable, announced this fall, calls for completing an $8 billion program 10 years ahead of the original schedule.

As a first stage, work will begin on eight projects designed to restore water flow to the Everglades. "The Everglades are essentially a giant river--a flowing body of water," says Florida Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Russell Schweiss. In the past, "construction was done and the Everglades were compartmentalized," interrupting the distribution of water to the area, Schweiss says.

These projects, collectively called Acceler8, will restore the "sheet flow" to the river and provide about 70 percent of the water for future restoration by building a series of reservoirs, canals and treatment marshes to contain and distribute stormwater runoff. Officials say the ability to better control the flow of water in the region will also help with flood control in Florida, where hurricanes and flooding left thousands homeless last year and caused $3 billion in damages.

To pay for Acceler8, the state will issue certificates of participation, which are similar to bonds. The South Florida Water Management District will use the money to take the lead on the projects with the expectation that the Army Corps of Engineers will reimburse the state down the road in the form of credits toward future restoration.

Land acquisition is a major part of the Acceler8 projects, and the state owns about 90 percent of the needed land. The desire to keep ahead of fast-rising real estate prices in Florida was a major factor in the decision to speed up the project.

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