Energy, Mining & Utilities

Last month, the Bush administration confirmed that it expected the government to waive about $7 billion in royalties over the next five years, even though the industry incentive was expressly conceived of for times when energy prices were low. And that number could quadruple to more than $28 billion if a lawsuit filed last week challenging one of the program's remaining restrictions proves successful.
Fishing communities in the Caribbean island of Trinidad are protesting a $US1.5 billion aluminum smelter that will process raw material from Brazil, Jamaica and Surinam. Cedros Peninsula United, a local organization, says that the factory uses technology that has had serious environmental impacts in countries from China to Iceland and the U.S.
Privatization has hit the water sector, which has remained mostly the bastion of public utilities. Over the last five years, hundreds of American communities, including Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Gary, Ind., have hired private companies to manage their waterworks, serving about one in 20 Americans.