Distributed June 4, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Janet Kerlin



Kennedy briefing

Mount Hope Bay warmer due to Brayton Point power plant discharge
Geologist John Mustard and others will brief Rep. Patrick Kennedy on the use of NASA’s remote sensing technology in recording higher temperatures in Mount Hope Bay due to discharges from the Brayton Point power plant. The briefing will be held Tuesday, June 5, from 9:30 to 10:20 a.m. at the Lincoln Field Building, Room 105, located between George and Waterman streets. Press are welcome to attend.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Mount Hope Bay is warmer by 2 degrees Fahrenheit on average during summer and fall because of discharge of effluent from the Brayton Point power plant, a Brown University geologist has found. The higher temperature affects an area of 13.5 square miles of Mount Hope Bay, which flows into Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay.

“How it harms the life of the bay is an open question, but it is clear in most people’s minds that a decline in the fish population in the 1980s corresponds with the opening of another generator in 1985,” said John Mustard, associate professor of geological science.

Mustard and others will discuss the findings and the use of NASA’s remote sensing technology to record the temperatures during a briefing for Rep. Patrick Kennedy. The briefing will be held Tuesday, June 5, from 9:30 to 10:20 a.m. at the Lincoln Field Building, Room 105, located between George and Waterman streets.

Editors: Reporters are welcome. Please contact Janet Kerlin at the News Service.

From an aircraft or satellite, NASA’s remote sensing technology uses reflected heat and light energy to measure temperature, chlorophyll concentration, and water clarity. Brown University has been interpreting the data in a project called “Narragansett Bay from Space: A Perspective for the 21st Century.” The goals of the project were to help state and local agencies identify problems, to apply NASA technology, and to help small business incorporate remotely sensed data into their operations. The bay project grew out of a challenge in 1995 by NASA administrator Daniel Goldin and Kennedy.

The project has made a significant contribution to the understanding of the effluent at Brayton Point and its impact on the environment, and has led to continuing efforts on the part of the state to incorporate remotely sensed data into monitoring efforts, Mustard said.

Participants in the briefing include representatives from Brown, Applied Science Associates, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Save the Bay, the University of Rhode Island, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and NASA.

Further information on the bay project is available on the Web at www.planetary.brown.edu/~mustard/apurva/index.html

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