The Grab Bag Rides Again


When I was sports editor for the college newspaper, I wrote a column that was, I’m sure now a decade removed, far less clever than I thought it was at the time. But since I am 1) pressed for time and 2) devoid of original thought at the moment, I present to you, dear reader, a special reprisal of the Michael Harris Daily Weekly Monthly Occasional Grab Bag of Sports Hydropower Stuff:

1st Quarter

So the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is a thing, and after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a request to put a judicial stay on it last week, it looks — for the time being at least — that it will remain a thing.

The thing, unveiled by President Barack Obama in August, sets a nationwide target of reducing carbon emissions from the United States’ power sector by 32-percent by 2030.

As one might expect, however, the plan has faced staunch opposition from a number of states, energy generators, trade organizations, consumer groups, et al, because of:

  1. Its potential impact on coal-dependent economies;
  2. Increases in consumer costs as utilities transition to more renewable-oriented generating fleets; and
  3. A yearning for days of yore whence the mighty smokestacks of Carnegie, Mellon, Frick, Morgan and Osgood dotted the skylines of Our Beloved Republic’s most industrious cities.

Per the D.C. Court, the groups filing the petition must now wait until the Clean Power Plan is published in the Federal Register before filing a lawsuit against it.

“A judicial stay would stop the EPA from implementing the regulatory package until all litigation is complete — a process that will likely take years,” the court’s three-judge panel wrote in its response.

Representatives from Steam Locomotive Enthusiasts of America could not be reached for comment, though reports indicate that they — along with my blacksmith — are not thrilled that the court shunned the stall tactic.

2nd Quarter

Have you heard about this enormous chunk of rock that’s threatening to fall onto the Glen Canyon plant’s powerhouse?

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says that the chunk is 50-feet high (about 8.3 Michael Harrises), 30-feet wide (five Michael Harrises), 4-feet thick (0.67 Michael Harrises) and 500,000 pounds (2,500 Michael Harrises before Whataburger opened a location directly between the office and my apartment).

The 1,312 MW project houses eight generating units that could, presumably, sustain damage should the slab fall, though Reclamation is working to secure the rogue rockface with 6- to 8-foot, 1-inch diameter bolts.

Reclamation says the work is expected to be finished during the first week of October, though Glen Canyon’s operations will not be limited during the operation.


And now for your halftime entertainment, a dummy named Primoz Ravnik riding a bicycle down the near-vertical face of a dam in Slovenia:

The stunt, going viral this week after being submitted for GoPro’s “Top of the World” contest ($1,000 prize for the best video each month!), reflects the company’s marketing shift from old motto, “GoPro: Be a Hero”, to, “GoPro: Be a Darwin Award Winner”.

3rd Quarter

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the so-called “Super El Nino“, which, according to people whose weather prognostications rely on means other than looking out the kitchen window every morning, could spell significant relief for severely drought-plagued areas in both the western United States and South America over the coming months.

The Super El Nino and the rains it would bring are, of course, welcome news for these regions — many of which rely heavily on hydropower in their energy mixes — and if the meteorologists are correct, it could be the strongest such weather pattern since at least 1997-98.

What else does a Super El Nino mean? Once more, we at the Grab Bag defer to the experts. Reporting now, live from 1997, Grab Bag correspondent Chris Farley: 

4th Quarter

Michael Harris’ Week 3 College Football Top 10, because it’s my blog and I do what I want:

  1. Notre Dame (Because our CEO is an ND alumnus)
  2. Michigan (Because Power Group senior vice president Rich Baker is a Michigan Man)
  3. Texas Christian (2-0)
  4. Alabama (2-0)
  5. Michigan State (2-0)
  6. Southern Cal (2-0)
  7. Baylor (2-0)
  8. Georgia (2-0)
  9. UCLA (2-0)
  10. Florida State (2-0)
Dropped from the Rankings: Ohio State (Because Power Group senior vice president Rich Baker is a Michigan Man).

Postgame Quotes

“Well, I thought we came out pretty strong today in today’s blog. Editors had a good game plan going in, but the defense adjusted and we had some trouble moving the ball there toward the end. But give credit to the other guys.” – Coach Harris, on today’s edition of Hydro Talk

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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