Friday, September 30, 2016

9/30 Fuel ban, WA carbon tax, Lummi salmon, ocean 'blob,' Petronas, BC LNG, Petrogas pier

Bigleaf maple (Photo: Oregon State University)
Bigleaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum
The common and scientific names describe the very large leaves, particularly showy in autumn. This maple is called the "paddle tree" in many First Nations languages because the wood was used to make paddles. The bigleaf maple is the only western maple with commercial importance; it is used for veneer, furniture, handles, woodenwares and novelties. The sap can be cooked to make passable maple syrup but it takes several times more sap than eastern sugar-maple sap. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, Audubon Guide to Western Forests)

Whatcom County extends ban on unrefined fossil fuel shipping
The Whatcom County Council has extended its ban on new permit applications for projects that ship crude oil and other unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point. The Bellingham Herald that the six-month extension was approved Tuesday and prevents shipments or exports of fuels that aren't processed in that industrial area. In August the council approved a 60-day moratorium of shipping out of Cherry Point. Supporters applauded the move, saying it will protect the public from dangerous fuel shipments. Others say potential changes to the industrial zone could hurt jobs and economic development. (Associated Press)

State Carbon Tax Could Become First in Nation if Voters Approve
The state of Washington could become the first state in the nation to enact a carbon tax on big polluters if grassroots activists can overcome opposition from an unlikely coalition: the business community, low-income and people of color communities, the state Democratic party and environmental groups. Supporters of the carbon tax, Initiative 732, are pulling out all the stops to win voters before November. Meanwhile a new report published this week in Nature, says that with today's level of fossil fuel emissions, the planet is “locked” into eventually hitting its highest temperature mark in 2 million years. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acres Radio)

Lummi fishermen will deliver fresh salmon to people fighting North Dakota pipeline
Lummi Nation fishermen will drive a feast of locally caught salmon this weekend all the way to Cannon Ball, N.D., to feed the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and many supporters who are fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. “The tribal fishermen have decided to donate their catch,” said Waylon Ballew, who met up with a handful of fishermen to filet dozens of kings and silvers behind the Lummi Nation Commodity Foods building Wednesday morning, Sept. 28. The group planned to leave Thursday night in vans and head to North Dakota with a few dozen tribal members on board, and the soon-to-be feast packed on ice. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Warm ‘blob’ in Pacific Ocean linked to toxic algae that doomed local fisheries
A new study finds that unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures helped cause a massive bloom of toxic algae last year that closed lucrative fisheries from California to British Columbia and disrupted marine life from seabirds to sea lions. Scientists linked the large patch of warm ocean water, nicknamed the “blob,” to the vast ribbon of toxic algae that flourished in 2015 and produced record-breaking levels of a neurotoxin that is harmful to people, fish and marine life. The outbreak of the toxin domoic acid, the largest ever recorded on the West Coast, closed razor clam seasons in Washington and Oregon and delayed lucrative Dungeness crab fisheries along the coast. High levels were also detected in many stranded marine mammals. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Petronas weighs sale to exit $27B Canada LNG project: sources
Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd is considering selling its majority stake in a $27-billion Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, three people familiar with the matter said this week. Petroliam Nasional, or Petronas, is weighing options for the project as its finances have been squeezed after crude oil prices have collapsed by more than 50 per cent since mid-2014…. Additionally, the economics of the project have been called into question as LNG prices for delivery into the main markets in northeast Asia have slumped more than 70 per cent over nearly the same time period. (Thomson Reuters)

LNG mega-project incompatible with B.C.'s greenhouse gas target, says expert
The controversial Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas project that has been conditionally approved by the federal government isn't compatible with B.C.'s current greenhouse gas emission targets, according to climate policy expert Kathyrn Harrison. The project was approved with 109 conditions, one of which is a "hard cap" for yearly carbon emissions at 4.3 million tonnes. But Harrison says that the cap only applies to the actual project facility, and doesn't incorporate emissions brought on by upstream developments — the production, processing and transportation of natural gas to the project. According to the official environmental impact assessment, upstream productions would increase emissions by an additional 6.5 million tonnes. "At the provincial level, B.C.'s [emission] target for 2050 is 13 million tonnes per year," said Harrison on CBC's The Early Edition.  "[The Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas project] alone — which is expected to operate until 2050 — would contribute 10 to 10.5 million tonnes per year." Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC) See also: LNG project's 190 conditions 'not onerous,' says environmental assessment expert  (CBC)

Petrogas buys Intalco’s pier as part of $122M sale, values pier at $10M
Petrogas purchased Alcoa Intalco’s wharf, pier and associated items for $122 million this week, but only $10.2 million of the registered sale was listed as real estate subject to excise taxes. Had the whole purchase been subject to the tax, the payment lodged with Whatcom County could have been more than $2 million. Tax for sale of the wharf, which was sold for $10.2 million based on an appraisal, according to Petrogas, was $181,655. For comparison, all of Intalco was valued at $67 million for 2015 taxes, which included the wharf. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PDT FRI SEP 30 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.
SAT
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  2 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 9 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

9/29 Elwha, hot Sound, Taylor Shellfish sued, BC LNG, Pt Townsend water, ghost pots, nets

Elwha nearshore 9/25/16 (Photo: Tom Roorda & CWI)
Elwha Nearshore 25 September 2016
Anne Shaffer of Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "The standout water clarity is gone now with the recent arrival of the first *small* fall swell. September is a truly a brilliant time in the Elwha."

One reader of yesterday's clip about the European green crab writes; "When I was a kid growing up in France I used to fish for green crab. We called them chevre (goat) because they were very fast and nimble.  More than once I got pinched by one.  Though there isn’t much meat in them, their flesh is very sweet." Another reader commented: "The image of the crab is identical to something I found in my cereal this AM.  My God, unless we are diligent (which we are not when it comes to purchasing the latest wide screen TV and swallowing the swill of the election season) you never know what will show up eh? As for biological security on salmon farms.  Very ironic isn't it.  They proceed willy/nilly without any biological security on the regional ecosystem and get off scott free -- whatever that means.  Economics "Trumpts" common sense."

Bad news for crabs and birds: Puget Sound hotter than ever
There has been a significant change in the waters in Puget Sound, according to a new NOAA Fisheries report. In 2015, the temperatures rose more than any other year in recorded history. Stephanie Moore: "New maximum records were set just about everywhere in Puget Sound in terms of water temperatures." Biological oceanographer Stephanie Moore headed up the 2015 report by NOAA Fisheries. She says across Puget Sound, shallow and deep water temperatures rose at a record pace above the 10 year mean. Most locations rose by 2 degrees Celsius. In southern Hood Canal it was even higher, 7 degrees. Paige Browning reports. (KUOW)

Taylor Shellfish sued for racial harassment at its Samish Island farm
One of the largest producers of shellfish in the country is being sued over claims it permitted ongoing racial harassment and retaliatory discipline against a black maintenance mechanic at its Samish Island farm. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a news release it filed the lawsuit against Taylor Shellfish Wednesday in U.S. District Court. The suit alleges Jeremy Daniels faced demeaning comments and stereotypes about his race from the first week of employment at the Taylor Shellfish Company’s Samish Bay Farm in Washington. (Associated Press)

Giant LNG project proposed for B.C. not yet a done deal - British Columbia
With the blessing of the Trudeau government, British Columbia is one step closer to having a giant liquefied natural gas project that promises to create thousands of construction jobs, bring billions of dollars in investment, and ship tonnes of B.C.'s natural gas to Asia. But there are still many hurdles to cross before the project can move forward.  Betsy Trumpener reports. (CBC) See also: Federal environment minister defends approval of Pacific NorthWest LNG  (CBC)

Port Townsend drinking water free of toxins despite algae growth, officials say
Although recent tests on Port Townsend’s reservoirs have discovered they contain blue-green algae, which can create toxins, the water is safe for drinking, city officials said. City Manager David Timmons said Wednesday that results of tests for toxins, which arrived Sept. 20, showed levels lower than the minimum detection level. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Divers clear lost crab pots from Puget Sound
Abandoned or lost crab pots are an annual environmental challenge, one that the Northwest [Straits] Foundation faced yet again Tuesday. Aboard a boat near Everett on a windy and choppy morning, computers guided divers to spots with derelict crab pots on the floor of Puget Sound. Northwest [Straits] Foundation estimates that about 12,000 crab pots are lost each year. Sometimes that number climbs to 14,000. The pots keep fishing after they've cut loose from holds. Crab continue to pile in but then run out of food and eventually die. Around 180,000 harvestable crabs are lost to derelict pots each year. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Whales, Sea Turtles, Seals: The Unintended Catch Of Abandoned Fishing Gear
There are less than 500 North Atlantic right whales left in the world. And now, one less: This weekend, one of the 45-ton creatures was found dead off the coast of Maine, completely entangled in fishing line — head, flippers and all. This was not an isolated incident. In late June, an endangered blue whale wrapped in fishing gear was seen struggling off the coast of Dana Point in Southern California. Rescuers were unable to extricate it before it swam away. And earlier this month, rescuers unsuccessfully tried to free an entangled humpback whale near Newport. Spotters say they believe the humpback eventually found its way free of most of the gear, though they're unsure if there's anything still trapped in its mouth. While any kind of fishing gear can be lost or abandoned at sea, gillnets, crab pots and traps are the most common types that continue to "ghost fish" — entrapping marine animals like whales, seals, sea lions and sea turtles. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PDT THU SEP 29 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

9/28 Green crab, BC LNG, dirty air, climate change rule, BC garbage, BC fish farms, oil trains

European green crab (OPB/EarthFix)
Scientists Try Trapping To Halt Puget Sound's European Crab Invasion
The detection of Puget Sound's first  invasive green crab prompts scientists to mount a counter attack. Now a second crab has been discovered about 30 miles away in Padilla Bay. Katie Campbell reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Federal government approves liquefied natural gas project on B.C. coast with 190 conditions
The federal government has conditionally approved the Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia with 190 legally binding conditions.  Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the approval decision was taken following extensive studies on the project's environmental impact, science and after consultations with First Nations.  Flanked by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, McKenna said the investment was worth $11 billion and would be one of Canada's largest resource development projects…. Those 190 conditions cover everything from wetland management, the quality of freshwater fish and fish habitat, marine fish and mammals, migratory birds, human health, concerns over cultural heritage sites and long-term environmental monitoring. (CBC) See also: Timeline of proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project in British Columbia  (Canadian Press) And also: Gas field workers push for LNG while Indigenous protesters vow to stop it   Betsy Trumpener reports. (CBC)

Gas utilities go to court against state's new clean-air rule
The state's biggest natural gas utilities are filing legal challenges against a recent Department of Ecology rule that requires large industrial emitters of greenhouse gases to reduce their carbon emissions. The new rule is a study in gradualism.  Large greenhouse gas polluters must cut their carbon emissions by an average of 1.7 percent annually. The rule was promulgated after Republicans in the Washington Legislature blocked a fee on big polluters, proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee late in 2014.  The rule applies to about 25 major emitters, including the state's five oil refineries, Puget Sound Energy gas facilities in Sumas, Longview and Goldendale, and other large emitters, including the Grays Harbor Energy Center in Elma. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

The Obamacare of climate change? States get day in court on EPA plan 
A panel of federal judges on Tuesday heard arguments in court for and against the Obama administration’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third by 2030. More than two dozen states sued the Environmental Protection Agency to stop the Clean Power Plan, one of the Obama White House’s signature policies to address climate change. Those states argue that the EPA overstepped its bounds with the rule and that it would drive up electricity costs, lead to energy shortages and cause economic devastation in communities that produce fossil fuels. The 18 states that support the EPA reply that the agency did act within its power and that even before the rule takes effect, the market is already moving in the direction of reduced emissions. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

40 tonnes of garbage pulled off Vancouver Island beaches
A barge loaded with roughly 40 tonnes of garbage pulled from Vancouver Island beaches arrived in Delta Monday night. Now, volunteers have the Herculean task of sorting through the debris to figure out what can be recycled, what can be re-purposed and what will have to go straight into the dump. The garbage was collected by hundreds of volunteers from eight groups this year, including the District of Ucluelet, the Nuuchahnulth Tribal Council, Parks Canada and the Surfrider Foundation. Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

Marine Harvest Canada sues Alexandra Morton for trespassing on fish farms
Aquaculture company Marine Harvest Canada has filed a lawsuit against activist and independent biologist Alexandra Morton for allegedly trespassing on three of their salmon farms on the B.C. coast last month. Morton spent the summer visiting salmon farms — uninvited — aboard the R/V Martin Sheen owned by the group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, looking for a controversial virus prevalent in salmon farms. In the lawsuit, Marine Harvest alleges she and others trespassed on their Glacier Falls, Midsummer Island and Sonora Island operations without permission and intentionally tampered with the equipment. At two facilities, they're accused of violating biosecurity procedures. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)
   
Free ‘Science on the Sound’ series offers range of topics at Highline’s MaST Center
Community members can hear from local, regional and national experts during free monthly presentations at Highline College’s Marine Science and Technology (MaST) Center. The ‘Science on the Sound’ series focuses on topics of interest within the Puget Sound region. Each 45-minute presentation will begin at Noon and is open to the public. (Waterland Blog)

County Panel Approves Rail Expansion In Columbia Gorge Despite Oil-Train Controversy
A county planning commission has given its approval to a rail expansion in the same stretch of the Columbia River Gorge where a Union Pacific oil train derailed and burst into flames. The derailment in June resulted in an oil spill that contaminated groundwater. It also galvanized opposition to increased oil train traffic in the Northwest. The Wasco County Planning commission voted Monday to approve the rail expansion through the city of Mosier. That’s after a motion to deny the application failed to draw support from a majority on the panel. The railroad wants to increase the number of trains carrying oil and other freight through the gorge.
David Steves reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  218 AM PDT WED SEP 28 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 7 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

9/27 Duwamish cleanup, shoreline erosion, royal snub

[Photo: Laurie MacBride]
Riding the Kelp 
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "In summer, kelp forests grow profusely on reefs and rocky shores all along the BC coast. Normally when we’re travelling on our boat, we treat kelp as a warning sign. After all, those floating bulbs and blades mark the location of reefs, with “boat-eating rocks” often lurking just below the surface – so we carefully avoid getting too close. But when we’re in our kayaks, it’s a different story: reefs are a magnet, and there’s nothing we like better than drifting through the kelp forests, looking down to see if we can spot schools of small fish or invertebrates such as hermit crabs amid this rich habitat…."

Seattle buys restoration credits for Duwamish cleanup
The City of Seattle has agreed to pay a company to restore natural resources as a way to settle its liability for pollution in the Lower Duwamish Waterway. The Duwamish Superfund Site is one of the largest in Washington state and includes the stretch of the Duwamish River that flows into Elliott Bay. Over the years, industrial and municipal operations have polluted the site with hazardous substances. On Thursday, Justice Department announced that Seattle agreed to resolve its liability by purchasing about $3.5 million worth of restoration credits from Bluefield Holdings, a company that develops restoration projects. (Associated Press)

Retreat Or Fight? Erosion Chews Away Southwest Washington Coast
The Washington State Department of Ecology says the fastest erosion on the West Coast is happening at aptly named Washaway Beach -- located between the southwest Washington towns of Grayland and Tokeland. Most places threatened by erosion try to fight back. But the erosion at Washaway Beach is so rapid, the question now is to fight -- or retreat. First the ocean took a clam cannery. Then a lighthouse, a Coast Guard station and homes slipped into the waves. Then the ocean washed away the cove that gave the community of North Cove its name. The coastal erosion at this spot has been unstoppable for decades. The school succumbed. Then the Grange hall, a post office and more and more homes. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Stephen Hume: The history behind the royal snub
Talking the talk of reconciliation with First Nations is easy. Walking the walk requires that meaningful actions take precedence over politically advantageous theatre. The venerable Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs — it’s now been holding government to account over First Nations policy issues for almost 50 years — called the province on this profoundly important distinction Monday. It dropped a protocol bombshell just as Prince William and Premier Christy Clark headed off to Bella Bella and the Great Bear Rainforest where, ironically, the province had earlier snubbed the Central Coast Regional District, one of the few elected non-First Nations governments in Canada boasting 80 per cent of its council elected from First Nations, by refusing it an invitation. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  214 AM PDT TUE SEP 27 2016  

TODAY
 NW WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT IN THE EVENING BECOMING LIGHT  OVERNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT IN THE EVENING. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9  SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, September 26, 2016

9/26 Green crab, BC LNG, oil export ban, coal port health, BP taxes, aquatic reserve, aquariums

(PHOTO: Joan Hilts/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Cacklers and Canadas
Cackling Geese resemble a toy version of Canadas. Just a bit bigger than a Mallard, this compact goose has a dark breast, short neck, and stubby bill. Its small voice fits nicely its small size… Although once considered a diminutive form of Canada Goose, recent genetic research shows Cacklers to be a separate species. They breed along the coast of Alaska and winter from Washington south to Mexico. [Listen for the difference.] (BirdNote)

Second invasive green crab discovered in northern Puget Sound
A second European green crab has been found in Puget Sound, this one in Padilla Bay — about 30 miles southeast of where the first one was discovered about three weeks ago. Green crabs are an invasive species known to devour a variety of native species and alter habitats where they have become established. Keeping green crabs out of Puget Sound has been a goal of state officials for years. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Trudeau's pipeline remark puts focus on Pacific Northwest LNG project
"The Great Bear rainforest is no place for a crude oil pipeline and I haven't changed my opinion on that." That was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's specific response to a question this week about the proposed Enbridge-backed Northern Gateway pipeline through B.C.'s north. In opposition, his comments about pipelines moving through this part of the province were less precise. Trudeau did not include the words "crude oil" in earlier declarations, as he did twice on Tuesday. That phrase would suggest Trudeau isn't necessarily opposed to all pipelines through the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, just those carrying diluted bitumen from the oilsands. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC) See also: Clock ticking down on final decision for $36B Pacific NorthWest LNG project   Ian Bikis reports. (Canadian Press)

Should Whatcom County ban crude oil exports?
People can give Whatcom County officials their thoughts during two public hearings Tuesday, Sept. 27, on a temporary policy to not allow new applications or permits for unrefined fossil fuel shipments through Cherry Point. The Whatcom County Council will take input on a 60-day emergency moratorium on applications and permits for expanded shipment of unrefined fossil fuels that was passed on Aug. 9, as well as on an interim moratorium that would extend the policy another six months. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

State, county to launch health study on coal terminal
Cowlitz County and state officials are launching a study to further examine potential health impacts of the proposed coal export dock in Longview. The study — the first of its kind for a project in Cowlitz County — will be conducted by state Department of Health under the direction of a steering committee made up of citizens. The committee will meet for the first time from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Longview Public Library auditorium…. The separate health study is not a legal requirement for the permitting process for Millennium Bulk Terminals’ $680 million project. However, state officials say the study will address other questions about health that will not be covered in the state environmental impact statement. Marissa Luck reports. (Longview Daily News)

Whatcom County settles BP refinery tax dispute
Whatcom County and BP Cherry Point refinery have settled a 3-year-long tax dispute over how valuable the refinery is, releasing millions in back taxes that other taxpayers had to make up for in the interim. BP will wind up paying more than $4.6 million in back taxes, plus interest. With the Aug. 9 settlement, the refinery wound up saving more than $4.8 million in taxes for that period, and any interest that would have accrued on that amount, according to county documents. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Pierce County’s Lake Kapowsin becomes home to state’s first freshwater aquatic reserve
Pierce County’s Lake Kapowsin, formed by a volcanic mudflow eons ago, has been named the state’s first freshwater aquatic reserve. The designation by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark on Thursday will preserve the lake’s distinctive aquatic profile, but won’t protect its shores from commercial development. The designation was a victory for preservationists who had argued the 515-acre lake should be preserved for scientific research, hunting and fishing, but it was a defeat for advocates of turning part of the lake and its shore into a world-class rowing course and park. John Gillie reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)  See also: State officials eye large expansions of 2 conservation areas  (Associated Press)

Aquariums fight for people to care about warming, over-fished oceans
For the hundreds of marine and freshwater experts in Vancouver this week at the International Aquarium Congress, there is no shortage of pressing issues to be discussed.  Overfishing, climate change, plastics and chemicals are but a few of the hot topics on the agenda, but one of the biggest challenges aquariums face today is not a scientific endeavour, per se: it's how to make people care.  Maryse Zeidler reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT MON SEP 26 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT  11 SECONDS. CHANCE OF RAIN.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Friday, September 23, 2016

9/23 Pipeline allies, acid crab, science knowledge, coho failure, Port Orchard shores

Noquiklos' tracks
More on Dragons, Godzilla, T.Rex
Two readers responded to yesterday's item about the shape of the Olympic Peninsula facing Admiralty Inlet. "In Jefferson County, we are well aware of the dragon (not T.Rex) and have been celebrating Noquiklos quite regularly for around 30 years." See The Search for Noquiklos' Tracks  And: "Never saw that before! Looks like Godzilla is heading for the sea maiden who protects Camano and Whidbey Islands, Sara Toga. (See the outline of the body of water between the two islands, otherwise known as Saratoga Passage.)"

Canadian First Nations, U.S. tribes form alliance to stop oil pipelines
First Nations communities from Canada and the northern United States signed a treaty on Thursday to jointly fight proposals to build more pipelines to carry crude from Alberta's oil sands, saying further development would damage the environment. The treaty, signed in Montreal and Vancouver, came as the politics around pipelines have become increasingly sensitive in North America, with the U.S. Justice Department intervening last week to delay construction of a contentious pipeline in North Dakota. The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion was signed by 50 aboriginal groups in North America, who also plan to oppose tanker and rail projects in both countries, they said in a statement. Targets include projects proposed by Kinder Morgan Inc, TransCanada Corp and Enbridge Inc. (Thomson Reuters)

Studies focus on acidic ocean impact on Dungeness crabs
Millions of pounds of Dungeness crab are pulled from Pacific Northwest waters each year in a more than century-old ritual for commercial and recreational fishermen. But as ocean waters absorb more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, U.S. scientists are worried that the ocean’s changing chemistry may threaten the sweet-flavoured crustaceans. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are exposing tiny crab larvae to acidic seawater in laboratory experiments to understand how ocean acidification might affect one of the West Coast’s most lucrative fisheries. Research published this year found that Dungeness crab eggs and larvae collected from Puget Sound and exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide — which increases ocean acidity — grew more slowly and larvae were more likely to die than those in less corrosive seawater. Now researchers at NOAA’s Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center are taking the experiments a step further to study how the crabs respond to multiple stressors during various growth stages. They also plan to analyze the sublethal effects: Even if the crabs don’t die, are they affected in physiological or other ways by ocean acidification? (Associated Press)

Survey reveals 'significant gaps' in Canadians' understanding of science
You may not know it, but Sept. 19-25 is Science Literacy Week in Canada.  And it seems that's not all we don't know about science. To mark the week comes a new survey looking at just how "science literate" Canadians are — which seems to suggest there are some pretty big gaps in our understanding.  The survey comes from the Ontario Science Centre, and is based on an online poll by Leger of 1,578 Canadians. A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.  It reveals what the Ontario Science Centre calls "significant gaps" in our understanding of issues like climate change, vaccinations and genetically modified organisms.  (CBC)

Inslee requests 'commercial fishery failure' declaration
Gov. Jay Inslee is requesting the federal government declare a "commercial fishery failure" in Washington after two consecutive years of poor salmon runs. In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Inslee asked for a declaration for the 2015 Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay non-treaty commercial salmon fisheries. "Salmon fisheries throughout Washington were affected by the poor return of coho in 2015, with statewide commercial coho catch being less than 20-percent of the recent 5-year average, and ex-vessel value being less than 15-percent of the recent 5-year average," Inslee wrote. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Port Orchard City Council considers easing shoreline regulations
Port Orchard is considering loosening shoreline development regulations for properties in the downtown waterfront area. The purpose of proposed amendments to the city's Shoreline Master Program is "to give more flexibility for existing properties in the downtown high intensity shoreline zone to redevelop and/or expand without creating new environmental impacts," said Keri Sallee, a planner with the city's Department of Community Development."… Under current rules, the standard buffer for non-water dependent structures is 75 feet. A facility like a marina, that relies on proximity to the water, would be considered water-dependent and exempt. Christina Henry reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  303 AM PDT FRI SEP 23 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT  13 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 12 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT
 S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING SE TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SUN
 E WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT  10 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

9/22 WA lands vote, Trudeau on pipe, Tacoma LNG, gas lines, carbon tax, shellfish toxin

T. rex in the Salish Sea
A reader writes: "While looking at my Salish Sea map the other day, in my office, I noticed something I'd not seen before: The...corner of the Olympic Peninsula is a giant T-Rex with its breath blowing across Admiralty Inlet." [Actually, we thought Godzilla ate Tukwila...]

Candidate for DNR chief distances himself from Malheur refuge takeover
State commissioner of public lands candidate Steve McLaughlin distanced himself Wednesday from an organization that helped armed occupiers of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. In an interview with The Olympian’s Editorial Board, McLaughlin, a Republican, said he was involved with a coalition of lawmakers from several states calling for the release of imprisoned ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were convicted of arson for lighting fires on private property that spread to government land they had leased to graze cattle. But he said he wasn’t involved with the coalition’s efforts to help an armed group that took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, in January to protest the Hammonds’ jailing. Walker Orenstein reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Justin Trudeau: Sticks to pipeline points as ‘consistent’ policy 
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t changed his views on the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, he said Wednesday. Trudeau was responding to comments by a senior Enbridge Inc. official a day earlier suggesting Ottawa has shown a willingness to support the megaproject if the environment and First Nations rights are respected. “Our government has been consistent from the very beginning, that Canadians need economic development while at the same time protecting the environment and the well-being of future generations,” Trudeau told Postmedia News at a news conference when asked about comments made by Northern Gateway president John Carruthers. “And that (has) not changed, that is what people expect us to be able to do.” Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Secret PSE-funded studies say LNG plant poses no off-site danger
The safety studies of potential spills, leaks and fires at Puget Sound Energy’s proposed Tacoma Tideflats liquid natural gas plant appear to back up the company’s contention the hazards wouldn’t reach across the site’s property lines. Records obtained by The News Tribune — including a plant siting study, a fire protection evaluation and a series of video models of plant accidents — contemplate incidents from bad to worse as part of explaining the potential risks of building the plant. PSE has fought public disclosure of the documents…. Although they contain no indications the facility constitutes a potential disaster for the broader city, they have become the most controversial records attached to the project. The studies were performed by Chicago Bridge & Iron, an engineering conglomerate based in the Netherlands, and its subcontractor Gexcon, a Norway-based fire and gas explosion safety company. Derrick Nunnally reports. (News Tribune)

State doesn’t keep track of old gas lines like the one in Greenwood
State regulators don’t keep records of abandoned gas lines like the Puget Sound Energy one that caused a Greenwood explosion in March. It’s not clear if PSE does either. Another company, Cascade Natural Gas, faces a $4 million fine for lax record-keeping. Bob Young and Vernal Coleman report. (Seattle Times)

Canada could meet emissions target without huge carbon tax: SFU professor
A new report says Canada could meet its emissions target under the Paris climate agreement without a hefty carbon tax. The carbon tax has been a contentious issue between the provinces and the federal government. Recently, the federal government announced it will impose carbon pricing on provinces that don't find a way to regulate carbon emissions themselves. Alberta and B.C. have adopted a carbon tax, while Ontario and Quebec have opted for a cap and trade policy. (CBC)

Eastern Kitsap shoreline hit with shellfish closure
Shellfish harvesting has been closed from Point White on Bainbridge Island south to the Pierce County border after high levels of marine biotoxins were detected. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  302 AM PDT THU SEP 22 2016  

TODAY
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN  AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told