Thursday, December 8, 2016

12/8 'SnotBot,' suing EPA, Scott Pruitt, KM oil pipe, Growler noise, building moratorium

'SnotBot' (Ocean Alliance)
How High Schoolers’ Hacks Fixed a Whale Snot-Collecting Drone
The Ipswich Tigers high school robotics team rises to Ocean Alliance's challenge to collect DNA from whale snot-- the stuff that comes out from a whale's blowhole. Enter "SnotBot." John R. Platt reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Groups sue feds to force Washington to protect Puget Sound
An environmental group is suing the federal government to force Washington state to do more to protect Puget Sound from polluted runoff from roads, farms, logging and boats. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, seeks to force the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to cut funding to the state for failing to protect coastal water quality. A similar lawsuit by the same group - Portland, Oregon-based Northwest Environmental Advocates - resulted in the agencies cutting $1.2 million in grant funding to Oregon this year. The group says the agencies first told Washington in 1998 that it was failing to control such pollution, but there's no evidence Washington has done any better, and the feds have not cut off funding in response as the law requires. The EPA declined to comment. (Associated Press)

Trump to pick Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt as head of EPA, source confirms to CNBC
President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a source familiar with the decision confirmed to CNBC on Wednesday. Pruitt has been a fierce critic of the EPA, and has been tied to the oil and gas industry, which aligns with Trump's signaling of an interest in loosening energy regulations. "Environmental protection, what they do is a disgrace; every week they come out with new regulations," Trump said during a television interview earlier this year. Everett Rosenfeld reports. (CNBC)

Sen. Cantwell fears Puget Sound could be hurt by expansion of Canadian pipeline 
 Washington state Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell on Wednesday asked President Barack Obama to work with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make sure that an expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline does not hurt the Pacific Northwest. Rob Hotakainen reports. (McClatchy) See also: Could increased tanker traffic tank Vancouver's tourism industry?   Roshini Nair reports. (CBC) And also: Pacific Northwest tribes plan action against B.C. oil pipeline  Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Navy says jet increase would mean noise more often for Port Townsend
Whichever alternative the Navy chooses for adding EA-18G Growler jets and training flights to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Port Townsend residents will hear jets more often, Navy officials said. Navy officials on Monday afternoon conducted an open house at Fort Worden on its draft environmental impact study (EIS) on adding 35 or 36 Growlers to the Whidbey Island air station and increasing training flights. The plan would increase the number of personnel and training flights taking place on Whidbey Island starting as soon as 2017. A few hundred people attended, many concerned about the increased noise on the North Olympic Peninsula. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Whatcom Council curbs rural building that relies on exempt wells for 3 more months
The County Council is continuing to curb new developments that rely on exempt wells in much of Whatcom County for the next three months, despite pleas from angry property owners. County officials have said they needed more time to find solutions – and to come into compliance – after the state Supreme Court ruled the county failed to protect water resources as required by the Growth Management Act. The court said the county must make sure, before approving a new permit, that there was enough water in streams for fish and those holding senior water rights. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  304 AM PST THU DEC 8 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT. COMBINED SEAS 5 TO 8 FT WITH A  DOMINANT PERIOD OF 13 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...EASING LATE. COMBINED SEAS 5 TO 8  FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11 SECONDS. RAIN MIXED WITH SNOW AT  TIMES.

--
"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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12/7 Pro KM, safe tankers, Battle Ready chainsaws, driving more, green energy future

Black-capped chickadee (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
More Eyes and Ears: The better to watch for predators!
A family of dapper Black-capped Chickadees call as they hang upside down, pecking at alder seeds. A wren skulks and buzzes through the underbrush. A petite Downy Woodpecker whinnies nearby. Mixed-species flocks may include a dozen species and more than fifty individuals. More ears and eyes mean better detection of predators. (BirdNote)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says pipeline will boost B.C.'s GDP by $1B 
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline has significant economic benefits for B.C. Notley was in Vancouver Tuesday to convince British Columbians to support the controversial pipeline expansion project, which received federal approval last week…. The pipeline would provide a $1 billion bump to B.C.'s GDP without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, she said, pointing out Alberta recently introduced legislation to cap emissions. (CBC) See also: Minister apologizes for threatening to use military against pipeline protesters  Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has apologized for saying those engaged in unruly protests against new oil pipelines will find themselves facing the Canadian Forces. Carr’s apology Tuesday came as the military confirmed it was not preparing any response to oil pipeline protesters, nor was it involved in any planning to deal with such an event. David Pugliese reports. (Ottawa Citizen)

Increased B.C. tanker traffic will be safe, promises transport minister 
Canada's minister of transport says British Columbians should have confidence that increased tanker traffic will be safe, and if there is an accident, the resources will be there to deal with it….  On Nov. 29, the Trudeau government approved Kinder Morgan's expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline, a move that will bring almost three hundred extra oil tankers to the Port of Vancouver every year…. The expansion will triple the capacity of the pipeline, allowing the company to move 870,000 barrels of Alberta oil every day. The plan also calls for three new berths at the marine terminal to handle the increase in oil tankers, as well as an extra $200 million for the industry-funded corporation responsible for handling oil spill cleanup. The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) says it plans to set up new spill response bases on the south arm of the Fraser River, as well as Nanaimo, the Saanich Peninsula and Beecher Bay on the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  Port Alberni and Ucluelet will also get extra cleanup resources. Chris Brown and Chris Corday report. (CBC)

A War, The Chainsaw And The 2nd Great Cutting Of The Northwest
After the Great Depression, the Northwest’s faltering timber industry got its second wind. The comeback started with World War II. The war effort created a huge demand for lumber. It also spurred advancements in technology, setting the region up for one of the largest timber harvests in U-S history. Part of the Battle Ready series. Jes Burns reports. (EarthFix)  See also: Unpacking The Science Behind The Northwest Forest Plan http://www.opb.org/news/article/northwest-forest-plan-science-up-for-peer-review-/   Jes Burns reports. (EarthFix)

Americans drive record number of miles in first 9 months of 2016
U.S. drivers set a record for miles driven the first nine months of the year, likely the result of lower gasoline prices and an improving economy. Americans drove 2.4 trillion miles this year through September, according to the Federal Highway Administration, an increase over the 2.35 trillion miles they drove in the first nine months of 2015. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy

Green-energy projects can expect cold shoulder during Trump presidency
When an obscure nonprofit group attacked one of California’s signature green-energy projects this summer – warning a congressional panel that the embrace of solar energy would lead to crippling hikes in electricity bills – officials in the state shrugged off the testimony as noise from the fringe. With Donald Trump’s election, however, that group, the Institute for Energy Research, has moved suddenly from the fringe to the center of power. The president-elect has sent the group’s president, a former Koch Industries lobbyist named Thomas Pyle, to the Energy Department to take charge of its transition. Evan Halper reports. (Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  244 AM PST WED DEC 7 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON PST TODAY THROUGH THIS
 EVENING
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY
 EVENING    TODAY  E WIND 15 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...RISING TO 30 TO 35 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 5 TO 7 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  14 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12/6 'Magic' 'shroom, no KM, Battle Ready, What's Upstream, BC emissions, DNR plans, sewage dump

'Magic' mushroom (Peter Dejong/AP)
Psilocybe semilanceata
Psilocybe semilanceata, commonly known as the liberty cap, is a psilocybin or "magic" mushroom that contains the psychoactive compounds psilocybin, psilocin and baeocystin. It is both one of the most widely distributed psilocybin mushrooms in nature, and one of the most potent…. In Canada it has been collected from British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec.[45] In the United States, it is most common in the Pacific Northwest, west of the Cascade Mountains, where it fruits abundantly in autumn and early winter. (Wikipedia) See: The Life-Changing Magic of Mushrooms  A single dose of magic mushrooms can make people with severe anxiety and depression better for months, according to a landmark pair of new studies. Olga Khazan reports. (The Atlantic) And: Hallucinogenic Drug Psilocybin Eases Existential Anxiety in People With Life-Threatening Cancer   (Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Pipeline opponents start groundwork for B.C. referendum to halt Kinder Morgan
A B.C. non-profit is moving forward with plans to put the Kinder Morgan pipeline to a popular vote. The Dogwood Initiative — an advocacy group that calls themselves a 'citizen action network' — announced plans to pursue a referendum soon after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the pipeline the go-ahead Nov 29. This weekend, the group started canvassing the public for support…. Unique to British Columbia, a citizen's initiative allows a registered voter to propose a law or changes to an existing law where the province has jurisdiction. The voter must collect signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in each provincial electoral district — within 90 days of the official launch — for the referendum to go through. The referendum has been a popular tool in B.C. political history. (CBC)

Battle Ready: The secret history of the U.S. military’s environmental legacy in the Northwest. 
When America was drawn into World War II the Pacific Northwest answered the call with lumber, shipyards, an atomic weapon plant and B-17 bombers. Battle Ready explores the hidden history of the military, the Northwest, and the environment. Great work in multiple installments by EarthFix reporters.

Agency to address farming group's complaints about Swinomish campaign
A state agency will determine by the end of the month if a Swinomish Indian Tribal Community campaign funded by the Environmental Protection Agency is an illegal grassroots lobbying effort, as alleged by local nonprofit Save Family Farming. On Thursday, Swinomish Environmental Policy Director Larry Wasserman and the EPA submitted to the state Public Disclosure Commission their responses to Save Family Farming’s complaints. The complaints allege the Swinomish’s “What’s Upstream?” campaign ultimately encourages passage of anti-farming laws, and violates grassroots lobbying laws because the campaign was not registered as a lobbying effort and was being funded by public money. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

B.C. to fall far short of 2050 emissions targets, report says
British Columbia is on track to break through targets set for greenhouse-gas emissions in its Climate Leadership Plan by more than four times by 2050, according to a new analysis, due to a projected doubling of emissions from the province’s natural gas sector and development of a liquefied-natural-gas export industry. The estimate, released Monday by the Vancouver forecasting firm Navius Research, projects B.C.’s greenhouse-gas emissions will hit 66 megatonnes by 2050, which is eight megatonnes higher than 2016 emissions but soars above the province’s stated goal of reducing emissions to just 12.6 megatonnes — 80 per cent below 2007 emissions — by 2050. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Department of Natural Resources offers draft plans for comment on harvest, seabird
The state Department of Natural Resources has released draft environmental impact statements on the agency’s 10-year sustainable harvest calculation and its marbled murrelet long-term conservation strategy. Public comment will be taken until 5 p.m. March 9 on both documents, DNR spokesman Bob Redling said. Public meetings and webinars are planned next month. The 160-page sustainable harvest draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, and instructions for submitting public comments are available here. The 600-page marbled murrelet draft EIS and instructions for submitting public comments are available here. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Protect Puget Sound and ban boats from dumping sewage
The Salish Sea is part of the economic engine of the state, the source of communal pride, our shared vernacular and a spiritual, hallowed ground. Let’s think ahead. Let’s stop dumping sewage in it. Martha Kongsgaard opines. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  246 AM PST TUE DEC 6 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY
 AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 NE WIND 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING E 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS...  SUBSIDING TO 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS  IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 15 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, December 5, 2016

12/5 No DAPL, spill plan, KM, seafood diet, Scott Is., wind power, Deltaport, Navy training, NW pipe, salmon map, fishers, swans, Drayton shellfish

Entering Malibu Rapids (Laurie MacBride)
Running the Gauntlet
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "The crown jewel of our Marine Parks, Princess Louisa Inlet, is tucked far into BC’s Coast Mountain Range. To get there you have to run a gauntlet of challenges" such as the lengthy cruise and timing transit over Malibu Rapids.

Tribes celebrate as Corps rejects Dakota Access pipeline easement
In the Dakota language, “Oahe” means “A Place to Stand.” On Sunday, Lake Oahe — the spot where the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline was supposed to cross the Missouri River — became just that for indigenous people around the world and their allies. Following months of review and protests, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it would not provide the last easement needed by Energy Transfer Partners, of Houston, Texas, to cross under the Missouri River and complete the pipeline through four states. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: The Northwest braces for its own Standing Rock  Nick Turner and Joe Copeland report. (Crosscut)

Washington state ‘very concerned’ Canada pipeline spill plan lacking
Canada’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline is raising concerns with Washington state officials, who say they have not received adequate assurances that U.S. waters will be protected in the event of an oil tanker spill. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s office says he doesn’t have enough details of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledged $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan to know if enough spill prevention measures will be in place, or that the state would be protected in the event of a spill…. The planned pipeline also faces opposition from Seattle politicians who, like their counterparts in Vancouver, are opposed to any expansion of the oil industry, and who openly support the protesters at Standing Rock who are against the Dakota Access Pipeline. It has also generated promises of court fights from First Nations on both sides of the border. Jeff Lee reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Beyond the hippie stereotype: A closer look at the opposition to Trans Mountain
A conversation about tripling your money on a tech start up might seem out of place at an anti-pipeline march, but not so in Vancouver. When thousands of protestors made their way from City Hall to downtown a few weeks ago, chatter about stock options and where to go for ramen after the rally could be heard alongside the traditional indigenous drumming and chants of "Hey, hey, Trudeau, Kinder Morgan's got to go". Whether or not the Prime Minister heard those calls, it's become clear since he approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion that his decision — no matter how it was cast — wasn't going to find any middle ground…. Vancouver, with its weed dispensaries, kombucha cafes and growler-toting hipsters, is easy to stereotype. But that doesn't mean the protestors should be dismissed as a bunch of West coast hippies who don't understand what makes the national economy go. Paul Haavardsrud reports. (CBC)

Coastal Indigenous people eat 15 times more seafood than non-Indigenous, study reveals
A new study out of the University of British Columbia could change the way policies regarding fisheries and Indigenous human rights are considered. The study found coastal Indigenous people eat on average 15 times more seafood per person than non-Indigenous communities within the same country. Lead researcher Andrews Cisneros-Montemayor says these findings show the scale and significance of seafood consumption by Indigenous people. (Canadian Press)

British Columbia's Scott Islands proposed as National Wildlife Area
The federal government has announced it will protect the waters and coastline around a set of five islands off the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island known as the Scott Islands, which are home to 40 per cent of all breeding seabirds in the Canadian Pacific…. The area is home to more than two million seabirds, which is the highest concentration of seabirds in British Columbia. It also serves as the most important nesting and breeding ground for seabirds in the province. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Wind turbines generating regret; $100,000 turbines to create $1.50 in electricity monthly
Three windmill-like turbines loom motionless over the city of Port Angeles’ new Waterfront Park. The $107,516 spires stand immobile more than two months after they were erected and more than a year after the city council approved them. Once they are working to generate electricity, they will produce so little power — $1.50 worth of electricity a month in savings — that at least one council member is regretting her decision to purchase them. They have not been activated because the city is involved in an inspection-related dispute with the manufacturer, UGE International Ltd. of New York City, Community and Economic Development Director Nathan West said last week. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

The Questionable Science of Vancouver's Port Expansion
…. Deltaport is Canada’s largest container terminal and integral to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, also known as the Port of Vancouver, a crown corporation whose 27 terminals in Metro Vancouver generate CAN $9.7-billion in direct gross domestic product. And although the port already has four container terminals, it now wants to expand at Roberts Bank. If this development at the southernmost edge of the Fraser River delta—known as Terminal 2—goes ahead, the cranes could soon be loading four or five container ships at a time instead of two, making Roberts Bank one of the busiest container shipping hubs in North America. But as biologists and birdwatchers know all too well, the delta is already one of nature’s critical transportation hubs. Recognized by an international treaty as a vital wetland, the Fraser delta plays host to millions of migrating birds each year. Gulls and snow geese, dunlin and coots all pass through the estuary’s 22,000 hectares, each seeking its preferred habitat. Some flock to the marshes, others to the water or the fields. But one species, the western sandpiper, is particularly picky about where it sets down in the spring. It largely gravitates to a relatively small patch of mudflats on Roberts Bank, just to the north of Deltaport’s long causeway. Here it feeds on insects, worms, crustaceans, and a snot-like substance called biofilm, the true ecological value of which scientists are still trying to understand. Amorina Kingdon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Forest Service accepting comments on permit for Navy electronic warfare training
The U.S. Forest Service is accepting comments on its draft decision, announced this week, to grant a special-use permit for the Navy’s $11.5 million electronic warfare training project. The five-year permit would allow deployment of three camper-sized mobile transmitters at 11 cleared roadside locations in Olympic National Forest near the Quinault reservation. Three sites are in Clallam County, three are in Jefferson County and five are in Grays Harbor County. The training consists of Navy jets interfacing with mobile transmitters that would emit electromagnetic signals that pilots would target in warfare exercises. (Peninsula Daily News)

Northwest Pipeline calls off expansion plans 
A natural gas pipeline expansion project that would have included work on sections of pipeline in Skagit County was called off earlier this year. Williams, the parent company of Northwest Pipeline LCC, withdrew pending applications in April, company spokeswoman Sara Delgado said. The 3,900-mile Northwest Pipeline moves natural gas across six states, from Utah to Washington, according to Williams’ website. Williams had proposed replacing sections of the pipeline to increase the volume of natural gas that could be transported. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the project in August 2015 and planned to release a final EIS in June 2016. But when Oregon LNG announced in April that it was scrapping its proposed pipeline expansion and terminal project in Warrenton, Oregon, Williams called off its project. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Interactive map brings together extensive salmon information
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes about SalmonScape, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's interactive, computer mapping system. SalmonScape shows 'salmon streams across the state (click “hydrography”); salmon migration by species (“fish distribution”); stream blockages (“fish passage”); and hatcheries, fish traps and major dams (“facilities”).'

Release of fishers at Mount Rainier marks second season of reintroducing the species to the Cascades
There are new tracks in the snow at Mount Rainier National Park, created by the 10 fishers released Friday near Longmire. The release, the first inside the park, is part of multiagency, multinational effort to restore fishers — members of the weasel family, related to otters, badgers and wolverines — in Washington where they have not been seen in more than 50 years. The four females and six males that scampered away through the trees were the first of 40 animals hoped to be released in the park this winter. The next release could happen as soon as next week. Jeffrey P. Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

State seeks reports of dead or unhealthy swans
With the return of migratory birds that winter in the Skagit Valley, the state is asking the public to report unhealthy trumpeter swans. For several years, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has collected information about sick, injured and dead swans from Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties. The agency uses the information to determine the impact of lead poisoning on the birds, according to a news release. Using lead pellets for hunting waterfowl has been banned for about 25 years, but some pellets are still in fields where swans find food, according to the release. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Blaine to celebrate ‘legacy’ of shellfish harvest in Drayton Harbor 
A community gathering Dec. 16 will celebrate a 21-year cleanup effort that led to 810 acres of recreational and commercial shellfish grounds in Drayton Harbor being reopened to year-round harvesting. The event will be at the oyster bar in Blaine owned by the Drayton Harbor Oyster Co., which has a commercial operation growing Pacific oysters on 30 acres in Drayton Harbor. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  254 AM PST MON DEC 5 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
 TUESDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NE 20 TO 30 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT. W  SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS.

--
"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


Friday, December 2, 2016

12/2 Coyote, snow?, Dayton Hbr., coal bash, burning spills, toxin law, Richmond stink, landslides, old skull

Canis latrans (Nature Pics)
Coyote Facts
Coyotes are distinguished from domesticated dogs by their pointed, erect ears and drooping tail, which they hold below their back when running. The coloration of coyotes varies from grayish brown to a yellowish gray on the upper parts. The throat and belly are white. The long tail, which is half the body length, is bottle shaped with a black tip…. Coyotes are present and common in most of Washington except the islands, and has been seen recently on Bainbridge and Whidbey. Prefers open habitat and forest edges and readily uses open forests and extensive burned or clear cut areas. Found in agricultural lands, and at the edges, and sometimes well into developed areas including cities. (Nature Mapping Foundation) Listen up: Coyote Calls into the Night Along the Puget Sound

Let it snow? Cold snap to arrive in Metro Vancouver this weekend
A rainy November in Metro Vancouver could turn into a snowy December — at least over the next week or so. The first Arctic outbreak of the season is set to hit the region on Sunday, bringing with it below-freezing temperatures to much of the Lower Mainland. "A big high-pressure system over Yukon will help push that cold air across the province," said CBC senior meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC) See also: Snow is on way to Western Washington lowlands, weather service says  Exactly where and how much? It’s too early to tell, but cold air and moisture is expected late Sunday and into Monday. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

After two decades, 810 acres in Drayton Harbor reopened to winter shellfish harvest
Winter shellfish harvesting is once again allowed on 810 acres in the southwest part of Drayton Harbor after more than two decades of work to clean up the water. The Washington State Department of Health’s shellfish program lifted the seasonal ban Thursday, after tests showed that water quality had improved. The decision affects recreational and commercial harvesters. Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm has a commercial operation there. The harbor also is a harvest area for the Lummi and Nooksack tribes. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

EPA bashes early environmental study of Longview coal terminal 
An Army Corps of Engineers draft report failed to adequately address diesel pollution, rail congestion, greenhouse-gas emissions and other significant environmental impacts of a proposed coal-export terminal in Longview, according to a harsh critique from the Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator. In a Nov. 29 letter, the EPA’s Dennis McLerran said the Army Corps’ review is so flawed it failed to meet federal requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act — and should be substantially revised. The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals would be the largest in the nation, capable of exporting up to 44 million metric tons annually of western Powder River Basin coal to Asia. The project has faced tough environmental opposition in Washington, and struggled amid a downturn in coal markets that has eroded the economics of shipping U.S. coal to Asia. (Seattle Times)

Sequim laboratory combating oil spills with wood shavings
Stopping an oil spill could be as simple as the shake of a bottle and lighting a match thanks to some local scientists. A team with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory near Sequim, sponsored by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, continues to fine-tune a product that pulls and holds an oil spill together so it can burn, specifically in low temperature areas such as the Arctic. Two scientists in the Richland facility are working with them. George Bonheyo, senior research scientist for the laboratory and a research professor of biotechnology for Washington State University in Pullman, leads the team and said the product could be a year away from going to market and made available to agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard. Matthhew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Can Canada increase oil capacity and still meet its Paris commitments?
When a newly-elected Justin Trudeau took to the international stage at the COP 21 climate talks in Paris last November, he cheerfully proclaimed "Canada is back!" The prime minister made an impassioned speech in support of decisive action on climate change, underscoring the "opportunity to make history" with an agreement to limit global temperature increases to 2 C below pre-industrial levels. This week, in announcing the approval of the tripling in capacity of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, Trudeau's take was decidedly different. "There isn't a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and leave it in the ground, while there is a market for it," he said. How can Canada be an oil sands producer and climate leader at the same time? And more importantly, how can it meet its commitments on both climate change and oil production?  Jeremy Allingham reports. (CBC)

New toxic chemical law begins to review most-dangerous compounds 
The first 10 toxic chemicals to be reviewed under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act were announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency. After review, these chemicals could be banned or significantly restricted in their use. As specified by law, the first 10 chemicals were chosen from 90 listed in the TSCA Work Plan, based on their high hazard and the likelihood of human and environmental exposure. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Obama stays busy on environmental front in final weeks
Citing fears of a Donald Trump presidency, environmental groups are urging President Barack Obama to stay busy in his final weeks. He is listening. With his days in office numbered, Obama has pushed ahead with several executive actions aimed at protecting the nation’s land, air and water, even as he acknowledges his successor may try to undo the work before the ink is dry. The president has been cheered on by environmental groups and advocates braced for a new uphill fight in the next administration, and criticized by those who say an outgoing president shouldn’t use his final days to stop what they say is the responsible development of the country’s natural resources. Kevin Freking reports. (Associated Press)

Richmond compost odours no health hazard: chief medical health officer
The terrible smells coming from a Richmond composting operation are not considered a health hazard, according to Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical health officer. However, Dr. Patricia Daly said in a letter to the City of Richmond that the odours are affecting area residents’ quality of life, and even causing some physical discomfort. Harvest Power runs a composting and biofuel facility in east Richmond that has been the subject of numerous odour complaints to Metro Vancouver, the regional body that regulates air quality. Richmond Public Health has also received complaints, Daly said in her letter. Environmental health officers have spoken to 30 people so far in 2016, compared to six in 2015. Jennifer Saltman reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Mapping Washington's Landslides
The last few weeks of heavy rains in Western Washington means the possibility of landslides in certain areas is higher. But this is only the beginning of the rainy season.  If you look at Seattle’s landslide maps, you can pinpoint thousands of properties that are prone to sliding…. Seattle is unique in that it has paper records dating back to the late 1800s documenting landslides. So far this season, only three shallow slides have been reported.  Beyond Seattle, the state is working with counties like Pierce to improve landslide maps using light detecting and ranging or lidar. Lidar is a technology that shoots a laser from the air and takes three-dimensional pictures of the terrain below. Monica Spain reports. (KNKX)

Skull found off Washington coast is 2,300 years old
A human skull that was found in a crab pot off the Washington coast is about 2,300 years old and could be released to a Native American tribe. The Daily World in Aberdeen reported that the skull was discovered by fishermen in February 2014 about 3 miles offshore near Westport and was turned over to the FBI. This week, Grays Harbor County Coroner Lane Youmans confirmed the results of a lab analysis, which showed the skull’s DNA profile came from a female who lived around 360 to 400 B.C. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  252 AM PST FRI DEC 2 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS
 EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT  12 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 11 FT  AT 12 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 14 FT AT 18 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  RAIN.
SAT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 15 FT AT  16 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 13 FT AT 15 SECONDS.
SUN
 NW WIND 15 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT  14 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Thursday, December 1, 2016

12/1 Snow?, KM pipe, protest, Oly growlers, Snake dam, norovirus, Whidbey shore, tax bill, dead humpback, safe tuna

(CBS News)
Will Snow Hit the Puget Sound Lowlands in a Few Days?
Some of the media have already started to talk about it: the possibility for much colder temperatures and lowland snow during the Sunday through Tuesday period. Let's analyze the possibilities, making use of the most powerful probabilistic forecasting tools at our disposal.  We will attempt to avoid the problems experienced during the October 15th storm by highlighting the forecast uncertainties and the use of ensembles. Cliff Mass forecasts. (Weather Blog) See also: It wasn't the rainiest November — but it was Vancouver's warmest (CBC)

Christy Clark says province close to endorsing Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Premier Christy Clark is indicating the province is well on its way to endorsing the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Speaking publicly for the first time since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced conditional approval for the project, Clark said the federal government is "very close"  to meeting the five conditions necessary for B.C. government approval. "I have said from the very beginning that the five conditions are a path to yes," said Clark, stating that the conditions could be met "much sooner" than the May 9 provincial election. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Kinder Morgan pipeline: Protesters aim to revive spirit of Clayoquot
The battle plan is still being drafted, but First Nations and environmentalists are promising to take the fight against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline plans to the streets, the courts and the legislature. B.C. has a long history of environmental activism and anti-pipeline campaigners say they’re drawing from decades of experience to develop a plan of attack. Greenpeace oil sands campaigner Mike Hudema said Kinder Morgan can expect to face opposition from all sides, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his conditional support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on Tuesday…. One model is the protests of the 1980s and 90s that secured the protection of Clayoquot Sound from logging. A key lesson is to keep up the pressure, Hudema says. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Navy Granted Permits For More Growler Jet Training On Olympic Peninsula
The Navy has just been granted permits by the U.S. Forest Service to expand electromagnetic warfare training over Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Now the Navy is cleared to drive trucks out into the Olympic National Forest, armed with electromagnetic signaling technology. Then growler jets will take off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and fly overhead, searching for the signal trucks from the air. It's essentially a military training game of hide-and-go-seek. The trucks simulate cell towers and other communications behind enemy lines that the Navy wants to scramble. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Feds Discussing Snake River Dam Removal At Public Meeting In Seattle
Salmon art and an orca puppet will parade through Seattle Thursday afternoon. The procession is to attract attention to restoration efforts for wild salmon and steelhead runs on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Advocates for endangered fish will hold a rally and then march to Town Hall Seattle, where one of 15 public meetings around the Northwest is taking place, in the wake of a ruling from a U.S. District Court. In May, Judge Michael Simon ordered federal agencies to take a fresh look at the Columbia River salmon plan. He said despite billions spent on habitat restoration and dam improvement efforts, it isn’t working. The ruling was the fifth time a judge has shot down the plan that guides dam operation and salmon restoration in the Columbia River basin. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Oyster-caused illnesses on Vancouver Island linked to same supplier
Island Health says norovirus is likely to blame after more than 100 people who ate raw oysters in Tofino earlier this month fell ill. Roughly 120 people, many of whom had attended the Clayoquot Oyster Festival, suffered gastro-intestinal symptoms last week. But Island Health says people got sick at more than one location, and that people reported being ill over the course of several days. They say it appears everyone who became ill consumed raw oysters from the same supplier, who is not being named. (CBC)

Whidbey Restoration Project Makes a Difference, For Shore
Salmon, crabs, clams and shorebirds got a happier home recently as DNR’s Aquatic Restoration crews freed up beachhead on southeast shore of Whidbey Island. Partnering with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, the restoration program removed 440 feet of creosote-treated bulkhead from the Glendale Beach and Waterman Shoreline Preserve north of Clinton. Removal of the bulkhead allows the beach to again move in the free, dynamic way it naturally does. (Ear to the Ground/WDNR)

Are taxpayers liable for Enbridge’s $500m in Northern Gateway costs? Experts divided
Legal experts are divided on whether Enbridge Inc. can recoup some or all of the $500 million it says it has spent in seeking federal government approval to construct a $7.9-billion oilsands pipeline to Kitimat. Enbridge said company executives and their partners, including B.C. and Alberta aboriginal groups who were in position to get $2 billion in benefits, will discuss options after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet killed the Northern Gateway project Tuesday. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

2nd humpback death in 2 weeks worries experts, farmed salmon industry
Three humpback whale entanglements at B.C. fish farms in recent months, two of which resulted in deaths, have whale researchers and the salmon farming industry concerned. A juvenile humpback died last weekend after it became trapped between the inner and outer containment nets at Greig Seafood's Atrevida salmon farm in Nootka Sound. The death comes just two weeks after another dead humpback was found stuck in equipment at an empty Marine Harvest Canada fish farm on B.C.'s Central Coast. In that case, the whale became entangled in an anchor support line at a site north of Bella Bella. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

Burning less coal isn’t just making air cleaner. It’s making your tuna safer.
Nicholas S. Fisher got a research opportunity he couldn’t pass up. When he embarked on a study of fish two years ago, he didn’t know what he was looking for. All he knew was that a researcher in Massachusetts had samples of nearly 1,300 Western Atlantic bluefin tuna in a deep freeze and was offering them up for investigation. Today, his team’s findings are being greeted as some of the most positive news in a while related to the lowering of power-plant emissions. Studies of tuna caught in the Gulf of Maine between 2004 and 2012 revealed that levels of methylmercury in their bodies decreased at a rate of 2 percent per year, or nearly 20 percent over a decade. Darryl Fears reports. (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  230 AM PST THU DEC 1 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON
 PST TODAY  
TODAY
 W SWELL 11 FT AT 13 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 9 FT AT 12  SECONDS THIS AFTERNOON. W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR  LESS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7  FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF EVENING SHOWERS. RAIN LIKELY LATE.

--
"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


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

11/30 KM pipe ok'd, tanker traffic up'd, oil battle lines drawn, clammer study

Loligo opalescens (David R. Andrews/WDFW)
Puget Sound Squid
Between late May and the following February, adult squid can be found in almost all waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. Squid feed mainly at night and are attracted to light, which is why public piers are good locations for anglers. Hungry squid lurk in the dark fringes near patches of lighted water and then dart into the bright area in pursuit of food such as young herring and other small fishes. Because a boat isn’t needed and jigging equipment is reasonable, squid-jigging is one of the most inexpensive ways to catch squid. Anglers should take a camping lantern or flashlight of significant size for unlit locations. [From Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, "How to Fish for Squid"]

Kinder Morgan pipeline approved by Canada’s Trudeau government
In what is likely to be one of the landmark decisions of his first term in office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the conditional approval of one oil pipeline megaproject to B.C. — and put the brakes on the other. Kinder Morgan has won cabinet approval for its $6.8 billion plan to triple the capacity of its northern Alberta-to-Burnaby pipeline system to 895,000 barrels a day. The company, if it can overcome court challenges and threatened civil disobedience, says it will start construction in September of 2017 and have the new line up and running by December of 2019. The decision is expected to quickly evolve into a political football in the upcoming B.C. election next spring. Meanwhile, Enbridge Inc.’s $7.9 billion plan to build a new 525,000-barrel-a-day line from Bruderheim, near Edmonton, to remote Kitimat was nixed. Peter O'Neil, Rob Shaw, Gordon Hoekstra and Matt Robinson report. (Vancouver Sun)

Kinder Morgan expansion approval means more tanker traffic in Salish Sea
More crude oil tanker traffic may traverse the Salish Sea off Whatcom County’s coast, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project Tuesday. The project will nearly triple capacity along an existing 1953-built line from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., from about 300,000 barrels per day to about 890,000 barrels per day. That’s more than the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried 830,000 barrels per day. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

First Nations, environmentalists vow 'long battle' on approved Kinder Morgan pipeline
The Trudeau government's approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is meeting fierce opposition in B.C., including a vow from the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation that this is "the beginning of a long battle" to stop the project. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC) B.C. government still on the Kinder Morgan fence  The British Columbia government is still waiting for the federal government to support its five conditions before approving Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline construction project. Richard Zussman reports. (CBC)

Study: Most clammers stick to single beach
Close down a clammer's favorite beach, you're likely closing down the clammer. A new study looking at the behavior of Puget Sound's recreational shellfish harvesters indicates that the increasingly frequent pollution and marine biotoxin closures are having a bigger impact on clammers than previously thought. About two-thirds of the sound's shellfish harvesters say they gather all their clams and oysters from a single beach, according to surveys administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If a "Toxic Shellfish" sign pops up at a favorite spot, most harvesters simply quit. They don't seek out alternatives. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  250 AM PST WED NOV 30 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 W WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT THIS AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT 12 SECONDS...BUILDING TO  14 FT AT 11 SECONDS THIS AFTERNOON. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 15 FT  AT 13 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 13 FT AT 13 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A  CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

--
"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