Monday, March 25, 2013

3/25 Exxon Valdez, Port Gamble, Victoria sewer, DuPont gravel, Stavis NRCA, B'ham jobs, Marysville offramp, bathing crabs, Point No Point lighthouse, Alderwood sewer, Shell drill

Exxon Valdez (NOAA)
New blog: “On most days, real issues are painted in shades of gray and we need to tease out the surrounding facts and values in order to come to a clearer position. Some days, we’re blessed. Today, President Obama will will designate the 1,000-plus acres in the San Juan Archipelago under the Bureau of Land Management as the San Juan Islands National Monument, the third in Washington state....”  A True Legacy

Where were you 24 years ago on March 24, 1989 when the Exxon Valdez went aground in Prince William Sound? Oil Spill Facts

Art Sterritt with Coastal First Nations says the catastrophic Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska over two decades ago is proof that massive oil tankers don't belong in B.C. waters because the state is still trying to clean up. Sterritt is launching a TV and social media campaign to air on networks along the proposed pipeline route to warn the public about the potential threat to B.C.'s environment. He says a spill like the Exxon Valdez disaster would cost taxpayers approximately $21.4 billion to clean up and destroy thousands of jobs in the fishing and tourism industries. Enbridge, the company behind Northern Gateway, has launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign of its own in support of the pipeline. First Nations group launches anti-pipeline ads on 24th anniversary of Alaskan oil spill  And: Anti-tanker ad marks anniversary of Alaskan oil spill  See also: Group launches anti-pipeline ads on anniversary of Exxon Valdez oil spill

Funny, sad but true: British Columbia’s largest oil spill response vessel got stuck on a sandbar en route to a federal news conference about strengthening Canada’s oil spill defences. The shipping-industry-funded company in charge of the vessel confirmed it ran aground briefly on an uncharted sandbar off Sand Heads at the mouth of the Fraser River en route from its Esquimalt base to the Coal Harbour news conference. But it denied the ship had a “close quarters situation” with a B.C. ferry near Active Pass earlier Monday – as claimed by the Coast Guard’s marine communications union. Mike Hager reports on 3/21. Oil spill clean-up ship hit sandbar en route to government news conference in Vancouver

Breaking their weeks-long impasse, the Washington Department of Ecology and Pope Resources have agreed on a $17-million cleanup plan for Port Gamble Bay. The agreement, to be spelled out in a legally binding consent decree, ensures that Ecology will provide $2 million toward the purchase and protection of 83 acres of tidelands and 470 acres of uplands along the western shoreline of Port Gamble Bay. The agreement will allow Pope Resources to keep two docks at the south end of the former Pope & Talbot sawmill site until 2015. The company had been seeking to keep the docks in place until a new one at the north end of the property could be approved. No agreement was reached for settling natural resource damage claims to be paid by Pope Resources. That raises questions about whether plans can move forward to use Ecology funds to purchase additional property on the mill site, where an educational and research center had been proposed. Chris Dunagan reports. Agreement reached on Port Gamble Bay cleanup

Esquimalt’s MLA joined the town’s mayor Thursday in opposing a plan to build two sewage treatment facilities on prime Esquimalt property, calling it a “betrayal” of local taxpayers. NDP MLA Maurine Karagianis said she refuses to accept a Capital Regional District proposal to build a sewage sludge facility on a Viewfield Road property that the CRD bought for $17 million. Combined with a proposed secondary sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point and an existing sewage outfall at Macaulay Point, Esquimalt is in the unfair position of having three regional sewage facilities, Karagianis said. Rob Shaw reports. Esquimalt MLA, mayor up in arms over proposed sewage facility

CalPortland got one step closer yesterday to expanding its mining footprint in DuPont. The City of DuPont has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement that examines a proposal to sequentially clear, mine and reclaim 142 of 201 acres CalPortland Company owns adjacent to and north of its existing sand and gravel mine. The DEIS indicates that North Parcel mining would result in no significant unavoidable adverse impacts to the environment. Plus, 45 acres of bluffs and nearly a mile of Puget Sound shoreline would be preserved as open space, wildlife habitat and visual screening. CalPortland closer to mining site approval

About 455 acres of state land within Stavis Natural Resources Conservation Area would be protected forever under a land-transfer plan announced this week. The 4,300-acre Stavis NRCA, south of Seabeck, is one of the largest areas of intact lowland forest in the Puget Sound region. It is associated with Kitsap Forest, which contains some of the last old-growth trees on the Kitsap Peninsula. Chris Dunagan reports. Stavis land to be transferred for protection

Environmentalists and labor union members are joining forces to stress the need for rigorous cleanup and living-wage jobs on the waterfront. At a Thursday, March 21, public hearing on waterfront plans conducted by the city planning commission, it was clear that the two groups had made a conscious decision not to let their bitter dispute over a Cherry Point coal terminal get in the way of an alliance on other issues. John Stark reports.  Unions, environmentalists call for living-wage jobs on Bellingham waterfront

A proposed coal terminal in Bellingham that could bring 18 more trains per day through Marysville could, in a backhanded way, work to the city's advantage. It could help Marysville get money for a major road project: an offramp from northbound I-5 to northbound Highway 529 at the new Ebey Slough Bridge. Currently there's no funding for the $50 million project. The ramp has been on Marysville's wish list for years and would help the city's traffic problems, with coal trains or without, officials said. Bill Sheets reports. Coal terminal could help Marysville build offramp

Deep beneath the ocean surface, in Bubbly Gulch off Vancouver Island, a crab doing an inadvertent backflip has given scientists new information about the world’s largest source of untapped fossil energy. The crab was taking a Jacuzzi-style bath in bubbles of methane gas percolating from the ocean floor in Barkley Canyon when its muddy face was caught by cameras on Wally the Crawler, NEPTUNE Canada’s undersea robot. The methane bubbles — which are lighter than water — stuck under the crab’s shell, upsetting its balance and fascinating NEPTUNE scientists looking at the changing rates of bubbles and whether a warming ocean is affecting the ice-encased gas hydrates. Judith Lavoie reports. In Bubbly Gulch of Vancouver Island, bathing crabs hint at vast potential of an untapped fuel

After undergoing more than $200,000 in upgrades, Point No Point lighthouse officials are now asking for the community to help complete the restoration project. The lighthouse needs to raise $50,000 by June to receive a matching grant from the Birkenfeld Memorial Trust to restore a building called the keeper’s house, one of three registered historic structures part of Point No Point lighthouse. Amy Phan reports. $40,000 needed for Point No Point lighthouse renovations

Construction on a $93.4 million sewage treatment plant in south Snohomish County is nearly two years behind schedule and $400,000 over budget -- and the roof leaks. Work at the site at 6315 Picnic Point Road between Edmonds and Mukilteo is expected to wrap up in the next few months, said Nancy Davidson, capital projects manager with the Alderwood Water & Wastewater District, based in Lynnwood. Rikki King reports. Alderwood sewer plant late and $400K over budget

The heavy-lift vessel Xiang Rui Kou is in Dutch Harbor, preparing to pick up the Kulluk, Shell’s Arctic floating drilling platform, and carry the Kulluk to Asia for repair, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith confirmed in a March 19 email to Petroleum News. The drillship Noble Discoverer that Shell is using in the Alaska Arctic is also being carried to Asia by a heavy-lift vessel for repair. Smith also confirmed that Shell is in the process of testing its Arctic containment dome in Puget Sound, near Seattle. Shell has had modifications made to the dome since a failed test in September. Kulluk being picked up from Dutch harbor

Upcoming: March 28-- The Whale Trail presents a talk on harbor porpoises by Cascadia Research director John Calambokidis, 6:30 pm, at C&P Coffee in West Seattle. Tickets, $5 suggested donation,  And on March28-- Ocean Acidification Seminar featuring local experts from the WA State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. 6 pm, Bellingham Cruise Terminal Dome Room, free.

Now, your tug weather--
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