Tuesday, June 11, 2013

6/11 Salish Sea trail, toxic fish rules, Whatcom water, state budget, BC pipe, LNG, Scotch broom, bag ban

A new nonprofit group is making strides to establish a coastal trail along the inland marine waters of Washington and British Columbia. The Bellingham-based Salish Sea Foundation also wants those waters designated as an international marine sanctuary. Doug Tolchin, an organizer of the foundation, said the effort is in its early stages, but the goal is firm. Gail Fiege reports. Foundation proposes Salish Sea trail on inland waters  

Gov. Jay Inslee is wading into the controversy on state water-pollution regulations that InvestigateWest first reported earlier this spring. In a letter to the state Ecology Department (embedded below), Inslee announced his intention to organize an informal group of advisers from local governments, Indian tribes and businesses. Environmental groups, notably, are not mentioned. The process is to kick off this month, and Inslee told Ecology Director Maia Bellon that by late this year he will “provide you with guidance” that will allow new rules to be proposed in early 2014....It remains to be seen whether Indian tribes will agree to participate. Tribal interests and nearly all environmental groups – with the exception of Portland-based Northwest Environmental Advocates – have been boycotting the two-year Ecology “stakeholder process” set in motion by last summer’s decision. Robert McClure reports. Story update: Inslee gets involved in water-quality rule changes

In a ruling that could have significant impacts on land development in rural Whatcom County, a state board has ordered county officials to develop more restrictive regulations to protect water supplies in streams and under the ground. The Growth Management Hearings Board found that the county's existing regulations are leaving wide areas of rural Whatcom County without adequate measures to protect the quality and quantity of water supplies. That threatens the rural character of these areas, and that character is supposed to be protected under the terms of the Washington Growth Management Act. John Stark reports. State board tells Whatcom County to impose restrictions on water use   See also the blog by Jean Melious: Hearings Board to Whatcom County: You -- Yes, You -- Have the Responsibility to Take Care of Your Own Water Resources  

Washington state's political leaders resigned themselves Monday to another special session, as budget negotiators continued searching for a way to bridge the wide gap between their positions. With just one day before the end of a 30-day overtime session, House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said the House and Senate proposals remained far apart. He recalled that Gov. Jay Inslee had said at the end of the regular session more than a month ago that both sides were "light years apart." Mike Baker reports. State lawmakers resigned to 2nd special session

With its own pipeline project soon to face regulatory scrutiny, Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. says a lengthy list of conditions set out by the National Energy Board for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline could burden other projects with unnecessary costs, red tape and labour shortages. In April, the NEB laid out a list of 199 conditions specific to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, should the heavy oil pipeline from Alberta across British Columbia to the Pacific coast be approved. Although the NEB says the conditions are specific to Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan doesn’t appear convinced the requirements won’t be applied to the pipeline industry more broadly. Kelly Cryderman reports. Energy Board’s Northern Gateway terms could hurt other projects, Kinder Morgan warns

Malaysian national oil company Petronas says it expects to spend up to $16 billion to build a liquefied natural gas export facility and related infrastructure in Western Canada. Arif Mahmood, Petronas vice-president of corporate planning, says the company will invest between $9 billion and $11 billion to construct two LNG liquefaction plants near British Columbia's west coast. Another $5 billion will be invested in a 750 kilometre-long pipeline, to be built by TransCanada Corp., to supply gas to the two plants, he said Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press. Petronas expects to invest up to $16 billion in LNG export facility in B.C.  

The City of Nanaimo has found a use for Scotch broom. The noxious weed will be shredded and burned as hog fuel to power the Harmac pulp mill near Nanaimo. This year for the first time, the city helped members of the public control the noxious weed by putting collection bins at three locations in May. Enough broom was collected to more than fill a five-ton truck. It was shredded Thursday at a ceremonial “burning of the broom” event at the fire-training yard on Labieux Road. Darrell Belaart reports. Shredded Scotch broom to help fuel Harmac pulp mill  

Lewis Brantley, caretaker at Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge, has catalogued five months’ worth of debris that has washed up on the beaches of the 380-acre island between Port Townsend and Sequim. Brantley lived on the island as caretaker from Oct. 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, returning to Port Townsend every week or two for supplies. The island is closed to public access because of the wildlife’s sensitivity to disturbance, particularly during breeding season. One of his responsibilities was to remove debris along the shoreline. Protection Island caretaker conducts study of beach garbage

City councilmembers were divided Monday evening over what to do with a proposed ordinance to charge a fee for plastic bags at some large Anacortes stores. Despite the lively debate, councilmembers took no action at the meeting. The ordinance, proposed by councilwoman Erica Pickett, would charge a 5-cent fee to customers for every plastic carry-out shopping bag, but only at stores of 40,000 square feet and larger. Only two grocery stores in town fit that bill. Mark Stayton reports. Anacortes considers bag control

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE JUN 11 2013
TODAY
SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.

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