Monday, June 24, 2013

6/24 Smith Is, oil trains, BC pipe, coal export, L-pod, roof runoff, toxics bill, seaweed harvest, mud safari

Big Moon (Stephan Michaels)
New blog: “It’s a morning ritual: get up and let the dog out the front door and walk to the spot in the lawn where the morning Bellingham Herald’s been tossed in its bright red plastic wrapper. Sure, sometimes like this Monday morning, the paper’s about as thin as its plastic covering but having the morning paper in hand is a nice, familiar ritual...” Who Reads Newspapers Anyway?

Biologists see Snohomish County's Smith Island project as their best chance to revive threatened chinook salmon in the Puget Sound basin. Others consider it a threat to their livelihood. The project is a massive undertaking to breach an old 1930s dike along Union Slough north of Everett and build new dikes farther from the water. By flooding more than 300 acres, the county hopes to bring back some of the salmon habitat converted to farmland after settlers arrived here in the 1800s. Noah Haglund reports. Biologists want island for salmon habitat; farmers worry about livelihoods  

Each week, more and more mile-and-a-half long tanker trains filled with oil travel into the Pacific Northwest. The sweet crude — sucked from deep under North Dakota — brings opportunity for business and jobs in the Lower Columbia region and stirs fears the river will become a fossil fuel highway. Meanwhile, analysts warn the historically volatile market for oil makes building new oil terminals in the Pacific Northwest a risky investment.  Roger Werth  reports. Oil superhighway? Trains full of fracked N. Dakota oil are heading our way  

Kinder Morgan’s proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project through Langley and Surrey will divert from its existing route to avoid built-up areas, but puts the pipeline closer to the Fraser River. The Calgary-based company released its proposed route plans for Surrey on Friday and the Langley route earlier this week, showing the first major diversion from the existing pipeline, which began operation in 1954. The rest of the proposed pipeline, through the Fraser Valley and Interior, largely follows the existing route. Gordon Hoekstra reports. Proposed route would bring Kinder Morgan pipeline closer to Fraser River

If coal export terminals proposed for the Pacific Northwest are never built, the number of trains rumbling through Washington state filled with coal would still increase. Coal is already shipped from British Columbia, and terminals there are expanding.  Based on projected numbers, however, those increases would not come close to equaling the combined capacity of the terminals proposed for Cherry Point near Bellingham and two others in the Northwest. Bill Sheets reports. Even without terminals, coal trains will increase   See also: Coal Industry Pins Hopes on Exports as U.S. Market Shrinks

Two female killer whales from the endangered southern residents have been confirmed dead by the Center for Whale Research. The deaths of 52-year-old L2, who had not been seen since last December, and 57-year-old L26, who had not been seen since March, when she was in poor condition, brings the number of whales in the three pods to 82 animals, the lowest in more than a decade. It is gloomy news, especially as no calves have yet been born this year, said Ken Balcomb, the executive director of the centre in Friday Harbor, Wash. Judith Lavoie reports. Local orca numbers lowest in 10 years  

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is looking for a few good roofs for a stormwater runoff study. The center, working with scientists at the University of Washington Center for Urban Waters, is leading a study of toxic chemicals of roof runoff. Center personnel are seeking roofs from houses that have been built or re-roofed with composite (three-tab) roofing material within the past three years and which have metal rain gutters. Marine science center seeks roofs for runoff study

A bill shepherded into law by Whatcom County's two state senators has local officials optimistic that the cleanup of Bellingham's derelict industrial waterfront may happen sooner rather than later. Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who sponsored the bill, sees it as a victory for Republicans in an arena where they don't usually fare well - the environment. The legislation reforms how Model Toxics Control Act money is spent on toxic cleanups, with the intent of broadening the scope of eligible projects and putting the money to use more quickly. Although the bill was championed at times by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, he and environmentalists came away partly dissatisfied. Ranker said on Friday, June 21, that the legislation was just introduced in the House to correct some defects in the bill.... Ericksen indicated that the "trailer" bill to adjust the toxics legislation likely won't get a hearing in the Senate. Besides, Democrats' concerns are overstated, he said..... Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville and Port of Bellingham Executive Director Rob Fix said the bill should make it easier to address contamination on the city's waterfront. The port and the city are partners in plans to redevelop 237 acres, much of it the site of a former Georgia Pacific mill. Ralph Schwartz reports. Hard-won toxic-cleanup bill wins praise in Bellingham

Should the government allow mass harvest of seaweed on the British Columbia coast? Certainly there seems to be an overabundance of it on most beaches, where it often collects in long, thick mats known as wracks. A commercial seaweed harvest has been proposed for B.C. – a new “fishery” that would target an untapped resource potentially worth millions of dollars – but a study led by a group of retired fisheries scientists has raised concerns about its environmental impact. Mark Hume reports. Cashing in on seaweed isn’t so green, study says

The tiny sea creatures didn’t know what they were in for. More than a dozen children donned rubber boots and headed for the mud flats Friday morning to search for beach animals and learn what they were. Children ranging in age from 5 to 10 years old— known that morning as junior ecologists — joined their parents and a guide for their “Mud Flat Safari” as part of the Art for Learning Watershed Science program at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve . Daniel DeMay reports. Watershed science workshops kick off

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON JUN 24 2013
TODAY
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 3 FT AT 14 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG THIS MORNING. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
E WIND 10 KT RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 16 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.
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