Monday, July 8, 2013

7/8 Oly shores, train derail, coal hearings, pilings, Anacortes cleanup, port air, Gwen Barlee, fish virus, rockfish record

Birdnote: Red-Tail hawk (Paul Bannick)
If you like to listen: A Red-tailed Hawk soars on broad, rounded wings, the epitome of effortless flight. Without flapping, it traces a leisurely, rising circle. The hawk is riding a thermal, a column of warm rising air generated near the earth's surface by heat from the sun. The Red-tail periodically circles to stay within the thermal. Riding thermals is an energy-efficient way to search for prey below. BirdNote: Soaring with Redtails

If you like to watch: Gerald Woldtvedt captured the excitement of the Friday Harbor 4th of July parade's People's March Against Coal

Nearly 6,000 households in Olympia received a postcard from the citizens group Friends of the Waterfront in the past two weeks warning that the Olympia City Council was considering “buildings right to the water’s edge for just about any use — all along Olympia’s waterfront!” The group is trying to get people to show up Tuesday to the council’s public hearing on the draft Shoreline Master Program, a state-mandated plan that regulates development on state shorelines. The city has been considering the plan for more than three years. “What prompted us to send those out was that the City Council has done such an abysmal job informing the public of what their plans are,” said Bob Jacobs, a former mayor and member of Friends of the Waterfront. “They have refused to publish one picture. Not one. And people don’t understand what is about to happen to them.” Matt Batcheldor reports. Citizens group clashes with Olympia council over waterfront

The official death toll has grown to five in Lac-M├ęgantic, Que., after a derailed train carrying crude oil exploded in the town's core, levelling buildings and forcing as many as 2,000 people from their homes. Quebec provincial police said two more bodies were discovered Sunday morning, in addition to the three that were found the night before in the hardest-hit area in the centre of town. Police say about 40 people have been reported missing by immediate family members in the town of about 6,000 people, located roughly 250 kilometres east of Montreal. Death toll rises to 5 after Lac-M├ęgantic train blasts

Crowds are predicted Tuesday in Portland and Hermiston, Ore. for the latest round of hearings on one of the Northwest’s proposed coal export projects. People have been turning out in big numbers throughout the Northwest to voice their opinions about proposed coal export terminals. So far, those hearings have focused on the Gateway Pacific coal project north of Bellingham, Wash. It was the first of the region’s three currently proposed coal terminals to be up for public input during the approval process. The two other proposed export terminals — both on the Columbia River — are up next. Tuesday’s hearings are for the Morrow Pacific Project. Regulators this week announced a series of hearings that are tentatively scheduled for the fall on Longview, Wash.’s proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal. Courtney Flatt reports. Big Crowds Predicted For Coal Export Hearings In Oregon  

While there is no serious dispute among scientists that climate change is human caused and happening, the timetable and specifics of its consequences are more murky. Jon Talton writes. Coal, jobs and climate change the debate  

Portions of the public beach along the Chambers Creek Properties will temporarily close starting Monday as workers remove about half of the old pilings that line the shoreline. The creosote-coated pilings are among the last remnants of the sand and gravel mining that occurred on the property for more than a century. Removing them will improve the look and health of the shoreline, Pierce County officials said. Christian Hill reports. Pilings to be removed at Chambers Creek beach

The state Department of Ecology has announced plans to visit the Anacortes waterfront to answer questions and take comments on a major pollution cleanup of the former Custom Plywood mill, scheduled to kick off in mid-July. The project is expected to be a big step toward cleaning up and restoring the Fidalgo Bay ecosystem, Ecology officials say. Ecology representatives will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 13-14 at Rotary Park on the Tommy Thompson Trail near the site at 35th Street and V Avenue. The state agency will oversee the project, which will remove about eight acres of contaminated in-water sediment, 1,100 toxin-leaching pilings and 7,000 tons of other material. Additional steps will be taken to improve the shoreline habitat. Plans are to wrap up the project in October. Kimberly Cauvel reports. Anacortes old mill cleanup planned for July  

The ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, B.C., are working together to dramatically reduce emissions. And they’re trying to do that without scaring away any cargo companies.  Most of the diesel air pollution at the ports comes from ocean-going ships, but also from tug boats, cranes, trucks and trains.  The three ports have been working together since 2007 to reduce air pollution, and now they’ve set percentage reductions they want to achieve: a 75 percent reduction in diesel emissions by 2015 and 80 percent by 2020. Ashley Gross reports. Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver ports aim to reduce air pollution

As a child, Gwen Barlee learned the value of digging deeper, but it was not until she grew up and began to investigate government that her perseverance really paid off. Ms. Barlee, policy director of the Wilderness Committee, has carved out a reputation over the past decade for her tenacious use of Freedom of Information applications. Investigating everything from the government’s policy on parking meters in provincial parks to British Columbia’s diagnostic failings in detecting Lyme disease, Ms. Barlee has developed a knack for uncovering documents that others want to keep buried. Mark Hume reports. Environmentalist gets results through persistent pursuit of documents  

Scientists fear there could be a reluctance to report a deadly fish virus after the first lab in Canada to say it was detected in British Columbia salmon was stripped of a special reference status by an international agency. Marine researchers say they were stunned to hear that the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, recently suspended the reference status from a research laboratory at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. Run by Fred Kibenge, who is considered one of the world's leading authorities on infectious salmon anemia, it was one of only two labs in the world recognized by the group for the testing of the virus. Alison Auld reports. Scientists concerned over chill in reporting of salmon virus after lab delisted  

A record-breaking rockfish was hauled in near Sitka last month. Henry Liebman reeled in the 39.08-pound shortraker, breaking the old record of 38.69 pounds for a shortraker caught on sportfishing gear. The age of the fish hasn't yet been determined, but that too might be a record, a fishery expert said....Troy Tydingco, Sitka area manager for the state Department of Fish and Game, certified Liebman's catch, and said this fish might be in the neighborhood of 200 years old. Tom Hesse reports. Record rockfish may also be the oldest

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