Wednesday, September 25, 2013

9/25 Lummi pole, WWRC, Sound Action, Fox Is dock, bag ban, beach debris, BC oil trains, BP in Gulf

Lummi totem pole (Liu Kit Wong/Olympian)
Master carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation brought a colorful 22-foot healing totem pole to Olympia on Tuesday as part of a 1,700-mile journey over 16 days that he and other carvers are making from Wyoming to British Columbia. The trip is a rolling protest against the potential export of Wyoming coal to China via Northwest ports. The pole — mounted on a flatbed truck — has been hauled along the path that coal trains would follow to the proposed shipping docks at Longview and Cherry Point in Western Washington as well as other fuel export sites in British Columbia. Brad Shannon reports. Tribes travel to protect sacred land

If you like to watch: A rare sighting of a what onlookers mistook for a red-headed woodpecker caused a bit of a stir in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday. The wild bird, with a black and white back and red head, was seen repeatedly pecking a tree at the corner of Helmcken Avenue and Seymour Street at eye level, showing no fear of the gathering crowds stopping to photograph and videotape it. It turns out it was a red-breasted sapsucker, common in the coniferous forests of the northern Pacific Coast, and usually found at middle or lower elevations, according to a birding website. Susan Lazaruk reports. Video: Rare red-breasted sapsucker draws birders to downtown Vancouver

Blue herons on Whidbey Island, elk herds in Kittitas County and inner-city school kids in Tacoma couldn’t get away for breakfast in Seattle, but 650 of their benefactors did show up. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is one of the nation’s all-too-few ongoing examples of bipartisan, across-the-battle-lines cooperation.   The WWRC was founded by ex-Govs. Dan Evans and Mike Lowry, who on Tuesday were marking the 30th anniversary of facing off against each other in an intense 1983 U.S. Senate special election campaign. Joel Connelly reports. State Wildlife and Recreation Coalition: A bipartisan success story  

Sound Action, a new environmental group, has filed informal appeals for 11 construction permits issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. When the group announced its formation in April, it expressed its intent to be a watchdog and make sure shoreline habitats are protected through the state’s “hydraulic project approval” (HPA) process. Executive Director Amy Carey says her group has begun scrutinizing every permit issued for saltwater shorelines. Recent projects include docks, bulkheads, a boat launch and a bridge in six Puget Sound counties. Of the 11 construction projects appealed, Sound Action found that 10 of the approvals failed to include adequate protections for juvenile salmon or forage fish, such as herring, surf smelt and sandlance. Christopher Dunagan reports. Environmental group appeals 11 shoreline projects  (paywall, alas)

A dilapidated ferry dock on the north side of Fox Island dating back to Puget Sound’s historic Mosquito Fleet is being removed as part of a state cleanup. Workers are taking out the dock and 182 creosote-treated pilings spread across five sites on the shoreline facing Hale Passage. The project’s purpose is to remove toxic materials and produce a healthier and cleaner Puget Sound, said Jordanna Black of the Department of Natural Resources. Steve Maynard reports. Workers begin removing derelict dock on Fox Island

The Thurston County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to ban thin, grocery-style plastic bags in unincorporated areas of the county starting July 1. Commissioners adopted the same ban that the Tumwater City Council did last week, and that Olympia is expected to consider next month. Matt Batcheldor reports. Thurston County bans plastic bags in unincorporated areas

Washington state's ocean beaches are a bit cleaner now after 115 volunteers plucked trash from the Olympic coast during the International Coastal Cleanup. The volunteers collected about 2,500 pounds of beach debris in just a few hours Saturday, said Jon Schmidt, Washington CoastSavers coordinator.  Arwyn Rice reports. Volunteers clean some 2,500 pounds of debris from beaches

Shipping oil by rail from Alberta to the B.C. coast is still very much on the table despite the recent rail disaster in Lac-M├ęgantic, says Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.... Mr. Oliver spoke days before an annual meeting between provincial transportation ministers and their federal counterpart at which rail safety is expected to dominate the agenda. Provincial and municipal officials are calling for more information about the kinds of cargo moved by rail – information currently under federal control – as well as increased safety measures aimed at preventing the kind of tragedy that devastated the Quebec town. Wendy Stueck and Mark Hume report. Oliver pushes for oil to be shipped by train on west coast, Lac-Megantic notwithstanding  

Oil giant BP has asked a US court to halt payments from its settlement deal over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill amid concerns about fraud control. The blast killed 11 workers and released an estimated four million barrels of oil into the gulf. It is the firm's latest move to stop or delay payments under a financial settlement programme. It had expected payouts to total $7.8bn (£4.9bn), but says this has been driven up by excessive fees and bogus claims. BP has faced about $42.4bn in charges since the disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which triggered the worst offshore oil spill in US history. It has made two previous, unsuccessful attempts, to halt compensation payments. It now says all payments should be halted until the court-appointed claims administrator puts efficiency and accounting controls into place. BP court move to halt Gulf payouts

A mammoth undersea US project will soon start streaming data to researchers. But some wonder whether the system is worth its high price. (UW oceanographer John) Delaney is the architect behind a 925-kilometre network of fibre-optic cable and instruments being installed on the seabed off the coast of Washington and Oregon. If all goes according to plan, these will stream real-time data back to shore by 2015, delivering some of the first live video footage of an underwater volcano erupting, hydrothermal vents growing and clouds of microbes billowing from the sea floor. The cabled network is a key part of the massive US Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), which aims to create a flood of continuous information from select sites. Alexandra Witze reports. Marine science: Oceanography's billion-dollar baby

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED SEP 25 2013
TODAY
NE WIND 10 KT BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 20 KT BECOMING NW 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 OR 3 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
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