Thursday, October 10, 2013

10/10 Coal port, oil port, Howe Sound gravel, Cechovic, eating salmon, saving orcas, Ebbesmeyer, cruise ships

Oil train (EarthFix/Flickr/Roy.Luck)
Longview Coal Export Project Hearing Draws A Thousand People  
About a thousand people turned out for six hours of public testimony on the Longview coal export project on Wednesday. Project developer Millennium Bulk Terminals has proposed to export up to 44 million tons of coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia through a terminal site in Longview, Wash.... Supporters of the project at the hearing urged the agencies to limit the scope of their reviews while opponents asked for a full review of all environmental impacts from the mines to power plants in Asia. Cassndra Profita reports.

Wash. plans to pull permits for 2 oil train hubs
State officials said Wednesday they are revoking permits for two planned oil train terminals in southwest Washington after deciding the projects should face more environmental scrutiny. The state Shorelines Hearings Board issued a letter Wednesday indicating it will invalidate permits for Westway Terminal Co. and Imperium Terminal Services, which want to build oil shipping terminals at the Port of Grays Harbor that could store up to 1.5 million barrels of crude, primarily from North Dakota. The city of Hoquiam issued the permits last spring, after determining in conjunction with the state Ecology Department that the proposals posed minimal threat to the environment. The letter called that determination "clearly erroneous," noting that the city and state officials failed to consider the cumulative environmental impacts of having the two terminals running along with a third terminal planned nearby. Gene Johnson reports.

North Van teen spawns online campaign to stop sand and gravel mine
North Vancouver teen Chris Dietrich spent his summer vacation producing a video that captures the beauty and wildlife of Howe Sound in hopes he can help discourage industrial encroachment in the area. Burnco Rock Products is planning a sand and gravel mine on a 320-hectare site in the McNab Creek area on the west side of Howe Sound north of the Langdale ferry depot. The company has plans to restore a defunct salmon spawning channel in the mine area in a new location and has already planted 60,000 trees on the site of a former logging operation. Randy Shore reports.

Conservation lobby: A change at the top
The executive director of Washington Conservation Voters, Washington’s environmental “establishment”  lobby, is quitting to take a new job against the backdrop of different mountains. Brendon Cechovic is moving to Denver to become CEO of the Western Conservation Foundation. Joel Connelly reports.

Farm-raised salmon vs. wild: The gap is closing
Come dinnertime, wild salmon is an excellent choice. Many of the Pacific fisheries are well managed, and the fish itself is healthful and delicious. The problem is that there isn’t very much of it. Worldwide, our annual wild salmon harvest comes to about 2 billion pounds, which sounds like a lot until you divide it by 7 billion earthlings and come up with one serving per person per year. In Seattle, there is an embarrassment of salmon riches, of course, but that’s not so nationwide, where many more people are looking to dine on our favorite fish. How to meet the demand in an environmentally sound way? Tamar Haspel reports

Fin-fish farm issue resolved, Jefferson County officials say
Jefferson County’s updated shoreline management plan is expected to be in place by mid-December now that the conflict over fin-fish aquaculture has been resolved, according to the county’s lead on the project. “We will allow the use of net pens, although only in certain geographical areas and with a conditional-use permit,” said Associate Planner Michelle McConnell, whose department is preparing paperwork that the three county commissioners will consider for approval Nov. 18. Charlie Bermant reports.

The push to save endangered orcas in Puget Sound  
Anderson, founder of Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance, an organization that fights to save the whales, said we’re at risk of losing the resident orcas. “Could it happen? That’s the wrong question. Is it happening? It’s happening right now. Can we stop it? Maybe,” Anderson said. He points to Orca Relief’s new research, which shows a dangerous decline in breeding age females. Their numbers are down 24 percent since 2004. Even more concerning is that the next generation of females able to reproduce have seen their numbers decline 39 percent since 2000. Orca Relief is pushing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to force boaters who threaten the whales to back off in certain areas. It’s called a “Whale Protection Zone” or a “No Go Zone.” It would ban whale watch operators within a half-mile of the coast off the west side of San Juan Island — roughly a 6.2-mile stretch from Mitchell Bay to Eagle Point. Matt Lorch reports.

Bath Toys, Nikes Wash Ashore; Oceanographer Worries Radiation Will Too  
Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer, has made a second career researching and collecting flotsam, ocean debris that has been pulled ashore. But he’s also concerned about the invisible dangers that move through the dark ocean waters: Styrofoam ground into sand being eaten by birds and, since the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan, radiation. Steve Scher reports.

Carnival to install pollution scrubbers on Seattle-based cruise ships
A cruise company plans to spend about $10 million to upgrade its five Seattle-based ships with new exhaust-scrubbing equipment that it developed to meet stiffer air quality standards. Carnival Cruises, based in Miami, which owns Seattle-based Holland-America Line, as well as Princess Cruises and ships operated directly by Carnival itself, is making the move in response to upcoming Environmental Protection Agency rules. All three of the cruise lines operate out of the Port of Seattle during cruise season. Steve Wilhelm reports.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU OCT 10 2013
TODAY
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS...
 BUILDING TO 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 15 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
--
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