Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10/30 PERC, TDCPP, Frank James, Vancouver WA oil, redwood climate, next Big One, eroding bluffs, earthworms

Some B.C. dry cleaners using harmful chemical improperly
An Environment Canada investigation into 48 dry cleaners around B.C. alleges nearly half improperly handled a toxic chemical that has been linked to a number of health problems including liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage. According to search warrant documents obtained by CBC News, federal enforcement officers inspected dozens of businesses in the summer of 2012 and found 21 dry cleaners with "at least one container of PERC, waste water or residue without a secondary containment." One North Vancouver business — Lester's Dry Cleaning — faces two charges under the Environmental Protection Act related to its handling of PERC. PERC, or perchloroethylene, is considered a probable carcinogen and was declared toxic in 1997 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Also known as tetrachloroethylene, the solvent was also banned in California in 2007, and could soon face an ban in France. Jason Proctor reports.

Flame retardant on list of chemicals of concern to kids
State regulators have added a chemical flame retardant to its list of chemicals of high concern to children. The Department of Ecology said Tuesday that manufacturers of children’s products would be required to report whether their products contain chlorinated Tris, also known as TDCPP. The Washington Toxic Coalition had asked the state to add the chemical, which has been detected in changing pads, car seats and other children’s products. In 2011, the state of California put the chemical on its list of cancer-causing agents.

An American doctor shares his concerns for our health — and our assessment process
Dr. Frank James is an American — his citizenship is significant to this story — and the health officer for Washington state’s San Juan County. He is also a professor of public health at the University of Washington. James is a member of Whatcom Docs, a group of physicians that formed two years ago when they learned of a proposal to ship up to 48 million tons of Wyoming coal through Bellingham. It would mean 50 kilometres of coal train running along the shores of Puget Sound per day. From an initial core of about 140 interested physicians, Whatcom Docs has since grown to 215 members. Initially, the group maintained a neutral position, and was neither for nor against the proposal. Their concerns were health-related, not political, and they wanted to know what health hazards, if any, were associated with shipping coal. Pete McMartin reports.

Hundreds Attend First State Hearing On Vancouver Oil Terminal
A one-year time clock is ticking in the state permitting process for a controversial oil terminal proposed in Vancouver, Wash. On Tuesday, the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council held its first scoping hearing for the Tesoro-Savage terminal at the Port of Vancouver. About 300 people stood in line to get into the hearing; most of them wore red shirts in protest. Cassandra Profita reports.
Tesoro, Savage officials address concerns
The yearlong regulatory journey to decide the fate of what would become in Vancouver the largest oil-handling operation in the Pacific Northwest officially launched Tuesday evening. Ahead of Tuesday's environmental scoping hearing, convened by the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, the companies proposing the controversial project — Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies — offered to field questions from The Columbian and to explain their joint venture. Aaron Corvin reports.

UW Researcher: Redwoods Reveal Years of Coastal Climate History
Count the rings on a tree trunk to figure out its age. Or, if you’re University of Washington climatologist Jim Johnstone, study the molecules of a redwood trunk and crack the code for natural weather data that could date back more than a thousand years. Johnstone has a keen interest in the interplay of our oceans and the atmosphere near them, which often shows up as fog... Redwoods aren’t the oldest trees on the coast, but they do have a special connection to fog. These trees suck up the moisture in the air during dry summers. Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

Insurance study warns we are unprepared for carnage of next big earthquake
Canada is unprepared for a major earthquake — likely to hit B.C. in the next 50 years — which would cause tens of billions of dollars in damage and have a crippling domino effect on the economy, says a new study released today. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake in B.C. would cause almost $74.7 billion in damage — $62 billion in property damage and $12.7 billion in indirect economic impact, according to the study released by AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe modelling firm. Only $20.4 billion of those losses are insured. The authors of the report said the findings should be a wakeup call to governments, insurance providers and disaster preparedness experts for a national strategy on how to handle a major earthquake. Katie Derosa reports.

Going, going, gone: Workshop tonight to focus on homes on eroding bluffs
Michael Gentry went to sleep March 11, 2011, after spending the night watching footage of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.  He woke up the next day to find a disaster had struck his own backyard on a bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca west of Sequim....A 40-foot chunk of the bluff behind his Gehrke Road home had slid into the Strait during the night. It's a problem growing more common for those who live on the bluffs between Sequim and Port Angeles, said Anne Shaffer with the Coastal Watershed Institute....The institute is conducting a workshop tonight to help those who own land on the bluffs manage and reduce erosion and stabilize the ground below their property.  The workshop is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road. Joe Smillie reports.

Earthworms Invade New England
Beavers reshape landscapes with their dams. Wolves control elk populations. Sea otters protect kelp forests by eating sea urchins. These are what ecologists call "keystone" species: critters that control an ecosystem and have a disproportionate impact on other species. And in the forests of New England, what are the keystone species? Put earthworms on the list. Kudzu vines grow madly, covering power lines. Zebra mussels muscle-out native mussels in Lake Champlain. Burmese pythons devastate local wildlife in the Everglades. These are invasive species: non-native animals and plants, carried by people into new locations, that take hold, disrupting and reshaping local ecosystems. And in the forests of New England, what are the invasive species? Put earthworms on that list too. None of the earthworms in New England's forests are native.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED OCT 30 2013
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.

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