Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12/18 Geoducks, oil pipe, coal dust, coal spills, mercury cleanup, hazmat site, creek restoration, oil risk, fire retardant ban, Capitol Lk snails, port dredging, isthmus park

PHOTO: Washington Sea Grant
Chinese geoduck ban creates industry turmoil
Kitsap Sun's Chris Dunagan delves deeper into the toxicity standards prompting the geoduck ban and the possible reasons for China's actions.

Kinder Morgan opts for almost entirely new pipeline route through Burnaby
Kinder Morgan’s proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion avoids several areas in the Lower Mainland that have become built up since the company’s existing line was constructed in the 1950s, but the company had fewer options in Burnaby. The proposed route skirts new neighbourhoods in Langley and Surrey — in Walnut Grove and Fraser Heights, respectively — by moving the pipeline closer to the Fraser River to utilize railway and road corridors. And while the proposed new route in Burnaby uses the Lougheed Highway corridor, it still passes near a neighbourhood that contains Meadowood Park north of Broadway, and also through residential areas adjacent to Hastings Street and Cliff Avenue, which is adjacent to the Burrard Inlet Conservation Area. Gordon Hoekstra reports.

Board: BNSF can require coal-dust suppression
The federal Surface Transportation Board has decided that BNSF Railway can require coal shippers to use certain methods to reduce the amount of coal dust lost from rail cars leaving coal mines in Wyoming and Montana. In a decision last Wednesday, the board said shippers challenging the railway's coal-loading rules had not shown the measures were unreasonable. It did, however, find one provision related to liability unreasonable. BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said Tuesday the board's decision ensures coal dust stays in railcars where it belongs. Phuong Le reports.

CN sues Westshore Terminals over three accidents involving coal trains
Canadian National Railway is suing Westshore Terminals in a series of civil claims that the Delta coal terminal has been negligent in its handling of coal trains on three separate occasions. The civil lawsuits, filed in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, concern three accidents that allegedly caused damage to trains in 2011 and 2012. In two of the three notices of civil claim, CN alleges Westshore Terminals in Roberts Bank caused a pair of locomotives to tip over while dumping coal onto train cars. Tiffany Crawford reports.

Mercury cleanup costs rise again on Bellingham waterfront
Port of Bellingham commissioners have agreed to spend another $1.2 million to pay for mercury cleanup on the old Georgia-Pacific Corp. waterfront site. At the Tuesday, Dec. 17, commission meeting, port engineer John Hergesheimer said excavation of a concrete slab beneath a now-demolished mercury processing building had revealed more extensive contamination than expected. The soil under the slab contains mercury globules "about the size of BBs," he said. John Stark reports.

Hazardous materials recycling site raises Fraser River fears
Environmentalists and First Nations groups oppose a hazardous material recycling plant in Chilliwack, B.C., because they are concerned the Fraser River could become contaminated if it floods into the site. Hazardous materials include lamps which contain mercury and PCBs, and water does occasionally come into the area. The city has approved the initial stages, and says they have a facility to pump any water out.

The Daily Bucket - Salmon Habitat Restoration Continued: Squalicum Creek
Blogger RonK reports on Bellingham's salmon spawning habitat restoration in Squalicum Creek, following up on his first report on the city’s Padden Creek.

Oil projects not worth risk to salmon: report
The proposed oil industry expansion on B.C.’s coast is not worth the risk to wild salmon, says a new report by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. “The public needs to know our concerns,” said Misty MacDuffee, the Sidney-based organization’s lead researcher.... A federal joint review panel will issue recommendations on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline on Thursday. Federal approval is expected next year. The project is the subject of Vol. 1 of Raincoast’s report, Embroiled: Salmon, Tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal. The second volume, which focuses on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, will be released in February. Sharon Petrescu reports.

Lawmaker tells Port Townsend audience he plans to re-enter bill outlawing toxic fire retardants
A bill prohibiting the sale of toxic fire retardants, which failed in the 2013 session of the Legislature, is to be reintroduced during the upcoming session, said a lawmaker from Sequim.  “We have several better alternatives that can prevent things from catching fire,” said Rep. Van De Wege who has pledged support of the bill. “Some of the chemicals that have been banned in the past were replaced by others who were as bad or worse,” the Sequim Democrat told about 25 people at the Port Townsend Community Center on Monday. Charlie Bermant reports.

State Officials Seize Cold Snap, Freeze Out Invasive Snails In Capitol Lake
A cold snap might be an effective tool for fish and wildlife managers trying to stop the spread of a tiny invasive species. Capitol Lake in Olympia is serving as a testing ground for freezing out New Zealand mud snails. Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

DNR: Port's original dredge documents did not involve state-owned land
The Port of Kingston may have grounded its own project when it improperly identified where a proposed maintenance dredge would take place. "The original documents the port provided to the permitting agencies, which [the Department of Natural Resources] reviewed, indicated that the dredging operation would only take place on port-owned property," Aquatics Program Communications Manager Toni Droscher wrote in an email. Because DNR's authority covers state-owned aquatic lands, the agency did not believe it had a role in the mitigation aspect of the project, according to Droscher. Then DNR's Ports Program received the mitigation plan Nov. 14. "That's when we discovered that part of the project was going to be taking place on state-owned aquatic lands, which DNR manages, in addition to port-owned property," Droscher wrote. The result is a substantial delay in the maintenance dredge. Kipp Robertson reports.

Foundation donates $100,000 for park on Olympia's isthmus
The Olympia Capitol Park Foundation gave the city $100,000 Tuesday toward a future park on a strip of land known as the “isthmus properties.” The check presentation coincided with the Olympia City Council’s unanimous approval of an agreement that commits the city to putting the foundation’s money toward demolition of buildings on the isthmus site and to working with the group to raise additional funds. Andy Hobbs reports.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST WED DEC 18 2013
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING
TODAY
NW WIND 15 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 10 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NE 15 TO 25 KT IN THE EVENING. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT
 AT 9 SECONDS.
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