Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12/3 David Suzuki, coal ban, sea stars, B'ham Bay plan, Doug fir, Terminal 2, Oly port, coral reefs, Europa

Frigid air moves in to Western Wash. for an extended stay
In case you were wondering what was going on outside: Arctic air began pouring into the Puget Sound region early Tuesday - the beginning shot in a period of unusually cold weather that is expected to last through the weekend and possibly longer.... Another weather system may bring a chance of snow late this weekend or early next week.

Fall’s Last Hurrah
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Here on the west coast, November can be a drab time of year. With its diminishing daylight, bare tree limbs, and wet days turning fallen leaves into a sodden brown mass, it’s never been exactly my favorite month. All the same, I was able to find some splashes of colour in our garden throughout that dull month – and am still finding some even now that December has begun. The Calendula patch, in particular, has a number of hangers-on, enjoying their last hurrah before winter arrives to put an end to the festivities...."

David Suzuki on Christy Clark's LNG plans: 'Be serious'
David Suzuki is taking aim at B.C. Premier Christy Clark's claim that developing a liquid natural gas industry in B.C. will help slow climate change, arguing it's time Clark "be serious about where we're heading" with our reliance on fossil fuels. The outspoken environmentalist made the remarks as Premier Christy Clark tours parts of Asia to drum up interest and investment in her government's LNG plans. Clark has said B.C. should sell natural gas in China and Japan because natural gas is cleaner than China's coal and safer than Japan's nuclear power.

King County Council Resolution Calls for Coal Ban in Wash. State
King County is poised to join the city of Seattle and several other municipalities in passing a resolution banning the burning and the transportation of coal in Washington state. King County Council member Larry Philips is leading the charge to bring the county on board with what towns and cities all over the region have already done: saying loud and clear that coal is not the answer to the future of energy. The opponents are calling for a comprehensive environmental review of the effects of a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

More sea star species dying off
A respected sea star expert released a report showing a deadly disorder has spread to more species. Neil McDaniel put together a overview of the so-called wasting syndrome which found it has spread from a relatively confined population in Howe Sound in British Columbia to up and down the entire West Coast, from California to Alaska. The report also expands two species to five and there be more. Gary Chittim reports.

Bellingham council votes to approve waterfront plan
After making some concessions to critics who wanted stronger wildlife habitat protections and guarantees of higher-wage jobs, City Council voted 6-1 to approve long-awaited plans to guide redevelopment of the waterfront. The plans approved Monday, Dec. 2 affect 237 waterfront acres that extend around the bay from the I&J Waterway next to the Bellwether development, all the way to a large new park site on a former city dump off the southern end of Cornwall Avenue. It includes the Port of Bellingham property formerly owned by Georgia-Pacific Corp... Jack Weiss cast the council's only "no" vote. John Stark reports.

Environmentalists, B.C. at loggerheads over Douglas fir
When commercial logging began in B.C. about 150 years ago, stands of coastal Douglas fir covered 135,000 hectares of land along the Georgia Strait on the mainland coast, on southeast Vancouver Island and on the Gulf Island. Today almost all of that towering forest has been logged. “We are down to the last one per cent,” says Devon Page, an Ecojustice lawyer who thinks we have cut enough Douglas fir, a tree so iconic it appears on the logo of the B.C. Forest Service. Mark Hume reports.

Delta asks for Terminal 2 environmental review
Delta Council has asked that the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project be assessed by a federal joint review panel, a more stringent process that would take two years to review the proposed container terminal instead of just one for a non-panel review. At a November council meeting, Delta endorsed a staff report that called for council to reiterate its position – first taken more than a year ago – that the project should be reviewed by a panel, the most rigorous process available under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The proposed terminal expansion would be built in a wetland area that is a major stopover for migrating birds and part of the Fraser River ecosystem. Wendy Stueck reports.

Port dredges terminal, marina
The first significant dredging at the Port of Olympia in more than 30 years is underway, a project that is expected to deepen and improve access to the port’s marine terminal and the Swantown Marina area, where boats are lifted out of the water for repairs. Crews with Tacoma’s Orion Marine, the winning bidder for the $5.2 million project, began dredging last week and resumed work Monday. Rolf Boone reports.

Large Study Shows Pollution Impact On Coral Reefs, and Offers Solution
One of the largest and longest experiments ever done to test the impact of nutrient loading on coral reefs today confirmed what scientists have long suspected -- that this type of pollution from sewage, agricultural practices or other sources can lead to coral disease and bleaching. A three-year, controlled exposure of corals to elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus at a study site in the Florida Keys, done from 2009-12, showed that the prevalence of disease doubled and the amount of coral bleaching, an early sign of stress, more than tripled. However, the study also found that once the injection of pollutants was stopped, the corals were able to recover in a surprisingly short time.

Astrophile: Europa's choppy ocean looks friendly to life
As moons go, Europa is doing pretty well in the looks department. While other wrinkled and pockmarked planetary bodies look their age, Jupiter's moon, despite being billions of years old, is one of the smoothest objects in our solar system. However, this moon is far from flawless. Europa is suspected to have a perpetually dark, liquid water ocean enclosed beneath a thick shell of water ice – around 40 per cent of which is covered with long, dark scratches and scars. The prospect of liquid water places Europa near the top of the list of places in our solar system that might host alien life. However, it is hard to know what's actually going on in the sub-surface ocean. Does it teem with alien microbes – perhaps even bigger creatures – or is it a vast, inky, sterile wasteland? Nicola Guttridge reports.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 244 AM PST TUE DEC 3 2013
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
TODAY
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
E WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
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