Monday, December 30, 2013

12/30 Tankers, BC pipe, air polluters, enviro fines, Elwha research, sand dollar, starfish deaths, king tides, gray whales

Christmas Bird Count (Alan Berner, Seattle Times)
If you like to watch: Christmas bird count
... Breaking into groups, the Seattle Audubon Society's annual CBC (Christmas Bird Count) took place Saturday with about 200 volunteers in 14 areas on both sides of Lake Washington. Photos by Alan Berner; post by Colin Diltz. See also: On the lookout for birds  

Proposal would increase oil tanker traffic in Washington waters
The number of oil tankers in Washington state waters could increase almost sevenfold under a proposal by a Canadian pipeline company to expand the amount of crude oil it sends to the Pacific Coast. Kinder Morgan Canada filed a formal application with Canadian regulators earlier this month to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline that carries crude oil from Alberta's oil sands to the Vancouver, B.C. area. Under the proposal, up to 34 tankers a month would be loaded with oil at a terminal outside Vancouver, then generally travel through Haro Strait east of San Juan Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca for export to markets in Asia and the U.S. That's up from about five tankers a month now. The $5.4 billion expansion project would nearly triple pipeline capacity from about 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of crude oil a day to meet customer demand. Much of that future cargo will likely be diluted bitumen from Canada's oil sands. Phuong Le reports.

Stephen Hume: Pipeline debate shaping up as propaganda war
Opposition in B.C. to the Northern Gateway pipeline project is not limited to fringe radicals, but instead is a ‘broad cross-section of serious citizens with concerns to express,’ writes Stephen Hume. It is a serious mistake to characterize opposition to project as simply from fringe radicals

Coal-burning power plant in Centralia tops Washington's list of biggest greenhouse gas emitters, EPA says
The coal-fired TransAlta power plant in Centralia, just off I-5 south of Olympia, was once again the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports. It, along with other power plants and refineries, ranked among the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in the state in 2012, according to the latest data reported to the EPA.... BP's Cherry Point Refinery, Washington's largest, was the second-highest single source of emissions. It is located just a few miles south of the Canadian border, near Blaine. The next four biggest sources of greenhouse gas for 2012 also were located in the northwestern most part of Washington, on the mainland east of the San Juan Islands. No. 3 on the list was Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes, with that city's Tesoro Refinery listed at No. 4. Numbers 5 and 6 are located in Ferndale: Alcoa Intalco Works and the Phillips 66 refinery.

Department of Ecology fines Mukilteo, Everett companies  
Two Snohomish County businesses and the state Department of Transportation were fined by the state during the third quarter of 2013 for violations of environmental laws. Production Plating Inc. of Mukilteo and Cemex of Everett were fined $11,000 and $6,000, respectively, by the state Department of Ecology. The fines were among more than $283,000 in penalties issued statewide for the quarter, the department announced recently. Bill Sheets reports.

Insects, plant research in Elwha River Valley will allow for comparisons in future years
They’ve been snatched from the air with hand-held nets and scooped from the waters of the Elwha River. Now, between 600,000 and 2 million individual insects and certain plants collected from the Elwha River Valley before dam removal are being processed and cataloged by students of Washington State University. The goal of the collection is to establish a baseline of the types and populations of insects that lived in the river valley during the last century, when lakes were formed by dams, said Jerry Freilich, research coordinator for Olympic National Park. Jeremy Schwartz reports.

Sand dollar a giant, but a few cents shy a record
A spot in Guinness World Records isn’t likely, but the giant sand dollar found on Puget Sound’s Eld Inlet near Olympia this summer is now being studied by scientists, according to beachcomber Eric Talaska...According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website, that species of sand dollars usually live six to 10 years, and their average size is 3 inches across. The critters live in low intertidal zones from Alaska to Baja California. The Guinness record for largest sand dollar is held by August Balicki, who found a sand dollar that measured 5.01 inches in diameter in Treasure Island, Fla. Talaska was hoping that his sand dollar would be a contender, since it was of a different species, Dendraster excentricus. Turns out, it wasn’t. Lisa Pemberton reports.

Oregon coast isolated from mysterious West Coast starfish die-off, but scientists warn problems could come  
Starfish, those purple and orange icons of Oregon’s coastal tide pools, are dying on the West Coast in big numbers, wasting away, losing arms and simply turning to mush. They’re falling victim to a morose marine mystery, one that’s barely touched the Oregon coast – so far. Just one suffering starfish site has been found in Oregon. Elsewhere, surveying underwater in Puget Sound and Monterey Bay, researchers have seen colonies of starfish quickly die and disintegrate into white goo. Deaths have been confirmed from Alaska to Southern California. Rob Davis reports.

3 Tips On Spotting A Migrating Gray Whale Along The Oregon Coast This Week
Chris Lehman reports: The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is one of the best times of the year to watch grey whales migrating along the Oregon coast. It's the height of their annual southbound trek from Alaska to Baja, California. Here are three tips to help better your chances of spotting a grey whale.
1. Look For The Spout of Water
2. Be Patient
3. Look For The Boats

Got a camera? Photograph king tides starting today in Strait, on coast
Washington's higher-than-usual winter tides are underway, and the state Department of Ecology is inviting the public to share their photos of this naturally occurring event. These higher-than-usual tides are sometimes called “king tides” and occur when the sun's and moon's gravitational pulls reinforce one another... Pictures should be taken where the high water levels can be gauged against familiar landmarks such as seawalls, jetties, bridge supports or buildings. Note the date, time and location of the photo, then upload the images to the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr Group.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON DEC 30 2013
TODAY
SE WIND 10 KT THIS MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 16 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG THIS MORNING.
 PATCHY FOG IN THE AFTERNOON. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 10 KT...BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 15 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY...THEN RAIN
 AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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