|Brackett's Landing Polar Plunge (Genna Martin/The Herald)|
A fiery oil train derailment's near-miss of a small North Dakota town had its mayor angrily calling for federal officials to do more to guarantee the safety of the nation's growing shipment of oil by rail. Government regulators defended their record on moving hazardous materials by rail, noting that 2012 was the safest year in the industry's history. But oil trains have bucked that trend, thanks in part to the massive amount of oil being moved out of western North Dakota, where the industry's rapid growth is far outpacing pipeline development. No one was hurt when the mile-long BNSF Railway train derailed Monday afternoon near the eastern North Dakota town of Casselton, but the overturned tankers -- exploding and engulfed in plumes of flames and black smoke for more than 24 hours -- burned so hot that emergency crews didn't even attempt to put out the blaze. Most of Casselton's roughly 2,400 residents agreed to temporarily evacuate due to concerns about unsafe air. Dave Kolpack and James MacPherson report.
Activists plan to ramp up coal-terminal battle
In 2013, community groups pushed a proposed coal-export facility into the spotlight by raising questions about its environmental impact and the regulatory process through which it was to be reviewed. As the year drew to a close, the activists were gearing up for a fresh offensive: In 2014, they will try to push the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks direct-transfer coal facility on to the provincial government’s agenda. Wendy Stueck reports.
Shell Still Aims For Arctic Oil Drilling Despite Mishaps
Exactly a year ago, an oil rig being towed to Seattle ran aground on a remote island in the Gulf of Alaska. The New Year's Eve accident capped a year of trouble for Shell Oil in Alaska and in Puget Sound. Shell is still seeking federal approval to drill in the Arctic, and a critical ship in Shell’s Arctic fleet is still sitting idle on the Bellingham, Wash., waterfront. It took 700 people six tense days to get the drill rig called the Kulluk afloat again. Shell then towed the Kulluk to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and eventually hauled it to Singapore for repairs. John Ryan reports.
Seawall-project estimates rise
Seattle transportation officials say the estimated costs of the waterfront seawall-replacement project have grown from $300 million to about $330 million over the past year as they refined projections for construction and labor, and for mitigation for waterfront businesses and Indian tribes over disruption to tourism and salmon migration. That’s still well within the contingency fund built into the voter-approved project, officials said Tuesday, but likely means the city will have to find more money to replace the public piers . Lynn Thompson reports. See also: Cause of Seattle tunnel machine stall unknown
Sale to Mukilteo will preserve Japanese Gulch
The dream of preserving a large chunk of land in Japanese Gulch for recreation has finally been realized.
The city of Mukilteo recently completed a purchase of 98 acres on the west side of the wooded ravine for $5.4 million. The land, owned by Metropolitan Creditors Trust of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, was zoned for light industry. For several years, gulch enthusiasts feared the company would sell the property for development. The parcel borders areas popular with hikers and mountain bikers. Bill Sheets reports.
A Modern Greek Saga: Sisyphus And The Ivy
Some causes just seem hopeless some days. Like world peace. Or ending poverty. Or in a different vein, getting rid of non-native plants. But you've no doubt met people who insist on tackling intractable problems here locally and around the world. One particularly dedicated fellow wages a solo fight each weekday morning against English ivy. Most of us have a workday morning routine. For some, a stop at the gym comes first. For others, it's two cups of coffee over the sports pages. In Olympia, teacher Kevin Head rises long before dawn on school days to go alone to a city park. Tom Banse reports.
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 849 PM PST WED JAN 1 2014
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING S 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 15 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 15 SECONDS. RAIN...THEN SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER
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