Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2/19 BC plastics, Peter Ross, oil train, BC LNG, propane, coal port, Vic sewer, ferries, Navy pier, hatcheries

The Metropolitan Field Guide
If you like to watch: The Experience of 10,000 Crows
Every night from fall to spring, upwards of 10,000 crows fly from downtown Seattle and other surrounding areas to the University of Washington’s Bothell campus, located on the far north end of Lake Washington.

Waters off B.C. coast awash in plastic particles, says head of new ocean pollution program (with video)
Water samples from off the B.C. coast have found up to about 9,200 particles of plastic per cubic metre, the director of a new ocean pollution program at the Vancouver Aquarium said Tuesday. Based on 34 water samples taken between inshore waters and 1,200 kilometres due west of Victoria, the concentrations of microplastics — pieces typically the size of a coffee ground — were found to increase in proximity to the mainland coast. Microplastics can be ingested by plankton, invertebrates and other marine life forming the base of the food chain; ingestion of plastics may make organisms think they are full, causing them to starve. “There is extensive contamination of sea water by microplastics,” confirmed Peter Ross, a former research scientist with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney on Vancouver Island. “It raises the questions: where are they coming from and do they pose a threat to the food web? This will remain a priority for the aquarium.” Larry Pynn reports.

Marine researcher joins Vancouver Aquarium two years after losing federal funding
A former government scientist whose marine toxicology program was shut down in 2012 has found a new home for his work at the Vancouver Aquarium. Peter Ross, a leading expert on the effects of ocean pollution on killer whales and other marine mammals, found himself out of a job when the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) cut funding to his Sidney, B.C.-based lab. On Tuesday, the Vancouver Aquarium announced the creation of a new ocean pollution science program, headed by Dr. Ross, where he will continue some of the work he was doing with the DFO. Matt Meuse reports.

Oil-train safety emerges as hot environmental issue in Olympia
The fight over coal trains, billed as the Pacific Northwest’s biggest environment debate in decades, is so 2013. The new hot topic is oil transportation. Fueled by statistics showing that more oil spilled in the United States last year than in the 37 previous years combined — along with recent oil-train explosions — state lawmakers from both parties and chambers are pushing for quick action.... But Republicans and Democrats support differing proposals for how to do so, setting up a potential collision in the divided Legislature. Brian M. Rosenthal reports. See also: House passes bill aimed at oil train safety   See also: Oil train safety: Political wreck ahead?

Budget estimates foresee huge LNG windfall
The first look at the B.C. Liberal government's new liquefied natural gas tax shows just one plant is expected eventually to pump hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the province's coffers.

Tanker leaks more than 1,500 gallons of propane at Port of Tacoma
A leak from a propane tanker truck was contained at the Port of Tacoma Monday, ending a potentially dangerous situation without any injuries, the Tacoma Fire Department said. The propane leaked when a hose ruptured on a 2,500-gallon tanker truck, said Battalion Chief Jim Zuluaga. The truck was being used to resupply a smaller tank when the hose ruptured, Zuluaga said. Steve Maynard reports.

Corps plans narrow review of Wash. coal exports
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans Tuesday to perform a narrow environmental review of a proposed terminal on the Columbia River that would ship millions of tons of coal to Asia. The corps said Tuesday that its review would largely focus in and around the Millennium Bulk Terminals site near Longview, in contrast to the sweeping review of the project being undertaken by state and local regulators. The state Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County said last week they plan to review impacts that extend well beyond the project site, including global-warming effects from burning the exported coal in Asia, and rail impacts as coal is shipped by train from the Rockies through the state. Phuong Le reports.

Lawsuits Could Lead To Changes At Fish Hatcheries
People on the West Coast have counted on fish hatcheries for more than a century to help rebuild populations of salmon and steelhead and bring them to a level where government would no longer need to regulate fisheries. But hatcheries have thus far failed to resurrect wild fish runs and artificially bred fish have come to dominate rivers. Critics say their influx harms wild salmon and masks the fact that wild populations are barely hanging on. Now, hatcheries are facing court challenges in Oregon, California and Washington state — though state and federal officials say they are already working to address the problems they cause.

Sewage plan gets public airing in Esquimalt
A planned two days of public hearings into the controversial proposal to rezone McLoughlin Point for a sewage treatment plant got underway with an overflow house at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre Tuesday evening. This is the second time the Capital Regional District has sought approval from the municipality to locate a sewage treatment plant on the former oil-tank farm at the entrance to the Inner Harbour. Following hearings last summer Esquimalt councillors rejected the CRD’s application arguing the offered $1 million amenity package that included upgrades to electrical and firefighting services, a public walkway and road and bike-lane improvements wasn’t enough. Instead, council passed its own alternate bylaw that would allow the CRD to build at McLoughlin only if the regional government offered more amenities, barged all construction material to the site to avoid traffic and safety problems and paid $55,000 a year into an amenity fund. After months of negotiation, that’s pretty much what is now on the table. Bill Cleverley reports.

Washington State Ferries: Born From A Rates War
In 1948, at the height of discontent over a Puget Sound transportation controversy, a group of agitated locals, nicknamed the “Vashon vigilantes,” prevented the ferry Illahee from docking. A local business man, two candidates for governor and a network of traversing boats came to a head over a seemingly simple issue: how much to charge to cross the waterways between cities and islands. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Captain Alexander Peabody ran the Black Ball Ferry Line, buying up small ferry companies that made up the Mosquito Fleet, until he acquired a virtual monopoly on ferry crossings on Puget Sound. Kara McDermott and Dominic Black report.

BC Ferries a bloated, inefficient and recessionary drag on the province
A central argument for privatizing British Columbia’s ferry system was that a strict business model would prove far more efficient than continuing the system under provincial control. Instead, the privatized model has yielded bloated management, lack of transparency, increasingly inefficient service and rapidly rising costs that now threaten perhaps $500 million in annual provincial tax revenue and place a recessionary drag on perhaps $50 billion in provincial economic productivity. Stephen Hume reports.

Diver has concerns about artificial reef beneath location of proposed Navy dock in Port Angeles
To scuba-diving instructor Bill Roberds, a 30,000-square-foot mini-mountain of underwater riprap at the base of Ediz Hook is more than a pile of rocks. From Roberds' perspective, the Navy wants to build a dock directly above the richly populated artificial reef, potentially cutting off the area to divers and harming the habitat. The Navy is exploring construction of a 200-foot, L-shaped pier for Coast Guard escort and Navy blocking vessels for Bangor Naval Base submarines in an as-yet unbudgeted $15 million project that would include an 8,300-square-foot shore-side building with temporary sleeping quarters, officials said last week. Paul Gottlieb reports.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 223 AM PST WED FEB 19 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING
TODAY
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 13 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
 SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING W 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 12 TO 14 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF
 14 SECONDS. RAIN.
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"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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