Thursday, February 20, 2014

2/20 Herring, boat waste, train tax, more trains, spill watch, Keystone, brownfields, Powel shore, halibut suit

(PHOTO: National Geographic)
Today’s the deadline for the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference early bird registration rate. Register here.

Ban on toxic creosote pilings sought after successful herring spawn in False Creek
Herring have spawned in False Creek thanks to volunteers wrapping toxic creosote pilings with plastic, a success story that is prompting calls for Canada to ban creosote in favour of concrete or steel pilings. Volunteers with Squamish Streamkeepers Society wrapped plastic around pilings at the commercial fishing docks at False Creek at low tide on Jan. 19, society member John Buchanan said Wednesday. Schools of herring appeared on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, a full moon. Larry Pynn reports.

Boaters Beware: State Wants to Ban Sewage Dumping in Puget Sound  
It might surprise you to learn that you can dump the contents of your toilet into Puget Sound and not get in trouble. That’s essentially what some boaters do when they discharge their sewage into the water instead of pumping it out at a dock or marina. The state Department of Ecology has proposed a federally-enforced ban on dumping in Puget Sound to stop the practice. Amy Jankowiak with the state Department of Ecology says the state has been working on evaluating the feasibility and appropriateness of putting a dumping ban in place for two years. The department has now written the proposed law, which is ready for public comment.

Washington State Senators Propose Tax On Oil Train Shipments  
Powerful members of the Washington state Senate are on board with a plan to tax crude oil shipped into the state by rail. The money raised would pay for oil spill response and clean up. The proposed legislation would expand an existing barrel tax paid only by seaborne oil tankers. Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen says extending the tax is fair. “Every tanker coming into our refinery today pays a 5-cents-per-barrel tax that goes into oil spill prevention and response,” Ericksen says. “We believe we should apply that to rail cars coming in and we have a bi partisan bill that would apply the barrel tax to the rail cars also.” Taylor Winkel reports.

Meet 'The Funnel': Will farmers, businesses suffer from more coal and oil trains?
(They) call it “The Funnel,” a 70-mile confluence of BNSF rail tracks that feeds nearly 50 trains daily into Spokane and, according to an exhaustive research study, as many as 82 additional coal and oil trains could cascade into The Funnel in another decade. The study warns that the “heavy traffic ahead” could damage both agriculture and intermodal shipping that must compete with coal and oil trains on a rail system that faces limits both around Spokane and across the state. Big Energy’s race to the Pacific has already generated a lot of controversy west of the Cascades, but impacts on Eastern Washington, the Columbia Gorge and Montana are likely to be even more significant, according to the report for the Western Organization of Resource Councils, based in Billings. Floyd McKay reports.

Ottawa boosts ship surveillance
Vancouver Island environmental groups are warning that a federal plan to expand marine pollution surveillance won’t be effective against a major spill. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Wednesday that funding for the aerial surveillance program will increase from $5 million to roughly $10 million a year over five years, allowing the country’s three surveillance aircrafts to increase the number of flights to spot oil spills off Canadian coasts. The fleet currently spends 2,080 hours a year in the air and Raitt said that time will increase to 3,750 with the new money.... Brian Falconer, marine operations co-ordinator for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, said pollution-monitoring is positive but has nothing to do with potential spills...Falconer said aerial monitoring will pick up on smaller discharges, which can cause chronic problems for marine mammals and birds. But it won’t reduce the possibility of a “catastrophic spill.” Amy Smart reports.

Nebraska law that allowed Keystone XL struck down
A Nebraska judge on Wednesday struck down a law that allowed the Keystone XL pipeline to proceed through the state, a victory for opponents who have tried to block the project that would carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries. Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy issued a ruling that invalidated Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's approval of the route. Stacy agreed with opponents' arguments that the law passed in 2012 improperly allowed Heineman to give Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. the power to force landowners to sell their property for the project. Stacy said the decision to give TransCanada eminent domain powers should have been made by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities. A spokeswoman for Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said the state will appeal the ruling. Heineman said he supports the decision to appeal. Grant Schulte reports.

Everett to Study Contaminated Industrial Sites to Meet Demand For Future Growth
Everett’s industrial past may be stalling its future as contaminated areas, known as brownfield sites, are keeping development from moving forward in some of the most desirable parts of the city. Today the City of Everett announced it has received grants of approximately $400,000.00 to study the city’s brownfields and come up with a plan to take back the contaminated land for use as residential and commercial development.

Landowners Make Way for More Shoreline
On Bainbridge Island, Washington, a transformation is occurring: 7.5 acres of shoreline previously starved of natural vegetation and organisms has begun to recover. Salt marsh vegetation is returning, juvenile salmon can safely swim along the banks, and the shore is reshaping itself into a gentle slope. Sarah Sanborn reports.

B.C. fishermen suing Fisheries and Oceans over halibut strategy
More than 400 commercial fishermen in British Columbia have been given the go-ahead to sue the federal government as part of a class-action lawsuit sparked by a halibut-management strategy....(U)nder the program, the Fisheries Department allegedly held back 10 per cent of the total allowable catch and assigned it to the Pacific Halibut Management Society. The society then resold shares to fishermen at higher costs and used the money to fund fisheries management activities. The ruling said the strategy began in 2001 but was discontinued in 2006 after the Federal Court found a similar practice on the East Coast was illegal.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 259 AM PST THU FEB 20 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM PST THIS MORNING
 SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM PST THIS MORNING THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT LATE IN THE MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
 SCATTERED SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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4 comments:

  1. I attended the Public Information session about the No Discharge Zone plan, in Bellingham, on Tuesday evening. Contrary to what the article implies, it is already illegal to discharge Untreated Sewage from your boat toilet. This new proposal will prevent dumping of even on-board treated sewage, requiring it to be pumped out and disposed of in land-based treatment facilities.

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  2. It might surprise Mike to learn that he can get in a lot of trouble if you dump the contents of his boat toilet into Puget Sound.

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  3. Thanks for the clarification/amplification-- and the attempt at humor. Not much more about sewage dumping surprises me any more except for how people still think what they put in the Sound and Straits doesn't make much of a difference. Going boating is like going to Victoria: just don't flush.

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