|Snohomish Slew: 6 more weeks of winter|
Winter will hang on, according to Snohomish Slew
The crowd was hopping, ribbiting and even frog kissing as the legendary Snohomish Slew got a jump on Punxsutawney Phil at annual GroundFrog Day festivities in Snohomish on Saturday. The four-pound bullfrog arrived by fire truck to the Snohomish Event Gazebo to make his “frognostication” on whether the Pacific Northwest will see spring or winter conditions for the next six weeks...Slew’s silence indicates six more weeks of cold for the Pacific Northwest. Amy Nile reports.
Oil spill risks would rise from three major projects: U.S. study
A U.S. study that takes a wider examination than Canadian research into oil spill risks in the Salish Sea shows the greatest potential increase in spills is off the San Juan and Gulf Islands. The potential for oil spills in the Haro Strait-Boundary Pass passage increases by 4.75 times as a result of the anticipated increase of 1,250 large ships annually from three planned projects in the waters shared by British Columbia and Washington state, according to the draft findings of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded study.... While Canadian studies have focused only on tanker increases from Kinder Morgan’s $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the U.S. study also includes the cumulative effects of vessel traffic in the Salish Sea from Deltaport’s $2-billion planned container expansion and the $640 million Gateway Pacific Terminal. The bulk terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham will handle products such as coal, grain and potash.... The study’s findings are expected to be finalized this month, after which recommendations will be considered based on mitigation strategies also modelled in the study, including slowing the speed of ships, adding rescue and escort tugs and designating routes for ships. Gordon Hoekstra reports.
State Department: Keystone XL pipeline’s climate effect negligible
A long-awaited environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline released Friday by the State Department found the project would have a negligible impact on climate change, bolstering the case for the project as it heads to President Obama for a decision on its construction. Obama said in June that his main criterion for approving the proposed $7 billion pipeline was that it not significantly worsen the problem of carbon pollution.
Oil trains: Would Congress help Washington state on oil trains?
The increasing number of oil-laden railroad cars in Washington has prompted a bipartisan legislative effort to ask Congress to toughen the safety standards on those cars. With Republicans and Democrats supporting the measure, Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-Pierce County, has introduced a measure to ask Congress for laws that would ensure greater safety. That legislation goes to a hearing before the Senate Environment & Energy Committee on Tuesday. John Stang reports.
Group hopes its work will keep Samish River water clean
In spring, the Samish River typically swells with runoff water that is funneled into the bay — and often loaded with fecal coliform bacteria. Over the past few years, about 70 percent of fecal coliform-related shellfish harvest closures in Samish Bay have occurred during that time of year, state Department of Health shellfish growing area manager Bob Woolrich said. That’s why the agency’s annual evaluation of the bay is done March through June. As the evaluation period approaches, Clean Samish Initiative partners are looking to February as the last chance to address the watershed’s sources of pollution. And they hope the bay will pass the evaluation this year. Kimberly Cauvel reports.
Newspaper photographer Frank Varga dies at 66
Frank Varga, known for his passionate commitment to the craft of photography during a 14-year career at The Herald and nearly two decades at the Skagit Valley Herald, has died. Sharon Salyer and Gale Fiege report.
Pot vs Fish: Can We Grow Salmon-Friendly Weed?
As marijuana has become more mainstream, the business of cultivating the plant has boomed. That’s true nowhere more than in coastal northern California. There, the so-called Emerald Triangle of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties is believed to be the largest cannabis-growing region in the US. But as the hills have sprouted thousands of new grow operations, haphazard cultivation is threatening the recovery of endangered West Coast salmon and steelhead populations. The Eel River runs through the heart of the Emerald Triangle, draining California’s third-largest watershed. And it’s a key battleground in the struggle to save once-abundant Northwest coastal salmon runs. Liam Moriarty reports.
Port Angeles’ Peninsula Plywood mill site cleanup could begin next year
The process leading to cleanup of the abandoned Peninsula Plywood mill site on the city’s waterfront is moving faster than anticipated. The prime but polluted 19-acre site could undergo cleanup in 2015 rather than 2017, as projected earlier by the state Department of Ecology, port Director of Environmental Affairs Jeff Robb said Friday. Paul Gottlieb reports.
County to finally treat toxic Lake Ketchum
.... Lake Ketchum, ringed by homes in a rural corner of north-Snohomish County, is more susceptible to algae than most because of a high level of phosphorus, a nutrient that is used in agricultural fertilizer. This has been a problem on Lake Ketchum going back decades. In the early 1990s, residents on the lake contacted the county's then-new lake management program to investigate it. Now, more than 20 years later, Snohomish County is going to start an approximately $450,000 multiyear treatment program to reduce the phosphorus concentration in the lake and restore it to something closer to its natural state.... Snohomish County has been testing Lake Ketchum since the 1990s. While a phosphorous concentration of 25 micrograms per liter is considered "eutrophic," or nutrient-rich enough to promote algae growth, 15 years of testing revealed the lake's summertime average is 277 micrograms per liter. Chris Winters reports.
Cedar Grove threatens to sue clean air agency
Attorneys for Cedar Grove composting have told the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency they might sue the agency if its officials continue to make statements the company believes to be false regarding a recent odor study. The $375,000 study was conducted last year by the clean air agency using electronic odor monitors and the observations of 11 volunteers. It was aimed at determining the source or sources of offensive odors in the Snohomish River Delta. Results of the study, released Jan. 23, showed mixed results... “The agency must immediately cease and desist making statements unsupported by the scientific evidence in the odor project that are harmful to Cedar Grove,” Seattle attorney Michael E. Patterson wrote. “If the agency refuses to do so, Cedar Grove will consider its legal options.” Bill Sheets reports.
Shoreline latest city to join ban on plastic bags
When Shoreline’s plastic-bag ban takes effect Saturday, the city will be in good company. Good, reusable-bag-toting company. The city’s ban prohibits retail stores from providing customers with plastic carryout bags and requires that stores charge a minimum of 5 cents for paper grocery-sized bags. State and federal food-assistance-program customers are exempt. Plastic bags can be used for items where moisture might be a problem, for restaurant takeout orders and as dry-cleaner, newspaper and bulk-foods bags. Paige Cornwall reports.
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON FEB 3 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS THIS MORNING.
E WIND 20 TO 30 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 15 SECONDS.
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