Friday, February 7, 2014

2/7 Oil tax break, Tesoro, tanker safety, estuary restoration, salmon magnets, swan fungus, Lolita

Anna's Hummingbird (PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Humming through the Winter
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Meet “Hummy”, one of the “charm” of Anna’s Hummingbirds that is lighting up our winter days. Charm is the recognized collective noun for hummingbirds, but the Cornell Lab of Ornithology suggests a few other terms: a bouquet, a glittering, a shimmer or a hover of hummers. All seem appropriate, as does the Lab’s description of  Anna’s Hummingbirds as “flying jewelry”....

Washington looks at ending oil refinery tax break
Washington lawmakers considered a plan Thursday that would eliminate a decades-old tax break now used by oil refineries to save millions of dollars each year. A state House committee heard testimony on a bill that would narrow a tax exemption for extracted fuels and direct the new revenues to the state education system. The state projects the change would raise an extra $30 million a year for the state and another $10 million a year for local governments... Lawmakers did not take a vote on the measure Thursday. Mike Baker reports.

Tesoro victims’ families settle suit
The families of seven workers who died as a result of an explosion and fire at the Tesoro refinery April 2, 2010, have settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Tesoro and former refinery owner Shell Oil Company for roughly $39 million. Joan Pringle reports.

Tesoro bringing oil by rail, promises safer tanker cars
The Tesoro Corp. said Thursday it will move to use newer, safer rail cars as it imports increasing amounts of light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to its Anacortes refinery on northern Puget Sound....Tesoro has pledged, by mid-2014, to entirely replace its rail car fleet with newer rail cars equipped with re-enforced shields and relief devices. Joel Connelly reports.

‘People don’t want to hear the facts’ on tanker safety, says Seaspan CEO
Long dismissed as a sunset industry, Canadian shipbuilding is once again alive and well on the West Coast.... Seaspan expects its North Vancouver workforce to climb from 2,300 to 3,500, and in total — including additional jobs for its suppliers and its suppliers’ suppliers — expects to see 5,000 new jobs in the next 10 years.... The federal government has already awarded Seaspan the contracts to build 17 ships, with the promise of more to come, so newcomers wanting to learn a trade should be assured of 30 years of work on the West Coast — unheard-of stability for an industry that has suffered countless booms and busts as piecemeal contracts for single ships came and went. Ian Austin reports.

Coastal Blue Carbon Opportunity Assessment for Snohomish Estuary: The Climate Benefits of Estuary Restoration
Restore America's Estuaries' study confirms the climate mitigation benefits of restoring tidal wetland habitat in the Snohomish Estuary. The study, the first of its kind, finds finds that currently planned and in-construction restoration projects in the Snohomish estuary will result in at least 2.55 million tons of CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere over the next 100-years.  This is equivalent to the 1-year emissions for 500,000 average passenger cars. If plans expanded to fully restore the Snohomish estuary, the sequestration potential jumps to 8.9 million tons of CO2, or, in other terms, equal to the 1-year emissions of about 1.7 million passenger cars.

Young salmon navigate with built-in magnetic compass
Every year, millions of chinook salmon clog the rivers and creeks of British Columbia in an epic migration that has puzzled scientists for generations. The fish travel hundreds of thousands of kilometres through the ocean and then fight the current swimming upstream to spawn — and die — in the same fresh water where they hatched. The juvenile salmon then make the same journey in reverse to find the ocean foraging grounds of their forebears. "Given that the animals have never been there before, how do they find their way?" asks Nathan Putman, a biologist at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University and lead author of a new study that may have the answer.

Fungal disease is killing swans at Wiser Lake
A fungal disease is being blamed for the deaths of trumpeter swans spending the winter on Whatcom County's Wiser Lake. Martha Jordan, wildlife biologist and chairwoman of Washington Swan Stewards, said the big white birds have been congregating on the lake by the thousands this winter. The birds prefer to spend the night afloat in the lake closest to their food supply, and this year, that appears to mean Wiser Lake. John Stark reports.

Murky legal waters for captive orca
A proposal to list a captive killer whale as protected under the Endangered Species Act is entering an uncertain legal environment. The orca, known as Lolita, was captured from Penn Cove off Whidbey Island in 1970 and since has been performing for audiences at privately owned Miami Seaquarium wildlife park. Putting Lolita on the endangered list would have ramifications much wider than just where a single animal will be allowed to live. The status of other endangered animals in captivity across the country could be called into question. Chris Winters reports.

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 250 AM PST FRI FEB 7 2014
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
NE WIND RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SAT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
E WIND 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT. SW SWELL 2 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SUN
E WIND 15 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 2 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
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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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