Tuesday, March 11, 2014

3/11 Elwha, oil trains, Vic sewage, drinking B'ham water, Point Wells condo, 'megathrust, Enbridge

Elwha Reborn. (PHOTO: Katie Campell/EarthFix)
An Undammed River’s Sediment Brings New Life Downstream
Anne Shaffer sits on the sandy shoreline of the Elwha River and looks around in amazement. Just two years ago, this area would have been under about 20 feet of water. So far about 3 million cubic yards of sediment — enough to fill about 300,000 dump trucks — has been released from the giant bathtubs of sediment that formed behind the two hydroelectric dams upstream. And that’s only 16 percent of what’s expected to be delivered downstream in the next five years. All of that sediment is already reshaping the mouth of the Elwha, which empties into the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the northern shore of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Katie Campbell reports. (EarthFix)

Seattle City Council Urges Gov To Stop Issuing Permits For Oil Trains
Seattle has joined Spokane and Bellingham in passing a resolution to restrict oil shipments by rail until further review. The Seattle City Council unanimously passed the resolution co-sponsored by council member Mike O’Brien and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. The resolution urges Gov. Jay Inslee and other state regulators to refrain from issuing permits for projects that would increase oil transport in the state until concerns over safety as well as environmental and economic impacts are addressed. Martha Kang reports. (KPLU)

Oil-by-rail bill still alive but caught in partisan fight
Legislation that could provide more state study or disclosure of rail shipments of potentially explosive Bakken oil along Washington railways and waterways is caught up in a partisan dispute over how far to go, and rival measures are in danger of dying.  The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on Thursday, leaving little time for the Republicans calling shots in the Senate to work out an agreement with the Democrat-controlled House. Senate Democrats said Monday a shipping-disclosure measure originating in the House has died. But a proposal to add a 5 cent per barrel fee or tax on crude oil entering the state by rail may keep both chambers’ oil-by-rail measures alive for the waning days of the 60-day session. In the Senate, Democratic Sen. John McCoy of Tulalip and Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale have been negotiating in the Senate with counterparts in the House. Brad Shannon reports. (Olympian)  See also: Study a window into coal train air pollution

Seaterra sees ‘irreconcilable gulf’ in plan for sewage plant
After months of delays, officials are increasingly looking toward the legislature for help in getting Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point rezoned for a sewage treatment plant. “Given there seems to be an irreconcilable gulf between the parties, and that timely conclusion is appearing more and more remote, we respectfully suggest the CRD consider moving this issue to a forum where a resolution can be reached,” Brenda Eaton, chairwoman of the Seaterra commission, said in a letter to Capital Regional District board chairman Alastair Bryson. “We completely understand that this is a decision for the CRD and not the Seaterra commission, so wish only to highlight that we will not be able to achieve the mandate the CRD board has given us with these ongoing delays,” the letter says. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Bellingham takes step toward improved water treatment
The city is taking the first steps toward construction of a multimillion-dollar pre-treatment plant that will help prevent Lake Whatcom algae blooms from affecting the quality and quantity of the city's water supply. Partly because of phosphorus-laden runoff from developed areas, the lake has had elevated levels of algae in recent years. In 2009, during an unusually warm summer, the algae concentrations became so high that they clogged the city's drinking water filtration system and reduced the water supply. That caused the city to impose mandatory watering restrictions to cope with a potential water shortage. John Stark reports. (Bellingham Herald)

New organization joins fight of proposed Point Wells project
A newly formed organization will join others in fighting the proposed condominium project, which would be built on an abandoned industrial site at Point Wells on the shore of Puget Sound in unincorporated southwest Snohomish County. The only access to the project is on a two-lane road in the Richmond Beach area of Shoreline in King County.  The new organization is called "Richmond Beach Advocates," formed with seed money from the Richmond Beach Community Association, a century-old neighborhood organization in Shoreline whose charter doesn't allow political advocacy.  Richmond Beach Advocates will join the Town of Woodway and a residents' group called "Save Richmond Beach" in opposing the project. Evan Smith reports. (Everett Herald)

'Orphan Tsunami' Of 1,700 Showed What A 'Megathrust' Could Do To Northwest Coast
Three years ago today, a massive earthquake ripped through Japan, and the resulting tsunami sent thousands of tons of debris floating toward North America. But a tsunami could also happen right along the Northwest coast, on the Cascadia subduction zone, which stretches from northern Vancouver Island to California’s Cape Mendocino. Right now, two tectonic plates there are grinding together. The Juan de Fuca plate is getting shoved underneath the plate that we sit on [the North American plate], at the speed that human fingernails grow.  But instead of sliding past each other, the plates are jammed by friction. When they finally unstick, we will be the first to feel the resulting earthquake and the tsunami that could follow within hours. Rae Ellen Bichell reports. (KPLU)

Enbridge buys $20-million land parcel in northwest B.C.
Enbridge has purchased a $20-million parcel of land on the northwest B.C. coast, a signal it may intend to join the push to export liquefied natural gas to Asia. More than a dozen LNG plants have been proposed on the coast, including several major pipeline projects from TransCanada, Spectra Energy and Pacific Northern Gas. The 64 hectares of land purchased by Enbridge Western Access Inc. on Dec. 19, 2013 is at Grassy Point, adjacent to larger parcels of land where Australia’s Woodside and China-owned Nexen have inked purchase agreements with the B.C. government for the Crown land. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE MAR 11 2014
TODAY
S WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 11 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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