Wednesday, March 19, 2014

3/19 David Mosley, BC pipe, oil trains, BC LNG, tsunami debris, herring, mill site sale, G-Word, TED

Robot writes LA Times breaking news
The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake on Monday - thanks to a robot writer. [Hey, what do you think is collecting and posting these news clips?] (BBC)

Head of state’s ferry system to resign April 15
David Moseley, the head of Washington State Ferries since 2008, is stepping down effective April 15. Moseley made the announcement Tuesday, saying he’ll leave the ferry system in a stronger position than it was six years ago when he took the job. He cited progress on building new, safer boats, but warned the system needs a sustainable funding source in the near future. Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times)

Trans Mountain Pipeline plans need amendment, says Burnaby
The City of Burnaby, B.C., is coming out swinging at plans to twin the Trans Mountain Pipeline, saying Kinder Morgan's expansion plan lacks critical details, including a safety plan and a clear route through the city. Greg McDade, the city's legal counsel, has sent a letter to the National Energy Board, which is reviewing the project, asking for the application to be rejected. The pipeline company has applied for approval to triple the capacity of the 60-year-old pipeline, which carries crude oil from Alberta, under the City of Burnaby and several other Lower Mainland municipalities, to a tanker terminal on the shore of Burrard Inlet. (CBC)

Groups raise new challenge to Tesoro-Savage oil project  
Environmental groups are leveling a new challenge against a proposal to build the Northwest’s largest oil-by-rail transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver, arguing that a 1977 federal law prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from issuing a permit for the proposal’s dock reconstruction project. In a March 11 letter to the Corps, Kristen Boyles, an attorney for Earthjustice who is representing several other environmental groups, argues the law — known as the Magnuson amendment — forbids the federal agency from issuing the permit requested by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies. The amendment, in part, bans the federal government from granting permits to build or modify a terminal or dock in Puget Sound — or any other of the state’s navigable waters east of Port Angeles — to increase the amount of oil such facilities could handle. Citing the amendment’s language in her letter, Boyles argues, in part, that the “Columbia River at the Port of Vancouver is a ‘navigable water in the state of Washington east of Port Angeles.’” Aaron Corvin reports. (Columbian)

How Industry Specs And A Federal Loophole Allow Railroads to Avoid Response Planning Oversight
Neither states nor the federal government have oversight over how railroads plan for responding to spills from trains carrying crude oil, meaning environmental regulators cannot identify gaps in the plans or verify a railroad’s abilities to carry them out.... Unlike the marine tankers, pipelines and facilities that also haul or store large quantities of oil, railroads are not required to file comprehensive response plans that meet federal standards, nor are their plans subject to review by any government agency. Tony Schick reports. (EarthFix)

Vancouver upstart wades into B.C.’s crowded LNG race
The competition is heating up to export B.C. liquefied natural gas as a new proponent tries to find a niche in an increasingly crowded field. Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG Corp. hopes to file an LNG export licence application to the National Energy Board within eight weeks, Steelhead chief executive officer Nigel Kuzemko said in an interview Tuesday. If the upstart does forge ahead with its plans, it will become the 14th entrant in the race to export LNG from Canada’s West Coast to energy-thirsty Asian customers. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Tsunami cleanup project finding less debris than predicted
Three years after Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, washing millions of tonnes of debris into the Pacific Ocean, officials in B.C. say far less of that debris has reached our shores than expected. Despite that finding, Environment Minister Mary Polak on Tuesday announced $270,000 in funding for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The group, led by the Vancouver Aquarium and World Wildlife Fund, has launched a tsunami cleanup project and the funding will cover supplies and transport volunteers and debris along remote areas. Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

Herring Country Safari
Puget Sound Institute lead ecosystem ecologist Tessa Francis writes: "Hood Canal never disappoints me. We’re in year 2 of our herring habitat study, asking whether Puget Sound herring populations are limited by the availability of spawning habitat.... Substrate type doesn’t matter. What does matter, we found, is where that substrate occurs. We found greater differences in egg mortality among spawning sites — Elliott Bay versus, say, Hood Canal — than among spawning habitat within sites. This year, we’re looking closely at why herring egg survival varies among spawning sites...."

Soil stability and other issues could derail sale of mill site
Sale of the Kimberly-Clark Corp. waterfront mill site is not a done deal. The prospective buyer, a Seattle-based company called Saltchuk, has concerns about the land, including soil stability, and it’s taking more time to study the site. Saltchuk hopes those concerns can be resolved through negotiations with seller Kimberly-Clark, but the issues could derail the deal, company spokeswoman Emily Reiter said. Dan Catchpole reports. (Everett Herald)

The G-Word
From a Frameworks Institute messaging memo: 'The word “government” poses an obstacle to productive thinking. The word “government” is so freighted with pejorative baggage that it should be used with caution and is best used only after other terms that establish its public mission. Without this redirection, government is universally greeted with derision—and that response is socially expected across Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Deep-seated ridicule, learned and conditioned over time, remains a major impediment to engaging citizens in a discussion about government as us, and government as problem-solver. If government is allowed to be identified as a “joke,” the rest of the conversation hardly matters.' Alan Durning discusses. (Sightline)

Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines
Here's the final version of the state's Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines prepared for the Aquatic Habitat Guidelines Program. "The Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines (MSDG) were developed to provide a comprehensive framework for site assessment and alternatives analysis to determine the need for shore protection and identify the technique that best suits the conditions at a given site." 59MB

TED Notes: Fascinating talks Tuesday at the conference in Vancouver
New mammoths for modern issue? It may not be too long before woolly mammoths begin to repopulate the Canadian Arctic, Stewart Brand, the “de-extinction” pioneer and advocate told TED attendees. New research is being done by scientists all over the world looking into taking the DNA of extinct or threatened animals to recreate, or in some cases bolster, the populations of animals. From the elephant-like mammoth to the passenger pigeon, to a “genetic rescue” mission for the endangered black-footed ferret, there is promising research for why these animals should be preserved, he said. “You could some day see vast herds of new Canadians or returned Canadians in the arctic. We may need them back,” Brand said, arguing mammoths may help reverse global warming. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED MAR 19 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE
 AFTERNOON. W SWELL 8 FT AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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