Tuesday, March 4, 2014

3/4 Whale watcher banned, BC oil, Columbia oil, beach driving, BC parks, Freeland logging, Oly park, wave energy

PHOTO: Barry Griffiths/BirdNote
If you like to listen: King Penguins - World's Largest Kazoo Band
While it’s still winter in many parts of North America, it’s summer in Antarctica. And the King Penguins are singing! Some form breeding colonies that number in the tens of thousands. When many pairs of these colorful birds tip their heads back and sing, it sounds like the world’s largest kazoo band. (BirdNote)

Campbell River whale watching captain gets fined, banned after getting too close again
A Campbell River whale watching captain has been fined $6,000 and banned from the industry for 10 years after once again getting too close to a pod of killer whales. Jason Allan Smith was found guilty in Campbell River Provincial Court on Jan. 30 for disturbing killer whales in violation of the Fisheries Act. The judgment relates to an Aug. 14, 2010 incident near Camp Point, north of Campbell River. Skipper Smith, who was working for Eagle Eye Adventures at the time, drove inside the mandated 100-metre buffer zone from a group of orcas and "kept the boat within a close distance of the whales for an extended period of time," according to a news release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Smith was convicted of disturbing killer whales in 2011 for a similar incident from 2008. Mike Hagar reports. (Vancouver Sun)

In runup to pipeline review, critics accuse Kinder Morgan of bullying
Lawyers working for Kinder Morgan Inc. have sent a letter to the National Energy Board proposing the narrowest interpretation of who can participate in a review of the company’s proposed twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The 15-page legal letter, which was sent in late February, was copied to the thousands of people who have applied to be part of the review process, a move opponents of the pipeline liken to “bullying.” For most of the more than 2,300 applicants, the letter was the first response they had received since applying. Justin Giovannetti reports. (Globe and Mail)

A loud 'no' so far on oil terminal in Vancouver
Those who have commented on the proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies to build the Northwest's largest oil-by-rail facility at the Port of Vancouver are overwhelmingly opposed to the project, according to a report released by the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council this week. It's perhaps the biggest, most complicated project the council has ever seen. The EFSEC received 31,074 comments on the oil terminal proposal between October and December, the so-called scoping phase of the environmental review process that identifies issues for further study. Form letters comprised 97 percent of public feedback, with 352 form letters in favor of the project and 30,494 opposed. Erin Middlewood reports. (The Columbian)

Steilacoom expects to ban low-tide beach driving
Steilacoom hopes to protect one of its northernmost natural areas by prohibiting vehicles from driving onto the mudflats of Chambers Bay at low tide. The ordinance, set for action at Tuesday’s council meeting, follows a year of study. The town determined it doesn’t have authority to stop people from driving down the embankment and onto the mudflats to pull in fishing nets or to put kayaks and other nonmotorized boats in the water. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

B.C. Parks Act changes opposed by environmental groups
Environmental groups are asking the province to withdraw proposed changes to the B.C. Parks Act that could open them up to corporate interests. About half a dozen groups warn the amendments will drop a requirement that research conducted in a provincial park is done so for the park's benefit. The groups are also concerned the amendments will make it easier for industry to apply for changes to park boundaries....Parks Minister Mary Polak insists the proposed changes will permit "very minor" research activities that will ultimately lead to better decision-making around park management and wildlife areas. She also said any proposed changes to park boundaries will have to be passed by the B.C. legislature. (CBC News)

52 acres of Freeland forest felled in logging operation
South Whidbey saw what may be its biggest clear-cut in years at a property just north of Freeland recently. Totaling 52 acres, the unusually large harvest began this past October on forested property on the east side of Highway 525 between Chase Lake and Evergreen Lane, and wrapped up this month. State regulators say the logging was conducted legally and that the landowner, PBWA Properties — a limited liability company of which Peoples Bank is the only member — secured all the appropriate state permits before work began. Justin Burnett reports. (South Whidbey Record)

Wave Energy Developer Pulls Plug On Oregon Project
Developers have scrapped their plans to build the nation’s first large-scale wave energy project off the Oregon Coast, saying the costs were too high to make it work. The much-anticipated project would have placed a flotilla of 100 energy-producing buoys, each the size of a school bus, in the waves off the coast of Reedsport, Ore. The project’s developer, Ocean Power Technologies, surrendered its preliminary permit with the federal government, Oregon regulators disclosed Monday. Devan Schwartz reports. (EarthFix)

Study: Olympic National Park tourism brings in benefit to tune of $220 million
The National Park Service says more than 2.8 million visitors to Olympic National Park in 2012 spent $220 million in the park's surrounding communities. The numbers are part of a national study on the economic effects of National Park Service sites throughout the nation.  The study was conducted by three U.S. Geological Survey researchers based in Fort Collins, Colo. The national results were announced last week, and Olympic National Park officials released Peninsula figures Monday. The spending by a total of 2,824,908 visitors to Olympic in 2012 supported 2,708 jobs in the local area, the study by Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz said.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST TUE MAR 4 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 16 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.
TONIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY...THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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