|(PHOTO: Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald)|
Groups that want a full environmental review of an expansion at a Texada Island coal-handling facility are outraged the B.C. government quietly approved an amended permit without telling local residents or First Nations. The amended permit allows Lafarge to store 800,000 tonnes of coal, double the previous amount. The will enable Lafarge to handle thermal coal from the proposed $15-million Fraser Surrey Docks coal-handling facility. (Vancouver Sun)
Old-school coal is making a comeback
Coal, the former king of American energy, is making a comeback after being left for dead in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas. For years coal has been losing market share as the American fracking boom created a flood of cheap and abundant natural gas. But natural gas prices have edged upward, and the frigid winter created unprecedented energy demands. Power plants have increasingly been turning to coal as the solution. There's serious doubt whether the resurgence in coal can last in America with stricter environmental rules coming. But the global outlook for coal is bright, and U.S. coal producers hope to take advantage by increasing exports to other countries hungry for cheap energy. The International Energy Agency believes coal will be the No. 1 fuel for meeting the worldwide increase in energy demand. Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy)
Jack Knox: B.C. pipeline critics silenced at hearings
Easter weekend, start of the driving season, and — just like clockwork — gas prices and blood pressure spike in concert. Nothing like a 13-cent-a-litre jump to fill talk radio with purple-faced callers sputtering about all things petro-related. Here’s one place you won’t hear as much debate as expected: the hearings into Kinder Morgan’s proposal to triple the size of its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby. Those with official intervenor status have been told they will not, as has been the case in the past, be allowed to orally cross-examine witnesses when the National Energy Board’s hearings into the proposal begin in January. Instead, they will be limited to submitting a couple of written questions. For a parallel, think of an episode of Law & Order in which the prosecutor only gets to pass the accused notes, not give him a real grilling. Jack Knox writes. (Times Colonist)
Washington Congresswoman Airs Oil Terminal Concerns
Gov. Jay Inslee, who will have the ultimate say over the construction of what would be the Northwest’s largest oil-by-rail transfer terminal in Vancouver, hasn’t taken a stand on the project. But members of the state’s congressional delegation are weighing in. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was in Vancouver on Tuesday and stopped to visit with The Columbian’s editorial board. Cantwell was asked if she were a Vancouver resident, would she support building the oil-handling facility? “It wouldn’t be something I would be promoting,” she said. Lauren Dake reports. (Columbian)
‘Pit-to-pier’ firm appeals Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Plan
A company that seeks to construct a 4-mile-long conveyor belt to move gravel and rocks from a quarry to Hood Canal has filed an appeal of Jefferson County’s recently enacted Shoreline Master Plan. Obstacles won’t stop the company’s plans for the project known as “pit-to-pier,” said Dan Baskins, project manager for the Thorndyke Resources Project.... James Tracy, Thorndyke’s attorney, filed a challenge to the plan with the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board on Monday. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
Crazy Dems – Inslee and Goldmark decide their base is irrelevant
Al Bergstein writes: "Over the last week, I’ve read or listened to the most bizarre stories about our Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Democratic Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark. After courting the environmental wing of the Democratic voters with their long standing support of environmental protection, we now find both of them throwing this base under the bus..." (Olympic Peninsula Environmental Network)
Lummi Nation among tribes opposing attempt to shut down hatchery steelhead program
A conservation group's lawsuit aimed at shutting down Washington state's hatchery steelhead program on the Nooksack River and other streams is provoking an outcry from Lummi Nation and other tribes who harvest the big trout. "We need to have hatcheries to provide fish for everyone's grandchildren, tribal and non-tribal," Lummi Natural Resources representative Randy Kinley said in a press release. Kinley could not be reached immediately for additional comment, but Scott Schuyler, natural resources director for the Upper Skagit Tribe, said the hatchery steelhead are important to tribal fishermen, providing a chance to catch fish and earn some money during winter months when no other fisheries are available. Wild steelhead runs are nowhere near numerous enough to support a fishery. John Stark reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Fecal bacteria levels close Pierce County shellfish harvesting area
Shellfish harvesting in part of Vaughn Bay in Pierce County has been closed because of high levels of fecal bacteria, and health officials have identified 14 additional shellfish growing areas that could be closed if fecal pollution worsens, the Washington state Department of Health said today. The samples taken at growing-area stations failed to meet classification standards because of the amount of fecal bacteria from animal and human waste, according to the health department. Fecal bacteria can contaminate shellfish and make the people who eat them sick. Paige Cornwell reports. (Seattle Times)
'Hands-on, Feet Wet'; marine education program for teens
It was just over a year ago that President Obama proclaimed Washington State’s San Juan Islands "a refuge of scientific and historic treasures and a classroom for generations of Americans." In line with these educational ideals, Spring Street International School has launched Inland Ocean Studies, an immersive summer program for 14-18 year olds devoted to marine science and maritime ecology. The program’s goal is to introduce inquisitive young people to world-class scientists researching the marine environment of these biologically diverse islands. Caroline Grauman-Boss writes. (San Juan Journal)
Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI APR 18 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON PDT TODAY
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 10 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 7
FT AT 12 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT AFTER
MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING S 15 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN
IN THE AFTERNOON.
SW WIND 15 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 14 FT AT 16 SECONDS AFTER
SW WIND 10 TO 15 KT...BECOMING S 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 17 FT AT 17 SECONDS.
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