Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4/23 Earth Day, Obama in Oso, slide rules, BC fish, oil trains, humpbacks, bullfrogs, Sarah Rubenstein, whale concert

Earth Day  (AP/The Post-Crescent, Dan Powers)
New blog: Puzzling Over Saving the Earth
Help me puzzle out where we are heading on this annual celebration of Earth Day.  It hasn’t helped to have read Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction earlier this month. From a scientific point of view, it looks pretty clear that continuing as we are on our highway of carbon emissions, we are driving to an end much of life as we know it....

Obama in Oso
President Barack Obama saw the devastation of the Oso mudslide for himself today, touring the area by helicopter. Marine One flew directly over the site, giving him a view of the massive debris field and blocked North Fork Stillaguamish River. A couple of bright-yellow excavators could be seen operating below, digging in the earth as part of the ongoing effort to recover the bodies of those who died. Amid the wreckage, an American flag flew at half staff. Rikki King and Amy Nile report. (Everett Herald)

Snohomish County to weigh development moratorium in landslide areas
The Snohomish County Council will consider an emergency moratorium on development in areas at risk of landslides. Dave Somers, president of the council, said he’ll propose a vote on the six-month ban at a council meeting Wednesday. Somers, who was in Arlington Tuesday during President Obama’s visit to the site of the March 22 mudslide, said the moratorium would apply to new construction throughout the county within a half-mile of landslide hazard areas mapped by the county. The ban would not halt projects that have already received building permits, Somers said. The moratorium would give the county time to do a more detailed assessment of landslide risks and develop new policies if needed, he said. Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times)

Canada's first land raised Atlantic salmon enters the retail market
The KUTERRA farm, the first land-based commercial Atlantic salmon farm in North America, marks Earth Day by bringing to market Canada's first Atlantic salmon raised on land. KUTERRA LP, owned by the 'Namgis First Nation, was founded to offer a sustainable alternative to conventionally farmed salmon. "The effects of conventional farming on the marine environment are very real to us," says 'Namgis Chief Bill Cranmer. "This enterprise shows the way forward for the industry. It also fits with our economic plans and with our history as a fishing and trading people." (CNW PR News)

Tank car fleet inadequate for crude oil, rail industry says
None of the tank cars currently in service carrying Bakken crude oil is adequate for carrying that product, a rail industry representative testified Tuesday, April 22, but until new federal regulations are completed, the use of inadequate cars will continue. That includes tank cars built to higher standards adopted by the industry since 2011. Such cars have failed in at least two recent derailments. Yet in the absence of the new rules, crude oil shippers and refiners continue to rely on them to meet the demands of North America's energy resurgence. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Wash. Legislator: Oil Trains ‘Going To Be With Us For A While’
Environmental regulators in Washington state are expecting a lively crowd Thursday in the coastal city of Hoquiam, where the public gets a chance to weigh in about increased crude oil train traffic. Developers are proposing side-by-side marine terminal expansions on Grays Harbor along the Washington coast. They would receive crude oil by rail from the Northern Plains and send it out by barge and tanker to West Coast refineries. This would add to the already fast-rising number of crude oil trains crossing the Northwest. Environmentalists, shellfish growers and coastal tribes are organizing in opposition. But one powerful state senator asserts that oil trains are “going to be with us for a while.” Republican Doug Ericksen represents a district in northwest Washington that is home to two oil refineries. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Humpback whales removed from ‘threatened’ species list
The Harper government is downgrading the protection of the North Pacific humpback whale despite objections from a clear majority of groups that were consulted. Critics say the whales could face greater danger if two major oilsands pipeline projects get the go-ahead, since both would result in a sharp increase in movement of large vessels on the West Coast that occasionally collide with, and kill, whales like the humpback. The decision was made under the Species At Risk Act, and declares the humpback a “species of special concern” rather than “threatened.” Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Brace for amphibian predator invasion, B.C. warned
Amphibian hunter Stan Orchard says now’s the time to get the jump on a population of invasive predators on southern Vancouver Island. The dinner-plate-sized American bullfrogs have mouths nearly as wide as their bodies and will gobble down anything they can, including bugs, birds and fish. Municipal officials with the Capital Regional District around Victoria, B.C., sprang into action against the bully bullfrogs back in 2006 and have nearly doubled the budget for the control program this year. (Globe and Mail)

Director named to head Port Townsend maritime program
A Blue Heron Middle School teacher is the manager of a new program to integrate maritime curriculum into Port Townsend School District coursework. Superintendent David Engle selected Sarah Rubenstein over two other candidates to run the Maritime Discovery Initiative. (Peninsula Daily News)

Earth Day concert benefits whale research
Whale advocate Michael Harris pulled together Graham Nash, Joan Jett, Country Joe and others who are joining Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart in an Earth Day concert in a killer benefit for killer whales. On Tuesday afternoon Ann and Nancy Wilson signed guitars for a benefit auction, tonight they will play them for a cause near and dear to their hearts - orca whales. Gary Chittim reports. (KING)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED APR 23 2014
GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM PDT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING
TODAY
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS
 LIKELY THIS MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SE 20 TO 30 KT DURING THE EVENING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY...THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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1 comment:

  1. Regarding the frog invasion story, Helen E emails:

    As I receall, during the ’great depression’ people hunted down bullfrogs and cooked and ate their muscular parts as quite a delicacy. Is my memory correct on that? Are they still being eaten by humans? That animal is a menace in most wetland places (including gardens) — he eats everything that moves with an appetite that would scare one.

    And Tony A emails:

    Bull Frogs? With all the focus on celebrity chefs (Tom Douglas ad nausea) and our indulgent duty to eat while "Rome Burns" why not send out a recipe for frog legs? I was whoppin them (you had to knock them out rather than spear them) in the lakes of Michigan in the late l940s and they have a season on them there. We ate frog legs for dinner night after night and they were delicious. Who knows, with the revenue from bull frog harvesting licenses we might restore a wetland for waterfowl and perch.

    ReplyDelete