Monday, May 5, 2014

5/5 CO2, LNG, Erich Hoyt, #SSEC14, birds, GiveBIG, Tesoro blast, derailment, sea star wasting, Vic sewer, steelhead

J26: first report 5/1 of Jpod off CA coast (M.Beattie)
Carbon dioxide in atmosphere at record level
For the first time in human history and likely for the first time in at least 800,000 years, the average level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth's atmosphere topped 400 parts per million for an entire month. Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas considered to be most responsible for global warming, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Earth System Research Lab. (USA Today) See also: China’s coal solution has carbon downside across globe  Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

When it comes to LNG, Clark is out to deliver – but at what cost?
When the Council of Canadian Academies examined the impact of shale-gas development on the environment, researchers found a disturbing shortage of data on issues of deep concern to British Columbians. The gas industry, which Premier Christy Clark is selling this week in a trade mission to Asia, is booming in B.C. There are currently 13 liquefied natural gas plants proposed and if they go ahead, up to 6,000 new wells could be drilled to supply them. But what will the development of all those wells, pipelines and processing plants mean in terms of environmental impact? We don’t know. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail) See also: British Columbia, Petronas strike deal on natural gas project  Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Erich Hoyt will talk about orcas and more
Erich Hoyt, who has been enjoying adventures with killer whales and other sea creatures since the early 1970s, will share his understanding of the underwater world during a series of presentations from British Columbia to Northern California. The tour begins [May 3] on Saturna Island in British Columbia. For the full schedule, visit The Whale Trail website. ( Erich has a rare talent. He is both an engaging writer as well as an experienced scientific researcher. His first book, “Orca: A Whale Called Killer,” is essential reading for orca supporters. His understanding of the oceans has led him into the field of conservation, seeking greater protections for marine habitats throughout the world. Chris Dunagan (Kitsap Sun)  See also: Whale Trail tour to make two stops on Peninsula

New blog: #SSEC14 Day 3: Now What?
“Like all good things, the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference came to an end on Friday, and it no doubt left those who experienced the entire three days of speeches, presentations and festivities exhilarated and as exhausted as conference organizers. Even for those who came for a day, the proceedings proved edifying and sometimes entertaining...”

If you like to listen: They Can Fly a Thousand Miles Without Food Or Rest, Remember Every Single Flower They Visit, But Can They Survive Looming and Present Risks?
If you stop to think about it, birds are our most direct connection to nature. Their songs delight us, their journeys capture our imagination. Birds are the wildlife we interact with the most. But that bond is breaking. Each year more and more of them succumb to a host of threats: pesticides, the loss of habitat, climate change, and the biggest urban threat of all, cats. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

24 hours to GiveBIG in fast-growing charity campaign
The Seattle Foundation’s big 24-hour rush of philanthropy, the online GiveBIG campaign, shows what a difference a day can make. Tuesday’s single-day drive is the fourth in what has become an enormous focus for charitable fundraising in the Puget Sound region. Sign on to starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, choose from a list of 1,600 nonprofit agencies, and donate to one or more. Last year’s drive raised $11.1 million from 30,000 donors. (Seattle Times editorial)

Feds Urge Tighter Refinery Regulations After Fatal Tesoro Blast
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is calling for 60 improvements in the design, operation and regulation of the Tesoro oil refinery in Anacortes and of refineries nationwide. Four years after an explosion and fireball engulfed and killed seven workers, the federal agency finished its long-delayed inquiry into the blast at a sparsely attended meeting at Anacortes High School on Thursday night. The explosion was the worst industrial accident Washington state has seen in the past 50 years. John Ryan reports. (KUOW) See also: Chemical Safety Board releases final report on deadly refinery explosion in Anacortes  Mark Stayton reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Coal train derails in Maryland, hours after Virginia oil train accident
A train carrying 8,000 tons of coal derailed in Bowie, Md., early Thursday, hours after a train bearing Bakken crude oil from North Dakota left the rails and exploded in Lynchburg, Va.. The 63-car-long coal train was carrying coal from a mine in Pennsylvania to a destination in southern Marland. Three locomotives and 10 cars left the tracks, but none turned over. “The incident marked the third major mid-Atlantic incident for the railroad since Wednesday, when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lynchburg, Va. and a massive retaining wall collapsed onto tracks in Baltimore,” reported The Baltimore Sun. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

West Coast starfish being killed by pathogens, scientists suggest
Scientists are making some headway in figuring out what is killing millions of sea stars in the waters off the Pacific coast, from British Columbia to Mexico. While a definitive answer eludes them, researchers suggest a pathogen — either bacterial or viral — is responsible for the death toll. "We don't have an absolute answer yet," said Lesanna Lahner, a veterinarian at the Seattle Aquarium, after presenting the latest information at the Salish Sea Ecosystem conference in Seattle last week.  "We've narrowed in on it possibly being a pathogen, some sort of infectious source, bacterial or viral." (CBC)

Seaterra chooses company to build McLoughlin Point sewage plant
It doesn’t have approval to build on the site, but Seaterra has selected its preferred company to build a new sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point. Harbour Resource Partners has been picked to design, build and partially finance the planned treatment plant as well as the Victoria Harbour crossing and the marine outfall. Seaterra commission chairwoman Brenda Eaton said HRP’s proposal is within the planned budget, which is significant given that it represents about a third of the $783-million sewage treatment project budget. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Angling community frustrated by deal on steelhead
Representatives of the recreational fishing community expressed frustration at an agreement that ends a lawsuit over the state’s plans to release about 900,000 steelhead smolts in Puget Sound-area rivers. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife reached an agreement on April 25 with the Wild Fish Conservancy that stops litigation against the department over its Puget Sound hatchery programs for 21/2 years and permits the release of hatchery steelhead this spring into the Skykomish River. Jeffery Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

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