Thursday, May 8, 2014

5/8 Frank, Jr., oil trains, BC train reroute, Petrogas, BC geoduck, hatcheries, rain gardens, sea stars, El Nino

The Perfect Nestbox (http://birdnote.org/show/perfect-nestbox)
More fine words: Soundings: Thoughts on Billy Frank Jr. while weeding and planting
John Dodge writes, "Gardening is often a form of catharsis for me. The garden is a place I go to purge my soul, ease a worried mind and lighten a heavy heart. I was drawn to the garden like a magnet Tuesday, working through the grief of the past 24 hours, the grief that descended on me and countless others with the sudden death of tribal leader Billy Frank Jr. The iconic Nisqually Indian whose life was stuff of legend left the rest of us behind Monday morning. Right before he took his last breath, he mentioned that he was tired. I don’t blame him for feeling worn out. After all, he was 83 and had worked nonstop for 70 years to secure tribal treaty fishing rights, to keep salmon from going extinct and to turn off the spigots of pollution — he called them “poisons” — discharged with reckless abandon into the rivers and Puget Sound...." (The Olympian)

Feds issue emergency order on crude oil trains
The Transportation Department issued an emergency order Wednesday requiring that railroads inform state emergency management officials about the movement of large shipments of crude oil through their states and urged shippers not to use older model tanks cars that are easily ruptured in accidents, even at slow speeds. The emergency order requires that each railroad operating trains containing more than 1 million gallons of crude oil – the equivalent of about 35 tank cars – from the booming Bakken region of North Dakota, Montana and parts of Canada provide information on the trains’ expected movement, including frequency and county-by-county routes, to the states they traverse. The order also requires that railroads disclose the volume of oil being transported and how emergency responders can contact “at least one responsible party” at the railroad. Joan Lowy reports. (Associated Press)

White Rock, B.C., urges Ottawa to reroute oil tank cars
White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin is heading to a national conference of municipal leaders later this month with rebellion on his agenda. Mr. Baldwin is pushing Ottawa to reroute the growing number of rail shipments of dangerous goods that run through his densely populated seaside community. But he hasn’t received a response to his request last month for a meeting with federal Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt, and now he is searching for allies among similarly frustrated municipal leaders when the Federation of Canadian Municipalities soon meets in Niagara Falls. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

Calgary firm purchases gas export terminal near Ferndale
A butane/propane export terminal near Ferndale that has remained under the radar for decades has been purchased for $242 million, an indication of significant changes taking place in global energy markets. Last week Petrogas Energy Corp. closed a deal to purchase the storage and distribution facility at the end of Unick Road from Chevron. According to documents filed at the Whatcom County Treasurer's Office, the sale of about 42 acres of property equates to slightly more than $4.1 million in local and state excise taxes. It is one of the largest taxable transactions ever filed in this area, said Whatcom County Treasurer Steve Oliver. The sales price includes a large set of intangibles beyond the property itself, including ancillary assets, inventories, contracts and other considerations, said Stan Owerko, president and CEO of Petrogas Inc., which is based in Calgary, Canada. Petrogas Inc., along with Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. and Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, are the companies that hold a majority stake in Petrogas Energy Corp. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Geoduck fishery dispute prompts First Nation blockade threat
A Vancouver Island First Nation is threatening to blockade a large section of the Strait of Georgia because of a major dispute with Fisheries and Oceans over the lucrative geoduck harvest. The geoduck is a species of very large, edible, saltwater clam - one of the largest in the world. Its name is derived from a Coast Salish word meaning "dig deep". The sought-after clams have a very high value on the international market. Stz'uminus Chief John Elliott says his First Nation has been seeking a larger share of the geoduck fishery for years. Elliott says the band applied to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to harvest the clams in a 100-hectare area in the waters near its reserve, but were only granted rights to harvest just five hectares of sea floor. (CBC)

Hatcheries on hold
Steelhead hatchery operations in Puget Sound are on hold until the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gives the state Department of Fish and Wildlife the green light — except for the Marblemount hatchery on the Skagit River. “The early winter program that we have historically run at the Marblemount hatchery we will not operate for 12 years, so we will not be asking NOAA to review that Hatchery Genetic Management Plan,” Fish and Wildlife Assistant Director Jim Scott said. The state and federal fisheries managers will meet Friday to discuss management plans for the state’s eight other Chambers Creek steelhead hatchery programs, which came under fire in a lawsuit centered on the U.S. Endangered Species Act this spring. How long the review process will take from there is hard to say. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Tacoma rain gardens cleaning contaminants in Thea Foss Waterway
Deemed a Superfund site in 1983, the City of Tacoma is now making headway to clean up the contaminated Thea Foss Waterway.
The city has been monitoring high levels of chemicals like arsenic and pesticides for 12 years, and recent tests show a decrease in 90 percent of contaminants. Better known for its lights and sounds inside, Dorky's Arcade in Tacoma is now getting attention for its efforts outside. Owner Les Vorosbond sponsors one of the city's rain gardens. The City of Tacoma has 14 rain gardens, but sponsors only four. Coordinators hope businesses and organizations will chip in and help. Janet Kim reports. (KING) See also: Works begins on rain gardens in downtown Bellingham

Environment minister passes on sewage meeting
Environment Minister Mary Polak has said thanks but no thanks to an invitation to attend a Capital Regional District board meeting to outline whether the province will intervene in the impasse in rezoning Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point for a sewage treatment plant. Saying a “pivotal juncture” had been reached in the CRD’s sewage treatment plans and that “significant financial implications [were] associated with further delays,” CRD chairman Alastair Bryson wrote to Polak on April 30, extending an invitation to her to attend the May 14 board meeting to discuss the CRD’s earlier appeal for provincial assistance. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Mystery starfish plague extends to Canada and Mexico, but the answer is within our grasp
Starfish along much of the North American Pacific coast are dying in great numbers from a mysterious starfish wasting syndrome. As yet the cause of the syndrome is unidentified, and it’s not clear whether it’s a due to an environmental change, disease or or something else. The early signs vary by species affected and include a deflated appearance, unnatural twisting of the body, and small lesions on the surface that increase in size and number. The wasting often progresses rapidly, leading to the softening of the starfish’s hard body, loss of arms, and eventually complete disintegration and death, sometimes over a period as short as few days. Similar die-offs have occurred before in the 1970s and the 1990s, but never before at this magnitude and over such a wide geographic area. Pete Raimondi reports. (The Conversation)

World is unprepared for major El Niño later this year
THE weather is preparing to go wild, and will wreak havoc and death around the globe later this year. An El Niño, a splurge of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, is coming. It will unleash floods in the Americas, while South-East Asia and Australia face drought. Yet little is being done to address these consequences. Michael Slezak reports. (New Scientist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU MAY 8 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON PDT TODAY THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 9
 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS. RAIN...THEN SHOWERS
 AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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