Wednesday, June 18, 2014

6/18 BC pipe OK'd, Pacific monument, state $, oil terminals, trains, WA ferries, fish flesh, salmon plan

Northern Gateway pipeline approved by Harper government
With the Harper government’s approval of Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline on Tuesday, the project passed a critical hurdle that could see construction begin as early as the fall of 2015. But the stage has also been set in British Columbia for a colossal environmental battle that could delay the mega-project. Legal challenges by First Nations and environmentalists could drag on for years. There is even the potential for civil disobedience by opponents who have said they will do whatever is needed to stop the project, evoking the memory of logging protests two decades ago in Clayoquot Sound. Gordon Hoekstra, Peter O'Neil, Derrick Penner and Rob Shaw report. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Northern Gateway Pipeline approved: B.C. reacts  (CBC) See also: Northern Gateway is not alone - 5 more pipelines to watch (CBC)

Obama setting aside massive Pacific Ocean preserve
Vowing to protect fragile marine life, President Barack Obama acted Tuesday to create the world's largest ocean preserve by expanding a national monument his predecessor established in waters thousands of miles from the American mainland. The designation for a remote stretch of the Pacific Ocean marks a major symbolic victory for environmentalists, who have urged the president to take action on his own to protect the planet as Congress turns its focus elsewhere. But the initiative will have limited practical implications because little fishing or drilling are taking place even without the new protections. Protecting the world's oceans and the vibrant ecosystems that thrive deep under the surface is a task that's bigger than any one country but the U.S. must take the lead, Obama said, announcing the initiative during an ocean conservation conference. Josh Lederman reports. (Associated Press)

State predicts more revenue, but it might not be enough
Money Washington collects as taxes and fees is increasing, but perhaps not fast enough to stave off spending cuts for state agencies next year. A new forecast issued Tuesday predicts the state will take in $157 million more in revenue in the next fiscal year than had been assumed three months ago. And it predicts the slowly growing economy will generate $238 million more for the next two-year budget than had been previously estimated. But even with those millions of additional dollars, Gov. Jay Inslee's budget director said it won't enable the state to cover the cost of existing public services and comply with a state Supreme Court order to meet the state's constitutional obligation to fund public schools. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

22,253 comments made on Imperium and Westway EIS scoping
For the next few weeks, City of Hoquiam and the state Department of Ecology officials will spend their time wading through thousands upon thousands of comments all related to the crude oil shipping facilities proposed for Grays Harbor by Westway Teminal Co. and Imperium Renewables. The agencies sought comments as part of the scoping process for an Environmental Impact Statement, which will examine the environmental effects of the two projects, as well as a third crude-by-rail project proposed by U.S. Development, but not as far along in the process as the other two. Hoquiam and Ecology asked citizens and other organizations to comment on what they think should be analyzed during the study. However, many of the comments were outside the purview of determining what should be studied in the impact statement, and commenters instead made arguments as to whether the projects should be allowed at all. Amelia Dickson reports. (Daily World)

Washington residents rail against oil shipments
Numerous speakers told a state Senate committee Tuesday that they oppose the rapid increase in railcars carrying crude oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana through the state. The Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee met in Spokane, a major railroad hub for the northern United States, to take testimony on a bill that seeks to improve the safety of those oil shipments. But nearly all the members of the public who spoke attacked the measure as too friendly to the oil and railroad industries. Nicholas Geranios reports. (Associated Press) See also: Oil train fires require SWAT teams, veteran firefighters tell states  Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Ferries chief finalist withdraws; search begins anew
Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson announced today she will restart the search for a new leader of the state ferry system after one of two finalists withdrew. Peterson said Interim Assistant Secretary George Capacci notified her over the weekend that he was pulling out of consideration. That left former Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg as the remaining candidate, and Peterson elected to not hire him. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

Enviros lose challenge to log sale in Murrelet habitat
The points of law involved in losing the battle to save old growth forests and marbled murrelet nesting habitat. Al Bergstein reports. (Olympic Peninsula Environmental Network)

Red Fish, Blue Fish: Where The Fish Flesh Rainbow Comes From
The Salt: From red to white to orange to blue, fish flesh can land almost anywhere on the color spectrum. What's behind this huge variation? A lot of things — from genetics to bile pigments. And parsing the rainbow can tell us something about where a fish came from, its swimming routine and what it ate. Alastair Bland reports. (KPLU)

Federal Salmon Plan Heads Back To The Courtroom
It’s back to court for the federal government and salmon advocates. Conservationists Tuesday once again challenged the government’s plan to manage dams on the Columbia River to protect endangered salmon and steelhead. In January, officials released a finalized plan, known as a biological opinion or BiOp, that guides dam operations. It’s been subject to more than 20 years of legal conflict between people who want to protect salmon and people who want to produce hydroelectricity and maintain shipping channels. “Welcome to Groundhog Day,” said Todd True, lead attorney for the challengers and Earthjustice. True said the latest plan is far too similar to previous plans already struck down by the courts. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Radio)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED JUN 18 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS
 AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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"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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