Monday, July 14, 2014

7/14 Rail safety, Tesoro, Fraser R. rise, shoreline clearcut, Mukilteo dock, sewage, Skagit asbestos, green poll

Raven and the sun (John Fletcher/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Raven and the Sun, A Myth
Raven, in Northwestern Coastal mythology, is the Trickster, the agent of mischief and games. Raven was covetous of the sun but couldn't figure out how to steal it. He finally found a way and when you hear him call, he's still laughing about how clever he was. (As told by Herb Curl/BirdNote)

Shaping railroad safety rules
A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met 13 times since March with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Their universal message: Don't make us pay for increased safety because that's another industry's problem. Joan Lowy reports. (Associated Press)

The Dirt on Tesoro
From Sightline: "We’re releasing a new report profiling oil company Tesoro’s track record of flouting safety rules, injuring workers, obstructing safety investigations, toxic air pollution, and meddling in politics..." Eric de Place writes.

Fraser River flood risk increasing due to climate change
Two new reports from the provincial government predict extreme flooding events along the Fraser River will become more frequent and warn all but one of 15 dikes from Hope to Mission are too low. One report entitled Fraser River Design Flood Level Update says many of the 146 kilometres of dikes were built in the 1970s and 80s to withstand the largest floods on record dating back to 1894. But it says new modelling calibrated with data from Fraser River flooding in 2012 found most of the dikes to be too low and confirmed they need to be upgraded. (CBC)

B & B owner pays $100K for shoreline clearcut; Preservation Trust drops lawsuit
It’s not the first time that someone treated its protected land with disregard. But on this occasion, and largely because of the extent of the transgression, the San Juan Preservation Trust came out swinging. As a result, the owner of an Anacortes bed-and-breakfast accused in a Skagit County court of clear-cutting a waterfront nature preserve agreed to pay the Preservation Trust $100,000 to settle the matter before it went to trial. Scott Rasmussen reports. (San Juan Journal)

Mukilteo ferry project gets a boost
After years of assembling, funding for a new Mukilteo ferry terminal is nearly in place. A Puget Sound Regional Council panel Thursday recommended $12.1 million in additional federal dollars for the undertaking, providing one of the final pieces of a $129 million funding puzzle.... The ferry money is among $690 million allotted to projects in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Kitsap counties by the council's Transportation Policy Board. The full council is expected to ratify the board's recommendations July 24 with final approval coming later this year after a period of public comment and air quality assessment. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

Metro Vancouver sewage could heat hundreds of buildings
Metro Vancouver hopes to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by using the region’s sewage to heat everything from hospitals to massive housing developments. A Metro staff report suggests the regional district has enough heat coming from its liquid waste now to heat up to 700 buildings, even in winter, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1.3 million tonnes per year. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Woodway, Shoreline vie for control of Point Wells sewage
A water war it’s not — but you might call it a sewer skirmish. Neighboring cities on opposite sides of the Snohomish-King County line find themselves in the unusual predicament of fighting to control a future neighborhood’s waste water. The area in question is Point Wells, an unincorporated patch of Snohomish County waterfront where an international real estate developer wants to build up to 3,081 luxury condos. The sewer spat foreshadows an annexation rivalry for the same area between Shoreline, in King County, and Woodway, in Snohomish County. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

King County rolls out unique wastewater awareness campaign
King County's Wastewater Treatment Division is rolling out a new campaign to raise awareness about what should and shouldn't be flushed, and the catchy tune they're using is one you might recognize.... To raise awareness on this costly issue, the staff recently met with a consultant and came up with a campaign they call 'Flushing Awesome.' The complete campaign can be found here... www.flushingawesome.com. One of the most popular features of the campaign is a song set to the tune of Macklemore's 'Thrift Shop'.  The wastewater treatment division got permission from Macklemore, to use the tune until September. Heather Graf reports. (KING)

Natural asbestos problem ‘falls in the cracks’ in Skagit County
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigators prompted by a resident’s concern in late 2012 tested rocks near a housing development in Burlington, Skagit County, and found evidence of naturally occurring asbestos. Prolonged exposure to the substance found inside the rocks has been shown to cause lung cancer, and investigators recommended in a draft report that signs be posted “alerting people to the dangers of asbestos exposure.” Residents, however, were never formally notified of the discovery by federal, state or local officials — a case that experts and others say highlights the challenges authorities face when dealing with naturally occurring hazards. Chris Grygiel reports. (Associated Press)

EarthFix Survey Tracks Northwest Residents’ Opinions on Environmental Issues
.... The survey polled 1,200 voting-age residents from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho from June 25-30. The poll was conducted for EarthFix by the independent non-partisan firm DHM Research. The margin of error was 2.8 percent.... Out of a host of environmental issues, residents responded that they were most likely to worry about the quality of their drinking water, followed closely by concerns about the health of local rivers, streams, and lakes. That’s consistent with the results of past EarthFix polls. (EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 249 AM PDT MON JUL 14 2014
TODAY
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W 15 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 3 FT IN THE
 AFTERNOON. W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 4 FT AT
 14 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
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