Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7/23 Storm, B'ham coal, port records, Oso slide, toxic fish, stormwater, clean water poll

(KOMO)
July storm brings heavy rain, lightning to Wash. state
An "unseasonably strong" storm system is invading Washington state, increasing the risk of flash flooding and new wildfires in parts of Eastern Washington and bringing heavy rain to parts of Western Washington, the National Weather Service says. Forecasters say the storm could break rainfall records for the date. The record at Sea-Tac Airport is just over a half-inch (.54) set on July 23, 1949. Lightning strikes were first recorded over the Cascades of Snohomish County at about 2:30 a.m. Heavy rainfall began moving into the Puget Sound region shortly afterward. (KOMO)

Coal exports from Bellingham could ramp up rapidly
Developers of the largest of the region’s proposed coal-export terminals have shifted their site plan to claim a dramatic reduction in impacts on wetlands. Simultaneously, SSA Marine, the Seattle international terminal operator, said it will speed up plans to operate Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) north of Bellingham at full capacity. The capacity planning, along with plentiful evidence that BNSF Railway is beefing up its tracks in northwestern Washington to prepare for more coal and oil traffic, alerted terminal foes and brought immediate pushback Monday from the Bellingham City Council. Potentially adding fuel to the fire, BNSF and its largest union are moving toward a contract that allows the railroad to run the 130-car, mile-plus-long coal trains with a single engineer in the cab, replacing the present practice of two in the cab. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)

Judge eyes whether coal port records should be released
A federal judge said Tuesday he would weigh whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must release environmental review documents involving a proposed coal port criticized by environmentalists. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak said in Portland that he must decide whether the documents show the agency's internal deliberations about the Morrow Pacific coal export terminal in Boardman. Deliberative documents can be exempt from disclosure under federal rules, depending on how they're interpreted by the releasing agency or a judge. (Associated Press)

Critics say proposed rules on fish consumption insufficient
Some tribal leaders and environmental groups say a water-pollution cleanup plan proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee this month is unacceptable because while it tightens the standards on some chemicals discharged to state waters, it keeps the status quo for others. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

New Report: Oso Landslide Rooted In Long History Of Slides
Scientists have concluded that rain, groundwater seepage and a long history of big landslides likely contributed to the massive landslide of March 22 that killed 43 people and destroyed dozens of homes near Oso, Washington. Those findings came out Tuesday, the result of a scientific team’s rapid-fire assessment of geology and localized factors. Joe Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a co-lead author of the study, said rainfall very likely played a key role in the slide. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) Read the report

Stormwater: Can we stop the menace we created?
Chris Dunagan at the Kitsap Sun in Watching Our Water Ways blogs: ‘I’ve completed the seventh story package in a 10-part series examining the Puget Sound ecosystem, with a special focus on indicators of ecological health. We’re calling the project “Taking the Pulse of Puget Sound.” The latest stories, which ran Sunday and Monday, addressed freshwater quality.’ (The stories are pay-to-read behind a paywall but Chris invites you to look at the graphics for free.)

Advocacy group says new poll shows support among small business owners for stronger clean water rules
A progressive business advocacy group said that small business owners from around the country support greater efforts by the federal government to protect the nation’s water, according to a poll the group commissioned. The poll of small-business owners found that two-thirds were concerned about the impact water pollution could have on their businesses, and 80 percent favored extending federal clean water protections to streams and wetlands. Support on the second issue was strongest among Democrats, at 91 percent, but Republicans and independents also polled above 70 percent. Chris Adams reports. (McClatchy)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED JUL 23 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SHOWERS AND A CHANCE OF TSTMS.
TONIGHT
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF TSTMS. SHOWERS.

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