Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/17 Port Angeles toxins, Rhapsody, Site C dam, Skagit water, pollution fee, bird flu, Bristol Bay, citizen science

Port Angeles Rayonier mill site (Keith Thorpe/PDN)
Toxins abound off old Port Angeles pulp mill site, state Ecology says
Mercury, arsenic, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are among the ingredients of the toxic brew in the eastern side of Port Angeles Harbor near the site of the former Rayonier mill. A draft Marine Data Summary Report released Tuesday by the state Department of Ecology in Olympia summarized the amount and types of marine contamination in the 1,300 acres of water and sediment. The poisons are concentrated most highly in water in the eastern part of the former log pond and near the mill dock, the report said, but “are spread throughout the marine environment.” James Casey reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Infection from fetus death killed orca off Vancouver Island
An endangered orca found dead off Vancouver Island in Canada earlier this month died after a failed pregnancy caused a bacterial infection, officials said Tuesday. Preliminary necropsy results show the 19-year-old killer whale known as J-32 was pregnant with a nearly full-term female calf that died, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Finding Light In The Dark For Whales
The Whale Trail hosts a seasonal gathering in the wake of the loss of J-32 tonight in West Seattle at 6:30 at C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW. Researcher Mark Sears shares photos from recent encounters with J, K and L pods. Join in discussing your concerns fro and connection with these beloved pods. $5, kids free, Brown Paper Tickets.

Site C dam approved by B.C. government
B.C. has approved the $8 billion Site C dam — a massive hydroelectric project that would flood a large area of the Peace River Valley in northeastern B.C. In making the announcement, Premier Christy Clark said the Site C Clean Energy Project will provide B.C. residents with a reliable source of power for the next 100 years for the least cost to the taxpayer. (CBC)

Washington Court Rules Against Landowners In Skagit Water Rights Case
A judge ruled against a couple Tuesday after they sued for the right to drill a well and build a new home on their property in Skagit County. The case marks the latest battle in the ongoing fight over water rights in Washington’s Skagit River valley. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel dismissed the case brought by property owners Richard and Marnie Fox. He told the couple that they can’t build a home on their property because they don’t have legal access to water. That’s because of a 2001 rule that basically says there has to be enough water left in the Skagit River to protect spawning salmon. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Inslee wants a pollution fee to pay for transportation
Sound Transit would be able to ask big new tax increases for light rail, but improvements to the state’s highways and bridges would get paid by a “market-based carbon pollution fee” under Gov. Jay Inslee’s sure-to-be controversial transportation plan. The $12.2 billion, 12-year plan was unveiled by Inslee at the east end of the 520 floating bridge, a project that the governor’s plan pledges to complete.  The “Let’s Move Forward” plan would also finish expansion of Interstate 405 in the Renton-to-Bellevue corridor. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePi.com) See also: Polling shows some public support for taxing carbon pollution in Washington  Brad Shannon reports. (Olympian)

Bird flu confirmed in wild birds in Whatcom County
Two separate strains of bird flu have been confirmed in wild birds in Whatcom County, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday, Dec. 16. Tests identified H5N2 in a northern pintail duck and H5N8 in a gyrfalcon fed wild birds killed by hunters, agriculture officials said…. The cases were quickly reported and identified given the increased surveillance and testing of birds in Whatcom County after the outbreak of the H5N2 strain in commercial poultry in British Columbia. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Obama makes Alaska’s Bristol Bay permanently off-limits to drilling
President Obama announced Tuesday that he’s removing more than 52,000 square miles of waters off Alaska’s coast from consideration for oil and gas exploration or drilling. The president said in a video announcement that Bristol Bay and nearby waters, covering an area roughly the size of Florida, would be withdrawn from consideration for petroleum leases. He called Bristol Bay one of the country’s great natural resources and a massive economic engine. Dan Joling reports. (Associated Press)

Here's How You Can Help Scientists Study Sex, Whales, and Distant Galaxies
Sharman Apt Russell, author of Diary of a Citizen Scientist, describes her involvement in scientific research without ever pursuing a scientific degree-- and how you can, too. Indre Viskontas reports. (Mother Jones)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST WED DEC 17 2014
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. NW SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN
 THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT. NW SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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