Thursday, January 29, 2015

1/29 Shell drill, oil train, Oly spill, Montana spill, Woodard Bay, BC swans, bird flu, microbeads, Koch $

Shell Noble Discoverer (Photo: Capt. Kristjan B. Laxfoss / AP)
Shell’s Arctic drilling vessels not welcome in Seattle: Enviro groups
Seattle should not allow itself to serve as a staging area for Shell Oil’s troubled, long-delayed effort to drill for oil in the Arctic waters of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, according to a new coalition of nine environmental groups….  Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle could serve as home port for up to two dozen vessels, such as barges, tugs, exploration drill rigs and icebreakers.  The port would use money from the Shell deal to retrofit the terminal into a ready port for big ships. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Arguments in Shell oil-by-rail appeal
Derailed trains, flammable cargo and dead fish were among the concerns mentioned Wednesday before the Skagit County Hearing Examiner who is hearing an appeal of a permit decision regarding a proposed oil-by-rail facility in Anacortes. Those concerns are not news to county officials. They have been a subject of year-long protest for the Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s latest development proposal. The discussion that started Wednesday is part of an appeals process. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Area around Port of Olympia marine terminal evacuated following chemical spill
The Port of Olympia and businesses within a quarter mile of the port’s marine terminal were evacuated for about three hours Wednesday after a hydrogen peroxide spill sent plumes of steam billowing up from the port yard and city streets. The chemical, which is used to treat stormwater at the port’s new facility, leaked from a 3,300 gallon storage tank that serves the facility. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

Montana oil spill cleanup to slow as river gets dangerous
The struggle to recover 30,000 gallons of oil from a pipeline spill into Montana's Yellowstone River is expected to grind to a near-halt in coming days as warmer weather makes ice on the river increasingly dangerous, state regulators and a company spokesman said Wednesday. Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press) See also: Yellowstone oil spills fuel arguments over Keystone line  Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press)

Face of Woodard Bay conservation area is changing
The Woodard Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area in South Bay is undergoing quite a transformation. At the north and south ends of the 865-acre complex, a crew from Sound Native Plants of Olympia is converting 14.5 acres of pasture into a forest that features hundreds of seedling trees and shrubs, carefully placed logs and woody debris, and giant snags of Western red cedar, Douglas fir and black cottonwood embedded in the ground, leading to rubber-necking by motorists passing on Shincke Road. “We’re trying to restore the forest structure, putting up the bones of a forest,” noted Sound Native Plants owner Ben Alexander. Over time, the snags and logs should attract all sorts of forest creatures, including woodpeckers, nuthatches, amphibians and small, ground-dwelling mammals. John Dodge reports. (Olympian)

100 trumpeter swans create mayhem for farmers in Cowichan Valley, B.C.
Farmers in B.C.'s Cowichan Valley are locked in battle with a group of giant trumpeter swans that have caused huge amounts of damage to crops - and brought down a power line. Bob Crawford, president of the Cowichan Valley Agricultural Society, said he has seen more than 100 swans in just one field, grazing on the grass, causing flooding and soil damage…. In the case of ducks and Canada geese, farmers can allow hunters on to the field to cull the birds, but trumpeter swans are a protected species. (CBC)

Door-to-door work in Clallam County avian flu quarantine zone ends; no new infections found
Federal health officials have finished their door-to-door inspection of poultry in the Agnew area east of Port Angeles that have been quarantined since Jan. 20 in response to the discovery of birds on a single property that were infected with avian flu. No other instances of the bird flu have been found. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Environmentalists pan microbead ban pushed by beauty industry
The push is on in Washington state to ban synthetic plastic microbeads, the tiny pieces of plastic sometimes used in face washes and bath products as an exfoliant. But in a twist, an environmental group working to curb plastic pollution is critical of the plan, while manufacturers of microbead-laden beauty products are pushing it. The small plastic beads, commonly used in facial scrubs and body washes, are known to pollute waterways and can end up in the bellies of fish and other marine animals, according to the state Department of Ecology. Melissa Santos reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Sound Waters conference to discuss ‘all things Puget Sound’
Beach Watchers will be hosting the Sound Waters educational conference on Saturday, Feb. 7 at South Whidbey High School. Kate Daniel reports. (South Whidbey Record)

Koch Brothers’ Budget of $889 Million for 2016 Is on Par With Both Parties’ Spending
The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races. In the last presidential election, the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees spent a total of $657 million. Nicholas Confessore reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST THU JAN 29 2015
TODAY
E WIND 10 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 17 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 15 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG AFTER
 MIDNIGHT.
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