Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2/11 J-pod, ocean acid, tanker stop, oil future, Grays Harbor, crude export, Puyallup R., logging rules, wolf kill, Pineapple Express

Elwha 2/8 (Anne Schaffer/Coastal Watershed Institute)
Research cruise will observe J pod orcas for the next 21 days
A team of marine mammal biologists and other researchers will set out tomorrow morning on a 21-day cruise to study Southern Resident killer whales from aboard the 209-foot Bell M. Shimada research vessel. The researchers are fortunate that a satellite tag is still attached to J-27 and remains operable, making it possible to locate J pod without searching far and wide. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Lawsuit over ocean acidification in Oregon, Washington gets a hearing in Seattle
A lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency over the impacts of ocean acidification on Oregon and Washington's oysters and other sea life will get a hearing Thursday (Feb. 12) in Seattle. U.S. District Court Judge James Robart will hold a motion hearing in the suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit organization that aims to protect endangered species and habitat. The center says it's challenging a 2012 decision in which the EPA ruled that Oregon and Washington's sea water meets water-quality standards meant to protect marine life despite increasing acidity. Susannah Bodman reports. (Oregonian)

Coast Guard detains tanker in Port Angeles Harbor
Coast Guard personnel has detained the oil tanker Overseas Jademar in Port Angeles Harbor over alleged safety violations. The 748-foot, double-hulled tanker was traveling along the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Malaysia to Anacortes to offload cargo at the time of an inspection Monday, the Coast Guard said Tuesday. Port state control officers from Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound said they discovered several significant safety violations during a port state control exam of the Marshall Island-flagged tanker, which will remain detained in Sector Puget Sound's captain of the port zone until the safety violations are corrected. The deficiencies found onboard included non-functioning distress signaling equipment and fire safety systems. (Peninsula Daily News)

Oil on wild ride: How will it end?
Predicting oil prices is especially tricky now because the oil market has never quite looked like this. Oil-price collapses of the past were triggered either by plummeting demand or an increase in supplies. This latest one had both. Jonathan Fahey reports. (Associated Press) See also: UBC divestment vote calls on university to end fossil fuel investment  (CBC)

A Coastal Community In Washington Contemplates Oil Terminals
Grays Harbor, with its deep-water berths and fast access to Pacific Ocean shipping routes, has all the ingredients to be a world-class port. In some respects, it already is. The Port of Grays Harbor once bustled with shipments of lumber from nearby forests. Next came cars, grains and biofuel. Now, local leaders are warming up to the idea of adding crude oil to the mix. Roughly 3 billion gallons of crude move from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota into Washington state by rail each year. As oil companies look for the fastest and most cost-effective way to get their product to West Coast refineries, proposals for new oil facilities are popping up around the region. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Groups Say Changing Crude Oil Exports Could Change Role Of Northwest Refineries
The changing composition of crude oil could have big consequences for the future of the Pacific Northwest economy. That’s one of the key ideas behind a Freedom of Information Act request filed Tuesday by three environmental nonprofit groups. It has to do with exceptions being made to the nation’s 40-year policy of banning most exports of crude oil. Seattle’s Sightline Institute has joined the Earthjustice law firm and a group called Oil Change International in asking the U.S. Department of Commerce for documentation of new exemptions quietly issued to companies including Pioneer Natural Resources Company and Royal Dutch Shell. The groups want such decisions to get more public scrutiny. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Guest: A new way to tame rivers is better for humans and salmon
WHEN the rain-swollen waters of the Puyallup River rose rapidly this winter, the town of Orting braced itself for flooding. In 2006, and again in 2009, the river topped its levees and sent people fleeing from homes, businesses and schools in cities all the way to the Port of Tacoma. But this time, something different happened. The river found new man-made channels created when the old levees were torn out and replaced with new earthen berms set farther back. The river had room to spread out, slow down, and it stayed within the levees, leaving Orting safe and dry. Joachim Pestinger writes. (Seattle Times Opinion)

State adopts new logging rule for landslide-prone areas
A new state rule approved Tuesday makes clear that anyone seeking to log in landslide-prone areas might have to provide additional scientific data to show the safety of the public is adequately protected. The state Forest Practices Board, an independent panel that regulates logging, voted unanimously to adopt the rule that's been in the works since May 2014. That's when the state Department of Natural Resources revised its timber harvest application to clarify that the agency may require additional geotechnical reports before being allowed to log near potentially unstable slopes or landforms. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark ordered the change following the deadly Oso mudslide and Tuesday's action cements it into place. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

B.C. wolf cull will likely last 5 years, deputy minister says
The point man for the British Columbia's effort to save endangered mountain caribou says a controversial wolf cull will likely be necessary for the next five years. Assistant deputy minister Tom Ethier told CBC News the 180 wolves being shot from helicopter in the South Peace and South Selkirk regions this winter are just the beginning. (CBC)

What does Pineapple Express actually mean for B.C.?
1. Pineapple Express is the catchy name for what is known to scientists as an “atmospheric river,” says SFU professor and climate researcher Karen Kohfeld. And some years — such as this year — these water-laden storms can supply as much as a quarter of B.C.’s annual rainfall in as little as seven days. 2. SFU professor John Clague, a natural hazards expert, says these storms bring potentially damaging rockfalls and debris flows that can block highways and rail lines and threaten lives when they roll over mountainous terrain. They also strip snow off local mountains. Gerry Bellett reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST WED FEB 11 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY WINDS EXPECTED THURSDAY
TODAY
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS...BUILDING TO W 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN AT TIMES.
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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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