Monday, February 23, 2015

2/23 BirdNote, Oil oil oil, Shell smell, Nanuq death, saving orcas, stormwater $s, climate $s, Saanich leak

Winter wren (Wild Bird Video/BirdNote)
BirdNote At 10
To celebrate BirdNote's 10-year anniversary, we asked BirdNote founder Chris Peterson how she came up with the idea for the show. The StarDate public radio program provided inspiration. “I had this idea grab me around the neck,” Chris recalls. “Why don’t we do for birds what StarDate does for stars?” She gathered a team, and the first BirdNote broadcast, “Bald Eagle – National Symbol,” aired on KPLU 88.5 FM Seattle/Tacoma on February 21, 2005. Since then, more than 1200 shows have aired. (BirdNote)

If you like to watch: Inside The Fight To Save The Salish Sea
A proposed tar sands pipeline through Western Canada threatens the Salish Sea—rich, abundant border waters shared by the U.S. and Canada—and the very existence and way of life of Native tribes located in the United States. The pipeline would end near Vancouver, but from there, massive oil tankers carrying toxic tar sands bitumen must thread their way through the waters of the Salish Sea along the U.S-Canada border, where an oil spill would destroy one of our nation's most valuable ecosystems. (EarthJustice)

State seeks more oversight as rails carry more oil
As the number of trains carrying volatile North Dakota crude oil through Washington grows, railroads are coming under scrutiny. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Ferndale senator’s oil safety bill faces competition in state House
Mirroring last session, two competing bills that would expand oil safety programs are making their way through the state Legislature, and compromises likely will be needed for either to pass. Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, is working to pass House Bill 1449, which was requested by Gov. Jay Inslee to implement a series of oil safety recommendations made in a state Department of Ecology oil transportation study. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Conferences in March to discuss fight for rail safety
“The Future of Railroads: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment” is the title for two upcoming conferences sponsored by Railroad Workers United, a labor group active in last year’s successful fight against one-person “crews” at the BNSF Railway, and Backbone Campaign, an organization based in Washington state active on environmental and other issues. The conferences will be held March 14 in Richmond, California, and March 21 in Olympia, Washington. Jeff Powers reports. (The Militant)

Despite Kinder ruling, NEB wants pipeline emergency response plans made public
The National Energy Board wants companies in Canada to make their emergency response plans public for existing pipelines, even though it has ruled Kinder Morgan can keep its plans secret from British Columbians. "Our chairman is not very happy. Canadians deserve to have that information,” said Darin Barter, a spokesperson for the NEB. Companies are not required to disclose their emergency response plans under Canadian law. Barter said the board is not calling for a legislative change, but for a commitment from industry to be more transparent. David Geselbracht and Laura Kane report. (Globe and Mail)

Maintenance work at Shell Refinery causes bad odors
A strong chemical odor from the Shell Puget Sound Refinery late Friday afternoon had an impact on some of its neighbors, and the chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community says he wants answers. At least 13 instances of offensive odors were reported Friday to the Northwest Clean Air Agency, which said the affected areas included the Swinomish reservation and La Conner. An air quality inspector went to the scene to investigate the source of the odor, the agency said. The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management issued an alert Friday night saying the odor was expected to dissipate with time but advised anyone who felt ill to call 911 or visit a hospital. Evan Marczynski reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Beluga whale Nanuq death at Orlando SeaWorld reignites breeding debate
The death of a beluga whale loaned by the Vancouver Aquarium to Orlando SeaWorld for breeding purposes is renewing the debate over whether cetaceans should be bred in captivity. SeaWorld officials said Nanuq died Thursday at the estimated age of 31 or 32. While the cause of death is not yet known, he had been undergoing treatment for an infection caused by a broken jaw that occurred in an encounter with other animals. "The conversation has obviously been brought back to the table," said Vancouver Park Board commissioner Michael Wiebe.  (CBC)

If you like to watch: Orca encounter near Whidbey Island  Photographer Stu Davidson said he had an unbelievable day when he was out on the boat on Puget Sound on Sunday. He encountered a small pod of about four or five Orcas milling just off the Clinton Ferry dock and watched them frolic before slowly heading north. (KING)

To save orcas, we must save salmon
OUR salmon and orcas are at a crossroads. Puget Sound’s resident killer whale population could be headed toward extinction, and saving our region’s salmon — a critical and sharply declining food source for our whales — may be the only way to save these Northwest icons. Ken Balcomb, Martha Kongsgaard and David Troutt opine. (Seattle Times Opinion)

Kitsap to receive major funding for stormwater, sewer construction
Washington Department of Ecology is poised to award $229 million in grants and loans for projects that will help clean up waters throughout the state. Grants to Kitsap County include $4.2 million for planned stormwater projects, plus another $4.6 million to lay sewer lines designed to protect shellfish beds in South Kitsap’s Yukon Harbor. This level of funding for a single round of water-quality grants demonstrates that elected officials are serious about cleaning up Puget Sound and other water bodies throughout the state. The Legislature must still approve the funding for the proposed grants and loans. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Noted climate-change skeptic linked to corporate money
Documents show Wei-Hock Soon, a scientist who attributes global warming largely to variations in the sun’s energy, has accepted more than $1.2 million from the fossil-fuel industry but failed to disclose that in most of his scientific papers. (NY Times)

Former homeowners must pay for oil tank leak in Saanich
Current and former owners of a Saanich home with a leaking underground oil tank must pay the costs of cleaning up their neighbour’s property, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled…. The contamination was discovered on March 4, 2012, when Saanich engineers saw oil spilling into the Gorge Waterway from the storm drain at the bottom of Adelaide Avenue. They found oil coming through a drainage tile on Dolinsky’s property. Louise Dickson reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--

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