|(PHOTO: Kalla Walton/CBC)|
Social media lights up with photos of stunning auroras as geomagnetic storm hits. (CBC)
State board dismisses challenges to Jefferson County Shoreline Management Program; one petitioner may appeal
The state Growth Management Hearings Board has dismissed 19 challenges to the newly enacted Jefferson County Shoreline Management Program. The decision, issued Monday, said “the board concludes that petitioners failed to provide clear and convincing evidence demonstrating the challenged action.” The challenges the plan enacted in February were made by three petitioners: Hood Canal Sand and Gravel — which may appeal, a spokesman said — the Olympic Stewardship Foundation and the Jefferson County chapter of the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
Interim cleanup plan for Bellingham waterfront site up for public comment
A $14 million cleanup plan for part of a contaminated Fairhaven waterfront site is ready for review. The plan calls for the removal of contaminated sediment, soil and creosote-soaked pilings from the shipyard at 201 Harris Ave. The Port of Bellingham property has been used for shipbuilding and maintenance since the early 1900s. The contamination is from past activities, and is not due to the current tenant, according to the state Department of Ecology. Sampling and investigations have found gasoline, diesel, oil, arsenic, metals, polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and more in the soils, sediment and groundwater. Their concentrations exceed standards set by the state’s cleanup law. These contaminants are typical of historic shipyard operations throughout the Puget Sound, according to Ecology. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Lake, estuary camps are finally talking
There’s a new wrinkle in the years-long debate over the future of Capitol Lake. Representatives of the pro-lake and pro-estuary camps have conducted two face-to-face meeting already this year with another one scheduled next week. The Capitol Lake Improvement & Protection Association and the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team are seeking common ground while agreeing to disagree on whether or not to remove the Fifth Avenue Dam that keeps the Deschutes River from flowing unfettered into Budd Inlet. The two citizen-based, nonprofits can’t determine the fate of the lake alone. But political leaders and state agencies welcome the talks after years of impasse. John Dodge reports. (Olympian)
Vancouver-based upstart refinery eyes profits in Alberta-to-Asia exports
A fledgling B.C. bitumen refinery project makes economic sense even in a world of low oil prices, says a consultant to Pacific Future Energy. The Vancouver-based upstart, which wants to refine Alberta oil and ship it to Asia, expects the cost of bitumen supplies from the oil sands will be sharply lower than the revenue from exporting refined petroleum products, said Ron Loborec, Canadian energy leader at Deloitte & Touche LLP…. Prices for benchmark Western Canadian Select heavy oil are lower than those for West Texas intermediate light crude, so that provides a further cushion for the planned B.C. refinery to have cheaper costs for supplies, Mr. Loborec said. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)
Investigation underway into barge sinking off Vancouver Island
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating after a barge sank in the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver Island. Spokesman Dave Paddon said the barge, named Lasqueti Daughters, took on water and began sinking while 16 people were aboard on Saturday. A rescue operation ensued. None of the passengers were hurt. The barge was salvaged and towed to Campbell River. (Canadian Press)
BNSF seeks closure of Valley View Road near Custer
BNSF Railway requested permission to permanently close the crossing at Valley View Road, a half mile south of Portal Way. In response, Whatcom County officials asked for a hearing before the state Utilities and Transportation Commission because county officials aren’t prepared to assess the impact the closure would have on county traffic. County officials believed the closure would be required later to make room for trains headed to a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point, according to a March 10 letter to the commission requesting the hearing…. BNSF said in its request for the road closure that the siding extension is needed so that trains to the oil refineries don’t block the main line, and so passenger trains can get through Custer without delays. BNSF estimated it would begin expansion of the siding in late spring. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)
First Nations hold marine safety talk
Delegates from more than 50 First Nations on and around Vancouver Island will gather in Sooke next week to discuss marine safety and potential disasters. “The environment comes first with potential risks in our territories,” said T’Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes. The First Nation, already known as a leader in environmental management thanks to its solar program, is hosting the summit. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT THU MAR 19 2015
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT AND FRI
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 OR 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
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