If you like to watch: Rules for the Black Birdwatcher, with J. Drew Lanham (BirdNote)
Leaking cars, vapor pressure, vessel traffic among concerns in Ecology’s final oil transportation study
The state Department of Ecology has turned in its final oil transportation study to the Legislature with updated recommendations and some new information. Really quickly, the final report has a few new sections that weren’t included in the draft version published in December 2014. Among other things, those include information about investigations of leaking rail cars that traveled through the state, changes in North Dakota intended to make Bakken safer to move, and the potential impacts of increased vessel traffic discussed at a Salish Sea Workshop held in Whatcom County in January. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Shell to appeal mandate for full study of rail project
The Shell Puget Sound Refinery plans to challenge a hearing examiner’s decision to require a full environmental impact statement for the refinery’s proposed rail offloading facility and is seeking the Skagit County commissioners’ guidance on just how that should happen. A notice of appeal filed with county commissioners seeks clarification of where Shell should go next — back to the county or to some other venue. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Coal company withdraws proposal for contentious mine on Vancouver Island
A controversial proposal to mine more than 16 million tons of coal in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island has been withdrawn in the face of growing criticism about the negative impacts it could have on rich shellfish and salmon grounds. Stephen Ellis, president of Compliance Coal Corporation, said his company has backed out of the B.C. environmental assessment process for the proposed Raven coal mine not because it’s environmentally risky, but because there is so much public misunderstanding about the project. And he made clear the company hasn’t given up on the proposal yet. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)
Snowpack in state and North Cascades well below normal
Washington state’s snowpack is 29 percent of normal, further deepening concerns of drought this summer. Measurements compiled for the first part of March also showed that the snowpack for the North Cascades region is about 40 percent of normal as a mild, warm winter continued its hold. Very little snow fell in February and what did fall was on mountain peaks, according to Scott Pattee, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mount Vernon. Kie Relyea reports. (Belingham Herald)
Whidbey anti-jet group appeals to Navy brass
A Central Whidbey citizen group is amping up the scope of its fight against the Navy’s increasing presence in Puget Sound. Representatives of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, say they mailed a letter in February to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus addressing what they describe as the dangers of the Navy’s new EA-18G Growler. The group also threatens additional action, if necessary. Janis Reid reports. (Whidbey News-Times)
Federal court upholds protection for threatened marbled murrelets by rejecting timber industry lawsuit
A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit by the timber industry seeking to strip Endangered Species Act protection from a threatened seabird that nests in old-growth forests. Environmentalists said the ruling Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., should mark the end of a 15-year legal battle over logging trees used by marbled murrelets along the coasts of Oregon, Washington and northern California. Jeff Barnard reports. (Associated Press)
Data deficiency? Buying time?
The critical habitat afforded to the endangered Southern Resident killer whales could expand to include 700 miles of coastline, but it won’t happen anytime soon. National Marine Fisheries Service, the agency that will oversee the decision, says it will need until 2017 to gather scientific evidence and make an informed ruling. Local orca advocates say the expansion is long overdue and the delay effectively allows military to obtain permits for continued testing and training off the Washington coast. Emily Greenberg reports. (San Juan Journal)
Washington state spill covers 50 birds in used motor oil
Environmental officials say spilled oil has covered 50 birds after as much as 1,500 gallons of used motor oil leaked into irrigation canals and a river in an agricultural area of south-central Washington. Ecology Department spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder says a subcontractor was hired Tuesday to try to save the birds. (Associated Press)
Citizen science proves a draw for new program manager at Port Townsend Marine Science Center
Programs in which volunteers participate in science research attracted the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s new program manager to the nonprofit organization. “One of the things that drew me to the marine science center is its reputation for citizen science, and I think that’s been kept secret,” said Susan Bullerdick, who started her new position last Sunday…. Bullerdick, 52, commutes from Whidbey Island. She plans to relocate to Port Townsend. She worked for the Seattle Aquarium for 10 years. For seven of those years, she served as the operations manager for Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE), a collaboration among the Seattle Aquarium, the Ocean Inquiry Project and the University of Washington Oceanography department and College of Education. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
Longtime Sun reporter, pioneer of journalism Adele Ferguson dies
Adele Ferguson answered the phone so gruffly and loud that a young state Senate staff member hung up in fear. That staffer was in powerful company, because legislators had the same fear and respect for Ferguson throughout her career. Ferguson, a pioneer in Olympia political journalism history, died Monday at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton after a short illness. She was 90, something a newspaper could never get away with revealing if she were still here. Steve Gardner reports. (Kitsap Sun)
Seattle and Portland shipyards merge to create $650 million whale
Two of the Northwest's largest shipyards are merging, creating a combined entity that will generate $650 million in revenue this year. Portland-based Vigor Industrial LLC is acquiring Seattle-based Kvichak Marine Industries, in an exchange of stock and cash. Vigor CEO Frank Foti declined to disclose the particulars of the transaction between the two privately held companies. Steve Wilhelm reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 250 AM PST WED MAR 4 2015
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
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