|Polar Pioneer in Seattle (KUOW/Gil Aegerter)|
Environmental activists in kayaks paddled into the middle of Seattle's Elliot Bay on Thursday afternoon to meet -- or, as they say, "un-welcome" -- a huge Shell oil rig to the city. John Ryan reports. (KUOW) More protests planned after giant oil rig muscles in Activists expect a larger turnout Saturday, when a flotilla rally is scheduled against the Polar Pioneer’s presence in Seattle. Another big event is planned for Monday near Terminal 5. Daniel Beekman and Coral Garnick report. (Seattle Times)
Gov. Inslee signs oil train safety bill
Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a measure Thursday that attempts to improve the safety of oil transportation as a sharp increase in trains carrying volatile crude oil poses new safety and environmental risks in the state. A compromise reached on the last day of the regular legislative session resolved differences between competing bills in the Senate and House. Phuong Le and Rachel La Corte report. (Associated Press)
Gulf oil disaster film: The last word belongs to …?
The invisible in Margaret Brown’s documentary The Great Invisible (available on Netflix and online on PBS’s Independent Lens until May 21) refers to both the damage done to the lives and landscape of the Gulf Coast following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (the largest in U.S. history), and the free pass awarded to BP in the years after the disaster. Sure, they paid billions of dollars in fines and fees to clean up the spill, but the amount will add up to a drop in their endless bucket of oil profits. The company continues to drill new offshore wells, hidden from view and unscathed by government regulations, while the devastation from the accident resulted in both a human and environmental post-traumatic stress that neither BP, the United States government, the media, nor the rest of us care to think about. Out of sight, out of mind. Rustin Thompson reports. (Crosscut)
UW Becomes Biggest University To Give Coal Investments The Boot
The University of Washington’s Board of Regents voted to sell off its investments in thermal coal. That’s the kind of coal used to generate power. It’s a big deal because the university has only “divested” its endowment three times before: with South Africa, tobacco and Sudan. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW) In symbolic move, UW votes to divest from coal Regents at the University of Washington voted unanimously Thursday to divest the university’s endowment from coal companies, but they refused to touch investments in other fossil fuels. Leah Todd reports. (Seattle Times)
Tribes stand against coal-export terminal
Leaders from nine Native American tribes have urged the Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for a proposed coal-export terminal near Bellingham. The leaders from Washington, British Columbia and Montana met in Seattle on Thursday to oppose the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. That project would export as much as 48 million tons of coal each year from Montana and Wyoming to Asia. (Seattle Times)
Coal barges nixed in FSD plan, Lafarge says 20 to 30 jobs gone
Open barges will not be transporting four million tonnes of U.S. coal per year to Texada Island under a new plan announced May 4 by Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD). Coal barging opponents were “cautiously optimistic” over the revised plan, which would see the same volume of coal loaded directly onto ocean-going ships in Surrey…. If the plan is approved by Port Metro Vancouver, FSD said it intends to replace all barges with 80 ocean-going vessels per year, “but would retain barging as a potential secondary option.” The announcement means the loss of up to 30 future jobs at Lafarge Canada’s loading facility on Texada Island, the company said Monday. John Gleeson reports. (Coast Reporter)
Ericksen to conservative media: Schools feed climate activists ‘propaganda’
Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, had a response Tuesday, May 12, for students who would have his Western Washington University degree revoked. He felt sorry for them. In an interview Tuesday, May 12, on a Freedom Foundation podcast called “Freedom Daily,” Ericksen blamed the universities and public schools for feeding students “a line of propaganda” that has made them into partisan climate activists. “I really feel sorry for these young people, in our colleges and our public schools today because they’re being fed such a line of propaganda, and it’s such a heavily partisan atmosphere,” Ericksen said in the podcast, hosted by Ron Valencia of the Freedom Foundation… Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Phillips 66 donates $166,000 to local nonprofits
Phillips 66 has donated a total of $166,000 to five Whatcom County nonprofit organizations. The grants are going to the Northwest Straits Foundation ($50,000), Whatcom Community Foundation ($50,000), United Way of Whatcom County ($41,000) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County ($25,000). According to a company news release, Phillips 66 wanted to focus on public safety and health with this round of grants. The Northwest Straits Foundation will use the grant to fund its Derelict Fishing Gear Program, which removes lost or abandoned fishing gear from the Salish Sea. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)
'State of Oyster Study' to test Hood Canal, Puget Sound shellfish for health
How safe are your oysters? Each year Washington Sea Grant’s State of the Oyster Study helps shoreline dwellers determine whether the oysters and clams on their beaches are safe to eat or contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria. Residents are invited to gather five large oysters or 24 clams from their beaches, bag them securely, and deliver them on designated collection days (May 17, June 14, July 5, or Aug. 2)to any of four sites on South Hood Canal and South Puget Sound. For modest fees, a lab will test these samples for fecal coliform bacteria and/or Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a common bacterium that can sicken people who eat raw shellfish, and report the results by phone within 10 days…. For more information, contact Teri King or Jennifer Runyan at Washington Sea Grant, 360.432.3054, firstname.lastname@example.org. (Port Townsend Leader)
Kamloops fined for spilling 4,100 cubic metres of sewage into river
The city of Kamloops is coming clean about a series of mistakes that led to untreated sewage being released into the South Thompson River. Eight months ago, 4,100 cubic metres -- or the capacity of two Olympic size swimming pools -- of sewage spilled from a sewer lift station into nearby ditches and creeks. That spill in the Dallas area led the province's Community Environmental Justice Forum to order the city of Kamloops spend $20,000 to do rehabilitation work on the Tranquille River. It must also pay $8,000 to upgrade alarm systems at all sewer locations to prevent a similar accident from happening undetected. (CBC)
Species in the Spotlight campaign highlights NOAA Fisheries' endangered species conservation efforts
NOAA Fisheries announced [5/14] a new Species in the Spotlight campaign to focus recovery and public education efforts on eight marine species that are at risk of extinction. The eight species highlighted, all listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, are the Gulf of Maine population of Atlantic salmon, Central California Coast coho salmon, Cook Inlet beluga whales, Hawaiian monk seals, Pacific leatherback sea turtles, Sacramento River winter-run chinook salmon, Southern Resident killer whales in Puget Sound, and California Coast white abalone. (Phys.Org)
Scientists identify opah as world's first fully warm-blooded fish
Deep in the ocean, scientists have found the first known example of a fish with warm blood. The large circular fish is called an opah, or sometimes a moonfish, and researchers have determined that it can keep its internal temperature 5 degrees Celsius warmer than its environment…. There are other fish in the sea capable of elevating the temperature of specific parts of their bodies. For example, some families of tuna and sharks are able to warm their aerobic swimming muscles. Billfish, including sailfish and marlin, are able to warm their eye and brain region. However, until now, no fish had ever been discovered that can warm its entire body. Deborah Netburn (LA Times)
Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI MAY 15 2015
SW WIND 10 KT...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
W WIND TO 10 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
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