Thursday, May 7, 2015

5/7 Oil train, refinery fire, Alberta vote, BC marine traffic, 520 bridge, sea lice, sound surfing, geese cull

(PHOTO: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)
Officials talk oil trains in Anacortes
Government leaders and emergency response officials met Wednesday night to discuss oil train safety and emergency preparedness in Skagit County, and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen addressed a key question county residents have been asking: Can the rail transport of Bakken crude oil in Skagit County be stopped? The short answer is no. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Train hauling crude from ND oil patch derails, catches fire
A train that derailed and caught fire early Wednesday in rural North Dakota was hauling crude from the state’s oil patch, raising questions about whether new state standards intended to reduce the volatility of such shipments are sufficient. The six tank cars that exploded into flames were a model slated to be phased out or retrofitted by 2020 under a federal rule announced last week. It’s the fifth fiery accident since February involving that type of tank car, and industry critics responded to the latest with calls for them to be taken off the tracks immediately to prevent further fires. Blake Nicholson and Matthew Brown report. (Associated Press)

Oil refinery fire sends plume of smoke over Tacoma
A big refinery fire near the Port of Tacoma made for a smoky commute for drivers on I-5 Wednesday morning. The fire broke out at the U.S. Oil & Refining Company facility around 7:30 a.m., sending black smoke into the air that could be seen for miles. The Tacoma Fire Department said crude oil was burning inside the stack. Firefighters cut off the flow off the crude oil; it took about 45 minutes for the crude oil to burn out. Glenn Farley and Liza Javier report. (KING)

Northern Gateway pipeline loses ally in Alberta election upset
The relationship between Alberta’s NDP premier-designate, Rachel Notley, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark may turn on energy, a critical file that affects finances, environmental protection and the future of pipelines in both provinces. Clark said she looks forward to working productively with Notley, who struck a bridge-building tone during the extraordinary Alberta election that wiped out a Conservative empire. But environmentalists and other critics who had hoped an NDP win in Alberta would put an end to new pipelines may be disappointed, as Notley has expressed tentative support for some projects, such as Kinder Morgan and Energy East. Lori Culbert, Rob Shaw and Tiffany Crawford report. (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver rally hears of dangers of closing federal marine traffic centres
The closing of three of five federal centres responsible for directing commercial marine traffic on the West Coast, including one in Vancouver, will make it more difficult to respond to disasters, those opposed to the closures told a rally on Wednesday. "Without a monitoring station in Canada's busiest port, our ability to respond to future oil spills become that much more difficult," said Gerry Diaz, president of the large, recently consolidated union called Unifor. He said Ottawa's move to consolidate its Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres means "tens and tens of thousands of British Columbians" who live along the coast could be endangered. Susan Lazaruk reports. (Vancouver Sun)

520 bridge work adds trees but cuts open space for shorebirds
Bird fanciers along Lake Washington say the Highway 520 project will force out the area’s tiny migrating shorebirds by planting trees as environmental “mitigation” — providing hiding places for predators. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

Sea lice infestation could kill up to ‘millions’ of wild salmon
Independent researcher Alexandra Morton claims a sea-lice infestation in the Broughton Archipelago will kill “hundreds of thousands if not millions” of wild salmon this spring. And the controversial biologist, who in 2001 sounded the alarm about sea-lice infestations on the B.C. coast, is once again blaming fish farms for the outbreak, saying densely packed farm pens serve as reservoirs for the lice, which drift with the tide, infecting passing wild salmon. The BC Salmon Farmers Association says the charge is without scientific merit, because there has been no outbreak of lice in farms and when lice are detected, fish are promptly treated with SLICE, a pesticide that is 95 per cent effective. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Surfing Puget Sound
Surfing isn't really supposed to exist here. But that hasn't stopped some Seattle surfers from figuring out how to hang ten in a most unusual way. "A lot of people don't believe us," said instructor Rob Casey, the owner of Salmon Bay Paddle in Ballard. Jim Dever believes. And, responding to a DareDever dare from Casey, he's suiting-up to join an exclusive group of Puget Sound surfers. For ride-worthy swells on the inland sea, Mother Nature needs a little help from the shipping industry. Casey and his friends have figured out the best times and places to drop in and hitch a ride with their standup paddleboards on the wakes left behind by fast-moving freighters and tugboats. Jim Dever reports. (KING) See also: Tug Wake Surfing on the Puget Sound  Rob Casey reports. (Canoe & Kayak)

Geese cull proposed in Central Saanich over destroyed crops
A geese cull is being proposed in the District of Central Saanich in B.C. as farmers become more and more aggravated by birds feasting on their crops. Long-time farmer Bryce Rashleigh says many crops have begun sprouting, but flocks of nesting Canada geese are scooping them up before farmers can get to them. Having thousands of dollars worth of crops being destroyed by geese isn't something new in Central Saanich, and efforts like egg addling and cannons have had some success. However, the problem persists, and a cull may be necessary, said Rashleigh. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU MAY 7 2015
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT
 8 SECONDS.
--
"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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