Monday, August 24, 2015

8/24 Totem pole, oil train, BC pipe hearing, BC salmon $, Qwuloolt estuary, Seattle seawall, carwash toxin, garbage

Totem pole (Paul K Anderson)
Native Americans' totem pole journeys to oppose coal exports
A Native American tribe is taking a 22-foot totem pole from Canada through the Pacific Northwest to Montana in opposition of proposed coal export terminals. A team from the Lummi Nation, from Washington's Puget Sound, started the journey on Friday. The pole will travel more than 1,300 miles by truck, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Missoula, with multiple stops in Washington and Oregon. Its journey includes blessing ceremonies at each of the proposed coal ports and in tribal communities and houses of worship along the oil train route. Gosia Wozniacka reports. (Associated Press)

New Oil Train Safety Rules Approved In Oregon
The Oregon Transportation Commission adopted new rules Friday requiring railroads to increase the amount of information they share with state officials. Months in the making, the rules come in response to concerns over the state’s readiness for oil train spills and fires. Emergency responders will now get immediate notification from railroads for incidents involving hazardous materials. Those notifications include information about the type, quantity and placement of any materials on the train. Railroads now must file quarterly reports with the Oregon Department of Transportation detailing shipments of hazardous materials. ODOT will in turn share those reports with emergency responders. The new rules specify the information is to be released under the state’s public records law, but allow some exemptions for trade secrets. Tony Schick reports. (EarthFix) See also: As oil train burned, firefighters waited 2 hours for critical details  Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Kinder Morgan pipeline hearings postponed after consultant's evidence struck from record
A National Energy Board panel has postponed hearings that were supposed to begin next week into Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, because a consultant who prepared evidence in favour of the project will soon work for the regulator. Kinder Morgan Canada, the company behind the project, filed evidence with the board in late 2013 that was prepared by Steven Kelly, a consultant with IHS Global Canada at the time. The report supported the project's economic benefits. In July, federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford announced Kelly had been appointed to a seven-year term on the National Energy Board starting Oct. 13. As a result, the hearing panel has decided to strike Kelly's evidence from the record and has directed Kinder Morgan to list any other evidence he prepared. (Canadian Press)

Harper’s salmon habitat funding ‘a drop in the bucket’: critics
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says a re-elected Conservative government would help restore and enhance B.C.’s salmon habitat and marine environment. But others involved in preserving salmon habitat say it’s little more than cheap electioneering by a government that has, over the past several years, gutted regulations and cut front line staff…. Harper was in the riding of North Island-Powell River Friday to promise an extended partnership with the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and $15 million to restore and conserve British Columbia estuaries. Brian Morton reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Qwuloolt Estuary Project’s goal: Return of the wild salmon
A small inflatable boat slipped into Allen Creek near where it empties into Ebey Slough…. The four researchers dropped a beach seine into the channel, dragged it ashore, drained out the water and then began sorting through the morass of weeds and dirt to find every squirming fish…. The team, employees of the Tulalip Tribes, was led by Casey Rice, a research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. They were doing one of the final counts before the ecosystem of this 400-acre lowland is changed forever. At low tide on Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to breach a levee separating Ebey Slough from former farmland. When the high tide returns, salt water flowing upstream from Possession Sound will flood the area, returning the land to the salt marsh it had been before the levees were built more than a century ago. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Seawall project 33 percent over budget, next phase delayed
Seattle's new seawall is going to cost at least 33 percent more than initially budgeted and the entire waterfront project will be delayed by a year. The project, which will now cost $409 million, has run into what leaders have called "challenges no one expected." It was scheduled to be completed in 2016, and will now be delayed until 2017. Voters approved $290 million to make seismic upgrades and other updates to the seawall in 2012, and the project has been underway since last year. It was initially budgeted at $300 million, then increased to $330 million. Emily Parkhurst reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Chambers Creek Soundview Trail reopens Saturday
Chambers Creek Regional Park’s Soundview Trail and the Central Meadow parking lot and restrooms will reopen to the public Saturday, nine weeks after the U.S. Open golf championship was played on the property. Access to the beach, off-leash dog park and Central Meadow grass area will stay closed for now, but the beach and dog park could be ready for public use by the end of the month, according to Tony Tipton, Pierce County Parks and Recreation director. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Carwash chemical a hazard to workers, state agency warns
Hydrofluoric acid, a chemical commonly used at commercial car and truck washes, can cause serious burns to exposed skin, sometimes requiring hospitalization, according to new research cited by the state Department of Labor and Industries. (Associated Press)

Research at Rosario
On Rosario Beach south of Anacortes, 40 acres of private land are tucked between beachside residences and Deception Pass State Park. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory is a place where summer camp meets aquarium for grown-ups. Water pools beneath recently used diving suits, sea creatures lurk in every tank and bucket, and laughter explodes from a classroom. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' researchers devastated by sight
Far away from California's coast, where the Pacific Ocean currents swirl, the blue of the sea was replaced by fishing nets, buckets, buoys, laundry baskets and unidentifiable pieces of plastic that floated past the Ocean Star, a ship carrying a team of scientists and volunteers gathering data on plastic garbage. "We were surrounded by an endless layer of garbage," sad Serena Cunsolo, an Italian marine biologist who works for The Ocean Cleanup. "It was devastating to see." Cunsolo, 28, was one of a team of 15 researchers and volunteers aboard the Ocean Starr who a month ago set out from San Francisco to study the plastic waste as part of the "Mega Expedition," a major step in the organization's effort to eventually clean up what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 435 AM PDT MON AUG 24 2015
TODAY
VARIABLE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT THIS AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS... SUBSIDING TO 6 FT.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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