Monday, September 28, 2015

9/28 No Shell drill, pipe benefits, oil train law, whale talks, climate pledge, sea stars, Pt Gamble, plastics

Super blood moon eclipse 9/27/15 (Sy Bean/Seattle Times)
Shell stops Arctic activity after 'disappointing' tests
Royal Dutch Shell has stopped Arctic oil and gas exploration off the coast of Alaska after "disappointing" results from a key well in the Chukchi Sea. In a surprise announcement, the company said it would end exploration off Alaska "for the foreseeable future". Shell said it did not find sufficient amounts of oil and gas in the Burger J well to warrant further exploration. The company has spent about $7bn (£4.5bn) on Arctic offshore development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. (BBC)

Kinder Morgan files new reports to NEB touting benefits of proposed pipeline
Kinder Morgan has filed new reports to the National Energy Board touting the economic benefits of its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, replacing evidence that the regulator ordered removed from the record last month. The filings include an 89-page market analysis by Dallas consulting firm Muse Stancil and an updated Conference Board of Canada tally of the project's broader economic spinoffs. Muse Stancil estimates $73.5 billion (in 2012 dollars) will be added to producers' bottom lines over 20 years if the Alberta-to-B.C. project goes ahead. Lauren Kruegel reports. (Canadian Press)

Oil train law still in works
A new state law requires cities, counties and fire departments be told ahead of time when an oil train is coming through their community. But it may be the summer of 2017 before they start getting such a heads-up. The state Department of Ecology is working to determine what details on the type and source of oil being shipped must be in the notices to help communities prepare for a derailment, spill or other type of accident. Jerry Cornfield report. (Everett Herald)

Killer Whale Talks in October
Erich Hoyt
is featured in talks along the Whale Trail: Oct 3, Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society (tickets at the door); Oct 6, Shaw Center Ocean Discovery Center, Sidney (tickets at Eventbrite ); and Oct 10, Olympia Friends Meeting Hall, Oct 11, UW Carwein Hall Tacoma, and Oct 13, the Hall at Fauntleroy in West Seattle (tickets at Brown Paper Tickets  (search Erich Hoyt)). Carl Safina speaks on Oct 7 at the Seattle Aquarium (tickets at Brown Paper Tickets .

Robertson launches Vancouver Climate Pledge
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has ended a week in New York by launching Vancouver’s Climate Pledge. The pledge calls for businesses to get behind the push for stronger action on climate change globally and align with Vancouver’s vision to shift to 100 per cent of renewable energy, to have their own corporate carbon reduction and renewable energy targets, and to challenge other businesses to sign the pledge. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Starfish Are Still Dying, But Here's Reason for Hope
It's been three years since millions of sea stars from Alaska to Canada and down to Baja, Mexico started wasting away into gooey white mounds. And although the destruction wrought by this disease shows no signs of stopping, the pace of the die-off has slowed. That's partly because so many sea stars have already died, says Ben Miner, a marine biologist at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Some areas have seen up to a 90 percent decline in their populations… Scientists identified the likely culprit last year: A pathogen known as a densovirus, part of the same parvovirus group that can cause gastrointestinal problems in unvaccinated dogs. So they've shifted their efforts to monitoring sea star populations and investigating why this disease—probably caused by a very common ocean virus—is now rampaging through 19 species of sea stars. Jane J. Lee reports. (National Geographic)

Making amends for mistakes that damaged our natural world
Preservation is cheaper than restoration. If you need proof, one place to look is the Beard’s Cove estuary-restoration project on Hood Canal, about a mile outside of Belfair. The project, nearing completion, is re-establishing 7.3 acres of saltwater wetlands by excavating and removing about 4,000 dumptruck loads of old fill dirt from an area originally built as a private park for the Beard’s Cove community. It is a rare restoration project, because essentially the same dirt used to fill the wetlands in 1973 is being taken out and put back where it came from — across North Shore Road from the development. The cost is estimated at $1.1 million, as reported by Arla Shephard in a story in the Kitsap Sun. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Collaborative restoration project improves local beach for people and fish
A barge arrived on Brown Island in a recent downpour to unload heavy equipment and the removal of a large rock bulkhead along three adjacent residential waterfront properties was finally underway…. Over the next week local contractor Carson Sprenger and his Orcas Island based team at Rain Shadow Consulting will remove 175 cubic yards of rock from the project site, working carefully to retain existing trees and shrubs. Following bulkhead removal, the upper beach will be nourished with sand and small gravel. Native plants including dune grass, Nootka rose, ocean spray and snowberry will be planted by Barry Bartmasser of Naturescapes Landscaping, a San Juan Island based firm. Project funding has been provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Puget Sound Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, participating property owners and FRIENDS members. (San Juan Islander)

Cleanup Effort Begins In Port Gamble Bay
About 20 years after the Pope & Talbot mill shut down, the Washington Department of Ecology is scheduled to begin a $17 million project to remove wood waste and contaminated sediment from the Port Gamble Bay. The Kitsap Sun reports that the two-year-long cleanup effort will begin Monday. The department plans to either dug up or cover 70,000 cubic yards of waste and contamination left over from the mill, which closed in 1995. The department also plans to removed creosote-treated pilings from the water and demolish piers, docks and other structures. (Associated Press)

New design for Point Defiance aquarium revealed to public
Imagine standing in a tunnel of water with hammerhead sharks swimming above your head and sea turtles gliding in front of you. That’s the experience officials at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are aiming for as they design a three-story aquarium to in part replace the North Pacific Aquarium…. Construction is expected to begin next summer, and the aquarium could open by 2018. Stacia Glenn reports. (Olympian)

Port Townsend research delves into problem of microplastic debris in the ocean
Research gathered under the auspices of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is being used to call attention to the effects of microplastic debris in ocean. “There is a lot of plastic that you can't even see,” said Ann Murphy, the center's former executive director.... Murphy and retired biologist and statistician Wally Davis have published an article in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, “Plastic in surface waters of the Inside Passage and beaches of the Salish Sea in Washington State.” Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

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