Monday, October 12, 2015

10/12 Oil export, Grays Harbor, diesel, microbead ban, coral bleach, smokers, Gov Pt., Padden Cr.

Elwha 10/9/15 (Tom Roorda and CWI)
House Votes to Lift Oil-Export Ban
The House voted Friday to lift the 40-year-old ban on oil exports, fueling a clash with President Barack Obama and acting on one of the oil industry’s top congressional priorities. Lawmakers voted 261-159 to lift a ban Congress first put in place after the 1970s Arab oil embargo that sent domestic gasoline prices skyrocketing. Debate on the issue now shifts to the Senate, where the measure faces steep hurdles to passage. Amy Harder reports. (Wall Street Journal)

Hundreds testify on Grays Harbor oil terminal plan
A few hundred people testified at a hearing on two proposed oil terminals at the Port of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam. Westway Terminal Co. and Renewable Energy Group want to expand existing facilities to bring crude oil by train from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana to send it by tankers or barges to refineries in Puget Sound and Northern California. KXRO-AM reported that protesters from Grays Harbor, Olympia, Vancouver and Portland rallied before Thursday’s public hearing in Aberdeen. Hoquiam City Administrator Brian Shay acknowledged concerns about train traffic, oil spill risk and air quality. (Associated Press)

'Smell Of Money' Polluted This South Seattle Neighborhood
Tugboat captain Dave Stauffer used to reek of diesel. “It’s just the smell of a boat,” Stauffer says. “Just like standing by a fire, you’re going to get some of that smoke on your clothes.” Stauffer’s wife also grew used to the smell. “She’d say, ‘That’s the smell of money,’” he says. The veteran captain no longer smells like fuel because the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency helped Island Tug and Barge buy cleaner engines that don’t emit such strong fumes. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)

California Becomes Latest State to Ban Plastic Microbeads
Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed legislation on Thursday that bans plastic microbeads, giving his state one of the country’s strongest laws against the tiny abrasives used in exfoliators and other products…. The consumer products industry had objected to certain aspects of the bill, arguing that it was overly restrictive and did not allow companies to come up with environmentally friendly alternatives. The California rules include a prohibition against biodegradable microbeads, which other states with similar legislation allow. At least six other states have passed laws restricting microbeads, including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland and New Jersey. Rachel Abramsoct reports. (NY Times)

Scientists: Major coral bleaching crisis spreads worldwide
The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse. Triggered by global warming and the El Nino, record hot ocean water is causing fragile coral to go white and often die, threatening picturesque reefs that are hotspots of marine life, experts say. The spread of sickly white started more than a year ago in Guam, then devastated Hawaii, infected the rest of the tropical Pacific and the Indian oceans and has now infested Florida and the Caribbean. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and international reef scientists pronounced it a global coral bleaching event, only the third in recorded history. Seth Borenstein reports. Associated Press)

If you like to watch: Smoke Underwater: Exploring B.C.'s Sunken Treasures
They’re one of the planet’s most hostile environments: Towering chimneys pouring out hot, poisonous smoke from cracks in the earth. The valuable metals they spew into the sea could be a literal gold mine, but scientists still have much to learn about the undersea marvels and the teeming life around them. Justine Hunter joined a crew of researchers mapping out the deep. (Globe and Mail)

OPINION: Stop political inaction, clean up Puget Sound — now
Puget Sound is a deceptive wonder. Its haunting beauty obscures the slow-flowing poison of urban runoff and the lowering of pH from ocean acidification. The result imperils shellfish and marine life. The jewel of Western Washington, Puget Sound is at risk. As The Seattle Times’ Sandi Doughton reports, urban stormwater runoff can kill an adult coho salmon in 2 ½ hours. So why does the health of the sound rank lower with the federal government than addressing pollution threats to Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes? In a word: politics. (Seatttle Times)

No takers at Governors Point auction
Conservation group Whatcom Land Trust has renewed interest in preserving Governors Point after the cancellation of a bankruptcy auction where the peninsula’s 125 mostly undeveloped acres were to be sold. Bids were to start at $3.5 million on Thursday, Oct. 8, at an auction intended to raise money for property owner Roger Sahlin’s creditors. Sahlin, whose family has owned the peninsula off of Chuckanut Drive south of Bellingham since the 1960s, sought Chapter 11 protection in May. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

More Clallam County beaches reopened to recreational shellfish harvesting
Beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Cape Flattery eastward to the Jefferson County line, except for Sequim Bay, are open for the recreational harvest of all species of shellfish. At one point this summer, all beaches in Clallam County were closed for shellfish harvesting because of elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning, known as PSP. In September, beaches from the Lyre River and Low Point east to Dungeness Spit were reopened. On Friday, the state Department of Health reopened the rest of the beaches along the Strait. (Peninsula Daily News)

Padden Creek flows into new channel in ‘daylighting’ project
Neighbors gathered Friday, Oct. 9, to watch a temporary dam being removed from part of Padden Creek off Old Fairhaven Parkway. Crews pulled out the last cofferdam near 22nd Street to allow the creek to flow, marking a milestone in the $2.8 million Padden Creek “daylighting” project, which is expected to wrap up in early November. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON OCT 12 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
TODAY
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS BUILDING TO 11 FT AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING NW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.

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