Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10/13 Shell drill, oil sands, marbled murrelet, WOTUS, Ludlow Bay sewage, rain gardens, Brit bags

B.C. Thanksgiving weekend double rainbow (Michele Empey/CBC)
Polar Pioneer oil rig set to make return to Port Angeles Harbor, though arrival date is uncertain
The Polar Pioneer oil rig will once again loom over the waters of Port Angeles Harbor. The 355-foot-tall rig was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Monday for a brief stopover with the Noble Discoverer rig after exiting the Alaskan Arctic and before heading farther south, Shell Oil Co. spokeswoman Megan Baldino said Monday. The Noble Discoverer will make its way to the Port of Everett. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Alberta oil-sands boom dries up, taking thousands of jobs with it
At a camp for oil workers here, a collection of 16 three-story buildings that once housed 2,000 workers sits empty. A parking lot at a neighboring camp is now dotted with abandoned cars. With oil prices falling precipitously, capital-intensive projects rooted in the heavy crude mined from Alberta’s oil sands are losing money, contributing to the loss of about 35,000 energy-industry jobs across the province…. Despite a severe economic downturn in a region whose growth once seemed limitless, many energy companies have too much invested in the oil sands to slow down or turn off the taps. In addition to the continued operation of existing plants, construction persists on projects that began before the price fell, largely because billions of dollars have already been spent on them. Oil-sands projects are based on 40-year investment time frames, so their owners are being forced to wait out slumps. Ian Austen reports. (NY Times)

In the face of timber development, one more chance to save a remarkable seabird
The seabird at the center of the state’s 21st century timber wars manages an astonishing feat during breeding season. The marbled murrelet, its plumage a mix of brown, bisters and umbers, dines in deep coastal waters. It then flies inland, sometimes as much as 50 miles, to feed its young in a tall conifer. When it lands in the nest, says ornithologist Daniel Froelich, it has to “stick” its landing “like a gymnast, aiming for perfection with no wobble or bounce.”…. This week, after years of advocacy, lawsuits and scientific study, the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold public hearings at a special murrelet board meeting on October 15. Four possible habitat conservation plans will be presented by an out-of-state murrelet expert. The plan adopted later in the year will form the basis for a new long-term conservation strategy. Martha Baskin reports. (Crosscut)

Appeals court puts the brakes on EPA's clean water rule
A US Court has temporarily blocked the a federal water rule that would fold temporary waterways into Clean Water Act protections, Friday. The US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit granted a temporary stay against the Water of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The stay is the latest of several attempts to derail many Obama administration environmental policies. The WOTUS rule was intended to clarify which bodies of water are under the supervision of the Clean Water Act. Corey Fedde reports. (Christian Science Monitor)

Sewage release closes waters of Port Ludlow Bay to recreation until Saturday
A sewage spill into Port Ludlow Bay caused by equipment failure at the wastewater treatment plant is not serious or life-threatening, but the area is now closed to recreation until Saturday. Jefferson County Public Health has issued a “no contact” health advisory that will remain in effect until then. The public is advised to avoid any contact with the water in Port Ludlow Bay, including swimming, kayaking, fishing and harvesting of shellfish and seaweed. (Peninsula Daily News)

Let It Rain
Water is a big topic these days—from droughts across the nation to keeping our oceans, rivers, and lakes clean and cool for fish and other species, there is a lot to think about. Here in the wet and wild Pacific Northwest we have the option of creating rain gardens to help protect our water sources—something the folks the Washington State University know a little something about. (KOMO)

Charge for Plastic Bags in Britain Draws Applause, Anger and Humor
Some warned of “bag rage” by irate shoppers. The Daily Mail predicted, “Plastic Bags Chaos Looms.” Chloe Metzger, a 21-year-old blogger and student, wrote on Twitter: “I understand the whole #plasticbags thing but it couldn’t be more annoying.” Nerves were rattled, jokes were made and the annoyance of it all was duly noted in Britain this week. Nevertheless, shoppers pulled off something that has also occurred in other cities, states and countries: They began weaning themselves off plastic shopping bags. Starting this week, the government introduced a 5 pence charge for plastic bags for most groceries, clothes and other purchased items. And while it did not lead to a nationwide mutiny, as some had warned, it did create some tension in cashier lines. Dan Bilefsky reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE OCT 13 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
TODAY
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 12 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND BECOMING E TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
--
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