|Peacock grouper (Melinda Pride)|
Melinda Pride shares her latest fish video from her Kona dive. "It was a fun trip and I found a couple of nudibranchs that were new to me and saw lots of other cool fish…. The coral was in sad shape, though. Water temperatures got up to 89 degrees this summer (usually is 75-77 degrees in winter and 79-81 degrees in summer) and bleached nearly all the cauliflower coral and probably 70% of the antler coral and several other types. I guess it happened almost overnight in August. There are some isolated patches of it coming back, but for the most part there’s algae growing on it instead which means that those coral heads probably won’t recover. I don’t know that I saw a drastic change in the fish populations but the reef is definitely different. The algae eaters are happy, anyway."
Sewage bill shock looms for taxpayers in Victoria area
Local taxpayers will have to dig deep to pay their yearly bill for sewage treatment if senior government grants are lost — something Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen worries is a real possibility. The prospect of the capital region meeting a March 31 deadline for the first of three federal grants for treatment is “virtually impossible,” Jensen said. Without the grants, the costs to homeowners are “very alarming,” he said…. For example, the annual costs for a homeowner in Oak Bay for the least-expensive treatment option of the five under consideration — a single plant at Rock Bay providing secondary treatment — would jump to $919 from the estimated $583 with the grants. If the most expensive option — seven plants spread around the region — were built, Esquimalt homeowners would see their bills go up $404 to $1,427. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)
Washington regulator unaware of oil train consultant's connections
A consulting firm that helped write a report underestimating the risks of catastrophic spills from a proposed Vancouver oil train terminal has worked for two groups that will gain financially if the project moves forward. Stephen Posner, the Washington energy regulator who approved the company's hiring, didn't know about all those connections until The Oregonian/OregonLive told him. But he did not answer repeated questions about whether he would investigate further. Three of the four authors who wrote the risk analysis for Washington's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council are former executives of BNSF Railway Co. The railroad would move oil trains to the Vancouver terminal. Rob Davis reports. (Oregonian)
Lifting oil-export ban unlikely to affect state right away
With a 40-year oil-export ban lifted Friday by Congress, Washington terminals that receive Bakken shale crude by rail will be able to send unrefined product to Asia. In the years ahead, that might be an attractive option. But current market conditions make the West Coast terminals an unlikely launching point for major overseas shipments, according to industry analysts. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)
Hillside construction in Edmonds pits neighbors, and railroad against county and developer
For some neighbors and the railroad, a new luxury home on the bluff poses a threat. They worry that the home’s septic system on a steep slope could trigger a landslide, causing trees and dirt to take out nearby homes or passing trains. The homebuilder insists that he’s done everything asked of him, and more. He casts the situation as a neighborhood dispute run amok. If that’s the case, the disagreement has gone off the rails in a big way. BNSF Railway and five neighboring homeowners sued earlier this year, blaming the builder, the home’s new owners and local government regulators for creating a hazard. Noah Haglund repairs. (Everett Herald)
Metro Vancouver’s composting plant faces backlash due to foul air
Richmond city officials want more stringent air-quality regulations to control the stink from the region’s composting plant, suggesting the methods of odour management being used are “out of date” with best practices. Harvest Power, which has held a composting facility license since 1997 and collects most of Metro’s kitchen scraps, has been the focus of more than 270 odour complaints in the past 2½ years, according to Metro Vancouver. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Smith Island project to get final $1.4 million grant funding
One of the final pieces of the funding puzzle for an ambitious environmental project is falling into place. Snohomish County is in line to receive $1.4 million in federal funding for its Smith Island Restoration Project, which will turn hundreds of acres of fallow agricultural land back into a salt water estuary. The project is a $24 million effort to restore former tidelands that have long been cut off from salt water by extensive diking along Union Slough. Most of the budget already has been accounted for, with the grant money one of the final elements. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)
B.C. balks at changing law to protect wildlife and biodiversity
The B.C. government will not be changing laws or considering hiring more staff as recommended in a report by one of its own MLAs on how to protect wildlife and biodiversity from the affects of resource industries. Hunting and fishing organizations including the 42,000-member B.C. Wildlife Federation made a call in the fall of 2014 — following the catastrophic Mount Polley Mine tailings dam failure — for the Liberal government to retake control of resource extraction practices, planning and oversight. The groups said the government’s move in the past decade to rely on professionals hired by industry to make decisions on the land base, with little government oversight, had failed. Gordon Hoekstra report. (Vancouver Sun)
Seattle Times Offers Buyouts To Cut Newsroom Budget
The Seattle Times is offering buyouts to its newsroom employees in an effort to cut its budget. But officials say the situation is less drastic than at other papers around the country. Seattle Times editor Kathy Best said she hopes people keep the proposed buyouts at the Seattle Times in perspective…. Best said the buyouts are part of an effort to cut the newsroom budget by 6 percent…. But these reductions will not be on the scale of layoffs this fall at the Oregonian, or at the Los Angeles Times, which lost 80 reporters and editors. Media analyst Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute notes that newspapers are in their seventh consecutive year of declining ad revenues because advertisers are trying other things. Amy Radil reports. (KUOW)
Pacific NorthWest LNG plan review resumes after long delay
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has restarted its review of a proposal to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia after a delay that lasted more than six months. Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, wants to build an $11.4-billion terminal on Lelu Island in the Port of Prince Rupert. The consortium is striving to become the first major LNG exporter in British Columbia. Brent Jang repairs. (Globe and Mail)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON DEC 21 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...RISING TO 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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