Wednesday, January 20, 2016

1/20 J55, BC pipe hearing, spill costs, sea star disease, carbon cap, tribal equity, Tacoma gas, newsroom cuts

J55 (PHOTO: NOAA)
Ninth baby orca confirmed in Puget Sound 
Whale researchers say they've documented another baby orca born in Puget Sound. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said on Facebook Tuesday their researchers documented the new calf Monday. The Center for Whale Research, which keeps a census of the orcas for the federal government, also confirmed the new orca. Officials say it's the ninth born since December 2014 to the endangered population of killer whales that spend time in Washington state inland waters. NOAA officials also said on Monday they observed an orca pushing around a different newborn calf that had died. They say it is estimated that at least 50 percent of orca babies do not reach their first birthday, so the event is not unusual. (Associated Press)

National Energy Board slammed at Kinder Morgan hearing in Burnaby
National Energy Board advisers have been harshly criticized by a lawyer for the City of Surrey as hearings on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion began this morning in Burnaby, B.C…. Hearings on the pipeline expansion continue in Burnaby until the end of the month and conclude in Calgary in mid-February. (Canadian Press) See also: Musqueam urge National Energy Board to delay pipeline expansion  Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Aboriginals, environmentalists call for halt to Trans Mountain hearings in B.C.  Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

New report adds billions to cost of oil spill off B.C.'s south coast
Environmental and risk assessments for projects that would increase tanker traffic in southwestern B.C. fail to consider billions of dollars in potential social, economic and environmental impacts, according to a new report on the region by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. The environmental assessments required by senior governments are much too narrow and fail to consider the broader impacts of marine traffic on the ecological health of the region, which includes the Strait of Georgia, Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound, argue the authors of the 108-page report Our Threatened Coast. The Salish Sea's 7,000 kilometres of intricate coastline support ecosystem services from tourism and recreation to flood protection, climate regulation and fish habitat worth tens of billions of dollars, according to studies cited by the authors. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Sea star die-off worst ever recorded
Scientists from across the country met in Seattle last week to discuss their research about the recent mass sea star die off. They are making progress in their efforts to understand why sea stars are dying at such rapid rates -- they're calling it the largest wildlife die-off ever recorded. Several years ago, researchers identified what they began calling Sea Star Wasting Disease.  They've determined the disease is associated with certain bacteria and a virus that's likely in the same family as the Parvovirus, which affects dogs and cats. The virus causes the sea star reproductive system to swell. They believe environmental factors are aggravating the issue, and likely working in combination with viral or bacterial infections. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Ericksen's bill would prohibit state agency from setting carbon cap
 A new bill takes aim at Gov. Jay Inslee’s carbon policies by prohibiting state regulators from adopting rules that limit greenhouse gas emissions without legislative direction. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, targets the Democratic governor’s ability to take executive action on the issue. After failing to get legislation passed on his cap-and-trade plan last year, Inslee directed the Department of Ecology to limit carbon pollution using its existing authority under state law. This month, Ecology proposed a draft rule requiring Washington’s largest industrial emitters to reduce carbon emissions by 5 percent every three years. (Associated Press)

B.C. proposal aims to have First Nations own chunks of major projects
A B.C. First Nations-led proposal to unlock billions of dollars in natural resource wealth across the country has received seed funding from the federal government, The Vancouver Sun has learned. And if the First Nations Major Projects Coalition can persuade Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to go a step further and accept their biggest request — loan guarantees to allow aboriginal communities to buy equity stakes in major projects — that could lead to a historic breakthrough, say its backers. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Tacoma Residents Will Get A Chance To Weigh In On Plans For Giant Methanol Plant
A Chinese-backed group wants to build what they say would be the world’s biggest methanol plant at the Port of Tacoma, raising lots of concerns among nearby residents, who will have a chance to weigh in on the project at a scoping meeting this Thursday.  Northwest Innovation Works is the company that’s planning to build the Tacoma methanol plant, as well as two more plants along the Columbia River: one at the Port of Kalama and one in Oregon at the Port of St. Helens. The company is a joint venture partly backed by the Chinese government. What they want to do is take natural gas and convert it to methanol. The plan is to produce as much as 20,000 metric tons (about 6.6 million gallons) each day.  Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Postmedia cuts 90 jobs, merges newsrooms in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa
Newspaper chain Postmedia today announced sweeping changes to its operations, cutting 90 jobs across the country and merging newsrooms from multiple newspapers into one each in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa…. The chain says two papers in those markets — the Sun and Province in Vancouver, the Herald and Sun in Calgary, the Journal and Sun in Edmonton, and the Citizen and Sun in Ottawa — will share newsroom resources, but continue to operate. Pete Evans reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  244 AM PST WED JAN 20 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
 THURSDAY EVENING  

TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT  12 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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