Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2/2 Ship noise and whales, climate polluters, closing Colstrip

(PHOTO: beamreach.org)
Ship noise extends to frequencies used by endangered killer whales
When an endangered orca is in hot pursuit of an endangered salmon, sending out clicks and listening for their echoes in the murky ocean near Seattle, does the noise from the nearby shipping lane interfere with them catching dinner? To find out scientists measured underwater noise as ships passed their study site 3,000 times. This unprecedented characterization of ship noise will aid in the understanding of the potential effects on marine life, and help with possible mitigation strategies. One of the threats faced by today's oceans is underwater noise pollution from ships. Amazingly, the growth in commercial shipping has raised the intensity of low-frequency noise almost 10-fold since the 1960s. Because this noise occurs at the low frequencies used by baleen whales there is growing evidence it may impact their ability to communicate, and therefore their survival. But could ship noise extend to the higher frequencies used by toothed whales and therefore pose similar threats to them? To answer this question and understand the nature of ship noise, particularly in coastal areas where ships access ports, scientists measured approximately 1,600 unique ships as they passed through Haro Strait, in Washington State. This area is the core critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident killer whales—salmon-eating orcas which are iconic in the Pacific Northwest and which support a multi-million dollar ecotourism industry in the U.S. and Canada. (Phys.Org)

These Are Washington's Top 10 Climate Polluters
The biggest climate polluters in Washington have been identified, according to numbers out this week: the TransAlta coal-burning power plant in Centralia, the BP oil refinery at Cherry Point and the Shell Oil refinery in Anacortes. As the state gears up to regulate climate-harming pollution, the Washington Department of Ecology has been tracking emissions from the state's biggest sources. Collectively, Washingtonians driving their cars and trucks put out far more carbon dioxide than any single industrial source — or even any industrial sector. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

State regulators recommend costs of closing Colstrip 1 and 2 be included in rate case
State utility regulators issued an investigation report Monday recommending Puget Sound Energy include the costs of closing its two older coal-fired electric generating plants in Colstrip, Mont. in the company’s next rate case. Colstrip plume 2_1The staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission found that, based on information provided by PSE, current rates aren’t enough to recover the costs of retiring the plant and conducting environmental remediation. PSE has estimated that costs of closure for Colstrip 1 and 2 will range from about $65 to $100 million. The costs are expected to increase the longer the plants continue to operate. Including these costs in a rate case will allow commission staff and interested parties to evaluate the estimates and make recommendations to the commission in order to mitigate the impact on PSE’s ratepayers, the commission said. The company is required to file a general rate case by April 1. Rita Robison reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST TUE FEB 2 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 14 SECONDS...  BUILDING TO 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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