Thursday, March 17, 2016

3/17 SeaWorld, coal port, Tacoma sewer, BC LNG, MV Suquamish, methanol, shore plan, ferry vote

SeaWorld orca (Phelan Ebenhack/Associated Press)
SeaWorld to end orca breeding programme
The US theme park operator SeaWorld says it is ending its controversial orca breeding programme. The decision means the orca whales currently at the parks will be "the last generation", the company said. SeaWorld, which has 12 parks across the US, has faced heavy criticism over the alleged poor treatment of its captive orcas, also known as killer whales. The company said the orcas would be likely to die if it released them into the wild. "For as long as they live, the orcas at SeaWorld will stay in our parks," the company said in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. (BBC) See also: SeaWorld CEO: We're ending our orca breeding program. Here's why.  Joel Manby explains. (LA Times)

Army Corps: No Cherry Point coal terminal decision this month
Montana’s Rep. Ryan Zinke, a supporter of a proposed coal export terminal planned for Cherry Point, expects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will deny a permit for the project, ruling in favor of Lummi Nation…. He said that ruling could come as soon as Wednesday, March 16. But Corps spokeswoman Patricia Graesser said the determination isn’t expected to be made this month. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Puget Sound advocacy group sues Tacoma seeking more oversight on sewage treatment
An environmental advocacy group wants Tacoma to do a better job ensuring that large industries clean up their wastewater, and it’s taking the city to court to compel reforms that could help protect Puget Sound from contaminants. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance filed its lawsuit this week in federal court. It’s based on a state Department of Ecology audit from 2014 that found shortcomings in how the city oversees certain large businesses that are required to pretreat their wastewater before releasing it into Tacoma’s sewage system. Adam Ashton reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Clark hopeful LNG terminal will get federal cabinet approval
B.C. Premier Christy Clark says she is optimistic about federal cabinet approval of Pacific NorthWest LNG’s proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on the province’s coast, following a report that the federal Environment Minister will bring the issue to her colleagues. Bloomberg News reported that Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is prepared to refer the proposal to cabinet. Her other option would have been to approve the project, with conditions, if she concluded it likely wouldn’t cause significant adverse effects to the environment. Ian Bailey reports. (Globe and Mail)

Newest Washington state ferry: M/V Suquamish
The state Transportation Commission chose “Suquamish” as the name of the state’s fourth Olympic-class ferry at its meeting March 16. The selection follows a public process in which the commission considered three eligible names — Cowlitz, Sammamish, and Suquamish — and sought input from Washington State Ferries, the Ferry Advisory Committee Executive Council, ferry riders and the general public. (North Kitsap Herald)

Tacomans Voice Frustration About Lack Of Information About Methanol Proposal
Northwest Innovation Works, the Chinese-backed company seeking to build one of the world’s largest methanol plants in Tacoma, says it wants to address community concerns, but at a panel discussion sponsored by the City Club of Tacoma, many people expressed frustration that they haven’t been able to get answers.  The plant would bring in natural gas by pipeline to a site on the tideflats of the Port of Tacoma, where the gas would be converted to liquid methanol to be shipped to China to be used in making plastics. There’s been so much opposition that Northwest Innovation recently paused the environmental review process to answer more questions. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Guemes Island, Lake Cavanaugh communities voice concerns over shoreline plan
Concerns were raised at a public hearing Tuesday with the Skagit County Planning Commission that a “one size fits all” approach to the county’s draft Shoreline Master Program will not make sense for some property owners. The shoreline program sets development rules for marine, lake and stream shorelines protected under the state’s Shoreline Management Act. Several speakers from the Guemes Island and Lake Cavanaugh communities highlighted specific issues in the plan. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Public may soon vote on passenger-only ferry
Passenger-only ferry service connecting Southworth, Bremerton and Kingston with Seattle is being debated by Kitsap Transit board members. But the debate will end soon. John Clauson, Kitsap Transit executive director, expects the board soon will authorize a vote of county residents on the board’s vision for this cross-Sound transportation plan. Clausen spoke at a Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce luncheon March 10 and presented a brief overview of a project summary report the board had prepared that shows proposed routes, public feedback and funding options. Bob Smith reports. (Central Kitsap Reporter)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  238 AM PDT THU MAR 17 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM PDT THIS MORNING THROUGH
 LATE TONIGHT  

TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT  10 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT  10 SECONDS.

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