Wednesday, March 2, 2016

3/2 Chesapeake pollution, Monsanto liability, WA methanol, septic fees, Pt Wells, Steelhead LNG

Chesapeake Bay (Restore America's Estuaries)
Supreme Court declines to hear case challenging Chesapeake Bay 'pollution diet'
The Supreme Court said Monday it would not hear a challenge to the "pollution diet" set for the Chesapeake Bay, in effect upholding the blueprint for a substantial cleanup by 2025. The American Farm Bureau Federation and its allies said the federal Environmental Protection Agency had overstepped its authority in establishing the plan to limit nutrient and sediment runoff across the bay watershed. But a federal appeals court sided with the EPA last year, and with the high court's refusal to take the matter up, that ruling will stand. The decision could strengthen efforts to impose similar water quality improvement plans across the country. Agriculture and business groups say they fear it could set a precedent that gives the EPA extensive power over state and local land use. Scott Dance reports. (Baltimore Sun)

Chemical Safety Bill Could Help Protect Monsanto Against Legal Claims
Facing hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits, the giant biotechnology company Monsanto last year received a legislative gift from the House of Representatives, a one-paragraph addition to a sweeping chemical safety bill that could help shield it from legal liability for a toxic chemical only it made. Monsanto insists it did not ask for the addition. House aides deny it is a gift at all. But the provision would benefit the only manufacturer in the United States of now-banned polychlorinated biphenyls, chemicals known as PCBs, a mainstay of Monsanto sales for decades. The PCB provision is one of several sticking points that negotiators must finesse before Congress can pass a law to revamp the way thousands of chemicals are regulated in the United States. Eric Lipton reports. (NY Times)

Kalama Welcomes Methanol Project After Tacomans Say 'No Thanks'
When Tacoma residents sized up a proposal to build a methanol plant and shipping facility, they saw it mostly as a source of toxic air pollution with a mighty thirst for water and a voracious appetite for electricity. So the Chinese-backed company behind the project said it wanted to pause the environmental review. But that doesn’t mean Northwest Innovation Works is getting out of the business of trying to produce and ship methanol in the Northwest. The company also wants to build smaller methanol production facilities at the Port of St. Helens, near Clatskanie, Oregon, and at Washington’s Port of Kalama on the Columbia River. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

County considers fees for septic system owners
King County may begin charging a fee to homeowners with septic systems in an effort to fund an oversight program and improve water quality in Puget Sound. The King County Board of Health passed a resolution last month that calls for the county to collaborate with local jurisdictions on identifying all septic systems in King County and to seek funding to oversee all of the systems. A proposal that would establish fees to fund that oversight is expected this summer, according to Katherine Cortes, a senior legislative analyst with the King County Council. Susan Reimer reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Point Wells approval process keeps getting slower
Decisions on the proposed Point Wells condominium project along Puget Sound in southwest Snohomish County still are years away. An environmental impact statement for the project now is years behind schedule, while target dates for the final environmental impact statement keep moving further into the future. Snohomish County planners expect to have a draft environmental impact statement ready this spring. County Planner Ryan Countryman says that he expects to have it in June. Developer BRSE has proposed building 3,081 condominium units along with 125,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the industrial site, a site that is within the urban growth area of the Town of Woodway. Evan Smith reports. (Everett Herald)

Steelhead LNG pressing on with Saanich Inlet plans
Liquified natural gas, or LNG, facilities are not new to the province — or even Vancouver Island, says Alex Brigden. Brigden is the project director for the proposed Malahat LNG facility being floated by Steelhead LNG, the company working with the Malahat First Nation on the plan. Brigden and Steelhead LNG CEO Nigel Kuzemko presented information about the project to a small crowd at the Quality Inn Waddling Dog in Central Saanich Feb. 17, hosted by the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Carlie Connolly reports. (Peninsula News Review)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  230 AM PST WED MAR 2 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS
 EVENING  

TODAY
 SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 13 FT AT 12 SECONDS...  BECOMING W 11 FT AT 13 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN LIKELY IN THE  AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING S 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 10 TO 11 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  12 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 8 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11 SECONDS  AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS AFTER  MIDNIGHT.

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