Monday, March 7, 2016

3/7 Safe Salish, oil risks, coal-plant shutdown, BC hydro, barge invasion, Padden sewage, water storage, sea critters

(PHOTO: Friends of the San Juans)
Watch, Then Act: Safe Passage in the Salish Sea
Watch the new video and sign the petition to Washington and British Columbia representatives, including President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau who will meet March 10th to discuss potential transboundary projects, to designate the Salish Sea a "Particularly Sensitive Sea Area."

Oil-transport risks on Columbia River studied
A state effort is underway to evaluate risks associated with transporting oil on the Columbia River. The number of vessels carrying oil on the river currently is minimal. But the state has learned from a dramatic spike in crude-by-rail — zero gallons in 2011 to more than 700 million in 2013 — that it’s best to be prepared….  The state’s ecology department recently hired Det Norske Vertias Inc. to work with them to create a safety risk assessment for potential spills on the Columbia River. Lauren Dake reports. (Columbian)

Legislature OKs bill on funding Montana coal-plant shutdown
Puget Sound Energy, Washington state’s largest utility, would be able to create a fund to pay for the eventual shutdown of two coal-powered electricity plants in Montana under a bill approved by the Legislature on Friday. Senate Bill 6248 sailed through the House on a 92-5 vote after the Senate easily passed it in February. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk, where it can be signed into law. The bill would let Puget Sound Energy put money aside to cover future decommissioning and remediation costs of the power plants in Colstrip, Montana, if they’re closed after 2023. The Colstrip Power Plant has four units, and the utility owns half of the older Colstrip Units 1 and 2. Walker Orenstein reports. (Associated Press)

Alberta won't buy B.C. hydro-electricity 'if we can't get our resources to market'
Alberta's energy minister is putting the B.C. government on notice — its next-door neighbour won't be in the market for more hydro-electricity until Alberta has an easier time getting its petroleum products to market In a written statement Friday, Marg McCuaig-Boyd says while Alberta would consider increased connectivity with B.C. as the province looks to boost its use of cleaner power, the interests of Alberta's economy will come first…. In January, B.C. Premier Christie Clark came out against the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. But at the same time, the B.C. leader says she wants to sell more electricity to the Alberta grid. (CBC)

Were those wayward barges cover for an invasion?
Jack Knox writes: "I toddled down to Clover Point, saw the barge on the beach, leapt to the logical conclusion: the Americans had landed. It was either A) the first wave of refugees fleeing the Trumpism that has gripped ’Merica, or B) our neighbours had reached the breaking point over Victoria’s lack of sewage treatment, decided to go D-Day on us. I initially tilted toward the former option, seeing as the Google search “how to move to Canada” spiked over 1,000 per cent after Trump’s triumphs on Super Tuesday. But then I realized that no, given the choice between flight or fight, Americans lean toward the latter. So what we saw off Dallas Road this week wasn’t a refugee ship like the four Fujianese ones that freaked out Vancouver Islanders in 1999, or the two Sri Lankan rustbuckets that showed up off our shores six years ago, but a Saving Private Ryan-type landing craft. What we call Clover Point, they call Omaha Beach…." (Times Colonist)

A week after sewage spill, it’s safe to go back into Padden Creek
Padden Creek has been reopened because tests show bacteria levels have returned to normal a week after as much as 300,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the water. The creek had been closed from 17th Street down to Padden Estuary because of the spill, which occurred during work on a sewer main project in the Happy Valley Neighborhood. The spill started Feb. 23 and was halted Feb. 25. The city reopened the creek Friday, March 4. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Specialized bacteria can remove rogue drugs during sewage treatment
Concerns are growing about medications and person-care products that pass through sewage-treatment plants and into Puget Sound, where the chemicals can alter the physiology and behavior of fish and other organisms. Almost everywhere scientists have looked, they have found drugs that people have either flushed down the drain or passed through their bodies. Either way, many active pharmaceutical compounds are ending up in the sewage at low levels. Conventional sewage-treatment plants can break down up to 90 percent or more of some compounds, but others pass through unaltered. Now, researchers are working on a process that would use specialized bacteria to break down pharmaceutical compounds at existing sewage-treatment plants. The idea, developed by researchers at the University of Washington, is ready for a limited pilot project at one of the treatment plants in the Puget Sound region. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

State House passes bill authorizing study of water storage in Skagit River basin
Lawmakers have adopted legislation directing state agencies to work with local partners to study the use of water storage as a way to recharge the Skagit River basin so that users of permit-exempt wells could access water year-round. Senate Bill 6589, introduced by Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, was passed Friday by the state House of Representatives. It was approved unanimously by the Senate in February. The bill must be signed by Gov. Jay Inslee before it becomes law. (Skagit Valley Herald)

With Seattle Aquarium’s help, stranded sea turtle makes dramatic comeback
When Tucker the Turtle was found stranded and starving on an Oregon beach last December, the aquarium took him in. He’s making good progress and should be ready to return to the wild soon. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Colorful new octopus joins Feiro Marine Life Center after Ursula’s release
Feiro Marine Life Center has a new star to welcome visitors. A juvenile giant Pacific octopus has replaced Ursula, an octopus released Jan. 11 in Freshwater Bay, in the octopus tank at the marine life center at 315 N. Lincoln St., on City Pier. Although it could grow to weigh 110 pounds in its short life of — at most — five years, the center’s new octopus, thought to be younger than 2 years old, weighs only 3 or 4 pounds and is about the size of a grapefruit. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Scientists Discover 'Remarkable Little Octopod,' Possibly New Species
In the ocean near Hawaii, more than 2 1/2 miles underwater, scientists have discovered a small, delicate-looking and ghostlike little octopod — possibly a new species. The animal was discovered by Deep Discoverer, a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV — picture a small, unmanned submarine equipped with cameras and a robotic arm — that was working to collect geological samples. Camila Domonoske reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  249 AM PST MON MAR 7 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH
 TUESDAY MORNING  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 13 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 12 FT  AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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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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