Friday, April 1, 2016

4/1 Carbon tax, Colstrip, ice sheet, glass sponge, shoreline plan, Exxon Valdez, bat disease, salmon&whales

Today's words of wisdom
Carbon-tax initiative goes to November ballot
An initiative that would create a carbon tax in Washington state is now headed to the November ballot. Lawmakers adjourned the special legislative session late Tuesday without taking action on Initiative 732, thus sending the statewide ballot measure to voters. I-732 would impose a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of emissions from fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal and natural gas. Meanwhile, it would lower the state sales tax by one point, virtually eliminate business taxes for manufacturers and provide rebates for working families. (Associated Press)

Inslee says he'll sign Colstrip bill with partial veto
Gov. Jay Inslee says he'll approve a bill allowing Washington state's largest utility to set aside money for the eventual shutdown of two coal-fired electricity plants in Montana. Inslee also said Thursday that he'll veto a section of the bill, though his office declined to specify which section. Senate Bill 6248 was originally scheduled for action Thursday. Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith says it was moved to Friday to give staff more time to review it. (Associated Press) See also: WA Utility Denies It's Seeking Fast Track Closure Of Colstrip Units 1 & 2  Jackie Yamanaka reports. (Yellowstone Public Radio)

Climate Model Predicts West Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Melt Rapidly
For half a century, climate scientists have seen the West Antarctic ice sheet, a remnant of the last ice age, as a sword of Damocles hanging over human civilization. The great ice sheet, larger than Mexico, is thought to be potentially vulnerable to disintegration from a relatively small amount of global warming, and capable of raising the sea level by 12 feet or more should it break up. But researchers long assumed the worst effects would take hundreds — if not thousands — of years to occur. Now, new research suggests the disaster scenario could play out much sooner. Continued high emissions of heat-trapping gases could launch a disintegration of the ice sheet within decades, according to a study publishedWednesday, heaving enough water into the ocean to raise the sea level as much as three feet by the end of this century. Justin Gillismarch reports. (NY Times) Also see: A Million-Dollar Question: As Sea Levels Rise, How Can Coastal Communities Adapt?  (KPLU)

Ancient glass sponge reef discovered off B.C. coast
A rare new glass sponge reef as old as the dinosaurs has been discovered near Prince Rupert, off B.C.'s northwest coast, CBC News has learned. The reef in Chatham Sound is twelve kilometres long, making it one of the largest in the world, second only to the prehistoric reefs in nearby Hecate Strait. The rare ecological find was made by Spectra Energy, during an environmental assessment for an underwater LNG pipeline route. Betsy Trumpener and Carolina de Ryk report. (CBC)

Pierce County’s draft shoreline plan praised, denounced at public hearing 
The rift between shellfish industry professionals and a group of Gig Harbor peninsula residents was on display this week as both sides testified about a long-awaited update to Pierce County’s shoreline plan. The plan imposes regulations over more than 1,000 miles of waterfront and associated animal habitat. Brynn Grimlely reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Shoreline owners are on the front lines of ecosystem protection
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "Waterfront property owners are a special class of people, and I mean that in a good way. When it comes to sensitive shoreline habitat, they are the front lines of protection. When storms cause property damage, they see more than their share — and they pay handsomely for the privilege in both the cost of property and taxes…."

10 Photos Tell the Story of the Exxon Valdez
Before 2010, when the United States was fixated on a gushing oil well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, most Americans could probably only name one spill: when the tanker Exxon Valdez released 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989. Here NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration has gathered 10 photos that help tell the story of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and its impacts, not only on the environment but also on science, policy, spill response, school kids, and even board games. It has become a touchstone event in many ways, one to be learned from even decades after the fact. (Marine Executive)

West’s first case of devastating fungus found in bat near North Bend
Scientists have detected the first known case of white-nose syndrome in a bat in Washington — a bleak revelation that could spell doom for populations of the flying mammals in this state and beyond. The deadly fungus — the first detection of the disease west of the Rockies — was discovered in a little brown bat found by hikers along an undisclosed trail near North Bend on March 11. Lewis Kamb reports. (Seattle Times)

Wild Fish Group Sues Over Impacts Of Northwest Hatcheries
The Wild Fish Conservancy filed a lawsuit Thursday that accuses two federal agencies of violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider the impacts of Columbia River Basin hatcheries on threatened and endangered wild fish and their habitat. The group says the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Department of Commerce should be considering the negative impacts of hatcheries on wild fish before it spends hatchery program funding authorized under a federal law known as the Mitchell Act. The filing argues the federal agencies are legally obligated to ensure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize threatened and endangered species of salmon, steelhead or bull trout, but they’re not doing the proper reviews to assess the damage hatcheries could be causing to wild fish. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Hungry killer whales waiting for Columbia River salmon
Some say it’s too late to turn this march toward extinction around. If you know these fish and these whales, like we do, then you understand that they are two of nature’s most resourceful species. We must not give up on them now. Deborah A. Giles and Giulia Good Stefani opine. (Seattle Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI APR 1 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG IN THE MORNING.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 13 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG AND PATCHY DRIZZLE AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SAT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG  AND PATCHY DRIZZLE IN THE MORNING.

SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

SUN
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT  12 SECONDS.

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