Wednesday, April 13, 2016

4/13 #SSEC16, Shell, dying reefs, plastics, Kinder Morgan, oil terminal, neonics, crab fine

Spotted Towhee (Pat Gaines/BirdNote)
Rachel Carson and Silent Spring
Among the most welcome features of spring is the renewal of bird song. Can you imagine a spring without the voices of birds? The silence would -- as they say -- be deafening, the absence of their songs like the loss of one of our primary senses. Rachel Carson's 1962 book, Silent Spring, helped found the modern environmental movement. When you hear the birds (like this Spotted Towhee or its cousin, the Eastern Towhee) sing this spring, remember Rachel Carson, and be grateful. (BirdNote)

2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference
Watch for updates and stories about the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Salish Sea Currents. We are sending ten science writers to Vancouver to cover key stories—from the fascinating to the decision-critical—emerging from the more than 450 talks scheduled for this week's conference. These stories will appear on the pages of the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound over the next several months, but if you want a sense of what is happening during the week, our writers and others will be posting to Twitter using the hashtag #SSEC16. You'll also be able to identify us by the signature #EoPS. (UW Puget Sound Institute)

Clean Air agency alleges multiple failures by Shell chemical release
Shell Puget Sound Refinery allegedly took shortcuts in shutting down and decontaminating its east flare system, leading to the release of chemicals on Feb. 20, 2015, that affected hundreds of people, according to a press release Tuesday from Northwest Clean Air Agency. “This incident sickened many people in the community, and people felt unsafe in their homes and at work,” said Mark Asmundson, Northwest Clean Air executive director. NWCAA mailed a notice of violation to the Shell refinery April 8. Shell has 30 days to respond to the allegations before the agency can begin to consider what the penalty will be. (Anacortes American)

A Radical Attempt to Save the Reefs
What will it take to save the world’s reefs and forests? Conservation-minded researchers are trying to “assist” evolution in order to produce hardier coral and tougher trees. Elizabeth Kolbert reports. (The New Yorker) See also: Warming waters bring coral bleaching across the globe  (World Wildlife Fund Global)

Plastics dominate debris washing up on state’s coastal beaches 
Several times each week, Russ Lewis and a few friends pick up litter that washes ashore on a 7-mile stretch of ocean shoreline, and most of it is plastics of one kind of another. Some of the stuff, such as the strapping akin to what Northwest crabbers use to wrap around bait — most likely comes from close by. Other items, such as a mannequin head with Japanese writing — are presumed to be part of the detritus from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami that continues to wash ashore in the Pacific Northwest…. Plastics are one of the most ubiquitous products of the petrochemical industry. One study estimates the oceans receive nearly 6 million to almost 13 million metric tons of plastics each year. This debris takes a huge toll on birds, fish, marine mammals and other sea life, either through entanglement or ingestion of degraded bits and pieces. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Tsleil-Waututh has message for Trudeau: no to Trans Mountain project
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation said Tuesday they have no intention of backing down in the face of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recently revealed support for Kinder Morgan’s $5.4-billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. The National Post reported Monday that the prime minister has told his senior lieutenants to draw up plans to make the Energy East pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion a reality. But during last fall’s election campaign, Trudeau had promised First Nations more say in natural resource development. First Nations in B.C. have also become emboldened in pushing land rights after multiple court wins, including a historic Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2014 that granted the Tsilqhot’in title to 1,740 square kilometres of traditional territory in the Interior. The ruling pushed consultation obligations for the government to a higher threshold. Gordon Hoekstra  reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver Port Hears From Public On Oil Terminal Lease
Commissioners at the Port of Vancouver are weighing whether or not to breathe new life into what could be the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal. The project’s backers, oil company Tesoro Corp. and logistics firm Savage Industries, have asked the port to extend the terms of their lease by two years. Port leaders slogged through hours of public testimony Tuesday, hearing from tribal officials, business interests, community members, elected officials and medical professionals, each with their own take on whether the port should grant the Vancouver Energy Project’s request. Conrad Wilson reports. (OPB)

Hundreds of baby dolphin deaths tied to BP’s Gulf oil spill
Researchers looking into the largest dolphin and whale die-off on record in the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 BP oil spill have tied a spike in the number of dead babies and stillbirths to the massive spill. Since the spill, more than 1,400 dolphins and whales have been found dead in the northern Gulf of Mexico, the most ever documented. Last year, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that dead adults found in areas hardest hit by the oil between 2010 and 2012 suffered damage to their adrenal glands or had bacterial pneumonia. Such ailments have been previously documented in animals exposed to oil. Jenny Staletovich reports. (Miami Herald)

Coal slump sends mining giant Peabody Energy into bankruptcy
U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy Corp. filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, the most powerful convulsion yet in an industry that's enduring the worst slump in decades. The company voluntarily filed petitions under Chapter 11 for the majority of its U.S. entities in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, according to a statement dated April 13. All of Peabody's mines and offices are continuing to operate in the ordinary course of business and are expected to continue doing so for the duration of the process, it said. Tiffany Kary and Tim Loh report. (Bloomberg)

Home And Garden Giant Ditches Class Of Pesticides That May Harm Bees
A leading brand of home and garden pest-control products says it will stop using a class of pesticides linked to the decline of bees. Ortho, part of the Miracle-Gro family, says the decision to drop the use of the chemicals — called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short — comes after considering the range of possible threats to bees and other pollinators. "While agencies in the U.S. are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it's time for Ortho to move on," says Tim Martin, the general manager of the Ortho Brand. Allison Aubrey reports. (NPR)

Illegal crab fishermen fined $3,300 for North Vancouver haul
Fresh crab can be expensive, but two Vancouver men have paid a very high price for the delicacy, and they never even got to taste their catch. North Vancouver RCMP say the men were fishing for crab off the pier of Cates Park in North Vancouver in early January when their catch was seized and they were charged with several violations. The pair have now been fined $3,300 for offences including illegal possession of crabs, having undersized Dungeness crabs, possessing female crabs and using more than two crab traps. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  224 AM PDT WED APR 13 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 AFTERNOON  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 12 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE  MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN.

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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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