Monday, June 20, 2016

6/20 BC pipe, oil train, LNG, 'Richmond,' Robert Paine, Cowichan, snails, Japanese Gulch

Giant spider crabs (Sheree Marris/BBC)
Giant crab horde gathers in Australia
A horde of giant spider crabs has amassed in waters near the Australian city of Melbourne. Hundreds of thousands of the crabs migrate to Australia's southern shores each year as ocean waters cool. Australian aquatic scientist Sheree Marris filmed an enormous gathering of the crustaceans in Port Phillip Bay. (BBC)

Environmental groups launch court challenge of Trans Mountain recommendation
A pair of environmental groups are asking the courts to quash a recommendation that the federal government allow the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to go ahead. Lawyers for the Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation say they have filed a judicial review of the National Energy Board's recommendation, arguing that it is unlawful. They say the NEB did not take into account the impact the $6.8-billion project would have on Southern Resident killer whales and their habitat. (Canadian Press)

Vancouver Protest Marks Continued Resistance To Northwest Oil Projects
[Vancouver WA] Police arrested 21 people who refused to vacate the tracks as they protested oil train activity in the Pacific Northwest. This comes after a Union Pacific train carrying Bakken crude derailed in Mosier, Oregon, in early June, spilling about 42,000 gallons of oil. Some of that oil ended up in the Columbia River. Bradley Parks reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

B.C. indigenous leaders bring case against LNG terminal to Ottawa
Two B.C. First Nations leaders fighting a proposal to export liquefied natural gas from Lelu Island say Ottawa needs to recognize the hereditary rights of the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams. Donnie Wesley and Ken Lawson say Pacific NorthWest LNG’s plan to build an $11.4-billion terminal on Lelu Island poses a threat to juvenile salmon habitat. The two men are hereditary leaders of the Gitwilgyoots, one of nine allied tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams in northwestern British Columbia. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

The First People of 'Richmond'
There was no thudding of trucks on bridge decks, roaring of airplanes, sounding of ship horns, screeching of wheels. The sounds of the city that now echo over the Salish Sea did not persist for the ancestral Coast Salish people, who lived alongside and in what is now known as Richmond. In fact, Richmond didn’t even exist when the Aboriginals first planted roots in the region. “We’ve been welcoming people to this area before there was land to stand on,” explained Musqueam councillor Morgan Guerin, speaking from his home on the Musqueam reserve in South Vancouver, a stone’s throw from Richmond. The Musqueam are some of the first people of this land, now known as Richmond, and this Saturday marks National Aboriginal Day, a day for Aboriginal communities across Canada, including here in Richmond, to celebrate their culture. Graeme Wood reports. (Richmond News)

City of Mukilteo plans to improve Japanese Gulch trails
Two years ago, the city celebrated a milestone. Some 140 acres of land with mature forest and wetlands, home to animals such as pileated woodpeckers, herons and mountain beavers, had been saved as a park. The land stretches from 76th Street downhill to Puget Sound.Saving the property was the first step. The next was figuring out what to do with it. A document now details plans for the land, which include adding signs, picnic areas, restrooms, upgrading trails, and expanding the community garden.People can give their opinions on the plan during a public hearing scheduled during Monday's City Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

Robert Paine, UW ecologist who identified ‘keystone species,’ dies at 83
Robert Paine, a groundbreaking, hands-on ecologist who found that removing what he called a “keystone species” from an environment could profoundly affect the fortunes of neighboring species, died Monday in Seattle. He was 83…. Dr. Paine demonstrated in his field work that certain species exert a disproportionate impact on their ecosystems and that their elimination — as a result of climate change, pollution or some other natural or man-made factors — can produce unexpected and far-reaching consequences for the local environment. A teacher and researcher at the University of Washington for 36 years, Dr. Paine propounded his keystone theory in 1966 after studying ochre starfish, or sea stars, as they preyed on the mussel population along the rocky shore of Makah Bay, on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. After he pried the starfish from rocks with a crowbar and hurled them into the sea, the mussels proliferated along the shore, displacing algae and limpets. He found a similar chain reaction — or “trophic cascade,” as he called it — when sea otters vanished or were removed from an environment because of fur trading, pollution or marine predators. With the otters gone, sea urchins, which the otters had preyed upon, were free to gobble up a larger share of kelp, food that would otherwise have sustained fish and crabs. Sam Roberts reports. (NY Times)

Chevron looks to unload more Western Canada assets to bolster cash reserves
Chevron Canada is testing the waters for a possible sale of its non-core refining and marketing assets in Western Canada, including its refinery in Burnaby, B.C. A company spokesman said Friday that Chevron has asked for expressions of interest on the company's 57,000-barrel-a-day refinery as well as its marketing assets, but that no final decision has been made to sell. The request for interest does not cover Chevron's lubricants business, its stake in the Kitimat LNG project, or upstream producing assets, the spokesman said. (Canadian Press)

Tacomans Say Puget Sound Energy Is Using A Poll To Try To Sway Opinion About LNG Project
After working to defeat a plan for a giant methanol plant, the grassroots environmental group RedLine Tacoma has turned a critical eye to another big energy project, Puget Sound Energy's plan to build a facility at the Port of Tacoma to store liquefied natural gas and sell it as a marine fuel. Now, people affiliated with RedLine say they’ve received a phone poll that they think is aimed at persuading them to soften their views…. PSE spokesman Grant Ringel said the purpose of the poll is not to change people’s minds but instead to find out what customers think of the project. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Cowichan part of new look at the future of our waters
A new research project at the University of Victoria looks at indigenous and colonial watershed stewardship in three communities where water is scarce, including the Cowichan Valley. “The overarching purpose is to support responsible stewardship in the province,” said Val Napoleon, director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit. Napoleon and law faculty colleague Deborah Curran received $350,000 from the federal government and Real Estate Foundation of B.C. for the three-year project. They will look at three regions of B.C. with ongoing water issues: the Similkameen, Nemiah and Cowichan valleys. In each community, they plan to look at indigenous and non-indigenous laws and practices regarding water, then bring those together to plan for future stewardship. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)

The slowest invasion: Non-native snails take over the Northwest
Whether you think snails are good looking or good for nothing (or good eating), one fact seems undeniable: the little critters are everywhere this year. And they're hungry…. The bane of many a Northwest garden, it's hard to say definitively where the snails came from in such numbers, and even how many different kinds there are. Most of the land snails, and their shell-less cousins the slugs, aren't native to the Pacific Northwest. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

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