Wednesday, June 22, 2016

6/22 Herring, coal lease, oil train leak, spill response, tanker ban, salmon regs, hatcheries, ranching

Eat herring
Northwest Herring Week: One little fish we should be eating a lot more of
Wild herring is an incredible seafood resource: abundant, affordable, sustainable, healthy and super-tasty. Why aren’t we eating more of it? Lexi (she just goes by that) of the Old Ballard Liquor Co. started Northwest Herring Week last year to try to make this little fish a bigger deal. Year two is taking place right now, through Sunday, June 26, with special herring dishes at favorite Seattle spots, including Little Uncle, Revel, Terra Plata, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Old Ballard Liquor Co. (where you can eat herring while drinking local aquavit or vodka — proper!)…. Meanwhile, the movement is not without its complications: Herring stocks in certain areas have declined dramatically (and, alarmingly enough, for reasons unknown), which shows evidence of impacting entire ecosystems. But, researchers say, the best way to address that is to put more herring — lower on the food chain, at a higher price — into the mouths of people, rather than the mouths of farmed salmon, pigs and chicken (often fed herring and other small fish in the form of pellets or fishmeal). Bethany Jean Clement reports. (Seattle Times)

Environmentalists, politicians call for shutdown of coal leases in Seattle
As the coal industry struggles through a historic slump, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday held a meeting in Seattle to take public comment on how to tackle a major review of the public lands leasing of the carbon-rich fossil fuel. More than 150 people signed up to speak, from environmental activists who urged that the coal be kept in the ground to head off a climate disaster, to politicians from Wyoming who said federal leasing generated revenue crucial to the state’s school system. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Hundreds of gallons of diesel likely leak from train traveling in Columbia River Gorge, official says
Hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel have likely leaked from a train that was traveling in the Columbia River Gorge, a Union Pacific spokesman said late Tuesday. The leaked fuel could total 200 to 300 gallons, said Justin Jacobs, a Union Pacific spokesman. It could be as much as 1,500 gallons, he said, noting it's not likely that much fuel leaked. He said there's no indication fuel entered any waterways.  The 92-car train is stopped in the Bridal Veil area, Jacobs said. He thinks the leak came from a locomotive. Jim Ryan reports. (Oregonian)

In Everett, lawmakers take a closer look at train congestion
For all of the publicity oil- and coal-train traffic has been getting recently, the fiery crash outside Mosier, Oregon, earlier this month came as a reminder that no region with railroads is immune from disaster. On Tuesday, members of the Legislature's Joint Transportation Committee met in Everett and were given a good look at many issues cities are dealing with that might not be as camera-ready as an oil-train explosion, but could be just as disruptive. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

West Coast States Meet To Share Spill-Response Efforts
Washington and Oregon environmental regulators said Tuesday that regional coordination and planning exercises such as drills aided in their response to the fiery train derailment along the Columbia River earlier this month. The Northwest officials briefed their counterparts from other states on the June 3 train accident in Mosier, Oregon, at the annual meeting of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force in Seattle. The task force — consisting of members from British Columbia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii — collects and shares data on oil spills, works together on oil spill prevention projects and promotes regulatory safeguards. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Justin Trudeau won't be pinned down on B.C. oil tanker ban timing
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t say when his government will fulfill a campaign promise to “formalize” an oil tanker ban for the northern B.C. coast…. There has been considerable media speculation that there could be a loophole in the ban if Enbridge Inc. moves its proposed terminal for a $7.9-billion oilsands pipeline terminal from Kitimat to Prince Rupert near the Canada-Alaska border. Peter O'Neil reports. (Canadian Press)

Companies, vessel's engineers convicted after waste is dumped at sea
Officials say a jury has found companies that own and operate a Greek shipping vessel and two ship engineers guilty of felonies related to dumping oily waste at sea in October 2015. The U.S. Justice Department said ship operator Angelakos, ship owner Gallia Graeca Shipping Ltd. and engineers Konstantinos Chrysovergis and Tryfon Angelou were convicted Monday. The defendants were convicted of 12 counts of violating the act to prevent pollution from ships, falsifying records in a federal investigation and engaging in a scheme to defraud the United States. (Peninsula Daily News)

Chinook limits will cost millions, Island anglers say
South Vancouver Island anglers are contesting a restriction on chinook fisheries they say will cost millions in lost revenue. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has banned catches of wild chinook larger than 85 centimetres through July 15. Daily limits are two wild or hatchery-marked chinook between 45 and 85 cm. The restriction is the latest in a string of challenges for sport fishermen, including spotty weather and uncertainty over whether chinook fisheries would be open at all, said Chris Bos, president of the South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Public input sought on Nooksack salmon hatcheries
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking public input on the scope of an environmental impact statement for salmon hatchery programs in the Nooksack River watershed. The environmental impact statement, or EIS, will review salmon programs at the Whatcom Creek Hatchery, Kendall Creek Hatchery, Skookum Creek Hatchery, Lummi Bay Hatchery, Samish Hatchery and Glenwood Springs Hatchery, according to a news release. NOAA Fisheries is gathering information to help prepare a draft EIS for 11 proposed salmon hatchery programs in the Nooksack River basin in Puget Sound. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Long outlawed, salmon ranching might make a comeback
A long-prohibited method of salmon farming is gaining support among state fisheries managers. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is dusting off the idea of allowing private companies to raise and release salmon for commercial harvests. Known as salmon ranching, the practice boomed in the Northwest during the 1970s. It went bust in Oregon and was outlawed in Washington but continues to thrive in Alaska. Norway and Japan are world leaders in the business, producing huge quantities of ranched salmon, lobster, cod and other species. As wild salmon runs decline and government hatchery production wanes, some Fish and Wildlife leaders believe the private sector could have a role in boosting the supply of fishable salmon. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

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