Tuesday, June 7, 2016

6/7 Basking shark, Cherry Pt. permit, oil train wreck, White Rock shore, grizzly bear, eDNA

Basking shark (National Geographic)
Sighting of rare giant basking shark in B.C. thrills scientists
Basking shark, Canada's largest fish, used to be bountiful until we tried to wipe them out. Lisa Johnson reports. CBC)

Coal export terminal suffers second big setback: State permit is denied
The controversial proposed Gateway Pacific coal expert terminal suffered its latest body blow on Monday with denial of its application for an aquatic land lease at the Cherry Point site north of Bellingham. The denial follows and stems from rejection of the terminal last month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which found that the terminal would impact treaty fishing rights of the Lummi Nation. Because the Corps denied a permit, and the project must have "all necessary federal permits,"  the state Department of Natural Resources "cannot approve the lease application," State Land Commissioner Peter Goldmark wrote to project developers. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Anger as trains resume after Oregon derailment, fire
Local politicians and residents reacted with shock and anger Monday as Union Pacific began running trains through this tiny Columbia River Gorge town just three days after a fiery derailment forced residents to evacuate and water and sewage systems to shut down. Residents shot video from an overpass of trains sliding past crumpled and burnt oil tankers, some of them still dripping oil onto the tracks. The town’s mayor and fire chief expressed deep concern about the trains running again before a full investigation was complete and before the damaged tankers were cleared. Trains began running Sunday through the town of about 400 people carrying mixed goods – but no crude oil. Gillian Flaccus and Phuong Le report. (Associated Press) See also: Washington Ecology Director Says Region 'Falling Short' On Oil Spill Response  Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network) And also: Fiery wreck in Oregon highlights risks of oil trains in cities  Joe Copeland reports. (Crosscut)

Worst-case scenario: Vancouver oil disaster could cost $6 billion
A catastrophic oil train derailment in the Vancouver area could cause roughly $5 billion to $6 billion in damage, and there isn’t insurance commercially available to cover it, according to expert testimony submitted in opposition to the Vancouver Energy oil terminal to the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. Insurance expert Robert J. Blackburn was hired by the city of Vancouver to consider the financial risks and whether insurance or another financial tool was available to address the risks associated with moving Bakken crude-by-rail through town. Damien Pesanti reports. (Columbian)

Critics make waves over White Rock's $30-million seaside plan
White Rock officials are promoting a pricey $30-million plan to remake the city’s waterfront with a seaside walkway and amenities they hope will draw visitors from around Metro Vancouver and fill the city’s bars and restaurants. Concept drawings show a 10-metre-high whale sculpture, a 180-metre seaside walkway and a park covering 6,500 square metres of land reclaimed from the ocean at a cost of $15 million. There is also a marina expansion pegged at $850,000; $1 million for a memorial park; $2 million worth of seabed dredging; $300,000 for marine buoys; and $5.5 million for a waterfront parkade. But critics say the city of just 20,000 can’t afford “vanity” expenditures that add up to almost as much as the city’s $35-million annual budget. To put the expenditures into perspective, it would be like Vancouver spending $1 billion on Stanley Park over five years. Kent Spencer reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Bring grizzly bears back to the North Cascades, survey finds
Saving grizzly bears in the North Cascades is widely supported among Washington state voters, according to survey results released Monday, June 6. That includes voters, like those in Whatcom County, who live around the ecosystem. California-based Tulchin Research conducted the survey May 19-22 of 600 registered voters in six different parts of the state, including east and west of the Cascades, where the mountain range seems to separate the state politically. It was done for Friends of the North Cascades Grizzly, a new coalition that wanted to gauge people’s receptivity and feelings about wild places and grizzly bears. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Poll shows support for grizzly bear recovery in North Cascades  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ocean ‘dandruff’ a new tool for marine biologists
Police officers solve crimes with it. Doctors use it to predict the risk of certain cancers. Dog lovers find out the breeds of their mutts with it. Now, scientists are using DNA to identify fish and other marine creatures by scrutinizing the DNA flecks they leave in their wake. The new technique — the analysis of genetic material in the environment, dubbed eDNA — promises to help scientists keep better track of rare or endangered marine species. Sampling for eDNA can be as simple as dipping a jar into the ocean. So it’s often safer, faster and cheaper than mounting a dive expedition, the current gold standard for counting the number of ocean creatures in a given area, experts say. Emily Benson reports. (Mercury News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT TUE JUN 7 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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