Thursday, June 9, 2016

6/9 Murres, oil train, pipeline, Vic sewer, Lolita ESA, xylene, Site C

Common murres (Meghan Riley/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Common Murres - Nature's Laugh Track
If you like to listen: The raucous laughter of the Common Murre rings out from a nesting colony, high on a narrow ledge on a sea cliff. Precarious as their nest site is, Common Murres nest by the thousands along the Pacific Coast, perhaps millions north along the Bering Sea. Their eggs are pointed at one end and blunt at the other, so they spin on the ledge rather than tumbling into the sea. Common Murres stand nearly a foot and a half tall. With legs set far back on their bodies, they look much like the northwestern equivalent of penguins of the Southern Hemisphere. (BirdNote)

Oil train derailment and fire send Cantwell on Foxx hunt for tighter safety 
The Columbia River Gorge oil train derailment and fire should light a fire under the U.S. Department of Transportation to get moving to assure the safety of volatile cargoes, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., argued Wednesday. "We can't have this product shipping through tunnels in Seattle with our light rail transportation system, we can't have it next to hotels in Vancouver, and we can't have it going through neighborhoods of thousands of people in Spokane," Cantwell told U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Inslee Presses Railroad Chiefs on Oil Train Safety  Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network/KPLU)

Should Washington ditch trains in favor of an oil pipeline? One state senator thinks so.
…. Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner said because of safety concerns, the state should consider an east-west oil pipeline and do away with train shipments. He said pipelines are safer than oil trains. Baumgartner said oil can sometimes be a dangerous commodity, especially when it’s sent through highly populated cities by train. "It would make more sense to look at going straight across the northern, sparsely populated part of the state, potentially following the route already laid out by our electricity/transmission lines,” by building an oil pipeline, he said. Last year Baumgartner introduced a bill seeking a pipeline study. It didn't get traction, but he hopes to introduce it again. Paige Browning reports. (KUOW)

Political interference in sewage project ‘is not helpful’: Desjardins
Capital Regional District chairwoman Barb Desjardins admonished board members Wednesday, telling them not to interfere with the new arm’s-length process put in place to guide the region to a sewage treatment solution. Referring to “recent media on the core sewage treatment project and our role as CRD board directors,” Desjardins reminded directors that over the past month — at the urging of the province — an independent board has been appointed to develop a business plan for core-area sewage treatment, and to help retain funding from the provincial and the federal governments. The panel’s membership, expected to be finalized this week, has not been announced. People on the panel will be “the highest calibre,” Desjardins said. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Endangered Species Act can’t help Lolita, judge says in legal ruling
When Lolita, a female orca held captive since 1970, was listed among the endangered population of Southern Resident killer whales, advocates for Lolita’s release were given new hope. Perhaps the listing would help Lolita obtain a ticket out of Miami Seaquarium, where she has lived since the age of 5. But a U.S. district judge ruled last week that the Endangered Species Act could not help her. While the federal law prohibits human conduct likely to “gravely threaten the life of a member of a protected species,” it cannot be used to improve her living conditions, according to the ruling (PDF 3.3 mb) by Judge Ursula Ungaro in the Southern District of Florida…. Over the objections of attorneys for Miami Seaquarium, the judge said the plaintiffs have a right to sue the aquarium, but Lolita’s care and well-being falls under a different law: the Animal Welfare Act. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Xylene project divides community
The Tesoro Anacortes Refinery’s proposed Clean Products Upgrade Project is reviving an old debate about the environment and the economy. Opinions about the project tend to be split between support for its economic benefits and concern about its environmental impacts. Tesoro has proposed a series of changes at the Anacortes refinery, including expanding its ability to extract xylene, a component of crude oil that is used to make a variety of plastic materials. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

BC Hydro rejects accusations of air monitoring violations
BC Hydro is rejecting accusations that Site C dam construction is breaking federal rules for monitoring air quality. In a letter dated May 26, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency warned BC Hydro it could face a hefty fine after the agency claims an April inspection found Hydro was not collecting air quality data. In particular, the letter said, information was not being collected on total suspended particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway says that is not true, and argues inspectors are demanding specific data not required by federal rules. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  242 AM PDT THU JUN 9 2016  

TODAY
 NW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT  9 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING S TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.

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