Tuesday, September 6, 2016

9/6 Bye bye birdie, Canada's Pacific strategy, I-732 vote, new big boat, secret rail inspections

Black-bellied plover (Michael Topp/BirdNote)
Juvenile Shorebirds Head South
Like most juvenile shorebirds, this young Black-bellied Plover was abandoned by parents that began their southbound flights from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a few weeks earlier. It will join other young Black-bellied Plovers as they make their way south. This little flock of birds could arrive on the coast of Washington within a few days if they make a direct flight, or within a week or more if they stop at a wetland along the way. Some will stay, but others continue their continent-spanning journey, arriving in coastal Venezuela at the end of December. (BirdNote)

If you like to watch: Watch 118 Bird Species Migrate Across The Americas
[This] mesmerizing map… was created by the scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It shows the migratory patterns of 118 bird species throughout the Americas. Each dot represents the average of location of one bird species for each day of the year. (Brilliant Maps) [Thanks to Punjikasthala.]

Ottawa's new 'Pacific strategy' will combine conservation, economic growth, minister says
The Trudeau government will formalize its long-promised moratorium on crude oil tankers off the northern B.C. coast this fall as part of a broader “coastal strategy” to protect the environment while using West Coast ports to fire up the national economy. The moratorium would cover the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, and would effectively kill Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline proposal to transport 525,000 barrels a day of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands through Kitimat. Ottawa wants to package that announcement with other measures aimed at improving shipping safety and marine spill response, dealing with the growing number of derelict vessels that create pollution and safety problems, and designating new marine protected areas. The focus on environmental and marine management will be coupled with unspecified steps to boost the role of the ports of Prince Rupert and, especially, Vancouver as vital engines of the Canadian economy. (Vancouver Sun)

Carbon tax initiative looks like a nail-biter
In December, Yoram Bauman had a crisis of confidence. The economist and stand-up comedian, having lead a successful effort to collect more than 350,000 signatures to qualify a policy proposal for the November 2016 ballot, wasn’t sure if he should turn them in. “I think it’s fair to say that we’re on the fence,” he wrote in an email to supporters. The ballot measure in question, Initiative 732, would impose a tax on fossil fuels used or sold in Washington — and on the electricity generated from these fuels — in an effort to reduce the state’s carbon emissions. In simple parlance, I-732 is a carbon tax. Bauman ultimately decided to go forward with the initiative. Nine months later, though, it’s the voting public that’s on the fence. Recent polling shows I-732 trailing, or only leading by a slim margin, and many voters still haven’t made up their minds. Clayton Aldern reports. See also: Famed weatherman wades into I-732 debate on race and social justice  Matt Driscoll reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

All American Marine to build 500-passenger tour boat
All American Marine, Inc. (AAM), Bellingham, WA, has signed a contract with Argosy Cruises, Seattle, WA, to build a 125 ft aluminum monohull for operation in Puget Sound's Elliott Bay. The contract with Argosy Cruises will also mark the first keel laid at All American Marine's new shipyard currently under construction in Squalicum Harbor at the north edge of Bellingham Bay. AAM will to open the new state-of-the-art 57,000-sq. ft. boat building facility in January 2017. The Port of Bellingham is developing the new site to further support AAM's ability to take on and pursue larger vessel projects with hulls over 100 ft in length alongside their regular production of mid-sized monohulls and catamarans. (Marine Log)

Secret railroad inspection data frustrates Spokane officials
Railroads appear to keep most data on their bridge inspections secret, even after a federal law allowed local officials to request the information. The Spokesman Review reported that Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart says he requested copies of Union Pacific and BNSF Railway bridge inspections, hoping to learn more about the condition of the infrastructure that supports trains carrying oil and other hazardous cargo. He says he was expecting an engineer’s analysis of the structures, but only got a one-page report for each bridge with little detail. BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace says the bridges are inspected at least twice a year, more than required by the federal government, and that the company will not run trains on any infrastructure it thinks could be unsafe. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  301 AM PDT TUE SEP 6 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NE IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN  THE MORNING...THEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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