Wednesday, January 18, 2017

1/18 KM suit, DAPL, oil jobs, ESA, Growlers, Colstrip, salt runoff, norovirus, fish season, ferry chief

Ruby sea dragon Phyllopteryx dewysea (Zoe Della Vedova)
Newly discovered ruby sea dragon seen alive in wild for 1st time
Australian researchers have observed two specimens of a rare sea dragon that's never before been seen alive. Nicole Mortillaro reports. (CBC)

'It is our Standing Rock:' First Nations announce legal actions against feds, Kinder Morgan
Three First Nations have announced they're taking legal action challenging the federal government's approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Representatives from the Coldwater Indian Band near Merritt, along with the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nation held a joint news conference in Vancouver. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC) See also: B.C.-Kinder Morgan revenue sharing deal tears Canada’s national fabric  (Canadian Press)

Dakota Access company seeks to block pipeline study
The company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline wants a federal judge to block the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from launching a full environmental study of the $3.8 billion pipeline’s disputed crossing of a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Tuesday to stop the Corps from publishing a notice in the Federal Register announcing the study. Boasberg scheduled a hearing for Wednesday. ETP wants any further study put on hold until Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., rules on whether ETP already has the necessary permission to lay pipe under Lake Oahe — the reservoir that’s the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. (Associated Press)

Oil-spill response upgrades mean jobs
The increased oil-spill response capabilities that are written into all the conditional approvals of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion make some people blanch, since they suggest catastrophe in the offing. But they also suggest a significant marine-employment boom on the coast. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed for big upgrades in marine response throughout the Salish Sea, and a lot of it requires people to run and maintain the new systems. Les Leyne writes. (Times Colonist)

GOP targets landmark Endangered Species Act for big changes
In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government’s most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities. Over the past eight years, GOP lawmakers sponsored dozens of measures aimed at curtailing the landmark law or putting species such as gray wolves and sage grouse out of its reach. Almost all were blocked by Democrats and the White House or lawsuits from environmentalists. Now, with the ascension of President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans see an opportunity to advance broad changes to a law they contend has been exploited by wildlife advocates to block economic development. (Associated Press) See also: Federal Report: Environmental Safeguards Provide Billions In Economic Benefits  Farron Cousins reports. (Desmog)

Growler Shock
Reader Tony Angell commented on the article More public comment allowed on Growler jets at Whidbey 
"The idea that the existing levels of Growler jet activity will be increased without fully assessing the current level of human and general environmental impact is absurd.  For one thing a consideration of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the San Juan Islands seeking the region's peace and tranquility is a start.  Then too the extent to which the ear shattering and physically disturbing flight paths of these machines over protected San Juan Conservation Areas impacts the breeding and resident wild life there,  begs to be evaluated.  What are the consequences to our economy when visiting folks, both regional and from throughout the world, seeking an experience with northwest nature,  are advised to go elsewhere because of the extreme and frightening decibel levels of jet engines overhead.  Having experienced these Growler intrusions over the years I can tell you my response as an artist and  island land owner, is to run for cover. May I suggest the Salish Sea News include an email or land based mailing address wherein we can voice our objections to this activity and recommendations that it be conducted outside of these last remaining sacred areas of the northwest's natural heritage." To comment, go to: Draft EIS comment 

Puget Sound Energy may pull plug early on aging, polluting Montana coal plants
Puget Sound Energy is giving out signs it may accelerate the shutdown of two 40-year-old, polluting, coal-fired Montana power plants as the Bellevue-based utility moves to replace coal with natural gas. The company filed a rate case Tuesday with the Washington Utilities Commission, saying that its Colstrip 1 and 2 plants in Montana will be offline by the announced date of 2022 but could shut down as soon as 2018 if its co-owner, Riverstone Holdings, agrees. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Road salt runoff has conservationist worried about salmon
Sand and salt were used on Metro Vancouver's roads in exceptional quantities this year and now much of that material is finding its way into local waterways. John Templeton, chair of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, says all that road salt could hurt local salmon. (CBC)

Norovirus threatens health of oyster industry, farmer says
A shellfish farmer expects his industry to take a financial hit, if an outbreak of norovirus linked to raw oysters continues. Steve Pocock, who operates Sawmill Bay Shellfish on Read Island, says the impact on business has been small since the outbreak was first reported in early December. But sales will fall following last week's health warning for consumers to cook oysters thoroughly, he said. About 80 per cent of B.C. oysters are sold for raw consumption, Pocock said. Deborah Wilson reports. (CBC)

Columbia River salmon fishing reform clears one hurdle, and Oregon decides Friday
Some of the most far-reaching sport and commercial salmon fishing reforms were approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife commission to begin this season along the Lower Columbia River. The nine-member state Fish and Wildlife commission panel – a citizen panel appointed by the governor – voted 7-2 in favor of the policy that includes a four-year transition period with full implementation planned for 2017 with time for modifications. While given the green light by Washington it still needs approval by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife commission, and there is buzz spreading around that they might not be riding on the same path as Washington. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Washington State Ferries gets new director
Washington State Ferries has announced its new director. Amy Scarton will replace Lynne Griffith, who is retiring Jan., 31, state Transportation Secretary Roger Millar said Tuesday. Scarton currently serves as the Transportation Department's assistant secretary for community and economic development. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PST WED JAN 18 2017  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 1 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING S 20 TO 30 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 11 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  13 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  12 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS AFTER  MIDNIGHT.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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