Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1/24 Trump wiki, EPA takeover, Skagit water, green priorities, Nisqually Reach, Site C, whale ban

(PHOTO: Washington Native Plant Society)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia/Berberis nervosa)
Common in second-growth, closed-canopy Douglas-fir forests. The tart, purple berries were eaten but not in quantity. Often mixed with salal or other sweeter fruit. Used today for jelly and some winemaking. The shredded bark of the stems and roots was used to make a bright yellow dye for blanket materials. The bark and berries were also used medicinally for liver, gall bladder and eye problems. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Local techies launch fact-focused Trump wiki site
Jan Miksovsky was worried about how citizens will be able to keep up with the Donald Trump administration. So, in a bout of entrepreneurial spirit, he helped build a tool to address the matter. The longtime Seattle software engineer, who spent 16 years at Microsoft before founding two Seattle startups, helped gather the crew of developers and writers behind Presterity.org, a web portal pitched as a Wikipedia-like chronicle of the Trump administration. The aim isn’t nonpartisan. “We’d like to create what you might call a reference desk for people to try to resist the damages of the Trump administration,” Miksovsky said.  Matt Day reports. (Seattle Times) See also: With no evidence, Trump claims that up to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote  Michael D. Shear and Emmarie Huetteman report. (NY Times)

Benton, Ericksen part of Trump's political "beachhead" takeover team at EPA 
The Trump administration's political "beachhead team" taking over at the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration is led in part by two pro-development, pro-oil politicians from Washington, State Sen. Doug Ericksen and ex-Sen. Don Benton, E & E News reported Monday. The report, confirmed by SeattlePI.com, indicates that Benton and Ericksen will be rewarded for outspoken support of Donald Trump in last year's campaign. The Republican candidate spoke to a Lynden crowd in Ericksen's district last May and had fulsome praise for the lawmaker. Benton was later warm-up act for Trump at an August rally at Xfinity Arena in Everett. The "beachhead teams" as noted by E & E News, are groups of campaign supporters and aides who temporarily move in on federal agencies, but may later be invited to stay on.  The director of EPA's Region X, headquartered in Seattle, is a major federal appointment in the region. Ericksen is best known for introducing legislation to create a new felony crime of "economic terrorism" that would allow prosecution of demonstrators who nonviolently block transportation (e.g. coal and oil trains) threaten jobs and put public safety in jeopardy. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

State makes wells legal for section of west Skagit County
The state Department of Ecology has relaxed a controversial rule, making wells a legal water supply for properties in a section of west Skagit County. The 2001 instream flow rule has essentially restricted residents in the Skagit River basin from putting in wells for residential use in order to preserve water levels for fish populations. But Ecology identified a 56-square-mile area of Skagit County from Bayview south to La Conner and as far east as Sedro-Woolley where the department believes drawing water from wells does not have an impact on the river’s flow. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Washington Environmental Groups Set Legislative Agenda For 2017 Session
Each year, as lawmakers get to work in Olympia, the state’s largest environmental groups agree on legislative priorities. This session, the Washington Environmental Council and the Washington Conservation Voters are focused on water rights, oil transportation safety and cleaning up toxics.   About 23 groups set the agenda for the Environmental Priorities Coalition.  Topping their list this session is a recent decision from the state Supreme Court that says new housing development can only be approved when it won’t take too much water from existing homes, farms and rivers. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Nisqually Reach purchase protects salmon habitat
Some of the last undeveloped shoreline along Puget Sound has been added to the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve. The acquisition of 17.6 acres expands Jacobs Point Park on Anderson Island to 100 acres, making the Nisqually reserve the largest protected marine park in South Puget Sound…. The Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve extends from the Nisqually River Delta across Nisqually Reach. It includes all state-owned aquatic lands in these areas, plus state-owned bedlands and beaches surrounding Anderson, Ketron and Eagle islands to the shores of McNeil Island. The new acreage will be accessible to the public via a trail network. Jacobs Point provides public access to more than 1,600 feet of shoreline. Jerre Redecker reports. (The Olympian)

Federal Court of Appeal dismisses First Nations’ challenge of B.C.’s Site C dam
The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected a legal challenged filed by two British Columbia First Nations that argued the $8.8-billion Site C dam project violated their treaty rights. The Prophet River First Nation and the West Moberly First Nation appealed a Federal Court judge's decision to deny an application for a judicial review of the federal government's approval of the project. A three-member panel issued a unanimous decision Monday to uphold the earlier ruling, which rejected the First Nations' claims that the environmental review and ensuing government approval should have assessed their treaty rights and determined whether the project infringed on those rights. Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Vancouver Park Board asks for options before deciding on cetacean plebiscite
The Vancouver Park Board has delayed a decision about a possible plebiscite regarding whale and dolphin captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. Commissioners have referred the issue to staff, asking for further options. Those could range from seeking the plebiscite on Vancouver's civic ballot in 2018 to proposals that some commissioners believe could provide quicker results than a vote that is almost two years away. A staff report on the matter is expected to be presented to the board next month. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  252 AM PST TUE JAN 24 2017  
TODAY
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT  12 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

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