Thursday, January 26, 2017

1/26 Ericksen's bill, Nisqually chum, Navy suit, methanol, carbon tax, oil pipes, septics, Trump's wall

Northern Pygmy-Owl (Mike Hamilton/BirdNote)
An Owl Is Mobbed
A pint-sized Northern Pygmy-Owl, not much bigger than a pine cone, hoots from a tree-top on a winter morning. Before long, this diurnal owl - a determined predator of small birds and mammals - will attract a mob of a dozen or more small birds. Mobbing may be a collective response to danger. But it's not certain if the "mobbers" hope to drive away the predator, or simply draw attention to the threat. (BirdNote)

Ericksen’s bill seeks to undo expansion of Cherry Point aquatic lands
A Republican state lawmaker from Ferndale is seeking to reverse a recent state action that expanded protection of 45 acres of aquatic lands at Cherry Point. Senate Bill 5171 would reverse an order that expanded the boundaries of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark signed the order before leaving office this month. The move came a little more than three months after Lummi Nation requested Goldmark consider the change. Leaders of several tribes, including the Lummis, testified against the bill at a hearing Tuesday. The bill is sponsored Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who recently took a temporary position with President Donald Trump’s administration. Ericksen will act as communications director for the Environmental Protection Agency. (Associated Press/Bellingham Herald)

Nisqually tribe won't fish chum after historic decision
In a historic move, the Nisqually tribe is closing its most popular salmon season. After several years of fish declines, they believe it's necessary to save the fish from disappearing completely. "Our Indian people have been fishing. That's been our way of life, that's been our culture, our history, our traditions," said Willie Frank III, a member of the Nisqually tribe. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Navy hull cleaning sparks clean water lawsuit
The Suquamish Tribe and two environmental groups are suing the Navy over aircraft carrier cleaning practices that might be harming Sinclair Inlet. The tribe, Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper on Wednesday issued a notice of intent to sue the Navy over alleged Clean Water Act violations. The Navy began scraping the hull of the decommissioned USS Independence this month. The Navy is preparing to tow the 1,070-loot-long carrier from Bremerton to Texas, where it will be dismantled sometime this year. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Climate change, jobs focus in second day of shoreline methanol hearings
A day after Northwest Innovation Works pitched its proposed Kalama methanol plant as environmentally friendly, opposition attorneys Tuesday argued that it would be a big source of greenhouse gas emissions and challenged its compliance with the state Shorelines Management Act. Northwest Innovation needs two shorelines permits for the $1.8 billion project, which underwent scrutiny Tuesday during the second of three days of public hearings on the permit application. Tuesday’s testimony included statements from opponents such as the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and proponents such as former Washington Gov. Gary Locke. Marissa Luck reports. (Longview Daily News)

Inside Inslee’s carbon tax: A gift for king coal
For years, protecting the climate has been Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature issue. And his 2017 legislative agenda is keyed heavily to passing a tax on the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. But one surprising new analysis suggests that adopting the tax as Inslee has proposed would at first actually increase the state’s production of greenhouse gases and favor the dirtiest fossil fuel: coal.  Unlike the carbon tax rejected by voters on the November ballot, Inslee’s tax carries a little-noticed exemption for the state’s only coal-burning power plant, which is located near Centralia and is owned by the Canadian energy giant TransAlta. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

Keystone XL could be Canada's last big oil export pipeline
…. With Trump's support for Keystone XL, Canada's oilpatch now has government approvals in place for three new pipelines, which raises the question whether Canada will ever need to construct another large-scale export pipeline again. After several years of battles between pipeline proponents and opponents, the construction of these three projects could put an end to the pipeline politics in Canada. On Nov. 29 the federal government rubber-stamped the expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast and the replacement of Enbridge's Line 3 to Wisconsin. Add Keystone XL to the list and the oilpatch is about to boost daily capacity by 1.79 million barrels. That is a considerable amount considering Western Canada currently produces about 3.7 million barrels per day of oil, all of which gets to market one way or the other. Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC) See also: For Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Leader, Revival of Keystone XL Upsets a Balancing Act  Ian Austen and Clifford Krauss report. (NY Times)

Trump's 'control-alt-delete' on climate change policy
Are the recent actions taken by the Trump team on the issues of climate and energy the opening shots in a war on knowledge? Or are they simply what you'd expect from a new administration of a different political hue? Matt McGrath examines. (BBC) See also: A Bad Day for the Environment, with Many More to Come  Bill McKibben reflects. (The New Yorker)

New board takes hard look at Thurston County’s new septic fee
A newly adopted and controversial plan that includes a $10 annual fee for about 42,000 Thurston County property owners with septic systems could soon be going down the drain. Interim county manager Ramiro Chavez said the Board of County Commissioners recently held a briefing with health staff members about the on-site sewer system management plan…. Board of Health and Board of County Commissioners chairman Bud Blake said he and his seatmates asked health staff to get more information on several “data points,” such as septic failure rates and how other counties are making state-required updates to their septic system management plans. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

How realistic is Donald Trump's Mexico wall?
President Donald Trump wants to build an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall" between the US and Mexico. But how tall? How powerful? How beautiful? The Republican's big ideas can be small on detail, and the wall is no exception. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  255 AM PST THU JAN 26 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10 TO  12 FT AT 18 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  9 FT AT 16 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN.

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