Friday, February 10, 2017

2/10 Cherry Pt. coal, poop spill, Samish Bay, Vic sewer, Ericksen recall, Don Benton, DAPL, BC pipe, Massey bridge, Hood Canal squid, bumblebee ESA, sick fish

American Kestrel (All About Birds)
American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel packs a predator’s fierce intensity into its small body. It's one of the most colorful of all raptors: the male’s slate-blue head and wings contrast elegantly with his rusty-red back and tail; the female has the same warm reddish on her wings, back, and tail. Hunting for insects and other small prey in open territory, kestrels perch on wires or poles, or hover facing into the wind, flapping and adjusting their long tails to stay in place. (All About Birds)

Developers withdraw coal terminal applications, ending project
Developers of the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point have officially withdrawn its permit applications, essentially closing the book on the project. Pacific International Terminals sent a letter Tuesday to Whatcom County officials announcing it was stopping the environmental impact statement process and is withdrawing its applications for the Gateway Pacific Terminal. The company, which is a subsidiary to SSA Marine, said it is looking into other alternatives, including modifications to the project. It is not abandoning any other rights it may have on the property, said Skip Sahlin, vice president of project development for SSA Marine. Dave Gallagher reports. (Beliingham Herald)

Millions of gallons of wastewater dumping into Puget Sound after heavy rainfall
Millions of gallons of untreated wastewater and stormwater began dumping into Puget Sound Thursday after high tides and heavy rains overwhelmed a King County wastewater-treatment center in Seattle. Flooding at West Point Treatment Plant in Magnolia’s Discovery Park caused damage that apparently fried an electrical circuit and triggered a system shutdown, a spokesman said. That has caused the county to operate the facility much of Thursday in “emergency bypass mode” — dumping untreated effluent directly into Puget Sound. Lewis Kamb reports. (Seattle Times)

Unexpected pollution forces closure of Samish Bay shellfish harvesting
Pollution in the Samish River spiked this week, leading to the closure of shellfish harvesting in Samish Bay on Wednesday evening. Skagit County Water Quality Analyst Rick Haley said the increase in fecal coliform bacteria in the water was unexpected and unusual, because there was little rainfall prior to the most recent testing. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Councillors lambaste $100,000 boosts for sewage-panel chiefs
Increases of $100,000 each in compensation paid the chair and vice-chair of the Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment project board are too rich and out of proportion with what the average Victorian makes, says Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt. CRD directors last month approved a recommendation from the project board that chairwoman Jane Bird and vice-chairman Don Fairbairn each be paid $20,000 a month until March in lieu of negotiated per diem and meeting preparation fees. This week CRD directors received a report which showed the compensation that will be paid to Bird and Fairbairn from June last year until March 31 is expected to be $225,000 and $210,000 respectively — up $100,000 each. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Residents begin recall effort of Sen. Ericksen, say he can’t do senate work with D.C. job
A group of Whatcom County residents has started a recall effort against state Sen. Doug Ericksen, saying the Ferndale Republican can’t do his job as a senator while serving on President Donald Trump’s transition team in D.C…. “We’re concerned about the senator having a job that has taken him out of our state and outside our availability as our representative,” said Michael Shepard, who filed the initial recall paperwork Thursday morning. “All that has made us feel frustrated and concerned about the ethical and constitutional grounds of his position (with the EPA).”… Shepard filed the initial recall paperwork with Debbie Adelstein, the Whatcom County auditor, Thursday morning. From there, a Whatcom County Superior Court judge will decide whether the charges meet the criteria for a recall, according to state law. If it does, supporters have nine months to gather the roughly 13,000 signatures required for a recall election to occur. Kyle Mittan reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Washington's Benton Staying At EPA As Senior White House Adviser
Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton will be staying on at the Environmental Protection Agency as the agency’s senior White House adviser. The EPA’s acting administrator, Catherine McCabe, announced the news in a video message to employees this week. (Associated Press)

Dakota Access Pipeline work resumes under reservoir; tribe asks judge to intervene 
Construction of the final segment of the Dakota Access Pipeline has begun, and the full system should be operational within three months, the developer of the long-delayed project said Thursday, even as an American Indian tribe filed a legal challenge to block the work and protect its water supply. The Army granted Energy Transfer Partners formal permission Wednesday to lay pipe under a North Dakota reservoir, clearing the way for completion of the 1,200-mile pipeline. James MacPherson and Balke Nicholson report. (Associated Press) See also: Spills plague Dakota Access pipeline builders, environmental groups find  The companies behind the Dakota Access pipeline have reported thousands of gallons of oil spilled in dozens of industrial accidents over the last two years, according to an analysis performed by anti-pipeline environmental groups. Kevin Hardy reports. (Des Moines Register)

Paying for pipelines: How consumers can end up footing the bill
The B.C. government recently approved the Trans Mountain pipeline that will haul Alberta oil to port. And it did so after squeezing up to a cool billion dollars out of Kinder Morgan — money which will go into an environmental protection fund. Sounds good. Alberta gets an economic boost, B.C. gets a share of the spoils and some environmental help, and Kinder Morgan foots the bill. Or does it?…. B.C.'s deal with Kinder Morgan sets a dangerous precedent for interprovincial trade. It pits provinces against each other. What, for example, is now stopping Alberta from demanding a fee from B.C. produce growers to ship their fruits and vegetables across Albertan highways? Or for charging B.C. natural gas producers to ship eastward on the Alliance pipeline? The B.C. fee is in effect a tax. Blake Shaffer writes. (CBC)

$3.5B Massey bridge gets environmental nod from B.C. government
The British Columbia government has granted an environmental assessment certificate for the 10-lane, $3.5-billion bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel over the Fraser River. The approval comes with 33 conditions that are legally binding requirements that the Transportation Ministry must meet. The government says the key findings that helped the approval included that no significant adverse effects were likely to occur on fish and fish habitat and that the project would eliminate congestion delays and idling on the route between Richmond and Delta. (Canadian Press)

Long ban lifted on Hood Canal squid fishing
Squid jiggers, welcome back to Hood Canal. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has lifted a 13-year ban on squid fishing in the canal — the only part of Puget Sound where recreational squid harvests were restricted. The closure in 2004 might have been an overly cautious response to a long bout of low dissolved oxygen levels. A problem that has long plagued the canal, low oxygen has made for suffocating conditions, sometimes causing large-scale fish die-offs. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Trump's attack on environmental regs could cause havoc
With the stroke of his pen, President Donald Trump this week unleashed the biggest assault ever made by a president on the government regulations that protect Americans and nature. In an executive order, he mandated that two existing regulations be eliminated for every new regulation issued. And he dictated that the costs of any new rule be offset by savings from the regulations that are repealed. Elizabeth Shogren reports. (High Country News/Crosscut)

Trump administration delays listing bumblebee as endangered
The Trump administration on Thursday delayed what would be the first endangered designation for a bee species in the continental U.S., one day before it was to take effect. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopted a rule Jan. 11 extending federal protection to the rusty patched bumblebee, one of many types of bees that play a vital role in pollinating crops and wild plants. It once was common across the East Coast and much of the Midwest but its numbers have plummeted since the late 1990s. John Flesher reports. (Associated Press)

In Studying Sick Fish, Scientists Trace History Of Fevers
Each year, fish farms produce a massive amount of carp — so much that if you put all that fish on one side of a scale, and all the people living in the U.S. on the other side, they'd pretty much balance each other out by weight. But for the past couple of decades, carp have been plagued by a type of herpes virus, known as Koi herpesvirus. Now, as researchers report this week in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, there's a simple way to prevent fish from dying of the virus. And during their investigation, the researchers also found something intriguing about how fish — and humans — fight infection.  Rae Ellen Bichell reports. (NPR)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
PZZ130-101945-  WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  242 AM PST FRI FEB 10 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 11 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE  MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  W WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL  12 FT AT 11 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS  AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT  SW WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING S IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 8 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
 S WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  7 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

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