Monday, February 13, 2017

2/13 EPA, climate suit, Clyde Ford, sewage spill, gull deaths, whale beaching, DAPL, sprawl, pinto abalone, Mark Collins

Ravens preening (BirdsInBackyards.Net)
Raven's Love Song
Ravens are seen as tricksters in many traditions. But Common Ravens have a softer side. During courtship, a pair will often sit side by side, sometimes preening each other's feathers. And during that ritual, one or both may make soft warbling sounds. Raven nestlings sometimes make this same sound after they've been fed. Compared to the usual raucous raven calls, this one is soothing. It's called a comfort sound. You can hear more raven songs at macaulaylibrary.org. (BirdNote)

Two-for-one executive order on regulations headed for showdown
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward to protect people’s health from toxic chemicals, despite an executive order from President Trump that requires two existing regulations to be repealed for every new regulation approved. On Tuesday, the EPA will hold a public hearing to help develop rules for controlling the use of 10 chemicals evaluated under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act…. We have yet to see how Trump’s executive order on controlling regulations will affect upcoming rules for toxic chemicals, but the order is already causing some confusion. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways) See also: EPA Halves Staff Attending Environmental Conference In Alaska  The Environmental Protection Agency's presence at an environmental conference in Alaska this week was cut in half, after the Trump administration's transition officials ordered the change. The agency had helped to plan the Alaska Forum on the Environment — but days before it was to start, word came that half of the EPA's 34 planned attendees wouldn't be making the trip. Bill Chappell reports. (NPR)

Trump Named as Defendant in Landmark Federal Climate Suit
The 21 youth plaintiffs who are currently suing the federal government for denying their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by ignoring and exacerbating climate change have updated their lawsuit. President Donald Trump is now the latest defendant in the case Juliana et al. v United States et al. as of a court filing today (February 9). The plaintiffs—ranging from ages nine to 20 and from diverse backgrounds—launched their litigation in 2015. They were originally suing former President Barack Obama and his cabinet. (Colorlines)

OPINION: America’s zeitgeist: accepting intolerance, racism with a shrug
Clyde W. Ford writes in the Seattle Times: "A woman stood outside the coffeehouse, beating on the window, middle finger into the air, hollering the N-word at me." The piece is well worth reading-- and thinking about.

Seattle sewage spill topped 150 million gallons
The Seattle sewage spill was halted late Thursday night after releasing between 150 million and 200 million gallons of effluent into Puget Sound and forcing the closure of some Kitsap beaches. The plant near Discovery Park began spilling a mixture of sewage and stormwater at about 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. At 10:30 p.m., King County wastewater managers announced the flow had been stopped. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Tacoma gull deaths remain a mystery but cause probably not harmful to people
Despite a battery of tests, little progress has been made in discovering the cause of a January gull die-off in Tacoma. Whatever killed or sickened as many as 50 gulls hasn’t been found, but it mostly likely poses no risk to human health, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday. Craig Sailor reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma) See also: Researchers: Warm Pacific water led to vast seabird die-off  A year after tens of thousands of common murres, an abundant North Pacific seabird, starved and washed ashore on beaches from California to Alaska, researchers have pinned the cause to unusually warm ocean temperatures that affected the tiny fish they eat.  Dan Joling reports. (Associated Press)

New Zealand whales: Hundreds refloat on high tide at Farewell Spit
More than 200 whales stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand on Saturday have refloated themselves and returned to sea. But conservation officials have warned that they could still turn back to the beach at Farewell Spit, South Island. Earlier, volunteers managed to refloat some 100 of the more than 400 pilot whales which beached on Thursday…. More than 300 of the 400 original arrivals died while medics and members of the public tried to keep survivors alive by cooling them with water. (BBC)

Group in Port Townsend stands against Dakota Access Pipeline
More than 30 people protested along Sims Way in Port Townsend on Saturday, urging people to divest their money from Wells Fargo and Chase banks due to the banks’ connections to the recently revived Dakota Access Pipeline. The protesters were a staple outside of the Port Townsend Wells Fargo Bank through November and December…. The protests are back in full swing due to an executive order from President Donald Trump and an easement granted Feb. 7 by Robert Speer, acting secretary of the Army. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Dakota Access pipeline protesters block freeway in Bellingham   Protesters blocked Interstate 5 northbound at Lakeway for more than an hour Saturday, Feb. 11, demonstrating over the Tuesday announcement by the U.S. Department of the Army to grant easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. Traffic backed up 4 miles during the protest. Kyle Mittan reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Urban Sprawl Forcing Pacific Northwest Songbirds To 'Divorce'
Urban development is encroaching on forests and impacting the love lives of some songbirds in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific wren is having a tough time staying faithful -- at least in Seattle. That’s because a housing boom is taking over the wren’s habitat: the thick forest understory…. (John) Marzluff (a Wildlife Science Professor at the University of Washington) said development is forcing the wren and other song bird species to move. And when that wren moves, it also abandons its mate. Emily Schwing reports. (KUOW)

Skagit County at center of restoration effort for marine snail
Among the shellfish in the state’s marine waters is the pinto abalone, a species once found on dinner plates. The pinto abalone is the only marine snail native to the Salish Sea, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. After decades of population decline due to overharvesting, it is getting some help from a group working to restore the species. That restoration effort is largely being done in Skagit County. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Mark Collins to take over as head of B.C. Ferries
B.C. Ferries executive Mark Collins will succeed president Mike Corrigan, who is leaving the organization at the end of March after five years at the helm. Collins, 55, starts his duties April 1, also under a five-year contract. He is currently Ferries’ vice-president of strategic planning and community engagement, a position that has taken him along B.C.’s coast to consult with residents. Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST MON FEB 13 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING

GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH WEDNESDAY
 MORNING  
TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT  AT 13 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12  SECONDS.

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