Thursday, February 16, 2017

2/16 Raging Grannies, raw sewage, glass-sponge reefs, BC LNG, "The Blob," PS restoration, Tacoma water, Ericksen, dams

Raging Grannies (Vancouver Raging Grannies/Facebook)
Raging Grannies celebrates its 30th anniversary
The Raging Granny movement wasn't supposed to be an enduring 'thing', but the social justice activist group — which started in Victoria, B.C. — has persisted in ways that surprise even its oldest members. Known for their loud, colourful costumes and cheeky protest songs about peace and environmental causes, the older women activists have become a mainstay at rallies and protests across North America. They mark their 30th anniversary this year. Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Crippled treatment plant continues to dump raw sewage into Puget Sound
King County is dumping raw wastewater including sewage into Puget Sound at the rate of 50 million gallons a day as its damaged West Point Treatment Plant limps at half capacity during heavy rain. The untreated effluent, about 90 percent stormwater and 10 percent raw sewage, is being dumped from an emergency outfall pipe a few hundred feet offshore in water about 50 feet deep at West Point, said Doug Williams, King County spokesman. The emergency bypass will continue as long as the plant off Discovery Park in Magnolia can’t manage heavy flows resulting from rain that is more than three times that of a typical February. Rain is expected through the week. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Where does Seattle coffee go after it's poured down the drain?  Gary Horcher reports. (KIRO)

Fisheries minister to announce protection for ancient glass sponge reefs
Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is expected to announce today a long-awaited Marine Protected Area for Canada's rare glass sponge reefs, found on the B.C. coast. The kind of glass sponge found in B.C. was thought to have died off 40 million years ago, before the discovery of fragile living reefs in Hecate Strait, near Haida Gwaii, in 1987…. A Marine Protected Area is a zone in the ocean designated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with tighter regulations, meant to conserve and protect something endangered, unique or ecologically important. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC) See also: BC: Fishermen to fight feds over expected ban near Hecate Strait reefs  Rick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. LNG: Premier Christy Clark, First Nations sign benefits agreement
Premier Christy Clark’s government and Lax Kw’aalams First Nation Mayor John Helin announced today a benefits agreement worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the controversial Pacific Northwest LNG project. There was no total value immediately available on the deal — which includes annual payments if the project goes ahead. It is not clear whether the deal is a final one and has been ratified by the community, some of whose hereditary leaders have opposed the project. If it is a final decision it would be a major step forward for the project, in which First Nation support is critical. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

A Blob in the Ocean Means More Ozone in the Air
Remember the warm weather we had in 2014 and 2015? University of Washington professor Dan Jaffe says that was caused by a meteorological phenomenon known as “The Blob.” “The Blob was a region of really unusual warm water that was sitting off the coast of Washington and Oregon,” he explains. That blob had a surprising effect: it increased air pollution across the West. Jaffe has been measuring air pollution from the summit of Oregon’s Mount Bachelor for years. In 2014 and 2015, he noticed spikes in ozone levels—which he eventually traced back to the blob. Ellis O'Neill reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Clean Samish Initiative partners discuss progress
Clean Samish Initiative partners discussed Tuesday the progress that’s been made on improving water quality in the Samish watershed. Still, officials said more work remains. They also said they are hopeful that Samish Bay can be upgraded to allow for shellfish harvesting this year. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Bill to help the restoration efforts of Puget Sound Partnership passes the House
Rep. Dick Muri’s, proposal to help the on-going efforts of the Puget Sound Partnership was approved by the House today. The Partnership’s mission is to oversee the environmental restoration of the Puget Sound. Muri’s bill would make an adjustment to their reporting requirements…. Muri’s bill changes the frequency of the report from every two years, to four years. By reducing the frequency of the updates, the proposal would help free up the Puget Sound Partnership’s resources…. The bill now heads to the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee for further consideration. (Suburban Times)

Salish Sea Citizens Stand on Capitol Hill in Olympia
On Monday, February 13, 200 people from the San Juan Islands and greater Salish Sea region attended a rally at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia to show support for the Oil Transportation Safety Bills (House Bill 1611/Senate Bill 5462)…. Rally attendees carried 86 life-size posters of orca fins — one for each living member of J, K and L pods, including Lolita in captivity and the 7 lost in 2016. An oil spill is one of the biggest threats to the endangered Southern Resident orcas. Katie Fleming writes. (OrcasIssues)

Save Tacoma Water files initiative petition to remove section from city code that they say allows for special contracts with large water users
A water protection group filed an initiative petition Tuesday seeking to delete from the city code a section that they worry allows Tacoma Public Utilities to give special contracts and rates to large water users. Save Tacoma Water said their initiative would end water utility special service contracts. “Those customers using large amounts of fresh water daily from the city of Tacoma will have water rates equal to all other large water users,” the initiative states. Candace Ruud reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Sen. Ericksen heavily criticized for post on controversial cartoon 
State Sen. Doug Ericksen faced a barrage of criticism for a Facebook post about an editorial cartoon that compared new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who was blocked from entering a school, to Ruby Bridges, who was the first black child to desegregate an all-white school in Louisiana in 1960…. “In 1960 some people were outraged that a black girl entered a white school. in (sic) 2017 some people are outraged that a conservative woman would enter a public school. Some people are just full of rage,” read the post on Ericksen’s Facebook page…. Responses on his Facebook page were withering. The entire post – along with people’s comments, including from those who identified themselves as his constituents – was deleted sometime Wednesday afternoon. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

King County's dams safe? Officials plan to launch review 
The unfolding crisis at California’s Oroville Dam is prompting local officials to take a closer look at dams in King County. King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is calling for a detailed analysis of existing evacuation plans, as well as a review of the risks of dam failure caused by heavy storms and earthquakes…. According to King County’s Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, there are 122 dams in the county that hold at least 10 acre-feet of water. The four with the potential to cause countywide emergencies if they fail are: Howard Hanson Dam on the Green River; Tolt River Dam, above Carnation; Masonry Dam on the Cedar River; and Mud Mountain Dam on the White River. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST THU FEB 16 2017  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM PST THIS MORNING

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM PST THIS MORNING
 THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 SW WIND 25 TO 35 KT EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE MORNING.  WIND 3 TO 6 FT. SW SWELL 14 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN  THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING S 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS  BECOMING W 10 FT AT 14 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SHOWERS LIKELY IN  THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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