Thursday, March 16, 2017

3/16 Poop woes, Port Gamble restored, Trump budget, climate plan undo, carbon tax, dead coral reefs

Elwha 3/14/17 [Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Institute]
Silence reigns as sewage spews into Puget Sound. Here’s why.
It’s the proverbial tree that fell in the forest without making a sound, or perhaps the raw sewage that spewed into Puget Sound without making a splash. Since the region’s largest wastewater-treatment plant was disabled in a catastrophic flood last month, the Metropolitan King County Council and Regional Water Quality Committee between them have held multiple public hearings on the disaster. Not a single person from an environmental group or the public turned out to testify or demand action on the crippled West Point Treatment Plant, or even take notice of one of the largest local public infrastructure failures in decades. Tons of solids are pouring into Puget Sound every day because the plant is too broken to treat wastewater properly. Yet council members say they’ve barely heard a peep from environmental groups. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

After environmental restoration, quiet has returned to Port Gamble
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "Twenty-five years ago, I stood and watched as a screaming buzz saw tossed clouds of sawdust into the air while slicing through thick logs of Douglas fir at the Pope & Talbot sawmill in Port Gamble. Last week, I walked across the vacant site of the old mill, which was torn down years ago. Along the edge of Port Gamble Bay, I could hear nothing but the sound of the wind and an occasional call of a seagull. I came back to the old mill site to see how things looked following completion of the $20-million-plus cleanup of Port Gamble Bay…." (read more)

Trump budget slashes agencies to focus on wall, defense
President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget on Thursday, a far-reaching overhaul of federal government spending that slashes many domestic programs to finance a significant increase in the military and make a down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump’s proposal seeks to upend Washington with cuts to long-promised campaign targets like foreign aid and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as strong congressional favorites such as medical research, help for homeless veterans and community development grants. Andrew Taylor reports. (Associated Press)

Trump is poised to issue a sweeping order dismantling Obama’s climate plan this week
President Trump could issue a sweeping executive order within days aimed at reversing his predecessor’s climate policies, a measure that energy industry officials and environmentalists have been anticipating for weeks. The directive will instruct members of the Cabinet to rewrite regulation restricting carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants, lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and revise the way climate change is factored into federal decision-making — all key elements of the Obama administration’s effort to address climate change. It will also reverse an executive order former president Obama issued that instructs agencies to incorporate climate change into the National Environmental Policy Act reviews it applies to federal actions, according to individuals briefed on the order. Juliet Epstein reports. (Washington Post)

Washington Businesses Slam Carbon Tax
During a public hearing Tuesday, businesses said on a proposed carbon tax in Washington state would cost jobs and hurt the state’s economy. The measure would impose an escalating tax on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and electricity. A provision in the bill would set aside some of the money raised to help fossil fuel workers who lose their jobs…. [T]he sponsor of the bill, Democrat Joe Fitzgibbon, chair of the House Environment Committee, said he’s frustrated by a lack of action on climate change. Austin Jenkins reports. (NWNews)

Scientists race to prevent wipeout of world’s coral reefs
SOUTH ARI ATOLL, Maldives >> There were startling colors here just a year ago, a dazzling array of life beneath the waves. Now this Maldivian reef is dead, killed by the stress of rising ocean temperatures. What’s left is a haunting expanse of gray, a scene repeated in reefs across the globe in what has fast become a full-blown ecological catastrophe. The world has lost roughly half its coral reefs in the last 30 years. Scientists are now scrambling to ensure that at least a fraction of these unique ecosystems survives beyond the next three decades. The health of the planet depends on it: Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species, as well as half a billion people around the world. “This isn’t something that’s going to happen 100 years from now. We’re losing them right now,” said marine biologist Julia Baum of Canada’s University of Victoria. “We’re losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined.” Even if the world could halt global warming now, scientists still expect that more than 90 percent of corals will die by 2050. Without drastic intervention, we risk losing them all. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  448 AM PDT THU MAR 16 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS.  SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.

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