Thursday, March 23, 2017

3/23 Crude oil export ban, EPA cuts, OxyChem cleanup, Ediz Hook sand, burning oil, wild habitats

Cascade Oregon-grape (WA Native Plant Society)
Cascade Oregon-grape Mahonia (Berberis) nervosa
M. nervosa
is commonly found in second-growth, closed-canopy Douglas-fir forests. The tart, purple berries were eaten but generally not in quantity. Today they are used for jelly and some make wine from them. The shredded bark of the stems and roots were used to make a bright-yellow dye for baskets. The bark and berries were also used for liver, gall-bladder and eye problems. One Saanich woman said that eating the berries in quantity was the only antidote known for shellfish poisoning-- but great caution was used because the drug is very potent. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Whatcom Council approves second 6-month ban on crude oil exports
The fight over allowing new shipments of unrefined fossil fuels to go through Cherry Point again went before the Whatcom County Council, which approved another six-month moratorium. The council temporarily banned applications for new or expanded facilities for shipping unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point by a vote of 6-1, after more than two hours of public input Tuesday night. The majority of people who went before the Council pushed for the new moratorium. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Big Trump cuts will gut EPA's "core mission" -- letter from 37 senators
The huge cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget, proposed by the Trump administration, , sparked protests from U.S. Senators in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, as well as a pro-EPA Seattle waterfront demonstration in the "other" Washington. EPA programs marked for extinction are "a critical piece of a coordinated effort" to clean up Puget Sound, as well as other waterways from San Francisco Bay to Chesapeake Bay, Dennis McLerran, former EPA Region X (Northwest, Alaska) told a rain-spattered crowd at Waterfront Park. The senators' letter, signed by all six senators from West Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California, used President Trump's own words in decrying the cuts. "During the President's February 28th address to Congress, he pledged to 'promote clean air and water'," they wrote.  "Such a pledge is meaningless when the President follows it by proposing a 31 percent cut to EPA's budget and 20 percent reduction in its staff. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Advocates call on lawmakers to resist environmental cuts in Trump budget  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) And also: Activists ask state to fund Puget Sound clean-up cuts   Alison Morrow reports. (KING) And: Former EPA Head Says Regulatory System Could Stand Reform, But Not Elimination  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Who Should Pay for Tacoma’s Last Big Clean-Up?
There’s a modern-day monster lurking under Tacoma’s industrial lands. Mixed in with the groundwater is a stew of pollution from a shuttered chemical plant: PCBs—toxic chemicals the EPA banned in 1979—and volatile organic chemicals so alkaline that the pollution is actually stronger than drain cleaner and can dissolve rocks into jelly. The core plume of toxic chemicals under the Tacoma tideflats is as tall as the Seahawks stadium and more than four times as big in area—and it may be inching its way toward the waters of Puget Sound. The cleanup for Occidental Chemical, or OxyChem as it’s known, is the last big remediation in Tacoma, a city that is undergoing a remarkable rebirth and transformation from its sometimes noxious past. But the company responsible may get away with a half-hearted treatment. Eric de Place reports. (Sightline)

Officials hope sand cap layer works as project restoration option at Ediz Hook
Officials are preparing to apply a 6-inch layer of sand to an inside portion of Ediz Hook to test whether a sand cap could be a potential restoration solution. Commissioners of the Port of Port Angeles, one of five members of the Western Port Angeles Harbor Group, approved the port’s portion of the costs for the project — up to $77,000 — on Tuesday. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Researchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil Spills
On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water. The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top. "The coils collect the heat from the flame and they transmit it through the copper blanket," Rangwala explains. The goal is to make a hotter, faster and more complete burn that leaves less pollution. Debbie Elliott reports. (NPR)

Learning to create small habitats in Kitsap, Thurston, Pierce counties
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes about Sarah Bruemmer, a habitat steward coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, who teaches people "how to turn small outdoor spaces — or large ones, if available — into functioning habitats. She coordinates a training program that addresses issues from soils, gardening and invasive plants to birds, butterflies and water quality." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  247 AM PDT THU MAR 23 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
 LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL  8 FT AT 8 SECONDS BUILDING TO 10 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE  EVENING THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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