Wednesday, April 12, 2017

4/12 Orca noise, Plates for lands, salmon season, EPA cuts, Don Benton, spotted owl, PSE Colstrip, BC pipe

Elwha Love [Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Institute]
Note: Salish Sea News and Weather will be offline for the next two days and return on Monday, 4/17.

'Acoustic smog' hurting killer whales needs federal action, say scientists
Twenty marine scientists are calling on the federal government to reduce "acoustic smog" from shipping noise near Vancouver that they say is hurting a critically endangered population of killer whales. The scientists sent a letter Wednesday morning to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with the ministers of fisheries, transport and environment, asking for regulation on noise in the Salish Sea, which includes the Strait of Georgia. Southern resident killer whales are designated as endangered in the U.S. and Canada, and noise pollution is a key threat to their survival, said Lance Barrett-Lennard, a marine mammal researcher at the Vancouver Aquarium who signed the letter. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Whale Expert Speaks About "New Giants of the Salish Sea"
Biologist John Calmbokidis of the Cascadia Research Collective speaks on the return of humpback and gray whales to the Salish Sea on Thursday, April 20, at 7:00 PM at the Dakota Place Park Building, 4304 SW Dakota St., Seattle. The presentation is part of The Whale Trail’s Orca Talks Series and tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.
 

Design Contest For San Juan Island Plates To Help Sustain Conservation Lands
When funds are tight, it might be tempting for government to try to raise taxes or fees. But what if you could just inspire people to opt in and pay extra to support something they love? That’s the idea behind a new campaign for a specialty license plate that would generate funds to support conservation lands in the San Juan Islands. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Mixed bag of salmon seasons set, but improved over last year’s extremely stringent restrictions
The salmon fishing seasons for 2017-18 have been finalized with drastic cutbacks necessary on fisheries in response to meet wild fish stocks of concern, and the feelings are mixed when talking with all parties involved. “It is like buyer’s remorse (with a new car) as you look out in the driveway and felt like you didn’t get the best deal,” said Jim Unsworth, the state Fish and Wildlife director as he spoke to fishing constituents on a Tuesday conference call. “We are reaching the bottom of fish lows. I know next year will be another very tough one from the summer drought of 2015.” Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Fishery Managers Close 200 Miles Of West Coast To Salmon Fishing  Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

What’s at Stake in Trump’s Proposed E.P.A. Cuts
What is at stake as Congress considers the E.P.A. budget? Far more than climate change. The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget are deep and wide-ranging. It seeks to shrink spending by 31 percent, to $5.7 billion from $8.1 billion, and to eliminate a quarter of the agency’s 15,000 jobs. The cuts are so deep that even Republican lawmakers are expected to push back. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the chairwoman of the Interior and Environment Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, pointedly reminded Mr. Trump last month that his budget request was just “the first step in a long process.” Hiroko Tabuchi reports. (NY Times)

After tension at EPA, ex-state Sen. Don Benton to lead Selective Service
Don Benton, the controversial former state senator from Vancouver who was an early Donald Trump supporter, will be nominated to head the U.S. Selective Service System, the White House announced Monday. The nomination to the small federal agency, which has an authorized staff of 124, comes amid reports that the volatile Benton was having clashes with Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s new administrator. Benton had been named a “senior adviser” between Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency. The White House news release used the past tense “served” in describing that role. Erik Lacitis reports. (Seattle Times)

Appeals court restores lumber companies’ challenge to northern spotted owl habitat
A top federal appeals court has added fuel to a long-running fight over federal protections for the northern spotted owl in California, Oregon and Washington state. In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the lumber companies united as the American Forest Resource Council have the legal standing to challenge the owl’s designated “critical habitat.” Federal officials in 2012 designated more than 9.5 million acres in the three states as essential for the owl’s survival. Michael Doyle reports. (McClatchy)

Puget Sound Energy unveils long term economic plan for Colstrip
The majority owner of the Colstrip Power Plants in eastern Montana unveiled its long term economic plan for the Colstrip Community. Puget Sound Energy (PSE) officials outlined its plans for the Colstrip Generating Station to a Montana Legislative Committee late Monday. The Washington State utility told members of the House Energy Committee that it will invest more than $200 million in Colstrip, between now and the year 2051. That figure includes the cost of environmental clean up, the eventual decommissioning of the four coal fired power plants, and retraining workers. Jay Kohn reports. (MTN News) See also: Montana lawmakers table Colstrip bill that would have charged PSE for closing coal plant 

Pembina Pipeline looking to build terminal near Prince Rupert, B.C.
Pembina Pipeline Corp. has signed a non-binding letter of intent to develop a liquefied petroleum gas export terminal on Watson Island, south of Prince Rupert, B.C. The Calgary-based pipeline operator signed the agreement with Prince Rupert Legacy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Prince Rupert. The company said it has started a site assessment for the West Coast project and engagement with stakeholders including aboriginal communities. Initial assessments indicate the development of an export terminal with a capacity of about 20,000 barrels per day of LPG at a capital cost ranging between $125-million and $175-million, Pembina said. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  307 AM PDT WED APR 12 2017  

TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 16 SECONDS BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 15 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.  SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE EVENING THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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