Monday, May 1, 2017

5/1 Marches, Seattle sewer, Ericksen, Manke Lumber, Arctic drill, Tesoro, Longview coal, Site C, dam safety, rent-a-chicken, invasives

Rufous hummingbird [Animal Spot]
Rufous Hummingbirds' Marvelous Nest
The nest-building skills of the female Rufous Hummingbird are amazing. She first weaves a cup of soft, fluffy plant material, then envelops it with moss and binds it with strands of spider web. The final touch: a layer of lichen flakes to provide perfect camouflage. A favorite nest site is the fork of a downward-drooping twig, perhaps low in a shrub or up higher in an old conifer. (BirdNote)

Thousands brave weather to protest Trump climate policies 
Thousands of people across the U.S. marched in rain, snow and sweltering heat Saturday to demand action on climate change — mass protests that coincided with President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office and took aim at his agenda for rolling back environmental protections. At the marquee event, the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of demonstrators made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue on their way to encircle the White House as temperatures soared into the 90s. Organizers said about 300 sister marches or rallies were being held around the country, including in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco.  Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press) See also: Peninsula-wide climate march draws more than 400  Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Annual Procession of the Species takes over the streets of Olympia
Thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Olympia on Saturday afternoon to watch and cheer for the annual Procession of the Species. The colorful pageant celebrating the natural world with costumes, animal creations and music shimmied, strutted and twirled its way along 14 city blocks. There were larger-than-life peacocks, lions, jellyfish and scores of other critters. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

A disaster years in the making
A cascade of errors led to catastrophe at the West Point treatment plant. Sheer luck spared workers’ lives. Christine Willmsen and Lynda V. Mapes report. (Seattle Times)

Washington state senators tap surplus campaign money for food, clothes, furnishing
More than $2,000 at an Embassy Suites in Washington, D.C. Nearly $110 at a Hard Rock Cafe adjacent to Ford’s Theater, where Lincoln was shot. Another $52 at Elephant & Castle, a restaurant just blocks from the White House. In recent months, state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, has spent thousands of dollars in surplus election-campaign money to pay for airfare, as well as lodging and meals in Washington, D.C., where he also works for the Trump administration. Ericksen, who took a job in January with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the nation’s capital, is one of more than a dozen lawmakers to use the little-scrutinized surplus campaign accounts in recent months, according to a review of state records by Northwest News Network and The Seattle Times. Joseph O'Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

More than $50,000 a day? EPA asks court to fine Tacoma lumber company
The math to ballpark how much a lumber company accused of polluting Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway could be fined is like a bad SAT question with no easy answer. But court records indicate it’s a lot. The Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint in federal court against the Manke Lumber Co. this month, alleging its 35-acre facility on the Tideflats racked up many violations since at least 2012. Alexis Krell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Trump signs order aimed at opening Arctic drilling 
President Donald Trump’s executive order seeking to find new ocean expanses in the Atlantic and the Arctic for offshore drilling is unlikely to reach its goals anytime soon, but instead will kick off a yearslong review and a legal battle. The day before his 100th in office, Trump took his step Friday toward dismantling a key part of Barack Obama’s environmental legacy.  Jason Dearen and Jill Colvin report. (Associated Press) See also: Trump Orders Easing Safety Rules Implemented After Gulf Oil Spill Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Community raises environmental concerns with Tesoro refinery's proposed project
Area residents and environmental groups have raised concerns about the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery's proposed clean products upgrade project.  They worry the project will add to greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, increase vessel traffic and increase the risk of chemical spills. The refinery's proposed project would involve upgrading existing equipment and building new equipment, in part to reduce sulfur emissions from its fuel products and to reduce emissions while transferring fuel products to vessels at its dock. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Cancer, Congestion, Pollution Among The Outcomes Of Longview Coal Export Project: Study
A project that would export 44 million tons of coal a year from Longview, Washington, would raise the cancer risk for people living near rail lines, create traffic jams with its mile-long coal trains and increase global greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million tons. The Millennium coal export project would be among the largest coal terminals in North America, and it would inevitably impact the environment and the surrounding community in Southwest Washington, according to a new report from state and county regulators. In their final environmental impact statement, released Friday, Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology conclude only some of those impacts can be offset through mitigation. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Site C petition delivers 120K signatures asking feds to halt dam construction
A coalition of citizen groups, human rights organizations and environmental groups have delivered a petition of 120,000 signatures asking the federal government stop construction of the Site C dam immediately. "The petitions and postcards collected by our organizations demonstrate the widespread concerns over the human rights and environmental impacts of this dam," said Amnesty International's Don Wright. (CBC)

This dam protects jobs south of Seattle. Some day it won't
The Green River hasn’t flooded in more than half a century. It used to all the time. Every other year or so, the valley filled with water and turned into one long lake, from Auburn, Kent, and Renton up to Seattle. Now the area holds the largest collection of warehouse and manufacturing jobs in the state, worth billions of dollars. Someday, it will probably be under water again. See also: Why Kent farmers used to sneak out to blow up dams  Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)

Chicken rental service comes to Lower Mainland 
Lower Mainlanders with a hankering for fresh eggs this summer are in luck — a rental chicken service is expanding to the region this spring. Rent The Chicken, a U.S. based service with multiple Canadian affiliates, has operated in Kamloops and the Okanagan for the past year. For a fee, the service "rents" out three hens, a coop and all the feeding supplies necessary for a six month period. Would-be chicken farmers are given a guide book on how to raise chickens, as well as support from Rent The Chicken via phone, text, and online. (CBC)

Robots, tasers join battle against invasive species
A robot zaps and vacuums up venomous lionfish in Bermuda. A helicopter pelts Guam’s trees with poison-baited dead mice to fight the voracious brown tree snake. A special boat with giant winglike nets stuns and catches Asian carp in the U.S. Midwest. In the fight against alien animals that invade and overrun native species, the weird and wired wins. “Critters are smart — they survive,” said biologist Rob “Goose” Gosnell, head of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife services in Guam, where brown tree snakes have gobbled up nearly all the native birds. “Trying to outsmart them is hard to do.” Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press)

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