Monday, May 15, 2017

5/15 Tanker ban, Stand Up To Oil, sewage, geese, Pebble mine, Hoh R, Springer, Bears Ears, gopher, Salish Sea Stewards, Sinclair TV

Elwha 5/12/17 [Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Inst.]
Trudeau details partial tanker ban off northern B.C. coast
Days after a tight election made the Green party a power broker in Canada’s westernmost province, Justin Trudeau’s government is introducing a bill to ban crude oil tankers from using ports along the northern coast of British Columbia. The move, long signalled by Trudeau, is more political than of any immediate consequence. The area affected stretches from British Columbia’s border with Alaska down to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Most existing traffic happens south of the island, and projects for gas export plants and refineries on the province’s northern coast would hardly be affected or not at all. The proposed act will prohibit tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oils, such as partially upgraded bitumen and bunker fuel, from stopping at ports in the region, according to a government statement. The move won’t affect fuels like liquefied natural gas, gasoline and jet fuel, according to the statement. Natalie Obiko Pearson and Josh Wingrove report. (Bloomberg)

‘Today is a Milestone Day’: Groups Deliver One Million Petitions Against Coal and Oil Terminals to Gov. Inslee 
A coalition of environmental, labor, public health, first responder, faith, fishing, and business groups dropped a stack of heavy boxes inside Gov. Jay Inslee’s office in Olympia on Thursday: Printouts, petitions, and signatures representing over a million public comments against coal and oil-export terminals in Washington state. “It’s actually closer to 1.5 million,” says Rebecca Ponzio, director of the Washington Environmental Council’s Stand Up to Oil campaign. Sara Bernard reports. (Seattle Weekly)

Oregon port vote is latest local action on fossil fuels
Residents of a coastal community in Oregon are considering whether to try to derail a fossil fuel export project in their rural county, a decision that could put them at odds with the Trump administration. The ballot measure before Coos County voters Tuesday would block the $7.5 billion Jordan Cove Energy Project, a proposed liquefied natural gas port that would be the first of its kind on the U.S. West Coast. The vote comes weeks after a Trump adviser said the administration would approve the project. Federal regulators denied a permit for the export terminal and pipeline under President Barack Obama. (Associated Press)

Temporary fix in place at Bellingham plant that flooded with sewer water
Operations are almost back to normal at the Post Point wastewater treatment plant in Bellingham, nearly a week after a broken pipe caused a 3-foot-deep flood in an underground passage of the facility.... Over the days that followed sewer water was released into Bellingham Bay after going through basic treatment, but not the secondary stage, where bacteria removes pollutants from the water. By Thursday night workers had installed the first of four 12-inch pipes in a new, temporary bypass system. It could take days for secondary treatment to get up and running to full capacity again, and another four to five months for a more permanent solution, said Eric Johnston, assistant director of Public Works. In the meantime, Johnston emphasized the wastewater posed no public health risk when it was released into the bay over the past few days: all samples tested below 12 colony-forming units per 100 mL, whereas the rate considered acceptable by the state Department of Ecology is 200 to 400 cfu/100 mL. Caleb Hutton report. (Bellingham Herald)

'Been hissed at and chased at quite a few times': Can Canadians and Canada geese find peace?
…. With nesting season in full swing, and Canada geese in full protective mode over their nests, confrontations between birds and humans are predictably on the rise. And the populations of Canada geese are only getting bigger.  "No question, they're increasing all across Canada and all across North America," said Jim Leafloor, a biologist with the federal government's Canadian Wildlife Service. There are about seven million Canada geese in North America, but Leafloor said the problem isn't the numbers, it's their distribution across the country. Mark Gollom reports. (CBC) See also: See also: New book reveals best places for B.C. birdwatching  Bridgette Watson reports. (CBC)

EPA settlement could revive controversial Alaska gold mine project
The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a legal settlement with a Canadian company hoping to build a massive gold, copper and molybdenum mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, clearing the way for the firm to apply for federal permits. The settlement reached late Thursday between EPA and the Pebble Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., could revive a controversial project that was effectively scuttled under Barack Obama. And it underscores how President Donald Trump’s commitment to support mining extends far beyond coal, to gold, copper and other minerals. While the move does not grant immediate approval to the Pebble Mine project, which will have to undergo a federal environmental review and also clear state hurdles before any construction takes place, it reverses the agency’s 2014 determination that a large-scale mine in the area be barred because it would imperil the region’s valuable sockeye salmon fishery. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post) See also: Trump admin revives Alaskan gold mine to dismay of salmon netters  John Ryan reports. (KUOW) See also: Pebble Mine Settlement Worries Northwest Fishermen, Environmentalists  Simone Alicia reports. (KNKX)

Enviro Group Aims to Restore the Olympic Peninsula’s Hoh River
The Nature Conservancy has big plans for the Olympic Peninsula’s Hoh River. The conservation organization just acquired 7,000 new acres of land in the watershed from the Hoh River Trust. That adds to the 3,000-acre parcel the Nature Conservancy already owned. Its aim is to improve the health of the forest — and with it, the health of the river. Most of the watershed is in state or federal hands. But the lower portion that the Nature Conservancy now owns has been logged repeatedly and replanted with conifer trees instead of with the hardwood trees and shrubs that used to line the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula.  EilĂ­s O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Celebrate Springer!
Join the 2002 Springer rescue team when they reunite to tell “Springer’s Story,” the first-hand accounts of how the orphan orca Springer was identified, rescued and rehabilitated 15 years ago and returned home from Puget Sound to Johnstone Strait. “Celebrate Springer!” will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, May 20, at the Vashon Theater and will also feature a dance performance by Le La La Dancers, who were present at Springer's release. The program will be followed at 5 PM by The Whale Trail sign dedication at the Point Robinson Lighthouse Park. Tickets are available in advance from Vashon Theater tickets

Divers propose building artificial reef with rocks from old jetty at Point Hudson
Members of the Washington Scuba Alliance want to build an artificial reef to provide marine habitat when the Point Hudson jetties are replaced. Members of the group met with Port of Port Townsend commissioners last week seeking permission to explore the creation of an artificial reef using the rocks from the Point Hudson jetties. Nam Siu, a diver and marine biologist for Marine Surveys and Assessments, said the jetties around Point Hudson are a popular site for divers because of the diversity of marine life, including giant Pacific octopus, that they shelter. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Battle Over Bears Ears Heats Up as Trump Rethinks Its Monument Status
Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, stepped into the desert last week at the edge of the 1.3-million-acre red-rock expanse that is roiling the West. Mr. Zinke had billed his visit as a listening tour, and a woman trailed with a camera phone, needling him to support her side. “Be nice,” he said, swinging around and shaking a finger at her in the view of those in the crowd, many in cowboy hats. “Be nice!” “Nice” has been difficult recently in this patch of America, where President Trump’s decision to reconsider one of the country’s newest national monuments has thrust southeast Utah back to the front line in the battle over how much control Washington should have over Western lands.  Julie Turkewitz reports. (NY Times)

Thurston County adopts interim rules regarding pocket gopher protections
Thurston County commissioners reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife last week on the updated interim review process for the endangered Mazama pocket gopher…. Under the newly adopted process, gopher inspections are reduced from three to two for projects with soils considered by wildlife officials to be highly preferred by the pocket gopher. Inspections will take place from June through October, the same timeframe as before, but the final inspection can occur as early as August. Graham Perednia reports. (Centralia Chronicle)

Diverse group of Salish Sea Stewards ready to put education into action
A diverse group of community members who share an appreciation for the region’s natural beauty and an interest in protecting it became Salish Sea Stewards this week. The group that graduated from the course Tuesday includes recent retirees, some who are new to the area, and some who are looking to further their academic studies or careers. With 34 graduates, it is the largest class for the volunteer Salish Sea Stewards program, which is in its fourth year. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Dozens of volunteers hit Cadboro Bay Beach to clean up derelict boats  Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Sinclair requires TV stations, including KOMO, to air segments that tilt to the right
Eight current and former KOMO employees describe a newsroom where some have chafed at Sinclair’s programming directives, especially must-runs pieces, which they view as too politically tilted and occasionally of poor quality. Sydney Ember reports. (NY Times)

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