Monday, June 12, 2017

6/12 Tesoro, Hilary Franz, PSE coal, climate, green crab, Pt Gamble Bay, tribe hunting, Foss Waterway, BP spill

Turkey vulture [Pat Gaines/BirdNote]
Turkey Vultures and Gas Pipelines
Do vultures detect carrion by sight or by smell? The lightbulb moment came to ornithologist Kenneth Stager when a Union Oil employee told him of vultures congregating at the spots along pipelines where gas leaks were occurring. Why would they do that? Because a key ingredient in the odor of carrion is ethyl mercaptan. The same substance companies added to odorless natural gas in their pipelines, so they could smell if there was a leak. (BirdNote)

Judge rules to vacate $2.4 million penalty against Tesoro
A $2.4 million fine against the Anacortes Tesoro Refinery stemming from the 2010 explosion that killed seven workers was vacated Thursday by a State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals judge. The proposed order, which must still be approved by the board, was a blow to the state Department of Labor & Industries, which alleged 45 violations in handing down the fine. In the proposed order, Judge Mark Jaffe was critical of much of Labor & Industries’ case. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Lands commissioner fields barrage of questions during Port Angeles gathering
 The state Department of Natural Resources’ newest leader visited Port Angeles last week to unveil her agency’s newest initiative: a competitive technical staff assistance program to help rural communities develop their DNR assets. What recently elected state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz received Thursday at a Clallam County Courthouse meeting packed with about 80 participants was an earful on topics ranging from unpredictable timber revenues to developing scuba-diving recreation opportunities. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Puget Sound Energy seeks to extend contract with two coal-fired Montana plants
Puget Sound Energy is negotiating a coal-supply contract for two Montana power plants that would extend through 2029, but includes provisions for an earlier exit from the deal. The contract talks come as PSE faces increasing pressure to move from coal to cleaner sources of energy by the middle of the next decade. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Town That Helped Power Northwest Feels Left Behind In Shift Away From Coal  Nate Rott reports. (NPR)

Climate change in B.C.: Here's how 2050 could look
Climate change has been blamed for raging forest fires, devastating floods and shrinking glaciers, but scientists have determined the effects will look different in various regions of B.C.  Their severity depends on how successful humans are in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Under a middle-of-the-road scenario that assumes that in the future greenhouse gas emissions are halved, the average annual temperature in B.C. would increase by 2.5 C by 2050, according to the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium. Tara Carman reports. (CBC) See aslo: See also: Shifting climate baselines in B.C: Get ready for the new normal  Johanna Wagstaffe reports. (CBC)  And also: Americans 'under siege' from climate disinformation – former Nasa chief scientist  Fake news spread by those with a profit motive is leaving many people oblivious to the threat of climate change, says former head of US space agency. Hannah Devlin reports. (Guardian)

Washington state keeps its cool for the first five months of this year
For the first five months of this year, Washington state has stood out as the only state in the U.S. with a below-average temperature. While most of the country was experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures, we here in Washington were going outside to temperatures that averaged nearly 1 degree F. below normal. In fact, the contiguous 48 states recorded the second-warmest January-through-May period on record, despite cooler conditions in Washington.  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Green crab count rises to 72 on Dungeness Spit
Trapping efforts continue at Graveyard Spit on the Dungeness Spit as federal and state resource managers continue to find the invasive European green crab. Lorenz Sollmann, deputy project leader at the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, said that crews have caught 72 European green crabs — 45 male and 27 female — as of Friday. Previous counts were 69 crabs as of last Wednesday and 64 crabs as of May 23. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Celebration marks completion of Port Gamble Bay cleanup
Two S'Klallam canoes launched from the beach at Point Julia Thursday and glided west toward Port Gamble. Paddling across the choppy stretch of water separating the tribal reservation from the historical mill town, the canoe crews passed a stretch of shoreline that would have been nearly unrecognizable two years ago, before the start of a monumental restoration project…. For the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, the two-year cleanup was important both to restore the health of the bay and to reclaim the tribe's natural heritage. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Collision between Indigenous hunting and oil development rights set for legal showdown in B.C. court
The Blueberry River First Nation (BRFN) is fighting to draw a legal line to stop the incremental erosion of its land — and by extension its treaty rights. A civil case launched in 2015 revolves around a 38,000-kilometre patch of the province, that while tucked in B.C.'s far right corner, north of Fort St. John, is at the epicentre of provincial oil and gas development…. Last week, the First Nation lost a legal bid to stop any new industrial permits in the area, but a court ruling agreed that industry was causing "irreparable" damage. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Ammonia leaks into Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma, Ecology says
Ammonia spilled into the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma earlier this week when a pipe sprung a leak at a waterfront warehouse, the state Department of Ecology confirmed Friday. A leaky pipe in the ceiling of the SuperValu distribution center at 1525 E. D St. was reported about 7 p.m. Wednesday, Ecology spokesman David Bennett said. “It was not huge,” Bennett said. “But any spill is critical.” Craig Hill and Kenny Ocker report. (Tacoma News Tribune)

7 Years After BP Oil Spill, Oyster Farming Takes Hold In South
Eight miles down a dirt road through the swamps of southwest Alabama, Lane Zirlott has 1.8 million oysters in the water at his family's farm in Sandy Bay. The Murder Point oyster farm covers about two and half acres in the bay. The name changed from "Myrtle Point" in 1929, after a deadly dispute over oyster territory. Debbie Elliot reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Mon Jun 12 2017  
 Light wind becoming W 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell  5 ft at 8 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds. A slight chance  of showers.

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