Monday, August 7, 2017

8/7 Trump coal, Mt Polley dam sockeye, Bert Webber, Intalco fined, citizen science, FEMA weather

Canary in a Coal Mine. And why a canary?
Beginning in 1911, miners in Great Britain carried a canary in a cage with them down into the mines. Why? Carbon monoxide can build to deadly levels, and it has no smell. If the canary weakened or stopped singing, miners knew to get out of the mine — and quickly. Why use a bird instead of, say, a mouse? It all had to do with the birds’ breathing anatomy: canaries get a dose of air when they inhale and when they exhale, thus a double dose of toxic gases. Thankfully, in 1986, more humane electronic warning devices replaced them. (BirdNote)

Under Trump, Coal Mining Gets New Life on U.S. Lands
The Trump administration is wading into one of the oldest and most contentious debates in the West by encouraging more coal mining on lands owned by the federal government. It is part of an aggressive push to both invigorate the struggling American coal industry and more broadly exploit commercial opportunities on public lands. The intervention has roiled conservationists and many Democrats, exposing deep divisions about how best to manage the 643 million acres of federally owned land — most of which is in the West — an area more than six times the size of California. Not since the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion during the Reagan administration have companies and individuals with economic interests in the lands, mining companies among them, held such a strong upper hand. Eric Lipton and Barry Meier report. (NY Times)

Future of Fraser River's 2nd largest sockeye population unclear 3 years after mining disaster
When the dam at the Mount Polley mine collapsed in August of 2014, it spilled 24 million cubic metres of toxic waste into Quesnel Lake, destroying important spawning beds and forcing an estimated 1.5 million spawning sockeye to swim through polluted waterways. Now, the future of the second largest sockeye run on British Columbia's Fraser River is in question and the federal fisheries critic is slamming the federal government for its lack of response. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Return To The Salish Sea: Visionary Bert Webber
Bert Webber is the man who coined the phrase "Salish Sea." He is a professor emeritus from Huxley College at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Webber says while it may be easy to see the Salish Sea as separate waterways, those waterways actually make up one ecosystem that goes beyond political borders. "If you see something, a place that doesn't have a name, there's that old kind of rule of thumb that you can't know something that doesn't have a name," Webber said. "So this ecosystem needed a name." Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Ferndale’s Intalco fined for air quality violations
Intalco Works was dealt a $32,500 fine for air quality violations that took place last year. The violations stem from two different situations that took place at the aluminum smelter near Ferndale. One stemmed from a curtailment process that was underway around June 2016 before Alcoa reached an agreement with Bonneville Power Administration that saved the facility from being closed…. The smelter was also fined for emission violations following a fire in the bake oven in November. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Citizen scientists track effects of climate change in the Northwest 
Hikers, climbers and skiers are helping scientists collect the expansive data sets needed to explore climate change’s thorny questions over a wide territory. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Kids learn what it takes to be scientists  Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

FEMA offers daily email briefings on weather, emergency conditions
Chris Dunagan writes in Watching Our Water Ways: "One of the first emails I check out each morning is the “FEMA Daily Operations Briefing” issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At a glance, I get an idea of significant weather events and emergency activities across the country. Often, I see nothing that seems significant to me, and I move on to other email. But if something stands out, I click on the link that takes me to the full briefing in PDF format…. Anyone can receive the briefings along with other information available by email by signing up on FEMA’s email-delivery page. Just scroll down and check 'FEMA Daily Operations Briefing.'"

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  308 AM PDT Mon Aug 7 2017  
 Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 7 seconds. Patchy drizzle and  fog in the morning. Smoke.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 7 seconds. Smoke in the evening then patchy smoke and drizzle  after midnight.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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