Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12/12 Shipworm, Site C ok'd, KM pipe, Columbia R. treaty, Tacoma LNG, Whale Trail, Squamish leaders, mountain changes, Trump cleanup, ocean trash, Chief Seattle

Shipworm [PHOTO: Dan Distel]
Shipworm Bankia setacea
Shipworms are not worms but odd clams. Their wormlike bodies extend from a small boring shell that has sharp "wings." A small but strong foot rotates the boring shell back and forth, somewhat like a Rough Piddock boring a pencil-diameter tunnel through submerged wood. Timbers riddled with such tunnels can often collapse. Shipworms can digest some of the wood that it bores, but most of its nutrition seems to come from planktonic algae filtered from the water. (Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

B.C. government to go ahead with Site C hydroelectric dam project
Calling it a "difficult decision," the B.C. government has decided to go ahead with the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam, paving the way for work to restart. "At the end of the day, we've come to a conclusion that although Site C is not the project we would have favoured, or would have started, it must be completed," said Premier John Horgan in announcing the decision.… The NDP government had been debating whether to continue the construction of the dam — which will flood 5,500 hectares of the Peace River valley and displace many Indigenous communities and farmers — or cancel the work midway through the job. Ultimately, the government concluded that cancelling the project near Fort St. John would result in a 12-per-cent increase in hydro rates in 2020. It also forecast overall rates would be nearly twice as high for 20 years beyond 2020 if it cancelled Site C — or would leave the government with significantly less money to spend on other infrastructure spending. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC) See also: 'A reconciliation fail': B.C. First Nations promise court action over NDP's approval of Site C  (CBC) And also: Group says Site C approval will have 'grave consequences' for NDP  (CBC)

Analysis: Kinder Morgan Wins a Round, But Pipeline Still Isn’t a Done Deal
Fossil industry media and climate community listservs erupted late last Thursday with the news that a National Energy Board (NEB) panel had sided with Kinder Morgan Canada in its dispute with the city of Burnaby, British Columbia, putting the commercial interests of a Houston-based pipeline company over a municipality’s authority to enforce its own bylaws. With the stroke of a virtual pen, the NEB added $1.9 billion to Kinder’s share value, as investors gained confidence in the company’s ability to get its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built. Community opposition was unbowed, contrasting the panel ruling with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2016 assertion that “only communities grant permission” for major resource projects. Mitchell Beer writes. (The Energy Mix)

Columbia River Treaty to be renegotiated with U.S. in early 2018 
The U.S. Department of State has announced it will begin negotiations to modernize the decades-old Columbia River Treaty beginning in early 2018, a move Nelson B.C.'s mayor calls "promising." In 1964, Canada and the U.S. signed the treaty which created reservoirs hundreds of kilometres long in several states and in British Columbia. It currently dictates flood control and hydroelectric dam operations but is set to expire in 2024. Jaimie Kehler reports. (CBC) See also: US To Enter Into Columbia River Treaty Renegotiation In 2018  reports. (NW News Network)

Protesters chain selves to crane at Tacoma LNG site
The sound of resistance was the only thing that was able to pierce through the morning fog at the Port of Tacoma on Monday. It was the sound of chants and prayers of members of the Puyallup Tribe, who called for a halt to the construction of a Liquified Natural Gas Plant being built by Puget Sound Energy…. Rideout and other members protested outside of the construction of the LNG plant on 11th and East Alexander Way. They believe fossil fuels are not clean energy and fear what impact the plant could have on the environment and the livelihood of the Puyallup Tribe…. Two protestors not affiliated with the Puyallup Tribe, Steve Way and Carlo Voli, chained themselves to a crane on the construction site of Puget Sound Energy in protest. Jenna Hanchard report. (KING)

Whale Trail Winter Gathering - Finding Light in the Dark for the Whales
Tonight at 6 pm a C&P Coffee, 5612 California Ave SW, Seattle, the Whale Trail Winter Gathering brings local photographers and researchers together to share stories and photos of orcas and other marine mammals who share our waters. Hear about recent encounters with southern resident orcas, and other sightings near West Seattle this year. Also buy a signed copy of Erich Hoyt's latest book, The Encyclopedia of Whale, Dolphins, and Porpoises and other goodies! $5 adults, kids under 12 free. Tickets.  See also: After rough years for orcas, these recent whale sightings are encouraging  (KIRO)

Newly elected Squamish Nation council may have implications for future of Woodfibre LNG
The Squamish Nation elected eight new councillors under the age of 36, and a record number of off-reserve councillors giving the council a mandate for change, according to newly elected councillor, Dustin Rivers, whose traditional name is Khelsile]. All eight new members ran under the banner of a campaign dubbed  "The New Nine" which was spearheaded by Khelsilem and makes up half of the 16-member council. The group was selected via a community survey that 300 members participated in…. The New Nine ran on a platform that opposed Woodfibre LNG, a $1.- billion project that would process natural gas shipped by pipeline from northern B.C. into liquified natural gas for export out of Howe Sound in the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Historic photos show how Canada's mountains have changed in 150 years
A new interactive website from the University of Victoria allows viewers to compare modern and historical images of Canadian mountains, showing dramatic change over the last 150 years.  Eric Higgs, a University of Victoria environmental scientist and the leader of the project, says the effects of climate change are clearly illustrated by the photos…. Researchers with the Mountain Legacy Project compiled thousands of photographs taken by mountain surveyors between 1861 and 1958.  They then spent 19 years returning to the exact locations in B.C., Alberta and Yukon to take matching photos in order to compare the change in landscape. Jaimie Kehler reports. (CBC)

Trump EPA promises fast action (but no more money) on toxic waste cleanups
Toxic waste cleanups in Renton and Portland are going to get renewed attention from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to an announcement from the EPA. More quietly, the agency has abandoned dozens of other toxic sites in the Northwest, according to its inspector general. Despite the promise to bring "immediate, intense action" to these toxic cleanups, the Trump administration is making no extra money available to accomplish that goal. On Friday, an EPA press release identified 21 toxic sites nationwide that it says can benefit from the "direct engagement" of Administrator Scott Pruitt. John Ryan reports. (KUOW) See also: EPA Targets 2 Pacific Northwest Superfund Sites for Expedited Cleanup   Eilis O'Neill repors. (KUOW/EarthFix)

Ocean Trash: What You Need To Know
The story of a piece of litter doesn’t end at your curbside. Every year, millions of tons of trash find their way down storm drains and rivers to the ocean. Ocean currents take over from there, carrying man-made stuff thousands of miles away to far-flung corners of the planet—even to places otherwise thought to be untouched by people. And that makes marine debris difficult to clean up. Here’s what you need to know about the trash that’s piling up on Pacific Northwest beaches and around the world’s oceans: Ken Christensen reports. (KCTS9/EarthFix)

How Chief Seattle mistakenly inspired an environmental movement
“The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.” These words are from an 1854 speech that made Chief Seattle famous, inspiring environmental movements in the city that bears his name and beyond. Except, he never really said that. Emily Fox reports. (KUOW)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  235 AM PST Tue Dec 12 2017  
TODAY
 Light wind. W swell 8 ft at 12 seconds.
TONIGHT
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 11 seconds.

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