Tuesday, December 19, 2017

12/19 Rooster, AMTRAK, oil trains, no grizzly hunt, no grizzly plan, Ballard Locks, rich folk tax cut

Rooster [James Orr/BirdNote]
The Rooster
The chicken is perhaps the most widespread avian species in the world - and the exotic Red Jungle Fowl is the ancestor of the hybrid Araucana and Rhode Island Red. From DNA analysis, scientists postulate that chickens were first domesticated from jungle fowl in India, some 5,000 years ago. Traders and travelers then carried them far and wide, to Asia Minor, Africa, and Europe. Julius Caesar is said to have noted that the Britons “kept them for pleasure, but not for the table.” The farming of chickens for their meat and eggs developed later, until today, when the chicken is probably the most numerous avian species in the world. Dominic Black and Chris Peterson write. (BirdNote)

Officials: Amtrak train traveling 50 mph over limit shortly before fatal derailment
An Amtrak train on its inaugural run from Seattle to Portland derailed Monday morning, sending at least one train car off an overpass and onto a busy Interstate 5 below. The derailment happened in DuPont, about 40 miles south of Seattle near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, around 7:30 a.m., during the morning rush hour. The cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. A spokeswoman from the agency said late Monday night that investigators were able to download the event data recorder from the rear locomotive. The data show the train traveling at about 80 miles per hour on a 30 miles per hour part of track shortly before the derailment. (KUOW)

Crude oil in Washington tops 1 million barrels per week
Figures show railroads ship more than 1 million barrels of crude oil across Washington each week. The Spokesman-Review reports information from October 2016 through September of this year indicate railroads shipped nearly 56 million barrels of crude oil across Washington in 82,000 rail cars. Most of the oil trains enter the state from Idaho, transporting light crude from North Dakota. The state last year began requiring facilities that receive crude oil by rail to notify the state officials in advance of shipments. The information is shared with emergency managers along the rail route. The Department of Ecology later publishes quarterly reports summarizing the volumes. (Associated Press)

Province ends grizzly bear hunt throughout all B.C.
B.C. is ending the grizzly bear hunt throughout the entire province. First Nations still will be able to harvest grizzly bears in accordance with Aboriginal rights for food, social, or ceremonial purposes, or treaty rights. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said the decision came about during the ministry's consultation process on implementing the end of the trophy hunt, first announced in August. "It's mostly a social values issue," Donaldson said. "When it comes down to it, this species is seen as an iconic species for B.C., and people just weren't willing to accept the hunting of grizzly bears anymore in this province." CBC)

Trump administration halts work on Cascades grizzly plan
Plans to help increase the grizzly bear population in the North Cascades ecosystem have been halted. The U.S. Department of the Interior reportedly ordered that work be stopped on a key planning document — the environmental impact statement for the grizzly restoration project. North Cascades National Park Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich announced the order to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee last week, according to The Missoulian. Work to restore grizzlies in the North Cascades has been planned for decades. Earlier this year, the National Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services released a draft plan and environmental impact statement. The document presented possibilities for boosting the grizzly population from the handful that might be living in the North Cascades today to as many as 200 bears in the coming decades. Three proposals call for bringing in bears from elsewhere. A fourth would focus on improving habitat, but would not introduce new bears. Kari Bray reports. (Everett Herald)

Ballard Locks, federal infrastructure, deserve more funding
Washington lawmakers are right to press President Donald Trump’s administration to fund much needed maintenance and upgrades at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. In a letter sent Friday, a coalition of representatives urged Trump and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fund the locks improvements in their 2018 and 2019 budgets. This work is needed to ensure that the Lake Washington Ship Canal’s linkage to Puget Sound continues to operate safely and reliably…. The letter was sent by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Dave Reichert, Suzan DelBene, Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer…. It would especially help to add the voices of U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas. They serve on the House appropriations energy and water subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Army Corps civil works. Help from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, would also be welcome. Seattle Times Editorial Board opines. Seattle Times)

CHARTS: See How Much Of GOP Tax Cuts Will Go To The Middle Class
The Republican tax bill that the House and Senate are set to pass as soon as Tuesday night would give most Americans a tax cut next year, according to a new analysis. However, it would by far benefit the richest Americans the most. Meanwhile, many lower- and middle-class Americans would have higher taxes a decade from now ... unless a future Congress extends the cuts. The average household would get a tax cut of $1,610 in 2018, a bump of about 2.2 percent in that average household's income, according to a report released Monday by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank that has been critical of the tax overhaul plan. However, extremes make averages, and the benefits would be much larger for richer households. A household earning $1 million or more would get an average cut of $69,660, an income bump of 3.3 percent. Compare that to the average household earning $50,000 to $75,000, which would get a tax cut of $870, or 1.6 percent. The numbers look bleaker a decade out for most American households. To help ensure their bill met the budget limits Republicans had set for themselves, lawmakers set many individual income tax changes to sunset after 2025 (they made cuts to corporate tax rates permanent, meanwhile).  Danielle Kurtzleben reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PST Tue Dec 19 2017  
 E wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8 ft at 14 seconds. Rain.
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming N to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 9 ft at 13 seconds. A chance of showers in the  evening then a slight chance of showers after midnight.

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