Thursday, December 7, 2017

12/7 Deception Pass, oil train rules, Site C, Colstrip shutdown, big Chinook

Deception Pass and Bridge [J Brew/ Flickr]
Deception Pass
Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. It connects Skagit Bay, part of Puget Sound, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca…. The Deception Pass area has been home to various Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years. The first Europeans to see Deception Pass were members of the 1790 expedition of Manuel Quimper on the Princesa Real…. George Vancouver gave it the name "Deception" because it had misled him into thinking Whidbey Island was a peninsula. (Wikipedia)

Oil Train Safety Rules Getting Rolled Back By Trump Administration
The Trump administration is rolling back a requirement for trains carrying highly explosive liquids — like the oil trains that run through the Columbia River Gorge en route to Northwest refineries. The 2015 rule was supposed to make these hazardous trains more safe, following a number of derailments. But that was under President Obama, Now, President Trump’s Department of Transportation says railroads with trains carrying highly flammable liquids will not have to update their braking systems. “The costs of this mandate would exceed three-fold the benefits it would produce,” the DOT said in a statement — that’s according to studies by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Obama-era regulations required railroad companies to install electronically controlled pneumatic brakes by 2021. Those new systems were supposed to help prevent fiery crashes, like last year’s derailment in Mosier, Oregon. ECP brakes are supposed to brake faster because they signal instantaneously throughout the train. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPR/EarthFix)

Site C decision could come as early as Friday as B.C. NDP cabinet meets
 Officials in Premier John Horgan's office say the government's decision on the future of the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam could come as early as Friday. Speaking on background, the officials say government ministers were in meetings Wednesday wrestling with the decision to continue building or to scuttle the $8.3 billion project and that the decision could be announced within days. (Canadian Press)

A settlement signals coal's last legs in Northwest
A state-negotiated rate settlement with Puget Sound Energy, which serves a million Washington customers, is likely to speed up the final shutdown of a big, coal-fired power plant in Montana and give the Pacific Northwest a coal-free future. The legal settlement, brokered by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, provides an accelerated schedule under which PSE's investment in Montana's Colstrip 3 and 4 power plants will be paid off by 2027. Two other plants, Colstrip 1 and 2, which began operation in the mid-1970s, are slated for shutdown within five years. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Could we ever reverse the trend of shrinking Chinook salmon?
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: 'Much has been said about the decline of Puget Sound Chinook salmon. Often the discussion focuses on how to increase the salmon population, but I believe a good case can be made for increasing the size of these once-mighty “kings.”…. While it might take more energy for a killer whale to chase down a large Chinook versus a smaller one, the payoff in nutrition and energy far outweighs the expenditure, according to Jacque White of Long Live the Kings, who has been looking into the size issue for some time.'

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  211 AM PST Thu Dec 7 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE FRIDAY NIGHT
 
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 16 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  4 ft at 14 seconds.

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