Sunday, January 14, 2018

1/15 MLK Day, WA culverts, save BC forest, MV Marathassa, coastal drilling, Sanchi sunk, Princess Sophia, Polley mine, B'ham waterfront

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2018
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Would Go. You In?

U.S. Supreme Court steps into Washington's long-running culvert case
The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped into Washington’s culvert case, accepting it for review and heating up a 17-year legal battle over the state’s duty to protect and restore salmon habitat as part of its obligation to respect tribes’ treaty fishing rights. The case, Washington v. U.S. et al., initially was filed by 21 Washington tribes with treaty-protected fishing rights in 2001. At issue is the state’s obligation to repair road culverts that block salmon from their spawning habitat. Culverts that are too small, or pitched too high above the stream bed, or in other ways are unsuitable for fish passage destroy miles of habitat above the culvert. That depletes fish runs that tribes rely on and are entitled to by treaties. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Environmentalists seek to protect an endangered B.C. landscape
Environmentalists in B.C. want conservation-minded people to spend Sunday writing letters of support to protect one of the province's most beautiful but endangered landscapes. The province is currently collecting feedback until Monday on its proposal to protect 1,125 hectares of the Coastal Douglas fir ecosystem (CDF) on parts of southern Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands. The landscapes feature soaring Douglas fir trees, Garry Oak trees, grassy meadows and unique reptiles and birds. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Crown gets go-ahead to prosecute Greek shipping company in B.C. fuel spill
A Greek shipping firm accused of operating a vessel that spilled thousands of litres of fuel into Vancouver's English Bay will be prosecuted regardless of whether it participates in the legal proceedings. A decision filed Friday in British Columbia's provincial court says it is "abundantly clear" that Alassia NewShips Management Inc. knew it faced 10 pollution-related offences. The charges followed a Transport Canada investigation into the MV Marathassa, which leaked 2,700 litres of bunker fuel in April 2015. (Canadian Press)

Cantwell, industry leaders voice concerns over national offshore drilling expansion plan
More state leaders are urging the Trump administration to rethink its plans to expand offshore drilling in federal waters, including off the coast of Washington. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined tribal, fishing, and tourism leaders during a press conference at the Fisherman's Terminal in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood Sunday to speak out against the plan. Looking out from the terminal, Brent Paine couldn't help but think about the impact drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Washington could potentially have on industries here. One major disaster would have profound consequences on the coast to the waters of Puget Sound, Paine said. (Associated Press & KOMO)

Hope Fades for Missing Crew Members as Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks
An Iranian oil tanker that collided with another vessel in the East China Sea and that had been burning for more than a week sank on Sunday, the Chinese Ministry of Transportation said. “There is no hope of finding survivors,” Mahmoud Rastad, the chief of Iran’s maritime agency, said of the missing crew members, according to The Associated Press. President Hassan Rouhani of Iran expressed his condolences and called on government agencies to investigate the tragedy and to take any necessary legal measures, according to state television. The 899-foot vessel, the Sanchi, sank at 4:45 p.m., the Chinese ministry said. Javier C. Hernandez reports. (NY Times)

Exhibit recalls worst marine disaster on West Coast
One hundred years since the worst maritime disaster in B.C. history, a new exhibit is resurfacing the story of the largely forgotten tragedy. The Princess Sophia sank off the West Coast near Juneau, Alaska after it drifted off course and hit a reef on a voyage from Skagway to Victoria.  It sank the following day after rescue efforts were delayed by bad weather and rough seas. All 340 people on board died…. The Maritime Museum of British Columbia's SS Princess Sophia exhibition runs until March 11. (CBC)

20 months remain to lay charges in Mt. Polley mine dam collapse
The clock is counting down on the time remaining to lay environmental charges in Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine dam failure, which took place nearly 3½ years ago in the B.C. Interior. One of the largest mining-dam failures in the world in the past 50 years, it shook the industry and caused concern among the public, First Nations and environmental groups that aquatic life would be harmed, particularly salmon that use the Quesnel Lake system to spawn. The three-year deadline to lay charges under B.C.’s environmental laws passed last summer. Under federal law, there is a five-year window to lay environmental charges, leaving 20 months to do so. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

They want to pick a plan for Bellingham’s waterfront; here’s how you can weigh in
With a revamped commission in place after November’s election, the Port of Bellingham is running a full-court press to settle its long-term design for the downtown waterfront. The port is hosting an open house from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday to talk about proposed changes to the waterfront district master plan, which involves much of the former Georgia-Pacific property near downtown Bellingham. The open house will be at the Granary Building at 1208 Central Ave. The event will include several breakout information stations where the public can talk to officials from the port, city and the Harcourt, the Irish-based developer working on the project. You can also send written comments to waterfront@portofbellingham.com or speak at the upcoming port commission meetings on Tuesday and Feb. 6. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  900 PM PST Sun Jan 14 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON
 
MON
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 11 ft at 14  seconds. A chance of rain in the afternoon.
MON NIGHT  SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 10  ft at 13 seconds. Rain.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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