Monday, January 8, 2018

1/8 Honu, oil drill, spill regs, tanker spill, Ericksen EPA, Cooke net pens, orca petition, coal dock, WA carbon, dying ocean, sea level rise, bird recovery

Honu (Green sea turtle)
Honu in Anahulu River, Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii
The green sea turtle [honu], also known as the green turtle, black turtle or Pacific green turtle, is a large sea turtle of the family Cheloniidae. The Anahulu River (also called Anahulu Stream) is the longest watercourse on the island of Oahu in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It is 7.1 miles (11.4 km) long. (Wikipedia)

Interior secretary's plan would open up Washington and Oregon coastlines to drilling 
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday released a sweeping plan to open nearly all waters off the nation’s coastlines to oil and gas drilling, including a major new lease sale off Oregon and Washington proposed for 2021. The plan, which drew immediate backlash from environmentalists, fishermen and elected officials in Washington and other coastal states, attempts to turn offshore waters into a much bigger oil spigot by opening up most of the outer continental shelf to what an Interior Department statement called the largest number of offshore lease sales in U.S. history. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Without fanfare, oil companies just received a tax break on New Year’s Day   Juliet Eilperin and Dino Grandoni report. (Washington Post)

U.S. to roll back safety rules created after Deepwater Horizon spill
The Trump administration is poised to roll back offshore drilling safety regulations that were put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused the worst oil spill in American history. A proposal by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which was established after the spill and regulates offshore oil and gas drilling, calls for reversing the Obama-era regulations as part of President Trump’s efforts to ease restrictions on fossil fuel companies and generate more domestic energy production. Doing so, the agency asserted, will reduce “unnecessary burdens” on the energy industry and save the industry $228 million over 10 years. Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi report. (NY Times)

Burning tanker off Chinese coast 'in danger of exploding'
here are fears of an environmental disaster in the East China Sea as a tanker continues to leak oil two days after colliding with a cargo ship. Chinese officials have told state media the vessel is in danger of exploding and sinking. Rescuers attempting to reach the site were being beaten back by toxic clouds, the transportation ministry has said. The crew, 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, remain missing despite international rescue efforts. (BBC)

Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen appointed to EPA post in Seattle
State Sen. Doug Ericksen has been appointed to a new job as the senior adviser to the Region 10 administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle. He will start his position some time in the near future, according to the executive assistant for Chris Hladick, the regional administrator for the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region. The Ferndale Republican, in an email, neither confirmed nor denied that he had a new job with the EPA. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Cooke Aquaculture says DNR had no reason to terminate lease in Port Angeles Harbor
Cooke Aquaculture Pacific has fired back at the state and its lands commissioner over a recent decision to terminate its lease for an Atlantic salmon farming operation in Port Angeles. Cooke filed a lawsuit Thursday saying the state Department of Natural Resources and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz had no basis to terminate its 10-year lease Dec. 15. DNR has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit filed in Clallam County Superior Court. Cooke, which is raising 690,000 Atlantic salmon in net pens in Port Angles Harbor, would “suffer significant damage” if DNR’s decision is allowed to stand, according to the complaint. Rob Ollikainen and Paul Gottlieb report. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: DNR chief: Cooke to dismantle fish pens at Ediz Hook  Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Dammed to extinction, Southern Resident Orcas are starving. Time is running out! Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative
A petition to Senators Murray and Cantwell and Governor Inslee: The 76 remaining wild critically endangered salmon-eating Southern Resident Orcas are dying from starvation. ⇒ Leaving an effective breeding population less than 30, near the point of no recovery. Breach the Lower Snake River Dams in 2018.

Millennium parent company files suit against Inslee, Ecology
Millennium Bulk Terminals’ parent company, Lighthouse Resources, Inc., filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday, claiming the governor’s administration is impeding interstate and foreign commerce by blocking the construction of a $680 million coal dock on the Columbia River. In addition to Inslee, the complaint — filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma — names state Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz as defendants. Lighthouse is claiming that the denial of two crucial permits for the coal export project represents a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Zach Hale reports. (Longview Daily News)

Washington carbon policy should invest in landscapes, rural communities, state lands chief says 
Hilary Franz, the state commissioner of public lands, has stepped to the center of the carbon debate in Washington, calling for a strategy that invests in forests, agricultural and aquatic lands, and rural communities as a way to fight climate change. She staked out her position in a letter to state legislative committee leaders in the House and Senate and in a climate-policy speech planned for Thursday in Seattle, urging lawmakers to adopt a carbon-reduction policy this year. That policy should use revenue from a carbon tax or carbon cap to invest in natural landscapes that can reduce carbon pollution and also support rural communities that depend on farming, ranching, timber and shellfish production, Franz said in the letter. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Coral Bleaching, Low Oxygen Levels Getting Worse In Oceans
Global warming is making the world’s oceans sicker, depleting them of oxygen and harming delicate coral reefs more often, two studies show. The lower oxygen levels are making marine life far more vulnerable, the researchers said. Oxygen is crucial for nearly all life in the oceans, except for a few microbes. “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. That pretty much describes it,” said study lead author Denise Breitburg, a marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. “As seas are losing oxygen, those areas are no longer habitable by many organisms.” (Associated Press)

Organization encourages community to envision sea level rise 
The expanse of pebble beach that visitors to Washington Park are accustomed to seeing could be largely underwater in coming years. About 50 community members gathered just after sunrise Friday near the lapping tide — one of the last king tides of the season. King tides are extreme high tides that occur in the Puget Sound region between November and January, when the moon is closest to the Earth, Washington Sea Grant Coastal Policy Specialist Bridget Trosin said. The tides give Anacortes and other waterfront communities a glimpse of what they can expect as the global climate warms. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: King tide a reminder of climate change’s sea rise threat to B.C.  Patrick Johnston reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Volunteers see increase in bald eagles at Brackendale, B.C., defying 10-year decline
Volunteers in Brackendale, B.C., counted an additional 287 bald eagles during an annual census of the birds this year, countering 10-year lows in their numbers. The Howe Sound community south of Whistler has one of North America's largest concentration of wintering bald eagles, which feed off of salmon in the nearby Squamish River. The total this year was 969 — the highest number of eagles since 2014. (CBC)

Trumpeter swans a conservation success story
This time of year, Allan and Barb Fredrickson get sentimental about the years they spent living on Swan Road northeast of Mount Vernon and the trumpeter swans with which they shared their land. The couple bought their farmstead at the north edge of Barney Lake in 1966 and was delighted the following winter to have seven trumpeter swans spend the season with them at the lake…. The population wintering at Barney Lake increased over the years, from seven, to 12 and 17 the following years…. Now, thousands of trumpeter swans — along with some of their smaller cousins, the tundra swans — flock each year to areas throughout Skagit County. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PST Mon Jan 8 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  11 ft at 15 seconds. Rain.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  10 ft at 14 seconds. Rain.

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