Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2/28 Green crab, no oil terminal, no-fish zones, Andeavor permit, chinook size, BC pipe, Site C dam, Doug Ericksen, SeaWorld CEO, BC fuel spill

European green crab [P. Sean McDonald]
Invasive Species Awareness Week calls attention to problem
From European green crabs along the Padilla Bay shoreline to big-leafed knotweed growing along the upper Skagit River, invasive species can be found throughout Skagit County. Those plants and animals can wreak havoc on the environment and impact the economy. Invasive species have cost the state millions and the nation billions in crop and natural resource losses, as well as staff time monitoring and eradicating the species. In an effort to call attention to the widespread problem, the state and nation have designated this week as National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that can grow and multiply at fast rates, crowding out native species. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

No oil-train terminal on the Columbia River; Vancouver Energy gives up plan 
Vancouver Energy is ending a four-year quest to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal along the Columbia River and won’t appeal Gov. Jay Inslee’s rejection of the project. A company spokesman Tuesday also said it would terminate — a month early — a Port of Vancouver lease for the project, and donate the $100,000 savings in lease payments to community nonprofits…. The $210 million terminal would have handled up to four crude-oil trains a day carrying oil from the Bakken Shale oil fields of North Dakota and Montana. The oil would have been transferred to vessels that would have traveled down the Columbia River to make deliveries to West Coast refineries. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

No fish zones eyed to save killer whales along south coast
A proposal by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to halt and reverse the decline of endangered, salmon-eating killer whales is coming at the cost of the recreation fishery, say local anglers. The objectives of the proposed measures is to curtail sport fishing in feeding areas essential to the survival of the southern resident killer whales and to restrict fishing on specific chinook salmon populations that sustain the orcas, according to DFO. The plan also calls for minimizing “physical and acoustic” contact in key foraging areas. It would only limit recreational fishing vessels. Kevin Laird reports. (Goldstream Gazette)

Skagit County hears appeal concerning refinery project, will make decision in March
The Skagit County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday heard testimony regarding a multimillion-dollar project proposed for the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery. The hearing focused on the legality of a shoreline substantial development permit approved for the project. The commissioners are considering whether Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford made a mistake in approving the permit and whether he should have questioned the thoroughness of the Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, when considering the permit. They are set to make a decision March 9. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

No more 'Kings of the Columbia': Chinook salmon much smaller, younger these days, study finds
They used to tip the scales at 80 pounds: June Hogs they were called. The kings of the Columbia River. But the big chinook that used to lumber up and down the Columbia and cruise the northeastern Pacific from California to western Alaska have dwindled away over the past 40 years, researchers have learned. Published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, researchers have documented a trend in decreasing body size in chinook over the past 40 years. The trend was remarkably widespread, affecting both wild and hatchery fish in the northern Pacific from California to western Alaska. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Vaughn Palmer: Kinder Morgan opponents linked to militant activists
Columnist Vaughn Palmer writes: "At first hearing, the Action Hive sounds like something out of a kid’s role-playing game or perhaps the handle for a particularly aggressive group of beekeepers. But lately it has figured prominently in the B.C. Liberal challenge to Environment Minister George Heyman for dining out with anti-pipeline activists on Jan. 30, the very day he launched his regulatory drive against the Kinder Morgan project. In an effort to embarrass Heyman for getting cosy with the self-styled Kinder Morgan Strategy Group, the Liberals have been quoting from a trove of documents that expose its connection to militant environmental activism and intrigue. The key item in the paper trail is the KM Action Hive Proposal, calling for “ongoing coordination of organization support for mass action disrupting Kinder Morgan construction.” The proposal, which has circulated among some members of the anti-pipeline study group, leaves no doubt that the timing and objectives are mainly political. (Vancouver Sun)

Work on Site C suspended prior to First Nations lawsuit
Clearing for a power transmission line near the Site C dam in northeastern B.C. has voluntarily been suspended by BC Hydro after two First Nations filed a lawsuit alleging the mega-project infringes on their treaty rights. In January, the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations started legal action against the dam, claiming its construction violates Treaty 8 signed in 1899, as well as the Canadian Constitution. The Nations also filed a request for an injunction preventing any dam construction from proceeding until after the trial is complete. Andrew Kurjata reports. (CBC)

Records show Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen was appointed to $133,000 EPA job, but backed out
State Sen. Doug Ericksen turned down a $133,000-a-year job in the regional headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency after raising questions about how often he’d have to come to work in the Seattle office, records show. The back-and-forth saga of whether Ericksen, a Ferndale Republican and noted climate-change skeptic, would land a prominent EPA job went on for much of the last year. Ericksen and former state Sen. Don Benton were each named to temporary EPA jobs last year as part of the Trump administration’s transition efforts to reshape federal agencies. Both men got the jobs after running Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in Washington state. Benton was later named head of the Selective Service System. Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times)

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby suddenly out as theme park attendance wanes
SeaWorld Entertainment's CEO is leaving the amusement park operator as it struggles to reverse the attendance slide sparked by scrutiny over its killer whales. Joel Manby stepped down effective immediately, the company said Tuesday. His exit ends a tenure that began in May 2015 when he was hired as an outsider to help get the company on track following a firestorm of criticism. While Manby earned tepid praise from critics for ending orca breeding and theatrical shows, SeaWorld has had a difficult time rehabilitating its image without major ad spending. Attendance at the company's theme parks in the 2017 fiscal year fell 5.5% to 20.8 million, the company said Tuesday. That's the lowest point since at least 2010, according to public filings. Nathan Bomey reports. (USA Today)

Questions raised following fuel spill in Strait of Georgia
There’s criticism tonight about how the Department of National Defense dealt with a fuel spill from HMCS Calgary into the Strait of Georgia this past weekend. A local First Nation says they only learned of the incident through the media. An environmental group says the response highlights how spill response should have a third party helping oversee it. Kendall Hanson reports. (CHEK News) See also: Less fuel spilled from HMCS Calgary than first reported  ....An updated incident report indicates that the Department of National Defence now estimates that 10,000 to 20,000 litres of F-76 fuel spilled from HMCS Calgary — as opposed to the 30,000 litres reported earlier. Lindsay Kines reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PST Wed Feb 28 2018  
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming E 25 to 35 kt in the  afternoon. Combined seas 6 to 8 ft with a dominant period of  12 seconds. Rain.
 SE wind 25 to 35 kt becoming S 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 6 to 8 ft with a dominant period of  10 seconds. Rain.

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