Thursday, March 1, 2018

3/1 Wandering tattler, BC spill plan, BC spill, WA carbon tax, West Point sewage, WA salmon, green manifesto, streaked horned lark, Tea Party green

Wandering tattler [Tom Middleton/Audubon]
Wandering tattler Tringa incana 
Along rocky shorelines on the west coast, this gray sandpiper clambers actively over the boulders. If an observer approaches too closely, the bird gives a loud "tattling" call and flies away, spooking the other shorebirds on the rocks. The name "Wandering" refers to the wide distribution of this species: in winter it is found along Pacific coastlines from North America to Australia, including innumerable islands in the southwest Pacific. In summer, for a change of pace, it goes to high mountains in Alaska and northwestern Canada.  (Audubon Field Guide)

B.C. environment minister unveils oil spill response paper
The province is seeking public input on its position to beef up oil-spill-response regulations for required response times, response plans and compensation for spill damage, B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said Wednesday. Heyman released a 41-page intention paper on enhanced regulations in four areas, minus the fifth hot-button suggestion of banning increased bitumen shipments through the province until further scientific studies are done. Premier John Horgan, last week, said B.C. will seek legal guidance on the province’s jurisdiction on crimping bitumen flows through the province with a reference case to Federal Court on constitutional questions. B.C.’s proposal to restrict bitumen drew the ire of Alberta’s government, with officials saying it was an illegal way of effectively killing the expansion of Kinder Morgan Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Weekend fuel spill highlights risks to endangered whales, marine life experts say
While the type of fuel that spilled in the Salish Sea this weekend evaporates quickly, it can be “acutely toxic” for mammals that breach the surface waters to breathe before it fades away. “It just takes one poorly timed spill to have an impact on a group of endangered whales that can’t sustain further losses,” said Misty MacDuffee, a biologist and program director with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. While MacDuffee didn’t know if the whales were in the area this weekend, B.C.’s J-Pod, one of three endangered pods of southern resident killer whales, was in the Salish Sea earlier this month, she noted. Ainslie Cruickshank reports. (Metro News)

Will Washington become the first state to tax greenhouse gases?
With just over a week before the Washington Legislature adjourns for the year, the question recurs: Will legislators make Washington the first state in the nation to tax greenhouse-gas emissions to fight climate change? Lurking in the background as state legislators debate a carbon tax is the threat of a citizens’ initiative on the November 2018 ballot to tax carbon emissions. In Olympia, legislation has passed three Senate committees, the latest on Wednesday. That alone is historic, said to be the first time that a carbon fee was approved by any panel of state politicians. And now, it could be scheduled for a Senate floor vote as early as Thursday. But the measure (SB 6203) still has far to go to reach the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee to be signed into law. 2018 marks Inslee’s sixth attempt to forge an economic policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sally Deneen reports. (Investigate West)

West Point disaster sent raw sewage into Puget Sound. Surprisingly, the water quality was barely affected
Last year’s West Point sewage-treatment-plant disaster that sent nearly 250 million gallons of untreated stormwater and sewage into Puget Sound caused little to no damage to water quality, a scientific review by King County has found. The plant was crippled in a catastrophic flood Feb. 9, 2017, so badly damaged it could perform only minimal settling of effluent and disinfection of waste in primary treatment for three months. Many thousands of tons of solids were deposited in Puget Sound via the plant’s outfall 240 feet under water. But the discharge largely did not affect water quality, the scientists found. Swift currents diluted the pollution. Water quality did not slip below most required standards at the monitoring stations in Puget Sound, the scientists found in the report, which was approved by three external reviewers…. Analysis still is underway of samples taken from sediment near the outfall, as well as monitoring to search for metals and other pollution in intertidal sediments, clams, zooplankton and crab tissues. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Can carefully planned fishing seasons help the endangered orcas?
Salmon harvests in Puget Sound have been shared between Indian and non-Indian fishermen since the 1970s, when the courts ruled that treaties guarantee tribal members half the total catch. Now a third party — Puget Sound’s endangered orcas — could take a seat at the negotiations table, at least in a figurative sense, as their shortage of food becomes a critical issue. It isn’t at all clear how fishing seasons could be structured to help the Southern Resident killer whales, but the issue was discussed seriously at some length yesterday, when the 2018 salmon forecasts were presented to sport and commercial fishers. Thus began the annual negotiations between state and tribal salmon managers to set up this year’s fishing seasons. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways) See also: Fishers will likely see more restrictions this year due to declining salmon population  (KIRO)

Salmon recovery projects awarded more than $53 million in grants
he Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership announced the award of more than $53 million in grants for projects that will protect and restore salmon habitat statewide…. With the Legislature’s recent approval of the capital budget, grants are being distributed for 163 projects to organizations in 29 of the state’s 39 counties. The grants will be used to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating, increase the types and amount of habitat for salmon, protect pristine areas and restore critical habitat so salmon have places to spawn, feed, rest and grow. (Tacoma Daily Index)

Author of environmental manifesto stands by document aimed at promoting civil disobedience
The author of an environmental manifesto that has become a focus of Liberal criticism aimed at provincial Environment Minister George Heyman says he created the document last fall and that it is no longer valid, but he stands behind the principles it outlines. The Action Hive Proposal was designed to coordinate and promote mass environmental opposition, including civil disobedience, to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Cam Fenton, a campaigner with 350.org who wrote the document, said in an interview Wednesday there should be no surprise that groups dedicated to opposing Kinder Morgan should develop strategies to accomplish that goal. “I stand by the document. It clearly states what we do, which is to organize large, peaceful, non-violent demonstrations to stop the Kinder Morgan project.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Lawsuit Asks For Greater Protections For Rare Northwest Bird
An environmental group is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase protections for a small ground-nesting bird called the streaked horned lark. The lark once ranged from the grasslands of Southern Oregon north into Canada, but now can only be found in the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound region. It was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2013. The Center for Biological Diversity is suing to raise the bird’s status to “endangered.” They are also to trying to get rid of an exemption for farmers and airports that threaten the lark’s nesting habitat. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Putting Green in the Tea Party, She Crusades for Clean Power
Debbie Dooley’s conservative profile seems impeccable. The gun-owning daughter of a Baptist preacher, she was an early organizer for the Tea Party movement. She voted for President Trump and still supports him. But when it comes to energy, her independent streak sends her down a different path: She takes issue with some of Mr. Trump’s signature positions, goes up against some of the nation’s biggest utility companies and often crosses conventional partisan lines. Ms. Dooley opposes the tariff the president imposed on solar-panel imports in January. As for coal, which Mr. Trump has championed, it will never “be the king it once was,” she said. She accepts that human activity is causing climate change — and worries that it will threaten the health of the next generation, including her 9-year-old grandson, who has asthma. To her, those beliefs are consistent with the rest of her worldview. “We should be focusing on the technologies of the future, not the dinosaur technology of the past,” Ms. Dooley said. “Our energy grid is vulnerable to attack. Rooftop solar keeps us safe. People like solar.” Ivan Penn reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PST Thu Mar 1 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 EVENING  
TODAY
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  10 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of showers.
TONIGHT  E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10  ft at 13 seconds. A chance of showers.

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