Monday, March 12, 2018

3/12 Skunk cabbage, BC pipe, Andeavor, drill rules, Fukushima radiation, biofuels plant, B'ham woods, climate debate, local media, Utah's parks

Skunk cabbage [Ian Terry/Herald]
Swamp Lantern Festival celebrates our native spring flowers 
A flower show at an environmental center sounds improbable, but it’s true. The Northwest Stream Center’s half-mile elevated boardwalk provides an introduction to the beauty of the region’s wildflowers. Look for mock orange nicco, the delicate white blossoms of Indian plum, red elderberry’s cheery dashes of color, the star-shaped blooms of salmonberry and the heart-shaped leaves of false lily of the valley. “Anyone who’s into native plants and the looks of spring, this is the place to come,” said Tom Murdoch, director of the Adopt A Stream Foundation, based in Everett’s McCollum Park. And then there’s the plant — the skunk cabbage — whose flower is the namesake of the annual event that’s now under way. Sharon Salyer reports. Everett Herald)

Protesters rally for and against Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline plan
Protesters around Vancouver held duelling rallies on Saturday, some welcoming Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project with others decrying it. Both sides delivered impassioned arguments about the proposed expansion. Indigenous leaders beat drums and sang out against the project Saturday morning, saying they won't step aside for construction. The pipeline runs between Edmonton and Burnaby. Kinder Morgan received federal approval for an expansion in November 2016. Rueben George, of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, told protesters that it will take more rallies and protests to stop the $7.4-billion project, which is set to increase the flow of oil products to 890,000 barrels up from 300,000 barrels per day…. The pro-pipeline march began at 2 p.m. PT at the Olympic flames in downtown Vancouver under signs reading: "Enough politics. Just build the pipeline." (CBC) See also: Deep divide between anti- and pro-pipeline rallies in Metro Vancouver  Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun) And also: Thousands of marchers in British Columbia say no to Trans Mountain pipeline  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Trans Mountain granted interim injunction against blockades at 2 B.C. terminals
A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has granted Trans Mountain an interim injunction aimed at preventing anti-pipeline activists from protesting construction at two terminals in Burnaby. The company listed 15 individuals, along with John Doe, Jane Doe and "persons unnamed" in a notice of civil claim as part of its request to restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities. Justice Kenneth Affleck agreed with that condition today and said the injunction will last until Wednesday, when a hearing on the matter will continue. Camille Bains reports. (Canadian Press)

Alberta oil restrictions to punish B.C. would cause collateral damage
Alberta might want to punish British Columbia by threatening to restrict oil and gas shipments to the province, but the rest of Canada would suffer collateral damage, according to one legal opinion. Premier Rachel Notley, on Thursday, raised the spectre of curbing its oil and gas shipments to defend Alberta’s interests over B.C.’s obstruction of Kinder Morgan’s $7.9 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. Alberta does have the power to do that, according to University of Calgary law professor Nigel Bankes, but he is doubtful that the province could target just B.C., according to his reading of the Constitution Act of 1982. That act includes a clause that gives any province the right to make laws related to the export of non-renewable resources from the province to another part of Canada. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

County commissioners deny appeal of refinery permit
The Skagit County Board of Commissioners on Friday denied an appeal of a permit for the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery’s proposed Clean Products Upgrade Project. The commissioners voted unanimously to deny the appeal filed by six environmental groups, upholding Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford’s earlier decision to issue the permit…. Because the permit in question is a shoreline substantial use permit, the county commissioners said they were limited to considering only shoreline development and the impacts of that development within 200 feet of the refinery’s wharf off March Point…. The environment groups that appealed the permit said during the Feb. 27 hearing that while they like the idea of reducing emissions at the refinery, their concerns center on vessel traffic — which would increase by 60 ships per year to transport xylene — and greenhouse gas emissions from transporting that product. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Trump Rollbacks Target Offshore Rules ‘Written With Human Blood’
…. While attention has been focused on President Trump’s disputed decision in January to reverse drilling restrictions in nearly all United States coastal waters, the administration has also pursued a rollback of Obama-era regulations in the Gulf. Those rules include safety measures put in place after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, a disaster that killed 11 people and resulted in the largest marine oil spill in drilling history. Smaller oil and gas companies, many backed by Wall Street and private equity firms, say they need the relief to survive financially, and the top safety official at the Interior Department appointed by Mr. Trump has appeared an enthusiastic ally. Eric Lipton reports. (NY Times)

No adverse effects from 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster on B.C. coast: SFU researchers
Seven years after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan released radioactive elements into the environment, researchers say those elements pose minimal risk to human or salmon health along British Columbia's coast. A team of researchers at Simon Fraser University's nuclear science lab collected soil and salmon samples from the Quesnel and Harrison rivers and used a high-resolution gamma-ray spectroscopy to search for signs of radioactive isotopes. The isotopes — Cesium 134 and 137 — are fission fragments that do not exist in nature and, therefore, can be directly attributed to nuclear reactions. Amy Smart reports. (Canadian Press)

Surrey, B.C. unveils 'state-of-the-art' biofuel plant, promises no foul smells
Surrey garbage trucks will soon be running on fuel made from food scraps. The city unveiled its new industrial-scale biofuel plant Friday, where organic waste will be converted into natural gas, fuelling the city's waste collection fleet. The Surrey Biofuel Facility has capacity to transform up to 115,000 tonnes of organic waste into biofuel, according to the city. At the grand unveiling Friday, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said it will reduce local greenhouse gas emissions by 50,000 tonnes per year. (CBC)

Decades have been spent to protect these 82 wooded acres. Is that finally ending?
A lawsuit that sought to dissolve the Chuckanut Community Forest Park District and related property tax has ended now that the state Supreme Court won’t take up the case.  The state’s high court on Wednesday declined to review a Court of Appeals decision on Oct. 30 that ruled against those who filed the lawsuit…. The Hundred Acre Wood is the community’s fond name for what is now known as the Chuckanut Community Forest. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

The E.P.A Chief Wanted a Climate Science Debate. Trump’s Chief of Staff Stopped Him
John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, has killed an effort by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to stage public debates challenging climate change science, according to three people familiar with the deliberations, thwarting a plan that had intrigued President Trump even as it set off alarm bells among his top advisers. The idea of publicly critiquing climate change on the national stage has been a notable theme for Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the E.P.A. For nearly a year he has championed the notion of holding military-style exercises known as red team, blue team debates, possibly to be broadcast live, to question the validity of climate change. Mr. Pruitt has spoken personally with Mr. Trump about the idea, and the president expressed enthusiasm for it, according to people familiar with the conversations. Lisa Friedman and Julie Hirschfeld Davis report. (NY Times)

When local media struggles, so does our democracy
With fewer news outlets, and fewer employees, local journalism is a troubled — but still essential — institution. Ron Judd reports. (Seattle Times)

Mr. Outdoors: Swearing off Utah's national parks
Seabury Blair writes: "I can't enjoy the great outdoors in Utah anymore. I love skiing the fine powder of Park City, Solitude, Alta, Brighton and Snowbird. And hiking, biking and camping in the five national parks of Utah is very popular these days. The Utah Office of Tourism continues to put out these spiffy television ads touting Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, and Zion national parks. But the sad fact is the state of Utah doesn't care a whit about the land that belongs to you and me. State politicians, including the governor, supported the reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments ordered by Donald Trump. That prompted outdoor gear maker Patagonia to declare on its home page "The President Stole Your Land." (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Mon Mar 12 2018
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft at  14 seconds.
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of rain  after midnight.

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