Friday, March 2, 2018

3/2 Bobcat, carbon tax, Colstrip, rail spill plan, no Hope, Vancouver runoff, WQ grants, Pt Wells, public records veto

Bobcat [PHOTO: Peggy Faranda/WDFW]
Bobcat Lynx rufus
Found throughout all of Washington, bobcats are probably more common than most people realize. Bobcats appear to be using suburban settings more often, although due to their reclusive ways, they are not often seen. Adult male bobcats weigh 20 to 30 pounds and average 3 feet in length (Fig. 1). Females are considerably smaller and may weigh less than a large house cat. Bobcats can be various shades of buff and brown, with dark brown or black stripes and spots on some parts of the body. The tip of the tail and the backs of the ears are black. They have short ear tufts, and ruffs of hair on the side of the head, giving the appearance of sideburns. Bobcats of eastern Washington tend to be a much lighter buff color than those of western Washington. Both color phases occur along the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. (WDFW)

Washington state's carbon-tax bill dies in Legislature
Another ambitious effort to pass a carbon tax in Washington state has faltered as both Gov. Jay Inslee and the bill’s prime sponsor said Thursday that there weren’t enough votes to pass the measure out of the state Senate. Washington would have been the first U.S. state to impose a straight tax on carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels like gasoline and electricity, and the legislation has been closely watched nationally. But Inslee told The Associated Press on Thursday they were still “one or two votes shy” of passing it out of the Democrat-controlled Senate. The bill also needed to clear the House before the short 60-day legislative session ends March 8. (Associated Press/Seattle Times)

As Washington state looks for cleaner power, a Montana coal town faces an uncertain future
President Trump has promised to revive coal. But the fate of Colstrip, Montana, is tied to Western Washington and Oregon, where utilities — under pressure from customers who want clean energy — are turning their backs on coal. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Ecology approves state's first railroad oil spill plan
The state Department of Ecology has approved the state's first oil spill plan for a railroad. Ecology announced Thursday that the agency approved the plan for BNSF Railway. BNSF rail lines run from the Idaho state line near Spokane southwest to the Columbia River, along the river and then north along Interstate 5 to the Canadian border…. The newly approved plan provides guidelines and tools that will help BNSF and emergency response contractors respond to oil spills from trains on the company's rail lines, including those in Skagit County. BNSF completed the plan Feb. 16, according to a letter Ecology issued Thursday. The plan is good until March 1, 2023. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New blog: Little White Lies and Big Black Lies 
If truth is the currency of communications, of what value is the current administration’s communication? Having done communications work for decades, I’ve wondered how Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Hope Hicks could go to work every morning to aid and abet the lies told by their boss, the President... (read more)

Rain City: Vancouver puts new focus on rainwater management
Vancouver is notorious for its heavy rainfall, but the environmental impact of all that water is perhaps not as well known. The City of Vancouver is addressing that general lack of rainwater knowledge at a public workshop on Saturday. The workshop is part of the Rain City Strategy, which aims to limit the amount of polluted road water run-off going into the ecosystem. (CBC)

Skagit County water quality projects get grants
The state Department of Ecology announced this week $220 million in grants for clean water projects, including for five in Skagit County. Projects in Skagit County from Concrete to Anacortes netted $1.8 million. The local projects include upgrades for wastewater treatment systems, managing polluted stormwater runoff and planting vegetation along streams to prevent pollution. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Point Wells condos developer calls design hearing a ‘sham’
A developer seeking approval to build thousands of condos on the Puget Sound waterfront intends to showcase plans for 180-foot-tall buildings at a design hearing later this month, even though its representatives have called the process “a sham.” Serious disagreements are simmering between BSRE Point Wells and Snohomish County’s planning department over the next steps in the permitting process — already ongoing for seven years. From the developer’s standpoint, there are more important questions to answer before discussing what the project looks like. “We don’t think this should even be held at this point,” said Gary Huff, a Seattle attorney representing BSRE. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Inslee Vetoes Public Records Bill As Lawmakers Acknowledge 'We Made A Mistake'
In the face of intense pressure from the public and media, and following hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee late Thursday  vetoed a bill that exempts the Legislature from the state’s voter-approved Public Disclosure Act. In a written statement, Inslee said lawmakers and media organizations involved in an ongoing public records lawsuit had agreed to work together on the issue and seek a stay in the proceedings while an appeal is pending. Public radio is a party to the lawsuit…. In the minutes before Inslee's veto was announced, the Legislative caucuses released letters signed by dozens of lawmakers requesting the governor veto the bill. The letters represented a stunning eleventh-hour about-face less than a week after lawmakers passed the bill by veto-proof majorities on a fast-track schedule. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  231 AM PST Fri Mar 2 2018  
 SE wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 13 seconds. Showers likely in  the morning then a chance of showers in the afternoon.
 E wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of  showers.
 E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance  of showers in the afternoon.
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 12 seconds.
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 3 ft at  15 seconds.

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