Tuesday, November 20, 2018

11/20 Sculpin, WA budget $s, Wheeler EPA, CA air, green assessments, BC econ outlook, oil spill costs

Sailfish sculpin [belowandbeyond.biz]
Sailfish sculpin Nautichthys oculofasciatus
The sail is a tall separate dorsal fin. The sailfish sculpin is common but primarily nocturnal; hides in crevices during the day. Seen at night over rocky and kelp-covered sandy bottoms. Undulates the long second dorsal fin while swimming. Ranges from Alaska to southern California. (Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia.)

Washington state asks lawmakers for $90 million to improve habitat for orcas, salmon
If approved, a $90 million budget request to the Washington state legislature could aggressively tackle what’s needed to help Puget Sound’s southern resident orcas survive. A request on Monday by Hilary Franz, the state’s Commissioner of Public Lands, would increases the money already being spent on restoring habitats for salmon, removing barriers that inhibit the fish from reaching their spawning ground; researching ocean acidification; and removing rundown vessels on waterways, according to an emailed statement from the state’s Department of Natural Resources. The department’s previous two-year budget for similar programs and efforts cost the agency $55.5 million, according to Franz’s  staff. The overall budget for the department last year was $351 million. Agueda Pacheco-Flores reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump Says He’ll Nominate Andrew Wheeler to Head the E.P.A.
President Trump on Friday said he intends to nominate Andrew R. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, to be the permanent administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The E.P.A. has been at the center of the Trump administration’s agenda to reduce the regulations on industry, and Mr. Wheeler has been instrumental in seeing through rollbacks of major environmental policies. The changes include proposals to weaken the Obama administration’s signature policies to combat climate change, including a sweeping regulation on emissions from coal-fired power plants and a rule reining in pollution from vehicle tailpipes. Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times)

Air Quality in California: Devastating Fires Lead to a New Danger 
The wildfires that have laid waste to vast parts of California are presenting residents with a new danger: air so thick with smoke it ranks among the dirtiest in the world. On Friday, residents of smog-choked Northern California woke to learn that their pollution levels now exceed those in cities in China and India that regularly rank among the worst. In the communities closest to the Paradise fire, an apocalyptic fog cloaked the roads, evacuees wandered in white masks and officials said respiratory hospitalizations had surged. Nearly 200 miles to the south, in San Francisco, the smoke was so thick that health warnings prompted widespread school closings. Even the city’s cable cars were yanked from the streets. Julie Turkewitz and Matt Richtel reports. (NY Times)

Proposed environmental assessment legislation needs integrity boost: scientists
Scientists from across Canada have signed their names to a letter urging the British Columbia government to tighten the wording of its proposed environmental assessment legislation. The open letter is signed by nearly 200 academics, researchers or officials from 15 Canadian post-secondary institutions and 13 environmental or scientific organizations.  It says Bill 51, which was introduced by the NDP government earlier this month, contains a number of positive reforms and important amendments that will change the way mines, dams and pipelines are reviewed and approved in B.C. But the letter says the proposed legislation continues to give priority to industry-generated evidence and does not require an independent peer review of that evidence, or that all records be made public. (Canadian Press)

LNG, pipeline star in B.C. economic outlook
Employment will accelerate in B.C.’s north over the next couple of years, with construction of liquefied natural gas infrastructure and pipelines fuelling a boom in jobs and residential and commercial construction, according to the B.C. Regional Economic Outlook report. Meanwhile, employment growth in Metro Vancouver and southwestern B.C. is predicted to slow to just over one per cent in 2019 and 2020, as labour shortages and a tight housing market continue to be friction points for businesses and workers, respectively. Overall, economic growth is expected to fall to between 2.5 and three per cent from 3.8 per cent in 2017. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)


Edmonds whale-watching group opposes proposed restrictions
A task force arranged by Gov. Jay Inslee in March has now recommended a partial ban on whale-watching tours in an attempt to save Washington state’s endangered southern resident killer whales from extinction. The task force wants to suspend whale-watching boat tours focused on southern residents for three to five years. That recommendation, one of 36 intended to increase the run of chinook salmon, another Pacific Northwest icon and which the southern resident orcas are largely dependent on for food, is misguided, says Puget Sound Express, a whale-watching operation with departures from Edmonds and Port Townsend. Brian Soergel reports. (Edmonds Beacon)

Apparently, No One Knows How Much an Oil Spill on Salish Sea Would Cost
There’s much ado about Canada’s insistence on building the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, a colossal delivery mechanism to bring tar sands fuel from Alberta. The project is unusually large but it’s of a piece with the oil industry’s decades of relentless expansion on the shores of the Salish Sea. Despite the industry’s assurances—to say nothing of the thousands of pages of environmental review, activism, and legal challenges—the price tag for a serious oil spill is anyone’s guess. That’s right: no one knows what an oil spill could cost us. It’s a colossal oversight for a region that says it values the fragile waters of its inland sea. Puget Sound is peppered with refineries, shipping terminals, pipelines, and oil train depots, and it is therefore exposed to constant threat of oil contamination. A tar sands spill, for example, could be devastating for the region’s ecology, but no one seems to know what the taxpayer bill might be. Eric de Place and John Abbotts write. (Sightline)


Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  254 AM PST Tue Nov 20 2018   

TODAY  E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 12 seconds. 

TONIGHT  E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of rain.


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