Friday, December 14, 2018

12/14 Snow geese, orca budget, Inslee's budget, cap gains tax, breaching dams, Whale Watch Ass'n, OR rivers, BC LNG

Snow geese [Mike Hamilton/BirdNote]
Snow Geese: Too Much of a Good Thing
When small family farms gave way to large, industrial agricultural operations, the Snow Geese followed. Waste grain left over from harvests has allowed Snow Goose populations to jump. Now, there are so many Snow Geese they degrade their Arctic summer habitat, threatening other birds. Is there a right way forward from a “conservation” standpoint? (BirdNote)

Gov. Jay Inslee wants $1.1 billion to help save Puget Sound's critically endangered orcas
Gov. Jay Inslee wants $1.1 billion to pay for a broad-based, unprecedented state effort to help recover the critically endangered southern resident population of killer whales. The recommendations closely track those of the governor’s task force for orca recovery, the fruit of months of work by more than 40 members. Tax increases will be needed to pay for the recovery efforts, as well as other initiatives in Inslee’s proposed biennial budget, released in a news conference Thursday in Olympia. The initiatives are billion-dollar bold, and sure to be controversial, from seeking to revive salmon runs in the Columbia River, to a new panel charged with evaluating bypass of the Lower Snake River Dams; a three-year moratorium on whale-watching of the southern residents; developing options for managing seals and sea lions in Puget Sound and the Columbia River; and a spill program sending more water over the Columbia and Snake River dams to help salmon. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Gov. Inslee proposes big boost in state spending, new taxes over next two years  
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing a $10 billion increase in state spending over the next two years to maintain current services and fund new priorities, including mental health and orca recovery. To pay for his budget, the two-term Democrat is once again pushing for a new state capital gains tax as well as an increase in the business and occupation tax on professional services. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

With Democrats in control, will Inslee finally get his capital gains tax?
It’s the vampire of Washington taxes. Remove the stake from its heart, and it rises from the grave again. Its the capital gains tax, and Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing it. Again. Pushing for a capital gains tax has been an annual ritual re-enacted by Inslee and House Democrats just about every budget cycle for the past decade. Each year, it has died — usually after a few House Democrats get squeamish, or from opposition in the Senate, which was dominated by Republicans until 2017. But as the governor pointed out during his Thursday morning unveiling at the Capitol Dome in Olympia, the odds are stacked in his favor. For the 2019 session, Democrats have a significant advantage in both chambers — 28-21 in the Senate and 56-42 in the House — which means they have enough votes to allow a few Democrats to slough off on these tax matters. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

Study breaching Snake River dams for orca survival -- Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee is going "all in" to save the imperiled Southern Resident population of orca whales, including a controversial proposal to "explore breaching of Snake River dams" to restore chinook salmon populations on which killer whales feed. Joel Connelly reports. (Seattle PI.Com)

Statement from Pacific Whale Watch Association about 3-year suspension of whale watching 
(San Juan Islander)

Federal Judge Orders Stronger Cold-Water Fish Protections In Oregon Rivers
A federal judge has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite its pollution cleanup plans for Oregon rivers. U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hern├índez rejected water quality standards that were submitted to the EPA by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Hern├índez’s ruling Wednesday came in response to a lawsuit filed by Northwest Environmental Advocates. The group charged in its lawsuit that the EPA should not have accepted those plans. They were used to decide regulation for activities that affect water temperatures — like cutting trees along river banks and discharging treated wastewater. David Steves reports. (OPB)

Regulator schedules hearings for BC LNG natural gas pipeline challenge
The National Energy Board is scheduling hearings over the next three months to consider a jurisdictional challenge of the approval of a pipeline needed to supply natural gas to the recently sanctioned $40-billion LNG Canada project. But planning for construction to begin early next year will continue based on the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink Pipeline’s provincial approvals and permits, said a spokeswoman for the project. The NEB hearings will consider only the question of whether the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission had jurisdiction to issue approvals for the project, the NEB says. Dan Healing reports. (Canadian Post)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  145 AM PST Fri Dec 14 2018   
 SE wind 25 to 35 kt. Combined seas 15 to 17 ft with a  dominant period of 14 seconds. Rain likely in the morning then  rain in the afternoon. 
 W wind 30 to 40 kt becoming SW 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 18 to 19 ft with a dominant period of  12 seconds subsiding to 15 to 16 ft with a dominant period of  12 seconds after midnight. Showers likely in the evening then a  chance of showers after midnight. 
 S wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. SW swell 11 ft at 11 seconds subsiding to 9 ft at  11 seconds in the afternoon. A chance of rain. 
 E wind 25 to 30 kt becoming SE 20 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 10 seconds  building to 16 ft at 14 seconds after midnight. 
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 18 ft  at 14 seconds. 
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming S after midnight. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 21 ft at 20 seconds.

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