Friday, February 22, 2019

2/22 Greenling, NEB BC pipe report, BC climate budged, hydraulic permits, orca rules, Oly oysters, auto clean air, Inslee Watch

Painted greenling [CalPhoto/UCBerkeley]
Painted Greenling Oxylebius pictus
Painted Greenling range from Kodiak Island to north central Baja, California, and are rare north of Washington. They are found in rocky areas from the intertidal to 49 m (160 ft). Rarely caught by recreational harvesters within Puget Sound and uncommon in coastal waters. (WDFW)

NEB to release new Trans Mountain report on possible marine impacts
The latest chapter in the Trans Mountain pipeline saga will be written Friday as the National Energy Board releases the conditions for proceeding with the contentious project should the federal government choose to do so. It comes nearly six months after a Federal Court of Appeal effectively halted construction of the $7.4-billion pipeline expansion, sending the NEB back to drawing board to assess the impact increased tanker traffic would have on marine life, including the endangered southern resident killer whales. The taxpayer-owned pipeline project aims to ship more diluted bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to tanker terminals in Burnaby, B.C., but it has been met with both political and environmental resistance.The list of conditions and recommendations from the NEB would shape how the project is developed, but the decision on whether to proceed with it still rests with the federal government, which purchased the project last year for $4.5 billion. Most experts anticipate the NEB will again recommend the federal government continue to pursue the project. It will deliver the report at 12:00 p.m. ET. Tony Seskus and Kyle Bakx report. (CBC) See also: More court challenges expected over new Trans Mountain Pipeline decision  Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. budget: Environmentalists say Clean B.C. cash is a start
With the provincial budget including $902 million for the Clean B.C. initiative the province has taken further steps to deal with climate change, but there’s a long walk ahead, some environmentalists say. “They have checked another box,” said Alan Andrews, climate change director with Ecojustice. “The big question for us is: Are we going to see legislation? Are we going to see laws that hold ministers to account for achieving targets?”  Andrews said the government is to be applauded for doing what it said it would do — fully funding the climate strategy it announced in December. The Clean B.C. program is designed to help the province meet the target of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. Over the next three years, the $902 million committed to the program will fund incentives to steer drivers into cleaner vehicles, fund renovations to improve the efficiency of buildings, offer incentives for homeowners to upgrade windows and heating systems, work with First Nations to switch to cleaner energy sources and provide incentives for industry to clean up. Andrew Duffy reports. (Times Colonist)

New ‘civil enforcement’ proposed for violations of hydraulic permits
Concerns about the endangered Southern Resident killer whales seems to be spurring legislative support for new enforcement tools that could be used to protect shoreline habitat. Bills in both the state House and Senate would allow stop-work orders to be issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife when shoreline construction is done without permits or exceeds permit conditions. If passed, the law would require that Fish and Wildlife officials first work with contractors and property owners to achieve “voluntary compliance.” Working with property owners is the key, stressed Jeff Davis, deputy director of Fish and Wildlife in charge of habitat protection. Under current law, property owners who commit serious permit violations are charged with criminal misdemeanors. That’s neither good for the agency nor for the property owner, who may end up battling each other in court, said Davis, who once worked as a Fish and Wildlife habitat biologist in Kitsap County. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Whale watchers concerned about compromise to save Northwest orcas
New developments surfaced Thursday in the ongoing battle to protect endangered Northwest orcas. A House committee approved a plan to increase the buffer zone between whale watching boats and Southern Resident Killer Whales. It would also make violating state whale watching regulations a crime.  As Captain Pete Hanke readied his boat for the upcoming whale season, he said the future of the whales and his livelihood are at stake.... A three-year moratorium on whale watching of that specific population is among the proposed fixes. Another is moving the buffer zone from 200 to 650 yards. Hanke said whale watch boats are among the orcas' best protectors, alerting other boats to slow down and steer clear. He believes a 650-yard buffer is too big.... The amended bill now goes to the House floor. The fate of the companion Senate bill is unknown but the committee is scheduled to have an executive session on it Friday. Eric Wilkinson reports. (KING)

Return of a native: Olympia oysters are making a comeback
Olympia oysters, Puget Sound’s only native oysters, were nearly wiped out in the 19th century from overharvesting. Now a network of scientists and advocates is working to restore them to their historical and cultural prominence. Sarah DeWeerdt reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Trump Administration, Getting Set for a Major Rollback, Ends Clean Air Talks With California 
The Trump administration, setting the stage to move forward with one of its most consequential climate-policy rollbacks, announced Thursday that it had decided to scrap negotiations with California over the president’s plan to undo Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. The move makes a protracted legal battle almost certain. At the heart of the talks was California’s longstanding right to opt out of national auto emissions rules and set its own tailpipe standards. State officials have vowed to sue to protect that authority if the administration tries to impose weaker federal standards on California and the dozen states that follow its lead. Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general, said Thursday the state was “prepared to defend our national Clean Car standards even if the Trump administration intends to go AWOL.”  Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi

Inslee Watch: New climate super PAC says it will support Gov. Jay Inslee if he runs for president
If Gov. Jay Inslee announces a bid for president, as he’s widely expected to do soon, he’ll have support from a newly formed super PAC. The group, called Act Now on Climate, announced its formation Thursday, headed by Corey Platt, who was political director for the Democratic Governors Association, which Inslee chaired last year.... As a super PAC, Act Now on Climate can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, and will disclose its donors. The Washington, D.C.-based group announced it will not accept corporate donations. Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  240 AM PST Fri Feb 22 2019   
 S wind 15 to 25 kt becoming W in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds building to 8 ft at  13 seconds in the afternoon. Rain. 
 W wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 8 ft at 10 seconds. Showers likely. 
 S wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft  at 13 seconds. Showers likely. 
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  6 ft at 12 seconds. 
 E wind 15 to 25 kt becoming 15 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds.

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