|Pink-footed shearwater [Martin Hale/Vireo]|
The largest of the shearwaters to be seen commonly off our Pacific Coast, with rather heavy and slow wingbeats, often gliding and wheeling above the waves, especially in windy conditions. May be solitary or mixed randomly with other seabirds, but not seen in pure flocks of its own species. Nesting only on islands off southern South America, it is a common summer visitor to our coastal waters as far north as southeastern Alaska. (Audubon Field Guide)
Climate change: Global impacts 'accelerating' - WMO
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that the physical and financial impacts of global warming are accelerating. Record greenhouse gas levels are driving temperatures to "increasingly dangerous levels", it says. Their report comes in the same week as the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported a surge in CO2 in 2018. (BBC)
Washington getting closer to mandate for 100% clean energy
One of the biggest priorities among environmental groups working in Olympia this year is passage of a law to transition the electrical grid to 100 percent clean energy by 2045. It’s also a cornerstone of Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest policies to address climate change. The proposal faces a key vote in the state House finance committee on Friday morning. Washington’s 100 percent clean energy bill was on a fast track when it was first introduced in January.... The main feature of it is a timeline that would phase out all coal from the state’s grid by 2025. It would set interim targets for 2030, and increase investments in renewable sources and energy efficiency to get to carbon-free electricity by 2045. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)
Oil exports to China boost tanker traffic through orca habitat
Crude oil exports from Canada’s Port of Vancouver shot up by at least 67 percent last year, sending more tankers through critical habitat for orcas on both sides of the Washington-British Columbia border. Most of the oil in the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver winds up in refineries in Washington state, by way of a branch pipeline to Ferndale and Anacortes. Much of the rest goes to a refinery in Burnaby, B.C., just east of Vancouver, that produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for Canadian customers. Energy analyst Kevin Birn with IHS Markit in Calgary said people in the Vancouver area used less of those products last year, leaving more oil in the big, multi-customer pipeline to be sold overseas. “Any free space will be occupied by exports at this point,” Birn said. He said data from the National Energy Board of Canada shows exports from the Trans Mountain pipeline doubling last year, more than the 67 percent increase reported by the Port of Vancouver. Most of the oil sent overseas went to China and South Korea. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)
Puget Sound orcas have a lot to say. This woman is almost always listening.
Orca whales have the second-largest brains of all marine mammals. They’re known to be intelligent. And they have a lot to say. Jeanne Hyde is almost always listening. Scientists have long suspected that whales have language, and there’s research that suggests they even have local dialects. Hyde works at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. She documents all she can about what goes on with the whales for the Adopt an Orca Program at the museum, where she is known as the staff “storykeeper.” Bellamy Pailthorp and Kari Plog report. (KNKX)
Oregon governor signs ban on offshore drilling
Oregon has permanently banned offshore drilling in the midst of a federal push to open 90 percent of federal waters to oil exploration. Gov. Kate Brown signed a measure on Wednesday to extend a temporary 10-year ban that was set to expire next year. There is currently no oil production in the state but the U.S. Department of the Interior recently identified a possible operation site off the coast of Oregon and Washington state. The measure also directs state agencies not to assist with any potential drilling operations in federal waters off the Oregon coast. (Gazette-Times)
The Case of the Vanishing Ferns: Citizen sleuths can't figure out what's killing Seattle's sword ferns
LIKE MOST SCIENTIFIC mysteries, the case of the vanishing ferns started with a keen-eyed observer. Catherine Alexander has been walking in Seattle’s Seward Park almost every day for more than 15 years. She knows the hidden glades where trillium sprouts in the deep winter. She knows where the owls nest, and when to watch for the first osoberry blooms and hazelnut catkins. So when the sword ferns started looking … funky … in the fall of 2013, Alexander was the first to notice. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)
You can’t make asphalt next to salmon habitat … Wait, can you?
Lakeside Industries wants to build an asphalt plant on top of three streams and five wetlands in south King County, near Maple Valley. It’s across the street from the Cedar River, vital habitat for Chinook salmon. Meaghan Lodahl, a Maple Valley resident who opposes the plant, asked KUOW to look into this. She and others oppose the plant and noted that King County has invested $57 million over two decades to restore salmon habitat on the Cedar River.... Lakeside Industries told us this is an ideal location, and that it will do all it can to protect the environment. The Maple Valley location would be ideal because the quick access to Interstate 405 and south King County is important because asphalt needs to stay warm en route to a construction site, Lee said. The sites of the company's other asphalt plants, including one in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, are polluted, according to the state Department of Ecology. At the current Covington plant location, environmental consultants found petroleum, diesel and oil in the soil and groundwater in 2016, and suspected the company’s asphalt operations and 20,000-gallon diesel storage tank caused it. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch reports. (KUOW)
Suquamish Tribe accuses Navy of spilling raw sewage into Puget Sound
The Suquamish Tribe is threatening legal action against the U.S. Navy, accusing it of polluting Puget Sound with raw sewage. Suquamish Tribal Council Chair Leonard Forsman said his staff had documented seven major spills from Navy facilities in the past 16 months. Most of the spills happened at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.... A total of 330,000 gallons of sewage have been spilled since early 2018, according to the tribe. The spills are causing environmental and economic concerns. Chris Daniels reports. (KING)
Plastic Bags to Be Banned in New York State
New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales, changing a way of life for millions of New Yorkers as legislators seek to curb an unsightly and omnipresent source of litter. The plan, proposed a year ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016. Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags. Jesse McKinley reports. (NY Times)
Interior Secretary Nominee Gets Grilled On Ethics At Confirmation Hearing
During a testy confirmation hearing on Thursday, President Donald Trump’s pick to be the nation’s largest land steward told senators that he would take steps to prevent conflicts of interest and to improve ethics guidelines at the Interior Department. A former lobbyist who represented oil and gas interests, David Bernhardt has been dogged by questions about his own ethics during his short run as the Acting Interior Secretary. Nathan Rott reports. (NPR)
Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 152 AM PDT Fri Mar 29 2019
TODAY Light wind becoming SE to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 15 seconds.
TONIGHT SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 14 seconds.
SAT SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds.
SAT NIGHT Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds.
SUN NE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 21 seconds.
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