Monday, November 25, 2019

11/25 Elwha, Kalama methanol, BC subsidies, Nooksack water, Rayonier cleanup, Big Beef Cr, Budd Inlet closed, got squid?, Jamestown S'Klallam oyster farm, EPA prosecutions, forest grooming, king tides

Elwha nearshore 11/21/19 [Lindsey Howard/CWI]
Washington state deals setback to massive methanol plant
Washington state dealt a setback Friday to efforts to build one of the world’s biggest methanol plants on the Columbia River, saying that five years in, its backers had failed to provide enough information about its greenhouse gas emissions and how they would be offset. The $2 billion Northwest Innovation Works project would take natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol, which would be shipped to China to make olefins — compounds used in everything from fabrics and contact lenses to iPhones and medical equipment. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

B.C. subsidizes fossil fuels to tune of hundreds of millions annually, according to study
B.C.’s provincial government provided at least $830 million in subsidies in 2017-18 for the production and consumption of fossil fuels, according to a new report out of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The province’s subsidies are complicated and extensive, often overlooked and not always transparent, and they amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in public cash annually in support of activities that contribute to climate change, the authors of the report found. Vanessa Corkal, one of the authors of the study, titled Locked In and Losing Out, explained that the report took on B.C. not to single out the province, but rather to get a full sense of the types of provincial fossil fuel subsidies that exist in Canada and that effectively hold back the country’s ability to move forward on its climate goals. Matt Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Even the Wet Northwest Is Struggling to Manage Its Water
The Nooksack River winds its way from the glaciers on Mount Baker to Bellingham Bay in northwest Washington. Though it originates in one of the snowiest places in the world, the river this summer was running about as low as it ever has in recorded history. That meant some farms in the berry, dairy, and potato-producing region weren’t allowed to water their crops. Similarly low flows in 2015 forced salmon to navigate away from their usual spawning grounds to find cooler water, and highlighted vulnerability for some local crops.  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Bitterroot Magazine)

Port Angeles city manger outlines objections to Rayonier cleanup proposal
City staff members plan to submit comments by Tuesday’s deadline objecting to the state Department of Ecology’s preferred alternative for cleaning up the former Rayonier pulp mill site, the city manager said. Port Angeles City Manager Nathan West said that the preferred approach “effectively creates a landfill on the highest and most usable portion of the Rayonier site and it creates a landfill in perpetuity.” The proposal covers the 75-acre industrial site on the waterfront on the east side of Port Angeles Harbor and harbor water. Under Volume 3 of the plan, more than 1 foot of 0.5 acres of mill site would be excavated, while 10 acres would be excavated to 1 foot on an industrial section that is mostly covered with cement. Another 10 acres of polluted area would be capped. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Conservation groups protect Hood Canal shoreline at Big Beef Creek
Native plants will soon take the place of invasive ones at the Big Beef Creek estuary, and more fish will return to the creek, bringing bald eagles to feast on the shore of Hood Canal. Twelve acres of Hood Canal tidelands are being protected through the purchase of property near Seabeck that occurred this month. The Great Peninsula Conservancy and Hood Canal Coordinating Council partnered to acquire the land, which will preserve 1,083 feet of shoreline. The groups plan to restore the area to its natural state, free of human interference. The land includes the outlet of Big Beef Creek, which supports salmon and trout. The Great Peninsula Conservancy says the purchase will help to ensure habitat and health for shellfish, forage fish, birds, and endangered salmon in the area. Jesse Darland reports. Jessie Darland reports.  (Kitsap Sun)

State officials close Budd Inlet to all shellfish harvesting because of toxin levels
The State Department of Health has closed Budd Inlet for all shellfish harvesting because of elevated Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison (DSP), the department announced Friday afternoon. Shellfish samples taken earlier this week had toxin levels of 136 micrograms (ug)/100 grams of shellfish tissue. The advisory limit is 16 ug/100 grams, DOH said a statement. The closure covers the entire inlet — the area south of the end of Cooper Point on the west side and Boston Harbor on the east. (The Olympian)

Got squid? Why officials say you should catch and eat it out of Puget Sound
Forget fishing for salmon. Puget Sound crab pots are so passé. Squid is in. For the first time in a couple decades, officials have tested squid in Puget Sound for metals and other contaminants. Results are very positive, and now they say that squid is a great option for fishing and eating out of Puget Sound. Dyer Oxley reports. (KOMO)

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe awaits decision on oyster farm
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe will know before Christmas whether it will secure two Clallam County permits needed for its proposal to re-establish its oyster farm inside the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Clallam County Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves said during a hearing Thursday that he would render his decision on a Conditional Use Permit and a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit by Dec. 23. The Clallam County Department of Community Development has recommended that Reeves deny the tribe’s application, arguing that the project is “not consistent with the Natural Shoreline Designation, does not meet the Shoreline CUP Criteria, and will negatively impact the wildlife at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge,” according to a Nov. 14 staff report. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

EPA prosecutions of polluters approach quarter-century lows
Criminal prosecution and convictions of polluters have fallen to quarter-century lows under the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, deepening three years of overall enforcement declines, according to Justice Department statistics. And while the administration says it’s focusing on quality over quantity in pollution cases, using its enforcement resources to go after the biggest and worst offenders, an Associated Press analysis found little sign of that so far in court cases closed in 2019. The criminal pollution cases initiated, and won this year, under the Trump administration, appear to be smaller one-offs, such as an Alaska fishing captain who let a reality TV show crew film his cheering crew as it dumped waste overboard into an Alaskan strait in 2017. Ellen Knickmeyer reports. (Associated Press)

Grooming forests could be making fires worse, researchers warn
Researchers are growing increasingly critical of a common forest management practice, as studies show it may be causing fires to travel farther, faster. "In 2017 and 2018 here in British Columbia, in both summers, we burned over 1.2 million hectares of forest," says Lori Daniels, a forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia.  "Diversifying the forest ... is a really effective way to create resilience in our landscape and resistance to these major fires we've been witnessing." Meanwhile, much of the Canadian forestry industry is doing the opposite, spraying thousands of hectares of public forest with glyphosate each year to promote profitable coniferous growth, and eliminate hardwood species like aspen and birch. The primary ingredient in the Monsanto-made herbicide Roundup, glyphosate has been under scrutiny in both agriculture and forestry for years. It remains widely used, because while softwood species like pine and spruce can tolerate a certain dosage of the chemical, glyphosate can be effective in eliminating the growth of hardwood trees for decades. Jill English reports. (CBC)

Oregon Project Asks Citizens To Document King Tides For Climate Science
Oregonians, it’s time to take pictures of the coast. For science. Thanksgiving week, the world will experience some of the highest tides of the year. These tides, called king tides, can be 2 or more feet higher than the average high tides. Jesse Jones, volunteer coordinator with Coastwatch, said extra high tides can help us learn how different communities will be impacted by climate change. Erin Ross reports. (OPB) See also: 82 Days Underwater: The Tide Is High, but They’re Holding On  A brutal “king tides” season made worse by climate change has flooded the streets of a Florida Keys community for nearly three months. Patricia Mazzei reports. (NY Times)


Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  243 AM PST Mon Nov 25 2019   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT   
TODAY
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 11 ft at 14 seconds. A  slight chance of showers in the morning. 
TONIGHT
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 11 ft at 14 seconds.



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