Tuesday, January 7, 2020

1/7 Rhody, rain & snow, Trump's toxic sites, BC pipes, Chinook tribe, abandoned ship, Alex Ramel

Coast rhododendron [Jeanne Roe]
Coast Rhododendron Rhododendron macrophyllum
Washington officially designated the coast rhododendron as the state flower in 1959, though it was actually selected as the state flower in 1892 by the women of Washington for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Also called Pacific rhododendron, or big leaf rhododendron, the coast rhododendron is a broadleaf evergreen rhododendron species native to western North America. The coast rhododendron is found primarily near the Pacific coast, but its range extends to the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. (State Symbols USA)

Heavy rain increases threat of landslides, flooding in western Washington
Nearly 1 inch of rain could fall in the lowlands through tonight, according to the National Weather Service. Between 2-4 inches is expected in the mountains. (KING) See also: Relentess winter storm prompts renewed warnings for southern B.C. highways  (CBC)

Backlog of toxic Superfund clean-ups grows under Trump
The Trump administration has built up the biggest backlog of unfunded toxic Superfund clean-up projects in at least 15 years, nearly triple the number that were stalled for lack of money in the Obama era, according to 2019 figures quietly released by the Environmental Protection Agency over the winter holidays. The accumulation of Superfund projects that are ready to go except for money comes as the Trump administration routinely proposes funding cuts for Superfund and for the EPA in general. The four-decade-old Superfund program is meant to tackle some of the most heavily contaminated sites in the U.S. and Trump has declared it a priority even while seeking to shrink its budget. (Associated Press)

B.C. government resists intervention in LNG Canada pipeline dispute
The B.C. government resisted calls Monday to intervene in a blockade of a natural gas pipeline project near Houston, despite it threatening the future of a $40-billion LNG Canada terminal in Kitimat that the governing New Democrats have publicly championed as an economic boon for the province. Neither Premier John Horgan nor Energy Minister Michelle Mungall would comment on the blockade Monday, amid reports the RCMP were amassing in the area to enforce a recently-won B.C. Supreme Court injunction and clear Wet’suwet’en First Nations members, hereditary chiefs and protesters opposed to the project construction. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Work must stop on Trans Mountain, Site C, LNG pipeline until First Nations approval, UN committee says
A United Nations committee working to end racism is urging Canada to immediately stop the construction of three major resource projects in B.C. until it obtains approval from affected First Nations. The committee on the elimination of racial discrimination monitors a convention to end racial discrimination signed by countries including Canada, and is calling for a suspension of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Site C dam and Coastal GasLink pipeline. The committee of 18 experts said in a written directive last month that it is concerned by the approval and construction of the three projects without the free, prior and informed consent of impacted Indigenous groups. It also said it's disturbed by law enforcement's "forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation'' and "escalating threat of violence'' against Indigenous people. Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Chinook tribe back in court Monday on long quest to regain federal recognition
The decades-long quest of Chinook tribal members to regain federal recognition gets another airing in court on Monday. A U.S. District Court judge is scheduled to hear oral arguments on cross-claims for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by the tribe against the Department of the Interior. The Chinook people are the original inhabitants around the mouth of the Columbia River. The U.S. Congress never ratified the treaty that the tribe and other coastal bands signed in 1851. The Chinook hired its first lawyers to fight for land rights in 1899 and its legal battles continue in various forms all the way to today. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Rusty abandoned ship in Fraser River near Surrey, B.C., will be removed: DFO
Work has begun on the removal of an abandoned vessel near Surrey, B.C., that has been an eyesore on the Fraser River for over five years. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan announced that an assessment of the MV Spudnik shows there's an imminent risk of pollution, hull corrosion, sinking and fire. The department says in a news release that the Canadian Coast Guard has begun work with contractor Marine Recycling Corporation to assess various options to safely dismantle and remove the former fishing vessel from the water. The 75-year-old ship has been moored at the same location on the Fraser River since 2014 and bulk pollutants were removed at that time. (Canadian Press)

Ramel appointed to state House
Bellingham-based environmental activist Alex Ramel was appointed Monday to the state House of Representatives, filling a seat left vacant by outgoing Rep. Jeff Morris. Elected officials from Skagit, Whatcom and San Juan counties narrowly selected Ramel to represent the 40th Legislative District...Ramel was selected over 10-year Bellingham City Council member Michael Lilliquist and Marco Morales, a migrant graduation specialist with the Mount Vernon School District. The 40th District encompasses northwest Skagit County — including Anacortes — southwest Whatcom County and all of San Juan County. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PST Tue Jan 7 2020   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
  
TODAY
 S wind 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 11 ft  at 11 seconds building to 13 ft at 10 seconds in the afternoon.  Rain. 
TONIGHT
 W wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 11 ft at 11 seconds. Rain  likely and a slight chance of tstms in the evening then a chance  of rain after midnight.



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