Wednesday, January 8, 2020

1/8 Goldfinch, B'ham climate, gas pipes, Democracy Rebellion, BP Spill effects, plastic bottles, Trump's truck pollution, marine protected areas, marine lab threat, 'Our Water Ways'

American goldfinch [Tom Grey]
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
The American Goldfinch was designated as the Washington State Bird in 1951. This beautiful golden bird is found throughout our state and is commonly seen in flocks in fields, bushes and trees. Dandelions, sunflowers and especially thistles, are preferred food - hence the scientific name Carduelis, from the Latin carduus, a thistle. (Audubon Washington)

Bellingham Council creates climate committee, will begin discussing recommendations
Bellingham City Council members established a standing Climate Action Committee on Monday, Jan. 6, to bring the city toward its goal of using 100% renewable energy in the next 10 to 15 years. Council member Hannah Stone was named chairwoman of the panel, which also includes council members Pinky Vargas and Dan Hammill...Possibly contentious task force recommendations include a gradual shift from natural gas to electricity throughout the city for home heating and hot water. But the proposals don’t require solar panels on every roof, they don’t require new windows, foundations or roofs, and they don’t require removal of gas stoves or fireplaces, said task force member Erin McDade, of the nonprofit Architecture 2030, during a December presentation. Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Battle over B.C. gas pipeline comes as some cities pursue green energy options

As conflict erupts over a natural gas pipeline in northwestern B.C., the City of Vancouver is reporting decreased gas use in new buildings, and some of our closest neighbours to the south are now proposing to broadly curtail the fossil fuel — even in homes that already rely on it. The City of Bellingham’s ambitious idea emerged from a planning exercise on how to move the city to zero emissions, explained Michael Lilliquist, a city councillor. Matt Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)
2020 MUST WATCH: The Democracy Rebellion
It’s the missing story of American politics. Not Washington, but grassroots America. Not stale gridlock, but fresh reforms. Not negative ads and billionaire donors, but positive change and citizen activists pressing for gerrymander reform, voting rights for former felons, exposing dark money, and winning surprising victories to give voters more voice and make elections fairer in states as disparate as Florida and California, North Carolina and South Dakota, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Missouri, Utah and more. Veteran Frontline Correspondent Hedrick Smith, one of PBS’s most trusted voices over three decades, takes viewers into half a dozen states with citizen activist leaders. Watch January 9 at 8 PM on KBTC-28 or January 11 at 11 PM on KCTS-9. For a sneak peek, click here.

Nine years of research on BP spill, dispersants documents potential human health, mental health effects
Nearly a decade of BP-funded research has uncovered a laundry list of potential health effects resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including possible links between obesity and dispersants used to break up the oil; the discovery of dangerous bacteria in tar balls still washing up on Gulf beaches; and a new understanding of the links between disasters and the mental health problems of both fishers and oilfield workers. The research is summarized in a review article published in the American Geophysical Union’s GeoHealth journal in October, authored by researchers at the College of Charleston, the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Mark Schleifstein reports. (NOLA.Com)

What really happens to plastic drink bottles you toss in your recycling bin
The infinite triangular loop of arrows that we know as the recycling symbol adorns millions of plastic pop and water bottles we carefully sort in the blue bin. It comforts us with the idea that each one will be recycled over and over again forever.  But unfortunately, most of the time, it's a lie. Many bottles aren't recycled at all, and those that do get recycled usually aren't turned into other bottles or recycled again after that. Instead, they end up in the world's landfills — or worse, in the ocean. In Canada, plastic bottles and caps were the top plastic trash items collected during shoreline cleanups in 2019, just behind cigarette butts. They're also typically among the top three items in shoreline cleanups worldwide. Emily Chung reports. (CBC)

E.P.A. Aims to Reduce Truck Pollution, and Avert Tougher State Controls
The Trump administration on Monday took its first step toward tighter pollution controls on trucks, an anomalous move for a government known for weakening environmental policies but one that would pre-empt tougher state rules. Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, began the legal and regulatory process for curbing highway truck emissions of nitrogen dioxide, which has been linked to asthma and lung disease. While the move could give President Trump a nominal environmental achievement for the 2020 campaign, public health experts say the truck regulations are not as out of line with administration policy as they would appear. The emerging rule will quite likely limit nitrogen dioxide pollution more than current standards, they say, but still fall far short of what is necessary to significantly prevent respiratory illness and even premature deaths. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Marine Protected Areas: May or May Not Include Actual Protection
....Goose Island—part of the Goose Group—is ringed by reefs, islets, and shallow waters that support diverse fish populations, which in turn attract high concentrations of seabirds. Harbor seals haul out here during pupping season. Above the sandy bays and tidal flats, a curtain of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western red cedar hides the boggy interior. Although the Goose Group and surrounding waters were declared part of a provincial marine conservancy in 2008, there is still no published management plan. Brian Payton reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Marine Labs on the Water’s Edge Are Threatened by Climate Change
A marine laboratory 85 miles southwest of New Orleans was designed to be a fortress against extreme weather. But it might be defeated by climate change. Sitting at the end of Louisiana State Highway 56, where dirt dissolves into wetlands and then the Gulf of Mexico, the laboratory, the W.J. DeFelice Marine Center, has successfully weathered many hurricanes since it opened its doors in 1986. It stands 18 feet above the ground on pillars with pilings that extend more than 100 feet underground. Its walls can withstand winds of up to 250 miles per hour. But the water is coming. Around the country, from New Jersey to Massachusetts, Virginia to Oregon, education centers and marine laboratories like this one are bracing against rising seas and a changing climate. The assault from climate change is slower but more relentless than any storm, and will ultimately do more damage. It threatens researchers’ ability to study marine environments up close at a time when it’s more vital than ever to understand them. John Swartz reports. (NY Times)

"Our Water Ways"
Christopher Dunagan writes: "I just posted my final blog entry for the Kitsap Sun's blog "Watching Our Water Ways." I have moved the blog to the UW's Puget Sound Institute, where it will be called "Our Water Ways."

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  251 AM PST Wed Jan 8 2020   
 NW wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 12 ft at 11 seconds subsiding to 10 ft at  11 seconds in the afternoon. A slight chance of rain in the  morning then a chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 SW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  6 ft at 11 seconds. Rain likely in the evening then a chance of  rain after midnight.

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