Friday, April 27, 2018

4/27 Elwha, BC pipe, Pruitt's EPA, seaweeds, shorelines, fish hook, shrimp, rising seas, saving bees

Elwha nearshore 4/25/18 [Tom Roorda/CWI]
B.C. looks to enact new rules for companies bringing more oil through province
B.C. is asking its highest court to decide if the government has the right to bring in stricter rules for companies looking to ferry more heavy oil — like diluted bitumen — through the province. That would include crude flowing by way of an expanded pipeline, such as Kinder Morgan's expanded project. As part of its reference case filed Thursday morning, the province put draft legislation before the court that would amend the Environmental Protection Act with the new regulations. Rhianna Schmunk reports. (CBC) See also: B.C. submits court reference to regulate oil flow from Trans Mountain pipeline  Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun) And also: Tankers aside, B.C.'s environmental tool box to be tested in court  Vaughn Palmer writes. (Vancouver Sun)

Sunlight reduces effectiveness of dispersants used to clean up oil spills
A new study shows that sunlight transforms oil spills on the ocean surface more quickly and significantly than previously thought, limiting the effectiveness of chemical dispersants that break up floating oil. A research team funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that sunlight chemically alters crude oil floating on the sea surface within days or hours. The team reported that sunlight changes oil into different compounds that dispersants cannot easily break up. The findings, published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, could affect how responders decide when, where and how to use dispersants. (NSF News Release)

EPA chief gets congressional scolding over ethical lapses
Lawmakers are harshly criticizing Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt for the ethics and spending scandals that have prompted bipartisan calls for his ouster. On the defensive, the EPA chief blamed “half truths” and “twisted” allegations, an effort to undermine the Trump administration’s anti-regulatory agenda. The public grilling at a House hearing Thursday came as support has eroded for Pruitt among fellow Republicans after a nearly month of negative headlines about outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease. Even Republicans who support Pruitt’s policy agenda said his apparent lapses could not be ignored. Michael Biesecker and Ellen Knickmeyer reports. (Associated Press)

60 Minutes reports on seaweed farming and its surprising possibilities
It's nutritious. It keeps the ocean healthy. It's good for the environment. There's very little not to like about seaweed, a commodity that offers healthy solutions to some of the Earth's most vexing problems. Lesley Stahl reports on a new type of farming, "ocean farming," including an interview with a fisherman-turned-seaweed-farmer, on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m., ET/PT on CBS. Seaweeds, sometimes called "sea greens," have some advantages over their land-based cousins. They don't use fertilizer or pesticides that are costly and can harm the environment. They don't require fresh water, and they grow very fast. Plus, they are rich in calcium, iron, antioxidants, and are a good source of fiber.  (CBS)

A Closer Look at Shorelines
For some people, shorelines are places to sit and admire a sunset. For others, they are fascinating ecological or geological zones. For Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and July Hazard, shorelines are all of this and more.... Hazard and Woelfle-Erskine, assistant professor of equity and environmental justice in the School of Marine & Environmental Affairs (SMEA), have turned their fascination with shorelines into a UW course, Ecopoetics Along Shorelines. Offered this spring by SMEA, CHID, and the Honors Program, the course has attracted a diverse group of students, from freshmen to PhD students in fields ranging from creative writing to physics to environmental affairs. The course began over spring break with a field intensive on Washington’s San Juan Island, and continues spring quarter with a weekly seminar on the Seattle campus. During the field intensive, Hazard and Woelfle-Erskine helped students gain an understanding of historical and ecological dynamics of the landscape through careful observation. “We wanted to train them in the practices of seeing and observing, to read the landscape in a way that students might be more familiar with reading a text,” says Woelfle-Erskine. Nancy Joseph reports.

An ancient fish hook could solve a big, modern problem
As the sun rose above Neah Bay one foggy morning three years ago, a group of anglers headed out to the Pacific Ocean to fish for halibut — something their Makah ancestors were doing thousands of years ago.... The fishing trip wasn't for fun or food. It was for science. The anglers were volunteers in an experiment. They were testing whether an ancient Makah technology could solve a troubling modern-day problem: how to harvest food from the ocean without harming endangered species. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

All you need to know about shrimp
ALL SEVEN SHRIMP species commonly harvested by sport shrimpers typically undergo a sex change in their life cycles at the bottom of the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Shrimp in the family Pandalidae have a unique reproductive cycle, maturing first as males, then changing sex in later years to reproduce as females.File this under things you learn when you speak to a shellfish biologist. More on this trivial, but crucial tidbit later. Recreational shrimping will open Saturday, May 5 in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca under seasons announced this week by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

The military paid for a study on sea level rise. The results were scary.
More than a thousand low-lying tropical islands risk becoming “uninhabitable” by the middle of the century — or possibly sooner — because of rising sea levels, upending the populations of some island nations and endangering key U.S. military assets, according to new research published Wednesday. The threats to the islands are twofold. In the long term, the rising seas threaten to inundate the islands entirely. More immediately, as seas rise, the islands will more frequently deal with large waves that crash farther onto the shore, contaminating their drinkable water supplies with ocean saltwater, according to the research. Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

EU member states to vote on near-total neonicotinoids ban
Member states will vote on Friday on an almost complete ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides across the EU. Scientific studies have linked their use to the decline of honeybees, wild bees and other pollinators. The move would represent a major extension of existing restrictions, in place since 2013. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC) See also: Nonprofits Abuzz With Efforts to Support Northwest Bees  Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  205 AM PDT Fri Apr 27 2018   
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming S after midnight. Wind waves 2  ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds. A chance of showers in the  evening then showers likely after midnight. 
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at  13 seconds. Showers. 
 W wind to 10 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds. 
 S wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 11  seconds.

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