Friday, January 31, 2020

Salish Sea News Week in Review January 31 2020

Aloha Thirteenth Amendment Friday
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. In Congress, it was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. (Wikipedia)

Opposition to Trans Mountain pipeline expansion spikes 11 percentage points, survey suggests
A new poll suggests that an increasing number of Canadians are opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The Angus Reid Institute poll found that opposition has risen 11 percentage points since June 2018, shortly after the Liberal government purchased TMX from Kinder Morgan.

B.C. Premier says court rulings on pipelines should be respected
Premier John Horgan has linked the battles over two major pipeline projects through British Columbia, saying once the legal fight is over, court decisions should be respected.

Whatcom County, Ericksen push to revive proposed renewable diesel plant near Ferndale
Whatcom County is reaching out to the companies behind a proposed, but recently scrapped, renewable diesel plant near Ferndale to see if the project can be revived.

Another southern resident orca feared dead
Another southern resident orca, L41, is feared dead, according to the Center for Whale Research. The whale, born in 1977, was not seen during an encounter with its family by the center’s researchers on Friday. Because of his age, and the fact that he was thin when he was seen a year ago,

“He had a good life” – the story of a magnificent orca
Ken Balcomb, Founder and Senior Scientist, Center for Whale Research, writes: “My first acquaintance with the Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) we designated L41 was in 1977, the year after we began the annual Orca Survey of this population that continues to this day..."

Pilot salmon hatchery project in Bellingham to aid orcas supported by this proposal
Republican state legislators have introduced a bill, which includes a pilot hatchery project in Bellingham, that they believe will help increase the salmon population and help the orca whales. Called the Salmon Repopulation Act, Senate Bill 6509 and House Bill 2741 were recently introduced and referred to committees.

Navy settles lawsuit, won't scrape ship hulls in Puget Sound
The U.S. Navy on Wednesday agreed to a 10-year moratorium on scraping the hulls of decommissioned vessels in Puget Sound. The deal, filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, settles a lawsuit filed by the Suquamish Tribe and two environmental groups, Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.

Native oysters make comeback, thrive again in Puget Sound
After more than a century of overharvesting and industrial pollution, the Pacific Northwest's only native oyster is making a comeback in Washington's Puget Sound.

These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Salish Sea News Week in Review January 24 2020

Year of the White Rat
Aloha Chinese (Lunar) New Year Friday!
The annual celebration begins on the new moon that comes between Jan 21 and Feb 20. The Chinese year will start on 25 Jan 2020 and end on 11 Feb 2021, when the Year of the Ox begins. The new year, also known in China as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar; this means the date changes from year to year. The festivities usually start the day before the new year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year. Chinese New Year 2020 animal sign is the White Rat. 

Cooke Aquaculture gets approval from state wildlife agency to farm steelhead in Puget Sound
Cooke Aquaculture Pacific has been granted a five-year permit to farm steelhead in Puget Sound. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the company’s permit Tuesday, allowing Cooke to transition its net pens from Atlantic salmon to all-female, mostly sterile steelhead.

Crab larvae off Oregon and Washington suffering shell damage from ocean acidification, new research shows
Ocean acidification is damaging the shells of young Dungeness crab in the Northwest, an impact that scientists did not expect until much later this century, according to new research.

Plans to build a renewable diesel plant near Ferndale have been scrapped.
The two companies behind a proposed renewable diesel plant on the Phillips 66 refinery near Ferndale announced Tuesday, Jan. 21, that they will not build the project.

Greta Thunberg’s Message at Davos Forum: ‘Our House Is Still on Fire’
Greta Thunberg on Tuesday punched a hole in the promises emerging from a forum of the global political and business elite and offered instead an ultimatum: Stop investing in fossil fuels immediately, or explain to your children why you did not protect them from the “climate chaos” you created.

Federal appeals court tosses landmark youth climate lawsuit against U.S. government
A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a 2015 lawsuit by nearly two dozen young people to force the U.S. government to take more aggressive action on climate change, saying that the children did not have legal standing to bring the landmark case.

New BP ad campaign calls on Washington Legislature to put a price on carbon pollution from fossil fuels
Declaring that the “findings of climate scientists are real, and the world is on an unsustainable path,” energy giant BP is launching a public relations campaign this weekend to promote putting a price on carbon pollution in Washington state.

Wyoming asks Supreme Court to decide challenge to blocked Washington coal terminal
Gov. Mark Gordon announced Tuesday that Wyoming will take legal action against Washington state over its blocking of a key coal export terminal, a decision long awaited by state lawmakers who see the west coast terminal as crucial to bringing Powder River Basin coal to international markets.

Jordan Cove Energy Project Withdraws Application For Key Oregon Permit
The Jordan Cove Energy Project has abruptly withdrawn its application for a key permit from the state of Oregon. In a letter dated Jan. 23, the project told the Oregon Department of State Lands that the company was withdrawing the application effective Friday.

Single-use plastic: China to ban bags and other items
China, one of the world's biggest users of plastic, has unveiled a major plan to reduce single-use plastics across the country.

What the plastic bag ban would mean for Seattle, the pulp and paper industry
Washington lawmakers are moving to pass a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags — legislation that would supersede Seattle’s local ban and increase the paper-bag fee to 8 cents. The ban failed to make it through the Legislature last year, but lawmakers are trying again.

These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Salish Sea News Week in Review January 17 2020

Aloha Muhammad ("The Greatest") Ali Friday!
Muhammad Ali (b. January 17, 1942) was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed "The Greatest," he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time. (Wikipedia)

Supreme Court dismisses B.C.'s bid to save bill blocking Trans Mountain project
The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed B.C.'s appeal of a lower court decision that quashed provincial legislation designed to block the Trans Mountain expansion project.

Environmental groups identify top legislative priorities as Legislature convenes in Olympia
As the new session gets underway in Olympia today, environmental groups have released their legislative priorities. Items topping their list this year are renewed attempts to pass a clean fuels standard to reduce carbon pollution from transportation, as well as a statewide ban on thin, single-use plastic bags.

Exclusive: Royal Dutch Shell seeking buyer for Anacortes, Washington refinery - sources
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) is looking to sell its oil refinery in Anacortes, Washington, according to three people familiar with the matter. If completed, this and other asset sales currently underway would reduce Shell’s North American refining operations to large plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast...

Here’s the next step for the proposed renewable diesel plant near Ferndale
The state and Whatcom County are asking the public to say what should be included in an environmental review of a proposed plant near Ferndale that could produce up to 250 million gallons of renewable fuel a year, according to its application.

State Supreme Court limits Gov. Inslee's rule cutting greenhouse-gas emissions
The Washington State Supreme Court has invalidated key portions of a rule imposed by the administration of Gov. Jay Inslee capping greenhouse-gas emissions by fuel distributors, natural-gas companies and other industries.

U.S. Crude Oil Production to Reach Record High in 2020
The [US Energy Information Administration] forecasts that U.S. crude oil production will reach new records in 2020 and 2021. Driven primarily by higher production in the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico, the outlook forecasts an average of 13.3 million barrels per day of U.S. crude oil production in 2020 and 13.7 million barrels per day in 2021.

2019 Was the Second-Hottest Year Ever, Closing Out the Warmest Decade
The past decade was the hottest on record, government researchers announced on Wednesday, the latest sign of global warming’s grip on the planet. And 2019 was the second-warmest year ever, they said, just shy of the record set in 2016.  2019 Was a Record Year for Ocean Temperatures, Data Show  Last year was the warmest year on record for the world’s oceans, part of a long-term warming trend, according to a study released Monday.

Microsoft makes big push to tackle climate change, vowing to be carbon neutral by 2030
In the latest move by Big Tech to address climate change, Microsoft has promised to be “carbon negative” within the decade and to use its technology, money and influence to drive down carbon emissions across the economy.

Who Controls Trump’s Environmental Policy?
Among 20 of the most powerful people in government environment jobs, most have ties to the fossil fuel industry or have fought against the regulations they now are supposed to enforce.

Air contaminants, such as mercury and PCBs, undermine the health of Puget Sound
High levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals are showing up in seemingly remote and pristine parts of the Puget Sound watershed, the result of atmospheric deposition.

Washingtonians are more likely to die on smoky days, new UW research shows
....A new study into wildfire smoke’s impacts on mortality, conducted by researchers from the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health, shows that smoke has measurable lethal impacts on the state’s collective health.

Changes coming for coastal train tracks that endanger salmon
Much like its human residents, Snohomish County’s chinook salmon are trying to navigate the 73 miles of BNSF railway tracks trimming Puget Sound to access the water.

These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Salish Sea News Week in Review January 10 2020

Aloha January 10 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Friday!
Keen observers in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa may see the Moon turn a shade darker during the maximum phase of this penumbral lunar eclipse. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual Full Moon. Regions seeing, at least, some parts of the eclipse: Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Much of North America, East in South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic. (

Seattle will get city-owned buildings off fossil fuels, Mayor Durkan says
Seattle will no longer use fossil fuels like natural gas to heat, cool and cook in new and substantially altered city-owned buildings and will come up with a plan by 2021 to transition all city-owned buildings to clean electric systems over time, 

To Fight Climate Change, One City May Ban Heating Homes With Natural Gas
As a progressive-minded city nestled where the Cascade mountains reach the sea, Bellingham, Wash., has long been looking to scale back its contribution to climate change... Now, Bellingham is looking to do something that no other city has yet attempted: adopt a ban on all residential heating by natural gas.

Environment groups, logging interests and communities across Washington sue over state's plans to sell timber
Two more lawsuits have been filed against the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over its plans for state-managed timber lands, further clouding the future of the state’s forests and the timber money that helps support rural communities throughout Western Washington.

White House wants to change environmental rules to speed up highway projects, pipelines and more
The White House is moving to exempt projects without significant federal funding from environmental reviews that have been required for 50 years, a major shift that would make it easier to build mines, expand airports and lay pipelines, among other things, according to three people familiar with the proposal. See also: How Trump’s Environmental Policy Rollback Affects The Northwest

Backlog of toxic Superfund clean-ups grows under Trump 
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.

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.

These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, January 3, 2020

Salish Sea News Week in Review January 3 2020

PHOTO: Laurie MacBride

A Quiet that Resonates
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Last summer we anchored in a little bay that I’ve considered writing about for a  long time. But where to begin?  The moss-topped terraces on the cliffs that rise over one side of the bay? Their brilliant reflections in the water below? The deep green of the firs, cedars and salal along the shoreline, dipped in saltwater at high tides? (Read more...)

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.

If you like to watch: Pride of the PNW: Tribe's perspective on saving the Salish Sea
Climate change is threatening to take the Salish Sea away from the Coastal Salish People that need it most. Part 1  and Part 2  Jordan Steele reports. (KING)

Refinery cancels xylenes project in settlement agreement
(12/31) A legal battle over a project at Marathon Anacortes Refinery has come to a close after a settlement agreement was reached under which the refinery will scrap its plans to produce xylenes for shipment overseas. The agreement was signed Monday by the Skagit County Board of Commissioners after it had been signed by representatives of the refinery and of various environmental groups that filed a series of appeals against the three-part project. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Lawsuit alleges failure to clean up Deschutes River, Budd Inlet
(12/28) A lawsuit filed this week alleges federal authorities have failed to take action on pollution in Olympia area waters that violates the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Seattle by Portland-based Northwest Environmental Advocates, argues the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to put cleanup plans for Budd Inlet, Capitol Lake and the Deschutes River on the books. Abby Spegman reports. (Olympian)

B.C. Supreme Court grants injunction against Wet'suwet'en protesters in pipeline standoff 
(12/28) A B.C. Supreme Court judge has issued an injunction against members of the Wet'suwe'ten Nation who have blocked access to a natural gas pipeline project inside their traditional territory in northern B.C. Justice Marguerite Church granted Coastal GasLink's application for an interlocutory injunction in a Prince George courtroom on Tuesday, restraining protesters from barring workers from getting through their checkpoints along a remote logging road near Houston, B.C. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Ban on foam cups and containers in Vancouver goes into effect Jan. 1
(12/29) Don’t expect to sip your takeout caffeinated hangover cure from a foam cup on the morning of Jan. 1. Come New Year’s Day, food and beverages in foam cups and foam take-out containers will be banned from Vancouver’s restaurants and takeout stalls, part of the city’s single-use-item reduction strategy. Gordon McIntyre reports. (Vancouver Sun)

What is the future of Washington state's forests? Endangered marbled murrelet seabird caught in fight
(12/30) Nobody’s happy about the latest plans for our state’s forest lands. Not the environmentalists....Not the timber industrialists, who predict lost jobs...Not the local officials, whose economies and budgets rely on timber revenue...Caught in the hubbub is the marbled murrelet, a zippy, robin-sized bird that spends time in coastal waters and nests in Washington forests. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Tims)

County appeals state timber harvest plan
(12/31) Skagit County has appealed a state timber harvest plan that is expected to result in less revenue for local taxing districts. The Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed a complaint Monday in Skagit County Superior Court regarding the Board of Natural Resource’s adoption Dec. 3 of a sustainable harvest calculation for 2015-2024. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Skagit County sues over timber harvest, teeing up fight over Washington's forests - and money  (1/1) Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)
Pacific Northwest forests fit trifecta for curbing climate change — if we stop logging them
(1/1)  A new study finds some Northwest forests have a lot of potential to capture carbon and offset climate change. That is, if they’re preserved and not logged. Researchers at Oregon State University and the University of California, Berkeley, looked at which forests in the Western United States should be prioritized for preservation under climate change scenarios. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)
Land trust saves half-mile stretch of Whidbey Island beach from development 
(12/30)Just south of Clinton on Whidbey Island, a forested hillside descends into an isolated beach, with rocky bluffs stretching into the distance and a view of Mount Baker appearing on a clear day. The half-mile stretch of beach will open to the public in 2020 as the Whidbey Camano Land Trust’s newest project, Possession Sound Preserve. As beachfront property is increasingly developed, the project is a rare chance to open undeveloped shoreline. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

New Year Brings New Protections For West Coast Seafloor Habitat 
(1/1) Along with the new year, the West Coast is getting new protections for corals and sponges that live on the seafloor. Regulations starting Jan. 1 restrict bottom trawl fishing on about 90% of the seafloor off Oregon, Washington and California. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Massive anchovy school in White Rock draws a crowd
(12/28) Thousands of anchovies provided a holiday feast for sea birds, seals and sea lions in White Rock this week, with the seaside spectacle also attracting crowds of curious onlookers. A vast school of the tiny fish teemed in the water near the repaired pier, while thousands of dead fish washed up on shore. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

World's bird species face much higher risk of extinction than previously known, study says 
(12/27) Bird species may be going extinct up to six times faster than previously thought, but the numbers would be much worse without conservation efforts over the last three decades, according to new research from a B.C. scientist. The study suggests conservation projects targeting critically endangered species have reduced the rate of bird extinctions by about 40 per cent over the last 28 years. (CBC)

Canadian fish-farm operator says most of its escaped salmon were likely eaten
(12/27) The owners of a Canadian facility north of Vancouver Island where thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped following a fire said it is likely predators ate most of the fish. Mowi Canada West downplayed threats to wild salmon stocks because of the number of sea lions feeding on the 21,000 non-native salmon held in pens there, CoastAlaska reported Thursday. Mowi Canada West’s fish farm off Robertson Island caught fire Dec. 20.(Associated Press)

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These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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