Oil exports to China boost tanker traffic through orca habitat – KUOW

So we are already seeing the increase in tankers. The risks are increasing.

Crude oil exports from Canada’s Port of Vancouver shot up by at least 67 percent last year, sending more tankers through critical habitat for orcas on both sides of the Washington-British Columbia border. Most of the oil in the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver winds up in refineries in Washington state, by way of a branch pipeline to Ferndale and Anacortes. Much of the rest goes to a refinery in Burnaby, B.C., just east of Vancouver, that produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for Canadian customers. Energy analyst Kevin Birn with IHS Markit in Calgary said people in the Vancouver area used less of those products last year, leaving more oil in the big, multi-customer pipeline to be sold overseas. “Any free space will be occupied by exports at this point,” Birn said. He said data from the National Energy Board of Canada shows exports from the Trans Mountain pipeline doubling last year, more than the 67 percent increase reported by the Port of Vancouver. Most of the oil sent overseas went to China and South Korea. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Oil exports to China boost tanker traffic through orca habitat

It’s been 30 years since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Here’s what we’re still learning from that environmental debacle. – Hakai Magazine

Some facts on the ground. While the press may have moved on, the oil hasn’t. Why we are so adamant about new oil spill regulations in Olympia as Canada gears up to put hundreds of more oil freighters into our joint use Strait. Whatever could go wrong?

Before dawn on March 24, 1989, Dan Lawn stepped off of a small boat and onto the boarding ladder dangling from the side of the grounded Exxon Valdez oil tanker. As he made the crossover, he peered down into the water of Prince William Sound, and saw, in the glare of the lights, an ugly spectacle he would never forget. “There was a 3-foot wave of oil boiling out from under the ship, recalls Lawn, who was then a Valdez-based Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation employee helping to watchdog the oil industry. “You couldn’t do anything to stop it.”… Eventually, the oil would foul parts of 1,300 miles of coastline, killing marine life ranging from microscopic planktons to orcas in an accident that would change how the maritime oil-transportation industry does business in Alaska, and to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the world. Hal Bernton and Lynda Makes report. (Seattle Times) See also: Wounded Wilderness: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 30 Years Later  On the surface, Prince William Sound appears to have recovered. But you don’t have to dig too deep—into the soil or into memories—to find the spill’s lingering effects. Tim Lydon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

It’s been 30 years since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Here’s what we’re still learning from that environmental debacle.

Climate Activists in Pacific Northwest Fight Construction of World’s Largest Methanol Refinery – Green Currents

Highly controversial proposal at the mouth of one of most important ecological river deltas.

Climate activists in the Pacific Northwest have rallied against a tsunami of fossil export proposals over the last five years:  coal, oil and the latest, petrochemical projects. The fight against a proposal to build the world’s largest methanol refinery on the banks of the Columbia River using fracked gas may be their biggest fight to date. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Currents)

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40900-climate-activists-in-pacific-northwest-fight-construction-of-world-s-largest-methanol-refinery

On the Trail of an Oil Tanker – The Globe and Mail

What is happening now, and what our future will increasingly look like until we, at some distant point in time, wean ourselves off petroleum. That is not going to happen soon. We will be very lucky not to have an Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Strait or the San Juans.

Don’t miss the incredible interactive web illustration that goes with this.

The Globe follows the Eser K, carrying more than 356,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil destined for California, through the most hazardous stretch in B.C. waters to observe the risks and safeguards in place, Justine Hunter reports from aboard the Seaspan Raven

On the Trail of a oil Tanker

Court throws wrench in plans for big Washington oil terminal -AP

Good news for a change.

The Washington Supreme Court threw a major wrench Thursday in plans for a big oil terminal on the coast, saying the proposal must be reviewed under a 1989 state law designed to protect marine life following the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. In the latest of a string of victories for tribal and environmental groups challenging fossil fuel projects in the Northwest, the justices unanimously reversed decisions by a state board and the state Court of Appeals, which held the Ocean Resources Management Act did not cover plans by Houston-based Contanda to ship crude out of Grays Harbor. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.thenewstribune.com/latest-news/article126104464.html

Canada approves controversial Kinder Morgan oil pipeline – The Guardian

Well, Trudeau split the baby. The Northern Tier Gateway project, which would have gone through the  rain forest and imperiled the northern coast of B.C. will not be built. However, the Kinder Morgan pipeline to shipping facilities in Vancouver will. This raises the stakes for oil spills dramatically in the Straits. Trudeau did put millions of new dollars into updating the oil spill response network, which had been decimated by 12 years of Steven Harper’s do nothing government. While environmentalists are furious about this decision, we need to weigh the fact that the Strait already has one of the best vessel management systems in the world, and we work very cooperatively with Canada. With a much larger Canadian presence (the U.S. has had to bring the lion’s share of funding up to now) I feel we can be somewhat assured that it’s less likely than it could be to get a major spill. But this bitumen oil is far worse to clean up. With all the terrible environmental news in the U.S. from the election, we’ll just have to take this as a best of the worse case scenarios. We are going to have our hands full fighting the Trump administration’s policies, or lack of them.  We knew that Canada wasn’t going to leave it’s oil in the ground, as much as we would like them to, and the pipelines are marginally better than rail.

Canada has approved Kinder Morgan Inc’s hotly contested plan to twin a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast, setting up a battle with environmentalists who helped elect the prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

The Liberal government, seeking to balance demands from both greens and the energy industry, said allowing Kinder Morgan to build a second pipeline next to its existing Trans Mountain line will help ensure oil exports reach Asia and reduce reliance on the US market.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/29/canada-approves-kinder-morgan-oil-pipeline-justin-trudeau

Is Washington ready for the next big oil spill? – Crosscut

Sadly, not. Case in point, forget Discovery Bay if there is a big one. It’s not possible to protect it from being flooded with oil. The only real way to protect for an oil spill is to focus heavily on prevention, items like the rescue tug at Neah Bay. And continuing to update our Vessel Traffic system, force continued transition to double hulled vessels (not yet required on freighters, but now required on tankers). And to not build oil ports to increase the huge output of oil carried on the water.

On a calm, clear afternoon in December 1985, the Arco Anchorage made a routine stop in Port Angeles. It was killing time, waiting its turn to drop off 814,000 barrels of Alaskan crude oil at the Cherry Point Refinery, 22 miles north of Bellingham. Somehow, despite perfect conditions, the Anchorage ran aground. Rocks on the ocean bottom tore two long slits through ship’s hull; the oil began to leak immediately. Over the next few hours, 239,000 gallons of oil spilled into the harbor. Samantha Larson reports. (Crosscut)

http://crosscut.com/2016/04/is-washington-ready-for-the-next-big-oil-spill/

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