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

Photo of the Day – Alabaster Nudibranch

Another beautiful shot from the underwater world of the Salish Sea. Photo by diver Bruce Kerwin.

Alabaster Nudibranch: Norrander Reef, Bainbridge Island, WA  2016-08-14

Alabaster Nudibranch: Norrander Reef, Bainbridge Island, WA 2016-08-14

Saanich Inlet offers scientists hints to oceans’ ‘dead zones’ – Times Colonist

Some answers to dead zones may be closer than we think.

Scientists from around the world are looking to the Saanich Inlet for clues about new ocean “dead zones.” More than 20 researchers from Canada and abroad are involved in a new project studying the inlet, which is a naturally occuring oxygen-minimum zone, or “dead zone,” almost devoid of marine life. The data could help scientists and policy-makers understand what to expect, as global temperatures rise and new dead zones appear around the globe, said Jeff Sorensen, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Victoria…. The Saanich Inlet is a deep glacial fjord. Its entrance is very shallow, which prevents water from mixing with the Strait of Georgia, except near the surface. The inlet’s deeper water stays where it is, Sorensen said. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

http://www.timescolonist.com/life/islander/saanich-inlet-offers-scientists-hints-to-oceans-dead-zones-1.3260111

Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate – NY Times

It really doesn’t matter in some ways what the Trump administration does or does not do on the issue of global warming and sea level rise. The planet is going to react to CO2 regardless of what we do. It has existed without politics for billions of years. It doesn’t care who we elect, it works on chemical, geological and biological factors. While it would be nice to have an administration that took it seriously and provided funding to help communities mitigate the effects of what we continue to do globally, this article points out that the real estate market and insurance companies, along with the effected communities, are already  dealing with the issue. People that live on the coast and  own property there, are on the front of the wave, so to speak. They will pay the costs first. It will only get worse, as we are too far along with global warming to reverse all the trends even if we stopped using fossil fuel tomorrow. The lag time of the effect is longer than one lifetime.

That’s why I’m pushing the notion that we should continue to focus on the local, state and regional levels to make meaningful changes, while we wait out the Trump administration. Your personal decisions will matter more than ever. What you eat, what you decide to drive, will be part of how we craft this part of the US to survive four years of inaction at the federal level. If you own property at sea level, you should be pondering what you are going to do. Don’t expect help from the Feds. America has voted in an administration that does not even believe your problem exists. No amount of deregulation is going to help you. As Roger Miller said, “You can’t roller skate in an buffalo herd.”

Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps? Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Ian Urbina reports. (NY Times)

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/24/science/global-warming-coastal-real-estate.html

Voter Turnout in Jefferson County Tops 85% – PT Leader

Kudos to the Jefferson County Democratic Party, which helped create an amazing voter turnout this year. Chairman Bruce Cowan deserves credit for steering a contentious turnout for the two candidates into a high turnout of ballots.

At last count, 85.45 percent of registered voters in Jefferson County turned out to vote. San Juan County beat Jefferson for turnout honors, with 86.62 percent of registered voters there casting ballots.

http://www.ptleader.com/news/election/voter-turnout-in-jefferson-county-hits-percent/article_b2b01a80-b109-11e6-abf4-432ce0d01a73.html

King tide possible wave of the future, according to group – PDN

Regardless of what the new President thinks about global warming, the planet will do what it does in reaction to fossil fuel chemistry. He can ignore it all he wants, at our peril. Here’s the latest update from the front. Higher high tides.

Naturally occurring king tides, which are unusually high tides, can be a harbinger of normal tides to come, said a member of Washington Sea Grant. On Friday morning, nearly 70 community members gathered at the Salmon Club boat ramp in Port Townsend to eat snacks and observe the high tide, which reached nearly 10 feet, the highest of the year so far. Bridget Trosin, the coastal policy specialist for Seattle-based Washington Sea Grant, was on hand to explain what causes the king tide and to say these tides show the future for coastal towns. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/king-tide-possible-wave-of-the-future-according-to-group/

What comes next under water-quality standards imposed by the EPA? -Watching Our Waterways

Thanks to the EPA. This has been a long hard fought battle to more accurately track the pollutants in the fish that we eat.

The Environmental Protection Agency approved new water-quality standards for Washington state this week, overriding a plan approved by Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Ecology. It was a rare posture for the EPA. Now the state will be pressured to appeal the EPA standards to federal court. Cities and counties as well as some industrial organizations are clearly unhappy with the EPA’s action, while environmental and tribal representatives got most of what they wanted. The EPA action is especially unusual, given that this state is known for some of the strongest environmental regulations in the country. After much dispute, Ecology finally agreed to much higher fish-consumption rates without increasing the cancer-risk rate, leading to more stringent standards for many of the chemicals. But Ecology had its own ideas for the most troublesome compounds with implications for human health. They include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arsenic and mercury. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2016/11/19/what-comes-next-under-water-quality-standards-imposed-by-the-epa/

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