Governor slated to sign oil spill prevention act.

Some positive news on the oil spill protection front.
SB 6269-S2.E – DIGEST
Addresses oil transportation safety. Finds that the department of ecology’s oil spill program faces a critical funding gap due to the lack of adequate revenue to fully fund the prevention and preparedness services required by state law, including the 2015 oil transportation safety act.
Declares an intent to: (1) Provide adequate revenue to fully fund prevention and preparedness services required by state law;
(2) Direct the department of ecology to specifically address the risks of oils submerging and sinking; and (3) More extensively coordinate with our Canadian
partners in order to protect the state’s economy and its shared resources.
Requires the department of ecology to: (1) Establish the Salish Sea shared waters forum to address common issues in the cross-boundary waterways between Washington state and British Columbia such as: Enhancing efforts to reduce oil spill risk, addressing navigational safety, and promoting data sharing; and (2) In consultation with the Puget Sound partnership and the pilotage commission, complete a report of vessel traffic
and vessel traffic safety within the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound area that includes the San Juan archipelago, its connected waterways, Haro Strait, Boundary Pass, Rosario
Strait, and the waters south of Admiralty Inlet.
Provides a July 1, 2021, expiration date for the Salish Sea shared waters forum.

Ecology working on new rules for movement of oil – Skagit Valley Herald

The long running debate on the oil and coal trains continues. This effects the Peninsula because of the vast increase in freighter and tanker traffic with increased rail cars bringing the product here, to be used or transshipped. 

The state Department of Ecology is developing new rules for transporting oil by train and pipeline. The changes could require companies moving oil through the state to improve accident response plans and provide advanced notice about the movement of oil. The changes could go into effect as early as 2016. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/ecology-working-on-new-rules-for-movement-of-oil/article_382d9f10-0f07-579a-be34-9c1c6e23af30.html

Quinault Raise Alarm Yet Again After Two Oil Trains Derail in One Weekend – Indian Country Today

Two more derailments of oil-bearing trains last weekend, both in Wisconsin, have prompted the Quinault Nation to issue yet another warning about the dangers inherent in such transport.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com//2015/11/12/quinault-raise-alarm-yet-again-after-two-oil-trains-derail-one-weekend-162410?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

Keystone pipeline rejection means oil tankers could multiply in Strait of Juan de Fuca  – Seattle Times

This was a topic of discussion at the Annual Northwest Straits Conference Friday. State Senator Kevin Ranker brought this up and said we have even more work to do because of XL not happening. The Pacific NW is now the end point of the virtual pipeline already created between North Dakota and here.

President Obama’s decision Friday to reject the Keystone XL pipeline puts a fresh spotlight on other efforts to bring Canadian crude to market, including a $5.4 billion project to boost oil flows to British Columbia. The oil piped from Alberta would be targeted for maritime export, dramatically increasing the number of oil tankers traversing the Strait of Juan de Fuca and raising environmental concerns among Washington state Department of Ecology (DOE) officials.  Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/keystone-pipeline-rejection-could-pack-strait-of-juan-de-fuca-with-oil-tankers/

Oil platform headed for Port Angeles near mouth of Strait – PDN

It apparently is already in.

The Polar Pioneer oil rig, which is headed for Port Angeles Harbor, was near the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Tuesday afternoon. The 355-foot-tall oil drilling platform was headed east at over 6 knots. The floating platform’s tugs, Ocean Wind and Ocean Wave, were expected to arrive with the platform sometime after 2 a.m. today, according to a vessel tracking website, www.marinetraffic.com. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20151028/NEWS/310289989/oil-platform-headed-for-port-angeles-near-mouth-of-strait

Trudeau victory means uncertain future for pipeline projects – CBC

The first of many good news articles for the north coast of British Columbia, but with concerns still alive about tanker traffic increases in the Straits and Salish Sea, especially around the San Juans. This battle is not over yet, but at least a favorable government to ending it is now coming to power.

The Liberal victory in yesterday’s federal election appears to be the nail in the coffin for one West Coast pipeline project, but the future of another remains unclear. Incoming-prime minister Justin Trudeau is on record saying he would kill the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, which would carry crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to a tanker terminal on the North Coast of B.C. near Prince Rupert…. That leaves the proposed expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Port Metro Vancouver on the South Coast of B.C. While Trudeau has promised to formalize the non-binding moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s North Coast passed by MP’s in 2010 — that ban applies specifically to the North Coast. And that leaves leave the door open for Kinder Morgan, which is seeking approval from the NEB to twin the 50-year-old pipeline, tripling its capacity, and increasing the tanker traffic in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on the South Coast. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trudeau-pipelines-northern-gateway-kinder-morgan-1.3280444

Polar Pioneer oil rig set to make return to Port Angeles Harbor, though arrival date is uncertain – PDN

The visible symbol of our collective destruction of the arctic ecosystem will be on display in PA harbor soon. Don’t blame the oil rig folks, it’s like saying that the needle is the cause of the addiction. Getting rid of the drill doesn’t change our need for the oil, only your personal choices will do that. And government policies to help you make that choice. Don’t look for those policies in Port Angeles. The County Commissioners would need a significant change of stripe to help them see that they are part of the problem, not the solution.

The Polar Pioneer oil rig will once again loom over the waters of Port Angeles Harbor. The 355-foot-tall rig was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Monday for a brief stopover with the Noble Discoverer rig after exiting the Alaskan Arctic and before heading farther south, Shell Oil Co. spokeswoman Megan Baldino said Monday. The Noble Discoverer will make its way to the Port of Everett. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20151012/NEWS/310129968/polar-pioneer-oil-rig-set-to-make-return-to-port-angeles-harbor

EVENT: Aberdeen hearing for proposed oil by rail terminals 

Thursday (10/8) – 

Aberdeen, WA – Hundreds of concerned Washington residents will gather at the official DEIS public hearing for two of the proposed crude oil by rail terminals in Grays Harbor, Washington. Local Tribal leaders, elected officials, business owners, faith leaders, and community members will voice concerns about the proposals, particularly on the risks from oil trains and spills from oil tankers.

Who:
Fawn Sharp, President, Quinault Indian Nation
Alan Richrod, Aberdeen City Council Member
Rev. Katherine Gardner, Hoquiam United Methodist Church
Dr. Bruce Amundson, family practice doctor and president of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Larry Thevik, WA Dungeness Crab Fisherman Association

With special performances by Quinault Indian Nation Drummers and Dusty Rhodes.

When/Where:
Thursday, October 8th; Press conference and rally at 5 pm
D & R Theater, 205 South I St, Aberdeen
Hearing from 1:30 to 4:30 pm (session 1) and 6 to 9 pm (session 2)

***ATTENTION ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: GREAT VISUALS!***
Large, diverse group wearing red; signs about oil trains and oil spills; musical performance

We will be live tweeting the hearing – follow along at @StandUpToOil, #AberdeenOilHearing and  #oiltrains.

The Aberdeen hearing is the second in a series of two hearings (the first was in Elma on October 1st) on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for two of the three proposed crude oil by rail terminals in Grays Harbor, Washington by the Westway and Imperium companies. There are currently five proposals for oil terminals in Washington, as well as a proposal by Shell Refinery in Anacortes to expand their operation to increase their oil by rail capacity.


###

STAND UP TO OIL is a growing coalition of groups opposed to new oil terminals and an increase in oil transport through the Northwest, while working to improve safety measures for oil currently traveling through the region. Learn more at Standuptooil.org.

Kerry McHugh | Communications Director

Washington Environmental Council
phone 206.631.2605| mobile 206.902.7555
email kerry@wecprotects.org | web www.wecprotects.org
office 1402 Third Avenue | Suite 1400 | Seattle, WA 98101

Quinault Indian Nation: Standing Up to Big Oil – Youtube

The position of the Quinault Indian Nation regarding the proposed oil ports in Gray’s County.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJpSNHb7aJA&feature=youtu.be&list=PLEHOoTuNKiWJrmEAFajZ-zcKEdWgtQfmw

Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections: A 43 Percent Increase – Friends of the San Juans

The battle is on to stop the expansion of shipping oil through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea. Our gems, the San Juan Islands, lie directly in the path of a huge increase in vessel traffic, much of it carrying very destructive processed oil. Here are facts, based on the filings of the companies themselves.


If all the new and expanding terminal and refinery projects in the Salish Sea are permitted and developed, including projects that became operational in 2014, there would be a 43 percent increase in large, commercial marine vessel traffic. Friends of the San Juans and San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping have released the Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections featuring 18 new or expanded proposed or recently completed projects, which cumulatively would add an additional 5,300 annual vessel transits to and from ports in British Columbia and Washington State…. The Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections flyer and source information are available at Safe Shipping in the Salish Sea http://www.sanjuans.org/safeshipping/. (9/23/15 News Release from Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping)

Provided by Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping

Provided by Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping

The Impacts of a Grays Harbor Oil Spill, in 13 Slides – Siteline

Huge money from Big Oil pollutes our political system in Washington State to gain access to exporting oil to China and Japan, a move that the Republican Congress is trying to get done, but can’t with Obama in power. The oil companies are trying to push through three large oil terminals for Grays Harbor. Here’s an overview, by Siteline of what that could mean. Want to take action on this? Contact our two state representatives for the Peninsula (or yours whereever you live) and our one State Senator (who is from the Aberdeen Hoquim area). There contact info is listed on the left side of my blog front page.

How Big Oil jeopardizes Washington coastal tourism and the Quinault Nation.

Three large oil terminals proposed for Grays Harbor could undermine the region’s economy and local culture. That’s the takeaway from two recent economic analyses: first, a study on coastal recreation in Washington from the Surfrider Foundation and marine technology firm Point 97; then, Economic Impacts of Crude Oil Transportation on the Quinault Indian Nation and the Local Economy, published by economic consulting firm Resource Dimensions.

A lot more on this at Siteline.

http://daily.sightline.org/2015/09/17/the-impacts-of-a-grays-harbor-oil-spill-in-13-slides/?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

Siteline is one of my must read daily feeds. If you end up enjoying this article, join me in donating anything to their cause. Even $5 to $10.

Low levels of oil pollution harm herring, salmon, study finds – Seattle Times

Our knowledge of the effects of even low levels of oil on fish populations continue to grow. This will have impacts on our port, and points to more needs for storm water solutions that include eventual re-design of almost every highway in the state, to stop car runoff into our waterways. It won’t happen overnight, but is happening and will continue to, given these findings. It’s our food sources vs. business as usual with autos.

Federal scientists based in Seattle and Alaska have found that oil — by impairing heart functions — can cause serious harm to herring and pink salmon at far lower concentrations than previously documented. The research, published Tuesday online in Nature’s Scientific Reports, could help unravel the mystery of why herring stocks in Prince William Sound collapsed after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Their work also has implications about the effects of low levels of chronic oil pollution in Puget Sound and elsewhere in the world. “What this study shows is that in very, very low concentration of oil, embryonic fish … get born with a mild heart defect,” said John Incardona, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration toxicologist at a Seattle fisheries science center. He is one of 10 co-authors of the study. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/lower-levels-of-oil-pollution-harm-herring-and-salmon-study-finds/

Free oil spill kits can help curb Puget Sound boating pollution – The Olympian

The interesting thing in this story is the stat that 75% of the oil spilled in Puget Sound in the last 10 years is said to be from recreational boaters and commercial fishing vessels. Do your part, get a kit from the Coast Guard and avoid spills, or clean them up as fast as possible.

In an effort to curb pollution from recreational boats, a partnership of agencies will be giving away oil spill kits in Western Washington. The free kits will be handed out by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotillas during free vessel examinations. During the last 10 years, more than 19,000 gallons of pollution has been spilled into Puget Sound. Of that, 75 percent came from recreational boaters and commercial fishing vessels, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard. (The Olympian)

http://www.theolympian.com/outdoors/article28450963.html

Protecting our Coastal “Salad Bowl” – Eye On the Environment

Our northern neighbors and us are threatened by a massive oil transport project in British Columbia. Here’s a short piece on a couple who are opposed and why.

Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: “While our planet’s oceans are clearly facing serious health challenges these days, we’re fortunate that many marine and coastal habitats are still alive and relatively healthy. In our little corner of the world, the Salish Sea teems with life in many places, including some of the shores of Haro Strait at the southeastern end of Vancouver Island….”

http://eyeonenvironment.com/2015/07/14/protecting-our-coastal-salad-bowl/

Legislature starts and new enviro bills kick off

And so it begins. I’ll do my best to keep up on this as it goes along.

Ericksen, Ranker introduce dueling oil transportation safety bills http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2015/01/14/4078637_ericksen-ranker-introduce-dueling.html
Two legislators who represent parts of Whatcom County have introduced dueling oil transportation safety bills in the Senate. Wasting no time, Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, introduced his bill the first day of the session. As chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, he will host a public hearing on the bill tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 15 at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, along with Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, introduced oil legislation requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. That bill has also been referred to Ericksen’s committee. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark Warns that BC is Unprepared For Oil Spill –

This about says it all. And she is clear, they are not prepared today, not in some theoretical future of more oil transportation from new pipelines. 

From the National.

Event: Film on “Oil and Our Marine Waters” July 11 PA

Olympic Climate Action is sponsoring “Oil and Our Marine Waters”, an evening of education and an invitation to action regarding the burgeoning transport of oil in local marine waters, on Friday, July 11 at 7 pm in the Port Angeles City Council chambers, 321 E. 5th St.

Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty will speak about proposed increases in oil tanker traffic and the associated risks to our communities and resources, and what our community can do to minimize these risks.

OCA will screen the film The Big Fix, a 2012 documentary and Cannes film festival official selection, exploring the worst oil spill in U.S. history—the BP Deepwater Horizon—its causes, consequences, and cover-ups.
This event is part of a continent-wide week of protest of oil transport commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic oil-train disaster which killed 47 people in Quebec.

As our region works to cut our fossil-fuel consumption, oil companies are proposing huge shipments of toxic oil-shale and tar-sands fuel from Alberta and the American Rockies, for export through west coast ports. These proposed cargoes would emit far more carbon than all the mitigation to be achieved in the entire country by improved automobile mileage standards and power plant regulations. And their transport by rail, pipeline, and ship poses risks to all communities en route, which are being asked to shoulder the risk while the profit goes to the oil companies, whose history and modus operandi are explored in detail in The Big Fix.

If all the proposed new oil port facilities in the Salish Sea region are constructed, the increase in tankers passing the Olympic Peninsula would inevitably increase the risk of spills due to rough seas, equipment failure, and human error. A large spill would cause major harm to local communities, particularly in the case of Tar Sands oil, a heavy oil that sinks in marine waters and therefore cannot be cleaned up in any practical way. Much of the increased tanker traffic will bunker (i.e., take on fuel) in Port Angeles Harbor, risking spills that could be particularly devastating to the heart of the Peninsula’s largest community—a community that is about to spend millions of dollars to clean up this harbor from past damage and is spending even more restoring salmon habitat.

By passing its risks and costs on to the American people while pocketing the profits, the oil industry keeps oil prices artificially low and thus suppresses the development of clean energy in order to extract as much profit as it can from the ground. A recent report by Exxon explains that although oil is connected with substantial climate risks, the company nevertheless expects to extract all the oil in its reserves. But if the planet is to stay below 2°C of warming, which scientists believe is necessary to avoid catastrophic risks for life on earth, 4/5 of the known reserves of fossil fuel will have to stay in the ground.

Olympic Climate Action advocates ending direct and hidden subsidies to fossil-fuel companies and kick-starting the inevitable transition to clean energy. A recent Stanford University-based study shows how the country could go fossil-fuel-free by 2050 and help the economy at the same time.

Olympic Climate Action (olyclimate.org) is a group of local citizens working for a safe, prosperous, sustainable future for residents of the Olympic Peninsula by raising awareness of the challenges “climate chaos” poses for our community and of options for mitigation and action.

EVENT: Two Local Vigils in opposition to Keystone XL Pipeline Monday FEB 3.

Local support of the nationwide protest to  send the message to President Obama that Keystone XL fails his climate test and he must reject it.
The No KXL protest vigils are organized by CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, and the Sierra Club, and supported by 350.org, The Other 98%, Center for Biological Diversity, Oil Change International, Bold Nebraska, Energy Action Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Hip Hop Caucus, Overpass Light Brigade, Environmental Action, League of Conservation Voters, Waterkeeper Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Forest Ethics, Forecast the Facts, and others.
There will be a peaceful vigil on MONDAY,  February 3rd at two locations:
Port Angeles: Corner of West First and Valley Streets from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.  Sponsored by Olympic Climate Action  (http://olyclimate.org)
Port Townsend: Haller Fountain at Taylor and Washington Streets from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.  Sponsored by Fossil Fuel Action Northwest, see their Facebook page.

Jack Knox: Dump the rhetoric, prepare for oil spill – Times Colonist

The best analysis on us yet. We (the NW Straits Initiative and the Jefferson County MRC ) put on this very training a few months ago here in Port Townsend. We are the front lines against the out of control Canadians. And even they admit it.

Listening to Barack Obama give his State of the Union address, you could just about envision the oil tankers sliding past Victoria. Or maybe not, depending on who’s reading the tea leaves. In any case, our neighbours across Juan de Fuca Strait are taking no chances. They’re preparing for an oil spill. Spurred on in part by the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal, U.S. authorities on the Olympic Peninsula are getting down to the nuts and bolts of what to do if the black goop hits the beach. For this is what suddenly alarmed Americans are dealing with now that dependable if dull Canada, the Ned Flanders of North America, has suddenly gone Breaking Bad: Ford, Bieber and bitumen, baby — the Canucks have gone rogue.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/jack-knox-dump-the-rhetoric-prepare-for-oil-spill-1.807248

Tankers, barges and trains, oh my: The growing fossil-fuel threats in Washington – Crosscut

While not immediately dangerous to the Peninsula, the increasing push to get crude oil shipped out from west coast ports here and in BC is intense and non stop. Here’s a good overview of the problem.

Vast amounts of crude oil, primarily from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota, is being transported by rail throughout the United State and Canada. Eleven rail terminals are in various stages of completion in Washington state in anticipation of receiving this “shale on rail.” The public and regulators need to take a closer look at the big picture.

Fred Felleman opines.

http://crosscut.com/2013/11/12/environment/117378/oil-trains-fred-felleman/

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