Draft Environmental Review Released For Oil Terminals On Washington Coast – KUOW

Hoquim and Aberdeen ports are being slated for crude oil shipments by possible building of oil shipment facilities for trains coming from the Bakken fields in North Dakota. The plan is for 1178 more oil trains and 638 more oil tankers to be added to the Gray’s Harbor area a year. These trains would be carrying huge quantities of highly flammable crude, much the same as the oil that destroyed the Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-Mégantic_rail_disaster for more on that). The plan is for up to 1188 oil trains per year coming into the area. Additionally, the Draft EIS talks about significant impact to the Quinault Tribal fisheries in the area, as the tribe will not be able to fish while boats are present, which essentially is all the time. As stated in the Draft EIS: “Tribal members would not be able to fish when ships or barges are moving through the area.” I guess it’s up to the Tribe to determine whether this particular fishery is worth fighting for, or whether there are other areas they can fish that are less impacted. It will be interesting to see what the Tribe has to say on this.

Also of interest is the trade off that the cities see in adding this highly polluting industry to their area. We all know that Hoquim and Aberdeen have been one of the poorest locations in the State, ever since the collapse of the logging industry due to the disastrous federal policies of allowing raw logs to be shipped to Japan in the 1980s. This  turned what had been an industry that was highly functioning with extraction and higher value processing jobs into a third world country where only cutting and transport of logs was done, wiping out mills across the area in short order. The Federal government green light to massive cutting with no concerns of market conditions or any need for local mills,  led to a short lived boom until the resources were gone. Meanwhile the industry blamed environmental organizations for suing to stop the destruction of all remaining forests to save what little habitat was being left due to a lack of oversight and planning by the Federal Government.

And so the proposal is to continue to eat away at locations where salmon can be fished and create a very large possible oil spill concern, one that not only would impact the Gray’s Harbor area but also the entire Washington and Oregon coast, if one of these vessels sank during a large storm due to mechanical failure. The trade off is to give much needed jobs to at least some of the people in the Gray’s Harbor area. How badly is this oil needed with the downturn in the Chinese economy, and other issues? Is the trade off of possible destruction of our recreational use of the Pacific Coast worth it to support the oil industry and it’s desire to sell their product to China and Japan? You can read and comment on the draft EIS if you wish at the link below.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/geographic/graysharbor/terminals.html

KUOW summary story:

The Washington State Department of Ecology has just released its draft environmental review of two proposed oil terminals on the Washington coast. A third proposed terminal has not yet begun the environmental review process. The terminals could be built in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen, doubling current vessel and train traffic levels there. (KUOW)

http://kuow.org/post/draft-environmental-review-released-oil-terminals-washington-coast

Toxic algae flourishes in warm water from California to Alaska, closing valuable fisheries – AP

More reasons to demand international work cooperation on climate change. As our fishing and shellfish industry continues to get hammered by the effects of a heating planet, many political leaders continue to stick their heads in the sand and their hands in the pockets of individuals and businesses who are working to stop any progress on this.  While this particular ‘blob’ may eventually dissipate if and when the weather patterns change, the trend is definitively moving towards planetary conditions that could make this a new normal, not an aberration.

A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago, according to surveyors aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel. This coastal ribbon of microscopic algae, up to 40 miles wide and 650 feet deep in places, is flourishing amid unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures. It now stretches from at least California to Alaska and has shut down lucrative fisheries. Shellfish managers on Tuesday doubled the area off Washington’s coast that is closed to Dungeness crab fishing, after finding elevated levels of marine toxins in tested crab meat. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

http://registerguard.com/rg/news/33367837-76/toxic-algae-flourishes-in-warm-water-from-california-to-alaska-closing-valuable-fisheries.html.csp

‘The Blob’ may warm Puget Sound’s waters, hurt marine life – Seattle Times

The story here is a good quick overview of the big picture of climate change that we are facing this year and likely into next. The existing conditions are possibly going to make the upcoming ones worse. The fact that the Pacific waters are 7 degrees above normal is astonishing, and that Puget Sound waters are up to 4 degrees warmer adds to that impact. We need to get very serious about the drought’s impacts, and having just passed the city street sweeper machine, out using drinking water to wash the edges of our roads, makes it very frustrating that our city government is so cavalier with water when they are on the other hand asking us to conserve.

Scientists say they are concerned about the continued ecological effects of the unusually warm and dry conditions in the Puget Sound region this summer.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/the-blob-warms-puget-sounds-waters-hurts-marine-life/?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

Pacific Coast sea bird die-off puzzles scientists – Statesman Journal via Seattle Times

Hundreds of young birds are washing up on coastal beaches, dead of what may be starvation. Although it’s grim news, there’s some belief it could be a natural event. My wonder is with changes to the ocean due to global warming, could a lack of food be affecting a lot more than just these? Say, also whales? Read the whole story at Earthfix.org.

Scientists are trying to figure out what’s behind the deaths of seabirds that have been found by the hundreds along the Pacific Coast since October. Mass die-offs of the small, white-bellied gray birds known as Cassin’s aucklets have been reported from British Columbia to San Luis Obispo, California. (Earthfix.org)

 

http://earthfix.opb.org/flora-and-fauna/article/small-seabird-washing-up-dead-on-northwest-beaches/

Massive Algae Bloom off Pacific Coast

From NASA. Nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year, apparently, but very unusual view of it because of lack of clouds.  Thanks to Peter Guerrero for the tip.

 

PacNWbloom_amo_2014207_

%d bloggers like this: