Wednesday, December 19, 2012
While the success of a stakeholder dialog remains to be seen, NOAA appears to be sincere about bringing people together to craft a lasting solution on the Columbia, hiring conflict resolution experts from Portland State University and the University of Washington to seek consensus. The university teams will conduct interviews with up to 200 people representing stakeholders from across the board, and will seek to guide NOAA in crafting solutions that best balance the needs and interests of all groups. Given the long standing legal battle on the Columbia and the painfully incremental progress, the plan comes as a welcome change for fish advocates on the Columbia and Snake, but of course the devil is always in the details.
More from the Oregonian:
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
More information in the Globe and Mail:
Thursday, December 13, 2012
The gas is extracted using fracking an extremely water intensive process that would not sap water from the vital headwaters of these three systems, but would pump toxic fracking fluid into the groundwater. All told the project would produce millions of gallons of waste water per year, water that will have devastating effects on fish and wildlife in the Sacred Headwaters.
The bottom line is THIS CANNOT happen. Fracking has never been done in a salmon bearing watershed and this isn't the place to start. First Nations and other residents in the region have been adamant that this project will not go forward, but they need our support. Please take a few minutes to sign the online petition from Forest Ethics:
and email BC Premier Christy Clark to let her know you oppose drilling in the Sacred Headwaters
More information at the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition's website:
Monday, December 10, 2012
This Thursday the Army Corps of Engineers are hosting a scoping hearing on the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point in Bellingham at the Washington State convention center in downtown Seattle. If you have time PLEASE turn out for this. The Puget Sound is among the most endangered marine ecosystems in the United States and the last thing it needs is this massive expansion in coal shipping. Historically Cherry Point, where the coal terminal will be located, has supported one of the largest spawning aggregations of Herring in Puget Sound. Herring are a vital part of the Puget Sound food web and the massive expansion in shipping, associated pollution and the potential for invasive species coming into Puget Sound through increased tanker traffic make this project completely unacceptable. That's not to mention the global impacts of the coal industry, one of the dirtiest sources of energy on our planet that produces acid rain, and some of the highest outputs of climate warming carbon dioxide.
Please turn out this Thursday and make your voice heard for Puget Sound.
More info from People for Puget Sound:
Thursday, December 6, 2012
The Idaho Statesman, long a voice of reason in the debate around the future of the Snake River's four lower dams published an editorial this week highlighting the cost of the status quo for ratepayers and for Snake River sockeye. While sockeye returns have crept up from their critically low abundance in the mid-1990s when the species appeared destined for extinction, the average sockeye returning to the Snake costs $9000 to produce, and populations remain critically depressed. As the statesman points out, the only way to truly recover salmon and steelhead in the Snake is to remove the four lower Snake River dams, something which the federal government has yet to seriously consider. Until then, sockeye and other species will continue limping along on astronomically expensive hatchery life support, something which delays, but does not stop the extinction of wild salmon in the Snake River over the long term. It's time for a new set of solutions in the Columbia, and among those solutions MUST be the removal of the four lower Snake dams.
Monday, December 3, 2012
While the effects of carbon emissions into our atmosphere are often discussed in terms of their impact on our planet's climate, the consequences of our exponentially growing emission of fossil carbon goes beyond the warming impact of carbon as a greenhouse gas. By fundamentally altering the balance of carbon storage, we are recklessly playing with planetary systems in a way that threatens to undermine the ability of our planet to sustain biodiversity, and human life. No where is this growing accumulation of carbon emissions felt more destructively than in our oceans where rising levels of atmospheric carbon are resulting in rapid rises in the acidity of the oceans water. Because many marine organisms have shells or exoskeletons made of calcium bicarbonate which dissolves readily when exposed to more acidic water conditions, even minor increases in ocean acidity can have drastic effects.
Scientists predict that by the middle of the 21st century the majority of the planets coral reefs may be in locations where ocean water has become too acidic for their survival. Closer to home many of the zooplankton that juvenile salmon rely on as prey are threatened by rising ocean acidity and our regions multi-million dollar shellfish industry has already begun to feel the effects. A blue ribbon panel of scientists and policy makers convened by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire released a list of recommendations and the governor has promised a $3.3 million investment in an ocean acidication research center at the University of Washington. Kevin Ranker, a state Senator from Orcas Island, and the chairman of the State Senate's Natural Resources committee has proposed a carbon tax similar to the one in place in British Columbia as a means of curbing carbon emissions within our state, a move that could dramatically reduce emissions in our state and place pressure on the federal government and other jurisdictions to take a more proactive to dealing with the rising cost of climate change and ocean acidication.
More information from the KUOWs earthfix:
and from the Crosscut: