Connie Gallant next Tuesday at 7 PM will present “Heroines of our Green Olympics,” a talk about Rosalie Edge, Polly Dyer and Bonnie Phillips– women who have made great contributions to the conservation of the Olympic Peninsula– and also give an update on current Olympic Peninsula environmental issues. She will talk at the Port Townsend Community Center; admission is free.
NEXT FRIDAY, Feb. 1: At exactly 12:30 PM in Port Townsend, Sound Experience will recognize the exact day a century ago that the historic schooner Adventuress “splashed” in E. Boothbay, Maine. You’re invited to come aboard for a "Flash Shanty" to sing the shanty "Paddy Lay Back" [ http://www.soundexp.org/uploads/Paddy%20Lay%20Back%20Lyrics.pdf ] filmed for YouTube– or to post your own singing of the shanty on YouTube. For more, visit Sound Experience, http://soundexp.org
Her’s will be big shoes to fill. Here’s her email to supporters:
The time has come for me to retire from the PTMSC. It has been a difficult decision to make, but I do so in a spirit of celebration, knowing the great things we have accomplished together. It has been a privilege and honor to work with you and the impassioned staff who helped build this place over the last 24 years. Your dedication and commitment has been a tremendous inspiration; it has kept me going.
I love the PTMSC and our work. As I said to staff when delivering this news this morning, we are fortunate to have jobs we believe in with a mission that will impact people and the place where we live long after we’re gone. Our work is about learning and sharing information with others so that we can do the hard work together – shifting behaviors toward changes that protect the Salish Sea.
As I look to the future, I think we’re in a good, stable position right now to handle this transition in leadership. After an intense reflection and assessment process over the last 18 months, we made a wise decision to invest in ourselves before taking on an expansion. We are a stronger organization as a result, with a clear shared focus. Staff is well-rooted in their areas of responsibility and is cultivating relationships that will help PTMSC stay strong.
I’m planning to stay with PTMSC until a replacement has been found. Linda Dacon, our stalwart board chair, has formed a search committee that will oversee recruitment and selection of the new executive director. We will keep you informed as to how you can participate in the process.
Although this is hard news to absorb, we have something to celebrate – a healthy organization and an ED who has earned her release papers! Please support our staff as this transition unfolds.
With tremendous gratitude,
The WA State Chapter of Sierra Club recently started Sludge Free WA, a working group to end the land spreading of toxic municipal and industrial sewage treatment plant wastes in WA and find safe alternatives for reuse of the waste. Currently, as across the nation, these toxic sludges are sprayed on forest and farm lands and sold to the general public as compost/fertilizer. These solids from the treatment facilities are "treated" for very few constituents, but not for pharmaceuticals, personal care products, prions, hospital wastes, and many, many other things that are flushed down the toilet or dumped into the mix by industry.
A film and power point presentation on this subject will be given in the evening in Port Townsend on February 12 at the Recreation Center.
In the meantime, a petition to President Obama on the White House site is up. The aim is to get 1000 signatures by January 25. We have over 800, so need more to reach the 1000 goal. Please follow the steps at the end of this message and sign this important petition.
Lisa Jackson will be replaced by a new EPA administrator. This is a golden opportunity for us to use the We The People Whitehouse Petition Web site to request that Obama work with the new EPA Administrator to ban the land application of sewage sludge.
Here are the sign on directions.
1. Click the URL at the below.
2. Click on Create an Account in green box (next to "sign in")
3. Enter info in blank fields – (email name zip)
4. Enter nonsense words below – you’ll get a message to wait for an email.
5. Wait a few minutes for the site to send you an email.
6. Open the new email and copy the URL address it provides and paste it into your web browser, hit enter, and you should see the original page you first saw only this time the "Sign the Petition" green box is enabled – just click it and you’re done.
The newly formed Natural History Society of the Jefferson Land Trust (JLTNHS) is sponsoring a talk and slide show by veteran wildlife biologist Dave Rugh, on the status of bowhead, gray, and beluga whales in northern Alaskan waters. The presentation will take plance on January 7, at 7:00 pm in the Cotton Building, 607 Water Street, Port Townsend.
Dave Rugh surveying Arctic whales.
Bowheads, gray whales, and belugas are considered to be the most common whales in marine waters surrounding northern Alaska, but just how many are there? Where do these whales feed and where do they migrate? How healthy are their populations, especially in the face of a changing Arctic?
Answering such questions about animals that live underwater in distant, icy seas has proven enormously challenging for scientists. Bowheads can live as long as 150-200 years and are wonderfully adapted for swimming in cold, ice-covered waters. Their huge reserves of fat and long baleen plates, prized by commercial whalers, nearly proved their undoing. Although indigenous people continue to hunt bowheads for subsistence, these whales are recovering from the huge losses of the past. Gray whales—once hunted almost to extinction—spend half the year making one of the lengthiest migrations for any mammal. Their coastal travels between summertime habitat in Alaska and wintering areas near Mexico’s Baja Peninsula (a round-trip distance of 10,000 miles or more) expose them to many threats. The graceful white belugas—nicknamed “sea canaries” for their high-pitched twitters—generally occur near sea ice, so what does a melting Arctic bode for them?
Dave Rugh, who served as researcher with NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Lab for 34 years, has contributed much to the current understanding of Alaska’s bowhead, gray, and beluga whales. In more than a hundred research projects conducted by land, sea, and air from the Arctic to California, Dave documented the distribution and abundances of these whales. Results from his surveys have been critical for assessing the health of their populations, particularly in regard to their status as threatened or endangered. Dave has published hundreds of scientific articles and documents, sharing his knowledge in many presentations to fellow scientists, students, and the general public. His work earned him more than 30 professional awards, including NOAA’s Distinguished Career Award.
This event is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation would be appreciated to help defray the costs.
As reported in the Port Townsend Leader.
There is no mention of it in the Department’s news releases.
The mill was 20% over it’s legal limit, according to DOE. That’s significant to those breathing these chemicals in the plume.
Seeking Nominations for the 2012
Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is seeking nominations for the 2012 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award. This award recognizes significant contributions in the protection and stewardship of our North Olympic Peninsula natural environment. The award pays tribute to Eleanor Stopps whose vision, advocacy and determination exemplify the power and importance of citizen leadership.
In the 1960s and 70s she recognized the need to protect the uniquely important marine environment of the Salish Sea. With no special political base or powerful financial backers she testified before the Washington State Legislature and the United States Congress and was instrumental in getting legislation and public support for protection of the area. She was responsible for the establishment of the Protection Island Sanctuary, which was the only refuge created during the Reagan administration. Today, it is a critical link in the preservation of the whole Salish Sea region.
The Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award is awarded annually to a citizen of the North Olympic Peninsula (Jefferson and Clallam counties) who has:
Led a successful resource conservation effort that benefits the north Olympic Peninsula and its residents directly;
Acted as a community catalyst for programs, initiatives or ventures that demonstrate a commitment to the future of the earth and its biodiversity;
Become a model for future leaders in business and education; or has been an exemplary citizen or policy maker who has implemented decisions that, though they may entail risks, have helped our communities take the next step towards environmental sustainability.
Port Townsend Marine Science Center is pleased to sponsor this award and invites nominations so we can continue to recognize positive leadership. You may nominate someone by downloading the nomination form from http://www.ptmsc.org, email@example.com or calling (360) 385-5582 and requesting a form.
NOMINATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL OR BE RECEIVED IN THE
PTMSC OFFICES AT FORT WORDEN BY 5:00 PM AUGUST 31st, 2012.
Winner(s) will be honored at the PTMSC Stewardship Breakfast at the
Fort Worden Commons at 8 a.m. on Thursday, October 4, 2012.
Previous winners include: 2005: Katharine Baril, natural resource educator and planner Washington State University; 2006: Anne Murphy, Executive Director, Port Townsend Marine Science Center; 2007: Tom Jay and Sara Mall Johani, artists and environmentalists; 2008: Al Latham, Jefferson County Conservation District Ranger; 2009: Peter Bahls, NW Watershed Institute; 2010: Sarah Spaeth, Executive Director, Jefferson Land Trust; 2011: Dick & Marie Goin, lifelong Olympic Peninsula salmon habitat restoration activists
Congratulations to Anne and her staff. The $56,848 grant will help to create a new permanent educational interactive exhibit, with a first phase scheduled to open in September.
Marine center wins $56,848 federal grant for toxin studies http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20120703/news/307039989/marine-center-wins-56848-federal-grant-for-toxin-studies
Passing this along, from Michelle McConnell who is the coordinator of the new Resource Center.
Please help us recruit volunteers to help staff the Resource Center – distribute this flyer and application broadly to your contacts. The information is also online at the project website and a press release will go out soon to local media. http://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/commdevelopment/WSRC.htm
Port Townsend, WA – Standing firm with their demand that Port Townsend Paper prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding its biomass incinerator, five public interest groups filed suit with the Washington State Court of Appeals this week. The suit is in response to a decision handed down by the Superior Court in Thurston County on April 10, 2012, that said further environmental review of the project is unnecessary.
The groups, No Biomass Burn, Olympic Environmental Council, Olympic Forest Coalition, PT Airwatchers and the World Temperate Rainforest Network, represent a broad spectrum of concerns about human health, clean air, the health of our forests, rivers and ocean.
"On the surface, biomass power generation might look like a good thing. But as is often the case with complex proposals like this, it takes more than one look. We are finding the harms that this project may inflict on the area are significant enough that we have no choice but to move forward," said Pat Rasmussen, Coordinator of the World Temperate Rainforest Network. "It’s shocking that the Department of Ecology would allow a multi-million dollar project with such broad ranging effects to proceed with no Environmental Impact Statement.
“Without a complete EIS, how can anyone, including Ecology, begin to evaluate what burning more than double the present amount of forest biomass, along with construction and demolition debris, will do to the air quality around Port Townsend and the communities downwind?”
Burning construction debris is of particular concern because it can be contaminated with plastics, heavy metals, cements, adhesives, petroleum oils and greases, creating a complex mix of air pollutants that changes over time.
"It is irresponsible to the community to allow the project to be built without a clear understanding of what it will do to our health, our forests, our roads, our waters," added Gretchen Brewer of PT AirWatchers.
To illustrate, Brewer cites more than doubling of ultrafine particulates that often lead to increased asthma, heart attacks and strokes in an already compromised community, over 400,000 green tons of woody fuel per year that must come from somewhere, an added 13-17,000 diesel truck trips per year on Highways 19 & 20 into town, and increased acidification of marine waters due to 300,000 more tons of CO2 emitted into the air.
"These are serious issues that need to be addressed."
Ruth Apter, who is studying the effects of CO2 on local shellfish populations, observes, "Increased burning means thousands more tons of climate-altering CO2 will be released into the atmosphere, when ocean waters have absorbed so much already that our native oysters are nearly wiped out."
A hearing date for the appeal has not yet been set.
Time to get your kids out from behind desks and computers and onto the beach! Www.ptmsc.org for signup or call them.
At the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, our Summer Camps are great for kids exploring beaches, uncovering treasures hidden in our exhibits, playing games, making crafts and hiking through beautiful Fort Worden State Park. Our science campers come back year after year, and many of our past campers return again as camp counselors. Join us for a wet, sandy, adventurous, fun-filled week!
A proposed ban on plastic bags will be submitted to the Port Townsend City Council for discussion and possible approval in June. The potential ban — based on one approved by the city of Bainbridge Island in April — was discussed at a meeting of the city’s Special Projects Committee on Wednesday. The bags that would be subject to the ban are plastic bags with handles that are given out by retailers at the cash register. Plastic-bag ban proposal to go to Port Townsend council
1/20 Peninsula Daily News
State appeal filed against Nippon biomass plan; foes await summer hearing on Port Townsend mill biomass upgrade
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News
The second round of appeals for a biomass energy project in Port Angeles has begun, while opponents await a separate state hearing on an appeal filed in November against a biomass project proposed in Port Townsend.
Six of the seven environmental groups that lost an appeal of the shoreline substantial development permit that the city of Port Angeles gave Nippon Paper Industries USA are taking their case to the state Shoreline Hearings Board.
Ed: I am looking into who in our delegation was petitioning the EPA to do this, and apparently Representative Van De Wege and Lynn Kessler were part of the group that asked for this. There appears to be a backstory here, and I’m contacting some individuals who gave them the technical reasons to ask for the deferal. More to follow as the week progresses.
1/17 Peninsula Daily News – Biomass clear of EPA rules for now as agency defers action for 3 years for analysis
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News
Wood-burning facilities will not be regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas regulations that went into effect earlier this month, the federal agency announced last week.
EPA said it will defer further action on the matter for three years while it analyzes whether the burning of wood waste to produce electricity, among other uses, can really be considered “green.”
The move came after proponents of biomass energy, including Washington state officials and some members of Congress, protested the inclusion of biomass projects under the new regulations.
Come join the hardy among us at the Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park Saturday January 8 from 9:30am-12-30pm. We will be removing holly, ivy and Scot’s broom in the grove of trees near the Kearney street entrance. Park near the bathrooms and walk the main trail toward Kearney Street. Look for the bright green “volunteers at work” banner. I will also have a table set up with cookies and water for volunteers and a sign up sheet. Wear work clothes and bring work gloves and pruners if you have them. Scot’s broom pullers will be provided. They also work well on the small holly trees. Those that prefer to pick up garbage, garbage bags will be provided. See you there.
A member of J Pod passes by PTMSC (photo by Travis Krause)
"Contaminants in Killer Whales"
Thursday, November 18th
Natural History Exhibit
Gina Ylitalo, a scientist from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, will present information on a range of contaminants currently found in orca populations, such as PCBs, DDT, and flame retardants.The potential health effects of these toxins on other marine mammal species will be discussed as well, including fish.
"Gina was one of the scientists who analyzed the body of the orca, CA-189, who was stranded near Dungeness Spit in 2002," said Anne Murphy, executive director for the PTMSC. "This orca, named Hope by students visiting PTMSC this summer, is at the center of the story we are preparing to tell through our Orca Project, and whose skeleton we will be displaying in our new Ocean Science Hall."
The orca’s blubber when she was found contained a level of contaminants that was among the highest, if not the highest, ever measured in orcas. The PCB level discovered in the orca was dozens of times higher than concentrations know to affect the growth, reproduction and immune system of another marine mammal, the harbor seal.
Ylitalo has worked for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 1989. Her current interests include establishing links between exposure to chemical contaminants and potential health effects on marine mammals and fish. She also works on methods for analyzing new contaminants in marine resources.
Admission to the presentation is $7 (adults), $5 (youth) and for PTMSC members, it’s $5 (adults) and $3 (youth).
In case you missed it, (which wouldn’t be hard to do), the Navy have finally released the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed NW Training range. This range, which would include helicopter training over the triangle that makes up Admiralty Inlet and a bit beyond, would greatly increase noise levels at any and all hours of day or night that the Navy sees fit. Add to that the heightened security for all us boaters to deal with, the meshing of Navy traffic with freighter traffic, threats to sea life, and general raising of security seems to make this an unwanted project for our area. This blog certainly appreciates our military, and it’s job protecting our country from threats. But training sailors and soldiers in the midst of a population center like Port Townsend, given that we have seen (and heard) Navy training jets from Whidbey Naval Station flying at all hours of day and night, along with the likelyhood of increased accidents and sealife threats (noise etc.) just seems like a recipe for problems. It would be great to see this training idea moved further west, perhaps off Neah Bay area, where they already train.
Comments are due by OCTOBER 12th. Please visit the Navy web site, http://www.NWTRangeComplexEIS.com to download, read and comment on this proposal.
The PT mill, has filed for the ability to generate “green” energy by building a steam fired electricity plant, apparently fueled by biomass (meaning forest slash, etc.), recycled paper, and other reclaimed materials. Some emissions will be increased by this move, some decreased, further evaluation of the request is needed to understand it’s true affects. A public comment period of thirty days has been opened from July 16th to August 18th, but the public meeting won’t be held until August 17th (!). This is a very suspicious move by Ecology, and leads one to wonder about the motives of this permit. Port Townsend Air Watchers and the Sierra Club have already asked for an extension on this, and this publication also believes that giving one day to the public to comment after the hearing does not constitute a decent interval for concerns about an ‘upgrade’ that will lead to significant new pollutants being dumped into the air we breathe.
The steam turbine would be fueled by “Hog Fuel” which is an unprocessed mix of barks and wood fiber. It is ground up after logging activities. It takes ‘slash’ that might be recycled on the ground and burns it. There is some controversy about this process, and whether it is ‘green’ or not. It appears that it is better than burning petroleum products. But, for example, would we be experiencing as much pollution from this if it were to burn natural gas?
While lowering some pollutants, like particulate matter, and Sulfer Dioxide, we can expect to see increases in the following:
- Fuel handling, mainly particulates, read ‘dust’ or ‘soot’
- Carbon Monoxide pollution will increase by 43 Tons a year. This will bring us up to having 635 tons of CO put into our air, a year. Mainly people downwind or in the plume will be affected. CO is a major component of smog, and may be contributing to ocean acidification. CO changes into CO2, the major component being considered as a contributor to global warming. It also leads to ozone depletion (remember concerns with the ozone hole in Antartica?)
- Volitile Organic Carbons (VOC) will be increased by 1.1 Ton a year.
So how “green” is this steam plant going to be? That is debatable. You can add your input on this, learn more, and ask questions, as you will be living with this new pollution levels for decades to come. Questions also have been raised about the affects of stripping the forests of slash.
If you want to ask Ecology to extend the comment period, please call Angie Fritz at Ecology, (360)407-7393.
The copy of the proposed order can be viewed at the PT Library or at :