Candidates supporting the environment rock the primary vote!

The story of the night is that the Democrats came out to vote in August. Early results show significant voter preference, even in the midst of the “Trump Upheaval”, for Democrats along with the status quo of incumbents. Good news for supporting environmental legislation.  Also it appears that in many areas of Jefferson County, where we are located, Bernie’s troops that were trying to upset local Democrats have not seen turn out approach enough to win across the board, as they hoped.

Bizarre results in Clallam County. Have they been smoking a bit too much of that new legal substance? Dems win almost all positions, from federal on down in large margins, until you get to Lt. Governor, which an R wins. What? She must have camped out in Port Angeles for the month. Overall, when you add up the votes all D’s got in Clallam races, it seems very likely that they will win all of them in November. Barring a huge Trump turnout that didn’t want to bother to vote in August. Ron Richards won the popular vote, but if you tally all his rivals he may have a hard time winning in November. Better hit the streets, Ron. Start doorbelling.

This is all based on early returns.

First Hard Prove that Net Pen Salmon Eat Wild Species – Alexandra Morton

The raging controversy over net pens, both here and in Canada, just got a bit more intense. The first hard evidence that net pen salmon are eating wild stocks of herring, that we as taxpayers are paying millions to try and restore. The net pen fish are probably also eating other juvenile wild fish. As one example of what this might mean to us, there have been oldtime fishermen I’ve spoken to, who claim that when the net pens went in on south side of Bainbridge Island, fishing collapsed in Agate Pass. Coincidence? Maybe. But no serious study has ever been made, that I can find, on whether there were problems caused by the net pens being introduced there.

This may end up being one of the most important environmental news stories of the year for the Pacific Northwest, especially at this point in time, due to the State Department of Ecology continuing it’s PR campaign to say that net pens are ecologically ok for Puget Sound waters. It’s time to continue the call for a total ban on net pens throughout our Sound, and the greater Salish Sea. The little amount of science having been done on this industry is incomplete, and focuses only on whether the sea bottom, directly under and around the pens is restoreable. NOAA has never (from what I’ve tried to find) looked at the wider issues that implementation of pens may pose on wild stocks, either of salmon or herring, let alone whether locations where pens have been tried and failed, have ever recovered as NOAA claims they should. They can start right here in Port Townsend Bay, and investigate the sands just below where the last pens were located some decades ago.

“On August 23, 2016 I put a Go Pro camera on a pole and submerged it in a salmon farm run by Marine Harvest.”

Cyber Hack Shuts Down Hunting, Fishing License Sales In 3 Northwest States -KPLU

What is disturbing about this is that you have to give detailed information to the state to get licenses, including phone numbers, birth dates and social security numbers. Why this information is needed by the state for such a simple license is unknown. And the fact that they can’t even protect our data from attack after getting it should be grounds for a lawsuit. I would bet, if we were able to know, that this database was not encrypted, had not been updated and had a simple password like “administrator” for the password. Is there a decent law firm out there, that can start suing the state to demand adequate protection of our information?

Online fishing and hunting license sales have now been suspended in Washington, Oregon and Idaho following a hacking incident. A Washington state official says some 7 million records across the three states were compromised, but the information was not terribly sensitive. The hack involves a third-party vendor called Active Network Outdoors which calls itself the leading provider of licensing systems to the states. The company has not responded to multiple requests for comment. But Michael Cockrill, Washington’s Chief Information Officer, said the company is cooperating with an investigation that includes the FBI. Cockrill said the information that was compromised includes what you’d find on your driver’s license — but not full social security or credit card numbers — suggesting the hacker may have just been showing off. Austin Jenkins reports. (KPLU)

State seeks input on Puget Sound, coastal fishing rules – Olympian

State fishery managers are holding three public meetings Aug. 29-31 to hear public comments on 2017 sportfishing rules for Puget Sound and the Washington coast. Comments can also be made online at through Oct. 28. After receiving 66 proposals, 11 have been advanced for additional review. State officials are seeking input on proposals that would:

  • Require fishing vessels to carry a descending device when fishing for bottom fish or halibut in areas east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line. The devices are used to return rockfish to deep water, reducing the number of rockfish deaths due to barotrauma, which occurs when rockfish are brought to the surface quickly. (Olympian)

Solutions sought for fish-blocking Hood Canal bridge – Kitsap Sun

We have been reporting on this issue since before it was found. When I interviewed old timers in 2010 who had fished the Canal all their lives some told me they believed the bridge was the cause of the salmon’s demise in the Canal. That they had seen a dramatic reduction in fish since the bridge was installed. Now, we are getting real data that validates the “local knowledge” that some scoffed at. While no one is saying that the bridge should be removed, at least at this point, there is new work being done to see if there are some quick fixes that can be done to help the salmon, and the water, flow better.

A cloud of little fish loiters alongside the Hood Canal bridge’s floating lower deck. They don’t go around and they don’t go under. Instead they seem to aimlessly swirl about. Lurking nearby is a plump seal, apparently well-fed on the logjam of fish.

There’s mounting evidence that the bridge is a major fish barrier, blocking a third of migrating steelhead trout from reaching the ocean. The bridge also might hamper water circulation, lowering dissolved oxygen levels and altering the canal’s temperature and chemistry.

Submarine, support vessel collide off Washington coast – AP via Q13Fox

While not fatal to the environment (at least that we know about due to Navy secrecy), it is a reminder of how at risk our Strait and Coast are to possible radioactive contamination if one of these vessels has a catastrophic failure due to a crash. How their support vessel crashed into them is something  I hope we get more information on, from the Navy. Perhaps Derek Kilmer’s staff can ask for clarification?

BANGOR, Wash. (AP) — The Navy says a ballistic-missile submarine and a support vessel collided off the coast of Washington state.

There were no injuries from the Thursday evening incident in the Strait of Juan de Fuca involving the USS Louisiana and the offshore support vessel. In a statement, the Navy said the collision occurred during routine operations.



Nippon paper mill, cogeneration plant in Port Angeles for sale – PDN

So often in the past, we have seen possible losses of industries used as justifications to attack environmentalists and government environmental regulations. There is often a knee jerk reaction by certain politicians using these tactics to make political hay. But before people jump to conclusions about what is triggering this sale, here’s some key facts in the article. They point to a number of issues that have nothing to do with government regulations, environmental concerns, etc. In fact, biomass has been given more than it’s fair share of government giveaways in the areas of regulations. Some might ask, “what regulations? Because it was exempted from EPA rules.

We have been reporting on those issues for over 8 years now. Search on this web site for the word “biomass” to see the whole series of articles.

What is known: Nippon has  been trying to make a living in a declining market segment, while expanding their product offerings. Apparently that hasn’t been working out.

Nippon is the only maker of telephone book paper in the United States…..Company officials have said they have been trying to move away from telephone-book paper by offering other paper products.

Also: the co-generation plant has cost them much more than expected, and apparently the manufacturer was sued by them over the defective boiler. To be clear,  biomass plants (burning of “hog fuel”) like this were allowed by a bill that was passed in the Washington State Legislature  during the height of the last decades’ fuel crisis (remember about 2004-08 when fuel was extremely expensive?). It was supported by both Kevin Van De Wege, and Steve Tharinger, among others. I asked Steve and Kevin personally at the time about the concerns but they shrugged them off. It was clear that to them, they saw biomass as a ‘job creator’ technology.

Many other environmentalists challenged the idea that burning what was essentially ‘slash’ (left over biomass from logging) was a bad idea, and that it was unproven as a technology. The bill clearly stated, at that time, that the technology was ‘experimental’ and that the legislature was going to re-evaluate it later. They never have. It’s still considered an experimental technology.  

This blog covered the protests when they happened.

EPA allows biomass to be exempt from greenhouse gas emissions rules for 3 years.

Protests over biomass plants being licensed.

Mason County biomass plant shut down.

Scientists disturbed at biomass as future “green” energy source.

What else is known: 

The cogeneration plant was built to produce “green energy” for sale that is generated by burning biomass material.

But the plant was plagued with operational problems and higher-than-expected construction costs.

Construction ended up costing $20 million more than the original $71 million estimate projected in 2010.

Nippon and FSE Energy, which manufactured the boiler, reached a confidential, out-of-court settlement over the facility’s defective boiler and $17 million in disputed monetary charges.

Hopefully Nippon can find a buyer that can guide this plant into production of products that the market wants, and that the biomass plant finally gets working, or shut down, which may be the right thing to do. It would be interesting to understand whether the paper mill would be able to buy cost effective electricity compared to the biomass plant.

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DFO shutting down all salmon sports fishing on Lower Fraser to protect sockeye – Vancouver Sun

More bad news for salmon and salmon lovers.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has taken the extraordinary measure of shutting down all sports salmon fishing on the Lower Fraser River because of a lower-than-anticipated return of sockeye. The closure of all recreational fishing for salmon — including Chinook and possibly Chum when they arrive later in the year — is taking place so that sockeye aren’t inadvertently caught while other salmon species are being fished. Anglers can still fish for trout, steelhead and sturgeon. The closure was to go into effect one hour after sunset Thursday until further notice. It covers the mouth of the Fraser River to the Alexandra Bridge south of Hell’s Gate in the Interior, a stretch of about 200 kilometres of river. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)


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