‘Grim’ Fraser River salmon runs even worse than forecast -Canadian Press

The neglect of the Fraser runs under the Harper Regime was legendary. Then global warming. Now this.

This year’s Fraser River sockeye return, already forecast to be below average, has turned out to be even worse. One First Nation leader described the return as going from poor to grim. The forecast run this year — which has traditionally been one of the low-run years in the four-year cycle of sockeye — was 2.27 million. That was already below the average of the past half century of 3.9 million. The latest estimates from test fisheries and through sonar counts show that only about half of the expected sockeye had returned by last Friday: 400,000 to 500,000 of the anticipated 840,000, according to the Pacific Salmon Commission, a Canadian-American agency that helps manage fisheries. The peak of the remaining summer sockeye run is expected about mid-month, but there is little expectation that the numbers will change, said Pacific Salmon Commission executive secretary John Field. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

http://vancouversun.com/business/local-business/grim-fraser-river-salmon-runs-even-worse-than-forecast

See also: Federal government expected to act on 2012 report examining Fraser River sockeye http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/federal-government-expected-to-act-on-2012-report-examining-fraser-river-sockeye (Canadian Press)

From mountain forests to city parks, trees are stressed and dying – Seattle Times

While this story highlights problems in Seattle, the article also points to problems statewide. Climate change is here, and we are going to have to roll with it’s  its punches. A small thought out of this article, is for those of you with birch trees (I’m one of them ). Hold off on any tree trimming until later in the fall. The birch beetles noted in this article are active until about August (so the historical data tells us). I’m unclear as to whether they are going to be active longer into the year, but I’m planning on doing my annual trimming after the leaves fall. Trimming causes stress to the tree, which is what the borers are looking for.

The killing effects of the long, hot drought of 2015 are showing up in dying tree tops, thinning needles, burgeoning beetles and an unprecedented number of dead trees in city parks.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/from-mountain-forests-to-city-parks-trees-are-stressed-and-dying/

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State adopts ‘fish consumption rule’ after years of debate – Bellingham Herald/AP

Why does this matter? Because if a waterway is polluted, and the fish in it are too, the question of “how much polluted fish can people safely eat?” is not academic, but could raise or lower cancer rates, and possibly even birth defects,in the case of mercury.

The state of Washington has set very unrealistic amounts of fish consumption on purpose, so that polluters won’t be forced to clean up their businesses more than they already are doing. Now, the state has finally acted, ruling that the state is going to protect people that might eat approximately 175 grams a day, or about one serving. The current rule if far less than that, based more on one 7.5 ounce serving in a month! Given that we have a huge population of people that like fish, and might eat, in the course of a week, a lot more than that, this ruling will work, in the long run, to lower pollution in our waterways to protect fish and us.

Certainly, this is all going to take some time, to allow polluters to make changes, which could take a decade or more, but finally owning up to the reality of our fish consumption, will eventually lead to cleaner waters and healthier food.

Washington state regulators on Monday adopted new clean-water rules tied partly to how much fish people eat after years of heated debate over how clean the state’s water should be.

and the original post by Washington State Department of Ecology.

Politics Of Trade: The Northwest’s Complicated Relationship To The TPP -OPB

Another article outlining some of the difficulties in getting to the truth about the TPP this election year.  As I have said before, I don’t believe that the TPP is the problem, just a symptom, and that the real problem that we face by these massive trade deals, which are always done with an eye towards helping American businesses, is that the tax law is what ultimately defines whether companies can outsource their work to low wage countries. If the tax laws make it unfavorable to move factories overseas, then they won’t. An unintended consequence of that is that they may just choose to open new factories overseas and slowly shut down antiquated ones, by not investing in them, but again, tax law dictates such issues as depreciation schedules of equipment. One reason Japan outcompeted us in the 198os was due to a very favorable depreciation schedule of 1 year to our 5 (or more) years. A company could write off the depreciation of a large manufacturing machine in 1 year, and then buy the latest state of the art one the next, making them more and more competitive. By the time our companies would have depreciated the equipment, the Japanese were 5 or more times efficient against our companies.

Part of our complicated tax law in the US gives different industries different depreciation schedules. For example, replacing computers at companies like Microsoft can be done more rapidly than standard companies, due to the ability to classify them as Research and Development (R&D) tools, rather than just standard business equipment. That Microsoft tests new Operating systems and programs like Word on their internal computer users first, allows them to take advantage of this tax law issue.

Another thing to think about, is that we currently dominate the world in software, a business that generates not only great middle class and upper class jobs, and has an enormous effect on follow on jobs for low income workers, that often supply goods and services to these businesses, and to the universe of partner companies that establish offices in the area of the business, such as we see with partners to Microsoft,Boeing and Amazon. These businesses all   generate enormous tax revenues for our country. Working towards a beneficial trade agreement that forces other countries, like China or India,  to get better at supporting our intellectual property, such as software, music and film rights, is a good thing for American workers. Fighting trade deals and making it more punitive or operating outside of trade deals leads to piecemeal implementation (or no implementation) of protection of these laws. 

There is always an inbalance between competition between nations and even states. Most people have heard that Delaware  has a special tax law that allows corporations to form easily there and shelter themselves from taxes. Nevada, likewise is a haven for companies in other states, to use as a tax haven for their revenues to be gathered. A large global company, headquartered in the Bay area, can open a subsidiary in Nevada, and have all their revenues go there first, to avoid California tax rates. You likely have heard of our massive tax breaks to Boeing and other companies. These are our states’ TPP deals with internal US companies, and external foreign companies that can bring jobs. This is the way states compete. It is legal. Allowing corporations to have signification input on trade deals is the way to get US subject matter expertise to the table so that our negotiators can best understand what we need from other countries. It’s our governments fault if they allow corporations to bury tax advantages into these but it is not the fault of the agreeement. And it is a political football to pretend that the deal is the problem.

To be clear, there are many other isssues that are concerning in TPP, and again our Congressional delegation should support taking it out from behind it’s secrecy and opening the process up for feedback.  I support the documented TPP problems and the solutions to them that were laid out in a 20 page detailed over veiw by a consortium of the Sierra Club,  Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, Institute for Policy Studies and Earth Justice in 2012. If you like detail on these issues go and read the document.

http://www.citizen.org/documents/tpp-investment-fixes.pdf

But the following article is a good generic article, useful for much more discussion, I present it with an eye on helping us better understand why our representatives in Congress in the Pacific NW are not flocking to damn TPP, while the outsiders, who have nothing to lose, are. Ultimately we need trade deals, but they need to protect our environment, our hard won intellectual property. We must make sure they don’t give hidden benefits to countries and companies that are working against these issues.

Politics Of Trade: The Northwest’s Complicated Relationship To The TPP

http://www.opb.org/news/series/election-2016/tpp-trade-oregon-economic-impact-political/?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

 

 

Dairy farmers tell state its rules on cow manure are too costly – AP

I’m afraid that I’m not on board with these new rules, unless we the tax payers are going to offer no interest loans or fund their needed work.  I want these dairies cleaned up, but am not willing to force them into it when this state could help them out. There is a middle way between forcing the change quickly or exempting huge amounts of dairies. Maybe a tax on all milk for 5 years to help fund the cost of the conversion?

The unintended consequence of this could be farms downsizing to just under the limit, or going out of business all together. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance has sometimes taken wrong approaches in the past to situations like this. It’s not the first time I’ve found myself disagreeing with their tactics. They often take too much of a “Big City” approach, and see the people in the hinterlands as easy targets.

Dairy farmers and environmentalists are criticizing new manure-control rules the state Department of Ecology plans to finalize early next year. The Capital Pressreported that at a public hearing on Tuesday, July 26, farmers said dairies already are heavily regulated and that Ecology’s new layer of mandates would be unnecessary and expensive…. After Tuesday’s hearing, Ecology’s special assistant on water policy, Kelly Susewind, said the department may consider redrawing the line and exempting more dairies…. Environmentalists testified that the department should require dairies to line lagoons with synthetic fabric to prevent leaks and to install wells to monitor groundwater. (Associated Press)

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/business/article92244202.html#storylink=mainstage

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.

Scientists look for answers as hundreds of dead birds wash ashore along Strait of Juan de Fuca – PDN

More bad news for seabirds.

Scientists are trying to figure out why hundreds of dead seabirds have washed ashore in the eastern part of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. About 300 rhinoceros auklets, seabirds closely related to puffins, have washed ashore dead since May, and there isn’t a clear reason why, said Julia Parrish, executive director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST)…. Dead birds have been found at Discovery Bay, Dungeness Spit near Sequim and across the Strait near Victoria. At this point, scientists are trying to rule out possible causes. Parrish said it seems unlikely that a lack of food supply could be the cause of the deaths. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20160727/NEWS/307279979/scientists-look-for-answers-as-hundreds-of-dead-birds-wash-ashore

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