Huge Warm Water Blob in Pacific Causing Mass Death

By Mihai Andrei, ZMEScinece – Sea animals are dying off in huge numbers off the Pacific coast from Baja, Mexico – all the way to Alaska; there’s a good chance we can’t really do anything about it. The warm expanse appeared about a year ago and the longer it lingers, the more risks it poses, and the more animals it kills. It’s a combination of natural and man-made causes that work together and are killing off bottlenose dolphins, sardines, sea birds, plankton, krill, salmon, sea lions, starfish, and brown pelicans in record numbers. To make things even worse, the high temperatures are also wiping off plankton and krill, the bottom of the food chain. “Right now it’s super warm all the way across the Pacific to Japan,” said Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Newport, Ore., who has linked certain ocean indicators to salmon returns....

Read More...


‘Not For Sale’: Foregoing $1 Billion Payout, First Nations Tribe Rejects LNG Project

By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams – Placing the well-being of the Earth above monetary interests, the Lax Kw’alaams First Nations tribe in British Columbia has rejected a $1 billion offer and voted against a proposed liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal. In the third and definitive vote on the Pacific Northwest (PNW) LNG project last Tuesday, tribal members unanimously opposed the project, which would be located entirely within Lax Kw’alaams traditional territory on Lelu Island and the adjacent Flora Bank and required tribal consent before going forward. “Our elders remind us that money is like so much dust that is quickly blown away in the wind,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told the Globe and Mail, “but the land is forever.” In a press statement (pdf) following the vote, the tribe describes the potential threat to fisheries and the refusal by the government and PNW to impose sufficient environmental safeguards on the project,...

Read More...


Help Save One of America’s Most Pristine and Endangered Rivers from Proposed Coal Mine

By Ryan Astalos, EcoWatch – Approximately 45 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska, near Beluga and Tyonek, lies the Chuitna River watershed. Like most of Alaska’s untouched beauty, this area houses pristine aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. These areas are home to animals such as fox, lynx, wolves, coyotes, wolverines, waterfowl, bears, moose and beluga whales. However, the most important renewable resource to Alaska’s economy, culture and well-being includes five species of wild Pacific salmon, including sockeye, coho, chinook, pink and chum salmon. These five species use the Chuitna River and its tributaries for spawning purposes. Salmon are keystone species in these environments because animals and other organisms rely on them as part of their diet. Among this beautiful, pristine, nearly untouched ecosystem, an out-of-state company, PacRim Coal has proposed a coal strip mine. Not only is the coal market dwindling in today’s economy, but this proposal would be the first in...

Read More...


The New Keystone XL Pipeline: Jordan Cove

By Tim Palmer and Bill Bradburym, EcoWatch – A quiet cove at the edge of the Pacific Ocean is heir apparent to the raging debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. With a massive natural gas terminal and its own power plant, the pipeline that’s proposed to end at Coos Bay is slated as one of the next lavish investments in our nation’s continuing commitment to fossil fuels that propel the climate crisis. Forget the compelling mantra of “energy independence.” That goal has driven the engine of mining, drilling and pumping across the coal, oil and gas fields of America ever since the Arab oil embargo of 1973. Who would disagree that we should be less-dependent on foreign oil? It drains our balance of payments, precipitates wars, and feeds the specter of terrorism. For energy independence, we sacrificed American landscapes, waterways, and communities from permafrost at Prudhoe Bay to BP blowouts on the Gulf...

Read More...


Return of the Fish Wars: Hatchery Pits Environmentalists Against Tribe

Can anything ‘wild’ still exist in a Washington river that has been plugged for 100 years? By E. Tammy Kim, Al Jazeera – LOWER ELWHA KLALLAM RESERVATION, Wash. — The Elwha, like so many coastal Natives, are salmon people. Their history of dugout canoes and hundred-pound chinook is inseparable from the glacial river that shares their name. In late August, timed to the fall runs of fish, the Lower Elwha tribe holds the annual “First Salmon” ceremony at the gravelly mouth of the river. Lola Moses, who oversees the tribal court, presides over a small crowd of members, children from the reservation’s Head Start program and a few visitors. A flayed salmon rests on a plastic folding table. Moses helps cradle the fish on a pine bough and carries it to the water’s edge. Peyton Cable, 14, wades then dog-paddles in and floats the offering downriver, calling forth the...

Read More...


Mount Polley: A Wake-Up Call to the Realities of Tailings Ponds

By Dr. David Suzuki, EcoWatch – When a tailings pond broke at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in south-central B.C., spilling millions of cubic metres of waste into a salmon-bearing stream, B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett called it an “extremely rare” occurrence, the first in 40 years for mines operating here. He failed to mention the 46 “dangerous or unusual occurrences” that B.C’s chief inspector of mines reported at tailings ponds in the province between 2000 and 2012, as well as breaches at non-operating mine sites. This spill was predictable. Concerns were raised about Mount Polley before the breach. CBC reported that B.C.’s Environment Ministry issued several warnings about the amount of water in the pond to mine owner Imperial Metals. With 50 mines operating in B.C. — and many others across Canada — we can expect more incidents, unless we reconsider how we’re extracting resources. Sudden and severe failure is a risk for all large...

Read More...


Victory for Local Action as Coal Export Terminal Rejected in Oregon

Rejection of Ambre Energy project marks the first time a Pacific Northwest state agency has formally said no By Lauren McCauley, CommonDreams – Dealing a “severe blow” to the export of coal out of the Pacific Northwest, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) on Monday rejected a critical permit for the construction of Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific export terminal on the Columbia River. “Ambre’s dirty coal project would have sent hundreds of coal trains through the region, thousands of coal barges down the Columbia River, and further disrupted our climate with dangerous carbon pollution,” writes water conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper. “DSL’s decision is a defining win for clean water, salmon, and our communities.” Ambre, an Australian company, was seeking permission to build a permanent dock in Boardman, Oregon as part of their proposed coal export terminal, which environmentalists said would both hasten carbon pollution from increased coal consumption and threaten key waterways. The terminal would...

Read More...


‘Massive Environmental Disaster’ in Canada as Toxic Tailing Pond Floods Waterways

Water ban put in place as tens of millions of gallons of waste course through area rivers and lakes By Deirdre Fulton, CommonDreams – A middle-of-the-night breach of the tailings pond for an open-pit copper and gold mine in British Columbia sent a massive volume of toxic waste into several nearby waterways on Monday, leading authorities to issue a water-use ban. Slurry from Mount Polley Mine near Likely, B.C. breached the earthen dam around 3:45 am on Monday, with hundreds of millions of gallons — equivalent to 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to Canada’s Global News — gushing into Quesnel Lake, Cariboo Creek, Hazeltine Creek and Polley Lake. An estimated 300 homes, plus visitors and campers, are affected by the ban on drinking and bathing in the area’s water. Chief Anne Louie of the Williams Lake Indian band told the National Post the breach was a “massive environmental disaster.” With salmon runs currently making their way to their...

Read More...