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Developing New Rules For Transporting Oil
Ecology begins implementing 2015 Oil Transportation Safety Act
As early as next year, companies transporting oil into or through Washington could be required to improve planning for accidents under new regulations being developed by the Washington Department of Ecology.
Ecology is beginning the process to develop two new rules for companies that move and/or receive oil by pipeline or railroad. These new regulations are part of the process to implement the 2015 Oil Transportation Safety Act.
“These rules will help ensure public safety and environmental protection,” said Dale Jensen, Ecology’s Spills program manager. “Emergency responders will have more information, better resources, and training to respond to incidents in a rapid, aggressive, and well-coordinated manner.”
One rule would establish requirements for facilities receiving crude oil to provide weekly advance notice to Ecology on the movement of crude oil, and for pipelines to provide biannual notice to Ecology. The rule will also identify the manner and types of information Ecology will disclose to emergency responders, tribal and local governments, and the public.
The other rule lays out requirements for how railroads transporting oil in bulk position spill response equipment, sets standards for spill response staffing, training and operations, and establishes a spill response drill program with evaluation standards.
Ecology will be working with the public, local governments, tribal governments and other stakeholders throughout the rulemaking process. Multiple workshops will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to submit written comments on any preliminary rule language before the formal rule is issued.
More information about how Ecology is implementing the 2015 Oil Transportation Safety Act is available on its oil movement webpages, including frequently asked questions and anticipated timelines. To stay informed about the rulemaking process and opportunities for public input, please sign up for email updates.
Notice of Public Hearing On Shoreline Regulations
An Ordinance Repealing Chapter 18.50 SJCC and Official Land Use and Shoreline Maps; Adopting New Shoreline Master Program Regulations, Official Land Use and Shoreline Maps, and a Shoreline Restoration Plan; and Amending Section B, Element 3 of the Comprehensive Plan and Chapters 18.20, 18.60 and 18.80 SJCC.
The San Juan County Council will conduct a public hearing on the proposed Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update. The hearing will begin at 9:15 a.m. on November 30, 2015, in the County Council Chambers, 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor. Interested parties are encouraged to attend and provide comment. The official comment period on the proposed SMP update is Wednesday, November 11, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
San Juan County’s SMP was originally adopted in 1976. To comply with the Shoreline Management Act (SMA), the County is updating its SMP to reflect changes in the SMA and guidelines adopted by the State legislature since 2003. To achieve coordinated shoreline management statewide, oversight and approval authority over local programs is the responsibility of the Washington State Department of Ecology.
The SMP regulates all development within shoreline jurisdiction. The SMP regulates all development, structures and uses including, commercial, industrial, institutional and residential developments. It also regulates grading and vegetation management, critical areas, flood zones, public access, aquaculture, boating facilities, shoreline stabilization, forestry and log dumps, recreational facilities, transportation, utilities and restoration actions.
All persons wishing to be heard on this matter are encouraged to attend the hearing. Written comments may be submitted in advance of the hearing by mail or by delivery in person. Please deliver five (5) copies of all written comments to the Clerk of the San Juan County Council at 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor, WA, 98250 or mail to 355 Court Street, #1 Friday Harbor, WA. Written comments may be presented at the hearing. The ordinances are filed at the Office of the County Council, 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor, WA and may be inspected and copies obtained at the Council offices during each business day between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The ordinance may also be viewed 24 hours a day at the County website at www. sanjuanco.com/Council/PendingOrdinances.aspx.
Currently there is not a table of contents -it will be added once the ordinance is codified- but a list of Page Numbers, Section Numbers and Section Titles which will help navigate through the draft SMP ordinance can be accessed by clicking HERE (pdf 90\k file).
A copy of the proposed ordinance will be mailed without charge upon request. For more information please contact the Clerk of the County Council at 360-370-7472.
Washington’s air Quality Improved, But Risks Remain
The Washington Department of Ecology revealed the good news at a Results Washington meeting, reporting that as of this year 100 percent of the state meets federal air quality standards. Nearly half the state’s population lived in areas not meeting federal air quality standards in 1995.
“There has been a lot of hard work by state and local governments to improve our air quality,” said Maia Bellon, Ecology’s director. “Air pollution is one of the biggest risks to public health we face today. We need to remain focused on improving air quality so we all have clean air to breathe.”
Although the report contained good news, Ecology cautioned that the state’s air quality is still at risk.
Fourteen Washington communities remain on the verge of violating air pollution limits for particulate matter, primarily from woodstoves. A recent report released by the American Lung Association listed Yakima and SeaTac among the top 25 cities most polluted by particle pollution, underscoring the need to remain focused on reducing air pollution in Washington.
Another cause for caution is the more stringent ozone pollution (smog) regulations the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue later this year. Ecology is concerned that a lower ozone pollution limit could put the Puget Sound region at risk of violating standards.
Public health isn’t the only issue associated with violating air pollution limits. Businesses and local governments suffer economic consequences when air quality standards are not met. This makes permit requirements for new and expanding businesses much more stringent.
Ecology partners with local air agencies throughout the state to protect public health by ensuring air pollution meets required limits. Air pollution can affect people’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Air pollution particles can also act as carriers for toxics and cancer-causing materials.
“Clean air is vital. It’s something that benefits all of us, through better health, a stronger economy and a sustainable environment,” Bellon said.
Washington Joins Seven States On Finding Alternatives To Toxic Chemicals
Washington state, partnering with seven state environmental agency members of the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2), has released a draft guidance document on finding alternatives to the use of toxic chemicals in products people use and ways to reduce risk to human health.
The draft document, called Guidance for Alternatives Assessment and Risk Reduction, is available for a 45-day public review and comment process through April 19, 2013.
“We welcome input, especially from those with industry experience in comparing the potential effects of chemical alternatives,” said K Seiler, manager of the Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program at the Washington Department of Ecology. “The goal of the voluntary guidance is to provide businesses with a flexible and effective approach to alternatives assessment.”
Alternatives assessment is a process that encourages companies to consider the potential harm that alternatives could have on human health and the environment before they are used in products. The IC2 states are working together to help develop common definitions and best practices through collaboration.
Safer alternatives and alternatives assessment are being used in the market place now. As published in a recent Washington Post article, “Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has banned a controversial flame retardant found in hundreds of consumer goods, from couches to child car seats. It has told suppliers to come up with safer alternatives.”
Seiler said: “When a company considers alternatives, it provides an opportunity to continually improve the everyday products that contribute to our quality of life in Washington. Alternatives assessment is a smart approach for businesses working to meet the growing consumer demand for greener products and services.”
The guidance is based on the alternatives assessment process pioneered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment Program. The IC2 is working with industry, EPA and others to share results and best practices among all the state members.
IC2 members have worked since 2011 to collaborate on the voluntary guidance so that individual states could provide technical assistance with interested companies. After input receiving on the draft guidance, the member states will invite businesses to pilot use of the process.
The public may submit comments on the draft through Friday, April 19, 2013 at this website: http://blog.purestrategies.com/ecology/Providing-Comments. IC2 and Ecology contracted for this website to provide public outreach for the alternatives assessment guidance project
San Juan County Has An Oil Spill Response Organization Ready & Willing
(Randall Waugh & Don English lay out a boom during a drill -IOSA Photo )
By Jackie Wolf
The recent oil rig disaster and subsequent endless flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico has once again raised the horrifying specter of a really big oil spill here in our own precious part of the world. Sitting as we do right in the middle of major shipping lanes, islanders pay close attention when a spill such as the Exxon-Valdez occurs and now the pouring of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
What many islanders are discovering as a result of this latest disaster is that, thanks to the awareness of so many of us, and the incredible spirit of commitment to protect this place, our own local oil spill response organization already exists.
It is non-profit and community-based, with over 300 island residents throughout the years who have taken the training that is freely offered several times a year in the islands by Islands' Oil Spill Association (IOSA), the only spill response group in the San Juans.
Nine thousand four hundred feet of IOSA-owned containment boom (plus another 4000' which IOSA manages) is ready for immediate use in the event of a spill. The boom is spread between 11 locations, all within 5 minutes of a launch site, which allows quick access to boom in all corners of the islands.
IOSA has six dedicated spill response vessels and we work with many trained responders who have their own workboats. Equipment trailers containing anchor systems, sorbents, pumps, skimmers and other gear are stationed at strategic locations throughout the islands, including the outlying islands of Stuart and Sucia.
Nearly 130 IOSA responders are also trained and have their state-required 8-hour certification for Oiled Bird Search & Rescue, Basic Care and Stabilization. At least 20 of these responders have put their name on the list to work down along the Gulf Coast if needed. As of this date, May 13, oiled wildlife responders from outside the region are not yet being asked to help but the situation is ever-changing.
In addition to classroom training, IOSA holds 5-6 on-the-water boom deployment/containment drills a year. IOSA crews have completed 68 site-specific field tests of protective booming strategies for sensitive areas/bays in the San Juan Islands and installed rock anchors in many locations where no other suitable shore attachment exists. Ongoing training keeps us prepared and allows responders to update their certification on a regular basis. It also allows new people to get involved in local oil spill response.
If you would like more information on our own community's preparedness for a major oil spill, as well as the smaller spills that frequently happen and have required a full IOSA response over 100 times, please go to the IOSA website at: www.iosaonline.org. Or call the IOSA office at 378-5322. There are many ways you can help. Watching the ongoing tragedy in the Gulf, one of the many things I feel is a strong sense of gratitude for IOSA and all the people in the San Juans who make IOSA the wonderful organization that it is."
(Jackie Wolf is the IOSA Coordinator )
SeaDoc Octopus Award For Support Of Ecosystem
(Will & Eleanor Parks, Doug Charles of Compass wines with the Todd Spalti sculpture)
Local wine store receives the SeaDoc Society Octopus Award for its efforts to ensure the health of marine wildlife and their ecosystems.
Thursday May 13, 2010, Orcas Island, Washington. Compass Wines, under proprietors Will Parks and Doug Charles, received the SeaDoc Society’s coveted Octopus Award. This award recognizes groups or individuals who go above and beyond to help the SeaDoc Society accomplish its mission to ensure the health of marine wildlife and their ecosystem.
During the last two years, Compass Wines has been instrumental in helping SeaDoc fund science needed to improve the health of local marine wildlife populations. In addition to being corporate sponsors for SeaDoc’s major Wine Fundraising Auction, Compass Wines also donates a portion of the proceeds from sales of their “Salish Sea” wine to benefit the SeaDoc Society.
Compass Wines’ support has helped SeaDoc carry out a number of scientific studies ranging from determining best practices for restoring endangered northern abalone, to investigating the origins of contaminants in killer whales. Joe Gaydos, SeaDoc Chief Scientist said, “Compass Wines has truly been like four extra pairs of arms for the SeaDoc Society over the last few years.”
Will Parks was honored to receive the award. Parks, who grew up spending time on Hood Canal and loves the ocean said, “It’s a great program and we are happy to give back to the community and our ocean.” Charles also has a great affinity for marine wildlife. Doug said was “inspired by SeaDoc’s work to find scientific solutions to the problems facing our local marine waters.”
The Octopus Award recognizes an individual outside of the SeaDoc program who has made significant contributions to the success of the SeaDoc Society. Past Recipients include Malcolm Goodfellow (2004), Patti Moran-Hodge (2005), John Klacking (2007), and Lynne Greene (2008).
The SeaDoc Society works to ensure the health of marine wildlife and their ecosystems through science and education. A program of the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), the SeaDoc Society has a regional focus on improving the health of the Salish Sea. For more information see www.seadocsociety.org.
Western Grebe: A Vanishing Icon
( Western Grebes' stepping out -Gumm-Poleschook photo)
Joe Gaydos of the SeaDoc Society will gave a talk on Western Grebes, iconic diving birds, once seen locally in the hundreds, are rapidly disappearing. With it, we are losing one of our most charismatic birds.
With folk names that include "dabchick", "swan grebe" and "swan-necked grebe" the Western Grebe is the largest of the North American grebes and can weigh up to 3 pounds, almost half the weight of a bald eagle. These large, black and white birds have a long neck and a sharp pointed bill designed to spear or grab fish. In fact, its bill is the source of the bird's Latin genus Aechmorphorus, meaning "spear-bearer. Fish, specifically herring, make up over 80% of the Western Grebes' diet.
In Washington, Western Grebes winter on marine waters and summer on freshwater lakes. They are strictly aquatic and never go on land. They even but build floating nests. Well known for their spectacular courtship display, male and female birds will rear up and patter across the water's surface in a breathtaking dance that makes a movie and dinner look like adolescent small talk.A century ago this bird's elegant, snowy-white plumage was nearly its demise when its feathers were used to decorate women's hats. Now the Western Grebe faces new challenges including derelict fishing gear, changes in prey abundance and loss of breeding habitat. Come learn more about these incredible birds and what is being done to save them.
The 2009/10 Marine Science Lecture Series is presented by program partners The SeaDoc Society and YMCA Camp Orkila.It is made possible through generous sponsorship by Tom Averna (Deer Harbor Charters), and The Gould Family Foundation and co-sponsorship by Barbara Brown, Eclipse Charters, The Kingfish Inn, Shearwater Sea Kayak Tours, Jim and Kathy Youngren and West Sound Marina.