Coal train derails in Pasco, 31 cars spill coal

A 125-car coal train with four locomotives carrying coal from Wyoming to Delta, British Columbia derailed in eastern Washington according to the Idaho Press Tribune. Thirty-one cars spilled, one was put back on track, the rest will be salvaged. The full story can be read Idaho Press Tribune.

The New York Times has an article about the increased risk of train derailments due to coal dust on rail lines.

These stories are relevant to the San Juan Islands because of plans for the proposed  Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, the largest coal export facility in North America. If constructed, each year 450 ships will travel through the straits enroute to Asia. More information is available on


Funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund dropped from bill

A provision, passed in the U.S. Senate, to provide funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was dropped from the final Surface Transportation reauthorization bill.

LWCF does not use taxpayer dollars. Instead, it uses funds generated by the depletion of one public resource – oil and gas royalties from the Outer Continental Shelf – to protect the nation's public lands. Although the fund is authorized to receive up to $900 million per year, Congress has routinely diverted LWCF funds for other uses.


Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012 introduced

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Norm Dicks (D, WA-06) introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2012, which would create 126,000 acres of new wilderness in Olympic National Forest, in the Senate and House of Representatives Wednesday, June 20, 2012.

The legislation would protect several key forest areas and rivers while preserving local jobs and access to outdoor recreation opportunities.


Ecology submits 2010 Marine Water Quality Assessment to EPA

The state The Department of Ecology (Ecology) submitted the 2010 Marine Water Quality Assessment and Candidate 303(d) List to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) via a letter dated Dec. 28, 2011. EPA subsequently requested additional information before it could complete the formal review and approval of the 2010 Assessment.


World Ocean Day June 8: Support of Law of the Sea Treaty encouraged

Saturday, June 8 is the 4th official World Ocean Day, UNESCO (The United Nations body for ocean science, ocean observatories, ocean data and information exchange, and ocean services), officially designated June 8 as the day in 2009.

An action many would like to see is ratification by the United States of the Law of the Sea treaty. 162 countries have signed and/or ratified LOST including China, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The Europeon Union has signed the treaty.

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