The findings of issues with shipping pollution are sort of an expected outcome. The good news is that things are already changing for the better with new regs due to take affect soon.
Booth Gardner, Washington state’s 19th governor, has died from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Booth was the Governor who helped push through and sign the Growth Management Act (GMA), a still somewhat controversial bill, that has had wide ranging impact on development across the State. Locally, beyond the planning required for implementation of the GMA, there have also been the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) and Shoreline Master Programs (SMP) to deal with. Thousands of hours of work and millions of dollars of State money have gone into the implementation of GMA, and yet, growth continues to seriously impact our waters, land and air. As someone who has been involved with GMA issues closely, I can say that I can see positive things that have come out of GMA planning, and I believe we are better off for having done it than not, but I cannot say that the results have been in line with the money and time spent. The greatest shortcoming to the GMA seems to be real enforcement of growth management. It appears that big money projects always can work around the GMA while smaller projects by less wealthy and well connected individuals get shot down. Should this be reversed? I don’t really know. As an example in Jefferson County, much discussion has been made of whether or not the Black Point development is inline with the GMA statutes. How about the proposed huge development at Port Gamble? It appears that the benefit is that the developers trade off pristine land and shoreline for the ability to put in hundreds of units of housing. Certainly, we still see clogged roads that are not forced to be upgraded in anticipation for the growth. To this day, over in King County, developers east of Lake Sammamish were not forced to update roads when they built on the plateau, and it’s still faster to drive to a location like Microsoft from Seattle than the Plateau.
In Clallam County, GMA has been weakened at the demands of the city, and our Democratic representatives, both of whom say they are for environmental protections, have shown no desire to fight Port Angeles on this, in fact they both want to see the GMA weakened to support the demands of PA. The claim is that it’s too inflexible for a town the size of Port Angeles.
When I tried finding reasoned debate on the effectiveness of the GMA, the only comprehensive discussion seems to come out of the opponents of the Act. It would be a worthwhile study, as to whether the GMA actually has accomplished it’s goals, and where it falls short. Have comprehensive planning really brought measureable improvements? I would guess yes, but really, I can’t enumerate them. Someone with knowledge of this issue want to help out?
Locally, I can point to one small improvement brought about by GMA planning. Here in Port Townsend, the west end of Fort Worden, between the Chinese Gardens and the Straits, was slated for development into condos or apartments. The GMA group in PT, with considerable public debate, apparently decided to trade the development of that land for development of Tree House properties, across from the Fort cemetery. I think that those of us in the neighborhood would agree that decision worked out for the best. It led to the State annexing the Chinese Gardens for the Park. We ended up with more open space attached to an already existing Park, and a small bunch of lots sandwiched into a residential neighborhood were infilled with dense housing. Most people would say that it was a good trade.
So it *can* work. And overall, most people would thank Governor Booth Gardner, for taking a hard principled stance on an environmental issue of such importance.
Former Gov. Booth Gardner dies at 76
A very insiteful article showing that this bill, moving through the Senate, and according to Democrats in the House is DOA, is actually about taking any local control away from Jefferson County on Pit To Pier, and moving this project forward. Please call your Senator or Representatives and let them know that this bill should die.
February 27th, 2013 9 AM PST by john - The Bellingham Herald
By John Stark
A Washington State Senate bill calling for expedited processing of permits for–among other things–”basic commodity transportation” is getting a lot of attention from opponents of the Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export pier proposed for Cherry Point.
The Environmental Priorities Coalition: WEEK of February 25, 2013 Environmental Community 2013 Legislative Session Hot List
From The Environmental Priorities Coalition: WEEK of February 25, 2013 Environmental Community 2013 Legislative Session Hot List for the STATE SENATE As we believe you are aware, the environmental community’s “Environmental Priorities Coalition” prepares a weekly “Hot List” detailing its positions on up to ten of the highest priority issues for the upcoming week. These Hot Lists are the best way for you to get a clear view of the issues that are most important to ensuring environmental protection in Washington State. Separate Hot Lists are prepared for the House and Senate and distributed each Monday. If the bill is related to one of the THREE environmental community Priorities for 2013, it is designated by the Priorities “button” on the right.
Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-369-2235 if you have any questions and we hope you find this communication helpful! Respectfully, Clifford R. Traisman, State Lobbyist, Washington Conservation Voters & Washington Environmental Council —
POSSIBLE SENATE FLOOR ACTION CRITICAL – THIS IS THE PIT TO PIER BILL – SB 5805: Concerning projects of statewide significance for economic development and transportation. POSITION: OPPOSE . SB 5805 undermines existing law which provides for the designation of projects of statewide significance provided there is a net environmental benefit and the local legislative authorities support the project. The bill removes the requirement for local support and changes the environmental benefit to be for any region of the state. . This bill could fast-track the permitting and environmental review process for mega-projects like the Pit-to-Pier gravel mine on Hood Canal or the coal export terminals despite major environmental impacts provided they have off-site mitigation in another region of the state.
SB 5636: Providing a process for county legislative authorities to withdraw from voluntary planning under the growth management act. POSITION: OPPOSE . The GMA is the primary law systematically preventing the proliferation of 1-acre residential lots served by exempt wells in areas without available water, harming senior water rights holders and fish and wildlife. . We are working on a compromise to provide the state with more certainty but oppose the current version of the bill.
SB 5658: Concerning mercury-containing lights. POSITION: OPPOSE . This bill would dismantle the existing lighting recycling law and create an inadequate and underfunded program that won’t get the job done. . Shifts responsibilities from manufacturers and leaves state and local governments, utilities, schools and taxpayers with the balance of the costs.
SB 5836: Relating to providing certainty to local governments on water resources decisions. POSITION: OPPOSE . Weakens the requirement that local governments ensure a reliable and safe water supply when evaluating land use development applications. . This approach fails to protect consumers purchasing land for development purposes when those lands do not have a reliable water supply and may cause harm to existing water rights and salmon.
Clean Energy Solutions Button SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 5802: Developing recommendations to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emissions targets. Senate Ways and Means: Companion Bill: HB 1915 POSITION: SUPPORT . This Governor’s-request legislation would evaluate the climate pollution reduction programs of other states and Canadian provinces and convene the Governor and legislative leaders to develop policies to ensure we achieve our climate pollution limits for 2020 and beyond (set in statute through a 2008 environmental Priority bill). . Right now, Washington sends approximately $15 billion each year to out of state oil and gas companies. With a booming clean energy economy, those dollars could be invested with Washington companies to create Washington jobs. States and regions with climate policies in place have seen strong growth in their clean energy economies, including California and New England.
SB 5219: Retaining water resources to assure the vitality of local economies. Senate Ways and Means: Possible Executive Session POSITION: OPPOSE . Forces the state to “use” water rights that are connected to public lands for out-of-stream purposes. If a water right is not used, the state must decide every four years if the water should be put into an account that will allow others to use the water for commercial purposes or risk relinquishment. . Even though water law recognizes keeping water instream as a “beneficial use”, this bill would not allow water rights connected to public lands to be used for instream flow purposes and adds a new cost to managing public lands.
SB 5296: Relating to the model toxics control act. Senate Ways and Means: Possible Executive Session POSITION: OPPOSE . Passed by the voters in 1988, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) is a critical “polluter pays” program that funds toxic clean up projects, implements prevention strategies, and protects public health. The law expedites clean ups in cases of hardship, redevelopment of abandoned sites, etc. . This bill rewrites large portions of MTCA and prioritizes cleanups for redevelopment – including projects that should be funded by private landowners and developers – and creates tremendous uncertainty for prevention, solid and hazardous waste management, and other activities.
Hot List for the STATE HOUSE POSSIBLE HOUSE FLOOR ACTION HB 1106: Regarding net metering of electricity. POSITION: SUPPORT Clean Energy Solutions Button . All too often, the upfront costs of purchasing solar panels prevents families and small businesses from taking advantage of generating their own energy. This bill permits third-party ownership of customers’ renewable energy systems, allowing customers to lease rather than buy rooftop solar panels or another distributed generation system. In Oregon and California, this program has significantly expanded their solar markets creating new jobs and building the states’ economies. . This bill also increases both the net-metering utilities can offer their customers and increases net metering to 199kW. This allows schools, farms, businesses and other customers with multiple systems to take full advantage of distributed generation, producing more renewable energy and lowering their electricity bill.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 1915: Developing recommendations to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emissions limits. Environment Committee: Companion
Bill: SB 5802 POSITION: SUPPORT Clean Energy Solutions Button . This Governor’s-request legislation would evaluate the climate pollution reduction programs of other states and Canadian provinces and convene the Governor and legislative leaders to develop policies to ensure we achieve our climate pollution limits for 2020 and beyond (set in statute through a 2008 environmental Priority bill). . Right now, Washington sends approximately $15 billion each year to out of state oil and gas companies. With a booming clean energy economy, those dollars could be invested with Washington companies to create Washington jobs. States and regions with climate policies in place have seen strong growth in their clean energy economies, including California and New England.
HB 1350: Relating to providing options for local communities to balance growth with water resources goals. Appropriations Subcommittee on Government Operations: Possible Public Hearing POSITION: OPPOSE . Allows certain large developments to rely on unpermitted wells and avoid Ecology review of water availability under a state water rights permit. . Will result in harm to junior water right holders, including instream flows necessary for salmon, navigation, and recreation.
HB 1910: Concerning the sales and use tax exemption expiration date for machinery and equipment used in generating electricity. House Finance: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session POSITION: SUPPORT . The development of clean, new renewable resources in Washington has brought $8 billion worth of capital investment into this state, stimulating economic development and creating jobs, as well as generating revenue for rural counties in particular. . The Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewables has been leveling the playing field between Washington and other states that have no sales and use tax; namely our neighbors Oregon and Montana and should be renewed.
HB 1953: Concerning local option transportation revenue. Transportation Committee: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session POSITION: SUPPORT . This bill preserves jobs, reduces congestion, and protects the environment by providing Community Transit with local funding options to address critical transit service. It’s supported by local businesses, cities, workers, and social service organizations. . Community Transit has already cut more than 35% of its bus service, raised fares multiple times, and delayed capital investments. Currently they provide no bus service on Sundays, leaving thousands of Snohomish County residents stranded and unable to get to work, shops, and everywhere in between.
HB 1959: Concerning local transportation revenue. Transportation Committee: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session POSITION: SUPPORT . This bill preserves jobs, reduces congestion, and protects the environment by providing local governments with additional local funding options to address local transportation needs, including critical transit service and road repair. . Without this bill, for example, King County Metro will have to cut 17% of their bus service next year despite increased ridership.
Contributing Organizations American Rivers . Cascade Bicycle Club . Climate Solutions . Conservation Northwest . Earth Ministry . Environment Washington . Faith Action Network . Fuse . Futurewise . Heart of America Northwest . The Lands Council . League of Women Voters of Washington . National Wildlife Federation . The Nature Conservancy . NW Energy Coalition . The Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club . Surfrider Foundation . Transportation Choices Coalition . Washington Conservation Voters . Washington Environmental Council . Washington State Audubon . Washington Toxics Coalition . Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition . Zero Waste Washington
This is probably the most important bill before the Senate as it relates to our county directly. As stated, this is not about banning net pens that exist, but allowing the counties to decide if they want them or not. As to the DOE statement that the SMP does not allow counties to ban water dependent businesses, they need to reread their own documents. Jefferson County has the right to prohibit mining on the shoreline, for example, and to determine whether a business is ‘water dependent’. Ecology has been squarely in the pocket of the Net Pen industry in this state, despite a growing body of evidence, just to the north of us in BC, that this industry is creating more problems than it solves. Anyone wishing to hear another side of this story, should watch or listen to the Dr. Lawrence Dill presentation that I documented a few months ago. The links to it are on the left side of the Blog, look left, and find Dr. Lawrence Dill in the Links catagories. Help make up your own mind with facts.
A bill that would allow coastal counties to ban marine aquaculture net pen facilities has an “uphill battle” ahead of it after a hearing in a state House of Representative committee in Olympia last week, said the North Olympic Legislator who is sponsoring it. State Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, is sponsoring HB 1599, which would allow county governments to include outright bans of net pen fish-farming facilities proposed for shoreline areas in their state-required shoreline management plan updates. Jeremy Schwartz reports.