Republicans kill the Land and Water Conservation Fund

One of the most successful conservation programs in the Federal Government, The Land and Water Conservation Fund, has been allowed to sunset by the Republican controlled Congress. This program, which has been supported for 50 years by both parties, up to now. What is it? What good has it done? Why not let it die?

According to the Land and Water Fund Coalition,

The LWCF state assistance program provides matching grants to help states and local communities protect parks and recreation resources. LWCF funding has benefited nearly every county in America, supporting over 41,000 projects. From building hiking and biking trails, to improving community parks, playgrounds and ballfields, this 50:50 matching program is the primary federal investment tool to ensure that families have easy access to public, open spaces.

Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican from Utah who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee is the person responsible for this change, even though his state benefits from it.

If we just focus on Washington State, this program has used some of the royalties from off shore oil and gas leasing, (not tax dollars from US citizens) to fund a wide variety of projects, from maintenance of Mount Rainier’s Carbon River bridges, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, The Moses Coulee, North Cascades National Park, Mt St. Helens, the list goes on and on and can be found here

Closer to home, here on the Olympic Peninsula, this program has funded, over the last 50 years, the Bogachiel River Boat Launch repair, maintenance at Clallam Bay, Clallam Bay Spit development, Freshwater Bay development, Snow Creek Renovation, Salt Creek County Parks renovation, and the Shane Park Playground in Port Angeles. Remember, Clallam County usually votes Republican, and this is what you are getting folks for your support of that party, which now controls the purse strings at the Federal Level.

In Jefferson County, Fort Worden State Park was funded with over $156, 000, The Hoh River Boat Launch, Kai Tai Park, Fort Worden Breakwater, and the Point Whitney (south in the county on Hood Canal) acquisition all were supported by funding from this program. You can find the entire list of funded projects here:

What did Congress want to use the funds for? They want to give this money to the oil and gas industry for employee training. You read that right. They want to give the money to private enterprises to offset their employee training, which will make them more profitable by not having to spend that money themselves.

What can you do? There is a letter called the “Dear Colleagues” that is a method that Congress uses to show support for various funding programs.  Representative Derek Kilmer has yet to sign one, while most of our other representatives have. (see the list at the bottom of the page here ( Call or email Derek and ask him to sign one now.  UPDATE: Representative Kilmer’s Olympic Peninsula Field Representative Judith Morris wrote back this morning to let me know that Representative Kilmer has in fact signed a letter sent by 129 Democratic members of the House ( and a similar letter was penned by many Republicans), to reauthorize the Fund.

In the letter sent last week, the members wrote: “LWCF is our nation’s premier program to help local communities protect the places they love. It has conserved iconic landscapes in every state and is responsible for more than 40,000 state and local outdoor recreation projects such as playgrounds, parks, refuges, and baseball fields.”

It goes on to state that Rep. Kilmer is a cosponsor of a bill that would permanently reauthorize the LWCF.

If you happen to live in a county that has a Republican representing you at the Federal level, give them a piece of your mind. If you belong to an organization that supports outdoor recreation in any form, get them to act nationally. And vote idiots like Rob Bishop out next year. He has wasted an enormous amount of time from Congress for an idea that no one but him and other oil and gas funded Congresspeople wants to see implemented.

Coordinated Assault on Endangered Species Act – Audubon

We’ve known that the Republican controlled Congress has been working to catch up with the Canadian government’s destruction of environmental regulations. Now Audubon puts it in context.

America’s strongest and most important law for protecting wildlife, the Endangered Species Act, is under a coordinated assault. Since January, over 30 bills and amendments have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate that would dismantle the Act, including eight extreme bills in the Senate that received a hearing last week.

Move to Amend and our environment. It’s all about people, not corporations

Port Townsend – Tonight a crowd of about 100 listened to the very animated Move to Amend spokesman David Cobb discuss the movement to amend the Constitution to overturn the misguided Supreme Court decisions allowing corporations to be considered people and that money equals free speech.  What has this got to do with Olympic Peninsula environmental issues? Well, it’s pretty simple. This ruling has put corporations in the driver seat of all real decisions regarding the environment. Since the ruling,a corporation has just as much rights as a human being, to exploit our limited resources. But far more resources to bring to bear solely for the purpose of making profits for shareholders. And to spend as much money as needed to elect people to do their bidding. Think about that a minute. Corporations do not breath air, but they pollute it. They excrete waste but it isn’t often processed to the same standards as ours is. They exist only as a legal figment of our imagination, because we willed them into existence with laws. Sort of like Frankenstein?  And they are severely affecting our ability to continue to survive as a species. Sounds like aliens! They are not recognized in the Constitution, and in fact, were extremely limited by our founding fathers. As Cobb pointed out, the only tea destroyed at the original Tea Party, was corporate tea, of the East Indian Company (a good place to find some of this info is at

So the notion is that the people who are supposed to be in charge of not only this democracy, but this environment, need to take back the ability to be considered the only rulers of our government.

Now some of you might argue that it’s “too hard’ and that what the Supreme Court says, goes. But as Cobb pointed out tonight, it’s not that unusual. Once the Supreme Court thought that slavery was ok. And that women were legally chattel of men. Those antiquated notions of past Supreme Courts who were out of touch with the people governing the country were eventually overturned. We can do this, because it’s been done before. 

Mr. Cobb is headed around Washington on a speaking tour, including Seattle, Olympia, Bellingham, Spokane and other stops. What I would ask of any of you reading this is to check out the web site and read up on what they are trying to do. The City Council  of Port Townsend and the Washington State Democrats have already passed resolutions supporting an amendment, along with many other groups (see the list here

Once you have read up on them, go hear him speak if you can. If you can’t the web site has lots of videos and info.

The Move to Amend has gone from 5 people in a living room in 2009 to support from hundreds of organzations and hundreds of thousands of people. This can succeed.

So if you are interested in legally protecting our rights as citizens to run this country, and decide the laws that protect our environment, see about supporting this movement. Or at least learn more. That’s something any of us, regardless of political affiliation, can get behind. It’s all part of the way forward to a sustainable planet. Not a lot of time left to put all the pieces in place to make that happen.

Funny how it didn’t appear that neither the Leader or the Peninsula Daily News was covering this.

Shellfish growers support effort to reduce ‘bad oyster’ illness – Skagit Valley Herald

I wonder what the downsides of this possible bill are. Would it hurt smaller growers who maybe can’t afford to wait out the closure? Any growers want to comment?

Vibrio can be bad news for those who savor raw oysters — and the businesses that sell them. Vibrio is a naturally occurring bacteria that thrives in warm temperatures and can cause intestinal distress to those eating contaminated shellfish. While cooking can kill Vibrio in oysters, many consumers prefer them raw…. historically, closures don’t happen until after people get sick. Now, the state is proposing a change to proactive regulations that would base closures on weather conditions favorable to Vibrio parahaemoliticus bacteria, rather than waiting until illnesses are confirmed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Outdoor enthusiasts outraged over plan to restrict state waterways -KIRO

Another incredibly stupid idea for a law proposed in the State House. The legislature often wants to pass bills that are unfunded, or create unenforceable laws for local jurisdictions. (Correction to an earlier post .. I previously misrepresented Representative O’Keefe’s position, I meant to say Rep. Larry Haler seemed to be protecting wealthy landowners on river fronts. My apologies to Rep O’Keefe! He’s one of the good guys!)

Just think about the ramifications here on the Salish Sea. Good idea to call your Representatives and make sure they are opposed to this nonsense.

Thomas O’Keefe said when he heard about House Bill 1056 he immediately got upset. “The bill would make it basically illegal to access a public waterway if there’s no parking,” said O’Keefe — who is an avid kayaker, scuba diver and canoeist. Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) is the primary sponsor of the bill that says “the governmental entity which has jurisdiction of the land must provide adequate public parking for persons utilizing the land to access the water.” If a parking lot isn’t near an access point of a waterway, violators could face a misdemeanor. David Ham reports. (KIRO)

House looking to pass a bill banning some flame retardants- Crosscut

Representative Kevin Van De Wege continues to attempt to get the ban on flame retardants through the legislature for a third year. Kevin has been the champion on this bill, which aims to get these cancer causing chemicals out of our home furniture (like your family couch and beds), along with getting them out of our waters. They have been found to be in Puget Sound and the fish we eat from it.

A bill to ban two flame retardants from children’s products and upholstered furniture is taking its third trip through the Washington Legislature. Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, introduced the bipartisan bill, which went to a House Environment Committee public hearing Monday. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

Leaked Internal Presentation Details the Oil Industry’s Campaign to Stop Clean Energy – Renewable Energy World

More bad business practices by the petroleum industry. WSPA operates up here in Washington, and is often lobbying our State legislators to stop progressive clean energy proposals. I’ve passed them in Olympia going to our representatives in the halls.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) — whose members include Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, BP, and others — was caught red-handed late last month when a leaked internal presentation revealed a coordinated campaign to stomp out climate and clean energy progress in California, Oregon and Washington by propping up over 15 front groups that purport to represent the views of concerned citizens and the broader business community.

read the rest of the story at:


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