Mike Sato hits it right on the head. It’s time for Govenor Inslee to show us what this bureaucracy is doing, and if he’s really behind it or not. Getting it a leader that can actually lead would be a great start. No one would likely cry for it if they kill it and reconstitute it anew. It’s become a behind the scenes player in Olympia and virtually unknown outside of the Capital. A real shame, frankly. We had high hopes for it, but environmentalism appears to be joke and a pawn in the power politics in Olympia. Use it to garner votes, then ignore it for 2 to 4 years. Maybe when we are down to one Orca they’ll actually get serious.
Filed under: Climate Change, Derelict Vessels, Government, legislation, ocean acidification | Tagged: derelict vessel, government, invasive species, Jay Inslee, legislation, ocean acidifcation | 2 Comments »
It appears that the newly signed bill to get data that can be acted on for ocean acidification is progressing about as fast as the government can move. The question is whether it can be funded. Apparently there has been no agreement by the State House to fund this bill. Shellfish growers are very concerned about the lack of interest in funding it by Republicans, as their industry will be the first to die from acidification.
A legislative workgroup chaired by Gov. Jay Inslee voted unanimously Tuesday to hire a Virginia-based climate consultant to examine Washington state’s options for reducing greenhouse gases that are contributing to global climate change.
While little of consequence for the environment has happened in Olympia, at least this very important bill found bipartisan support. More analysis to come, but thanks to everyone in Olympia who carried this over the line. Derelict boats have been an outstanding issue for many years. Maybe now we can look to the counties to be able to do something.
Environmental disasters such as the 2012 sinking of the F/V Deep Sea in Penn Cove may soon be a little more avoidable. The state Legislature approved a bill last week that preserves funding for the state’s derelict vessel program and sharpens the effectiveness of existing laws. The legislation sailed through the House and Senate with hefty majority votes and has been forwarded to Gov. Jay Inslee to sign into law. Justin Burnett reports.
I can just imagine the Republicans, and a few Democrats, laughing it up at their lobbyist sponsored happy hours over the great job of gutting environmental protections on Earth Day. Thanks to Senator Ranker for doing his best to try and over ride this shoddy group of legislators, who couldn’t choose a more apt day to show their contempt for protecting and cleaning up the environment. Apparently the big lobby team fighting this was the petroleum producers. And so, another few years will go by with no real improvements to these issues.
The MCTA account has been routinely raided to provide money for the state’s general fund when legislators put together biennial operating budgets. Sen. Kevin Ranker, an Orcas Island Democrat and author of the version of the bill that lost on the Senate floor, contended that the bill passed by the Senate still raids the MTCA account for projects not related to hazardous substances cleanup. Ericksen disagreed.
The Republicans decided that instead of working on high priority cleanup, they would use some of the hard fought money to clean up ballfields and fairgrounds.
Read the whole sordid tale at
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Well, I’m a fan of Senator Kevin Ranker, and I’m glad they got something accomplished down in Olympia, but passing a bill on climate change that apparently simply allows creation of a strategy by authorizing the governor to hire a consultant to look into climate change seems, underwhelming…Hope there’s more to this than meets the eye, and that they expect results from this consultant sooner than later. They’ve already created a ‘blue ribbon panel’ on climate change. I know that’s how things get done, but given the magnitude of the problem, it seems pretty weak.
The Washington state legislature has just passed a bill that will develop a strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Bill 5802 was introduced at the request of Governor Jay Inslee and has now passed with bipartisan support in the house and senate.
E2SSB 5219: Retaining water resources to assure the vitality of local economies.
Requires DNR, PRC and WDFW to report unused water and forces the state to “use” water rights that are connected to public lands for out-of-stream purposes, which is unnecessary as the state has trust a trust water rights program.
Seems like another government forcing of “use” of water rights for non stream purposes. Sounds like an incredibly bad idea on it’s surface. Senator Hargrove appears to be supporting this and it would be beneficial to have him explain why this law is needed.
I can’t believe that the Tribes would support this, for example, given the battles to restore endangered salmon runs.
ESSB 5200, HB 1375: Concerning consolidating a new exempt withdrawal of groundwater into an existing public water system.
Concerns consolidating a new exempt withdrawal of up to 5000 gallons per day of groundwater into an existing public water system to serve a proposed new development with water that would otherwise be withdrawn for beneficial use under a permit exemption. Bill creates confusion when determining if water is “legally available” for increasing water in a municipal system’s water right. A standard for “legal availability” is important to preventing harm to instream flows and senior water rights.
I’m really unclear here of what is being asked by this bill. Analysis by those smarter than this reporter seems to point to a water giveaway, needing additional work to determine what really is available. Appears to be better to ask to kill this bill than find out we’ve allowed a large gaping hole to drive development through.
Perhaps Representative Van De Wege, who is on the House Ag and Natural Resources committee can explain why this should be supported.
To be clear, no action has been taken on this bill since late February, so my guess is that it’s dead.
But, oppose this bill.
Isn’t politics wonderful? Here’s a reader challenge: Find one small part of the military budget that is not involved in direct combat activities, cut it, and save all the money being spent by our government on salmon restoration in the NW, including Alaska. As Chris points out, apparently $884M is being spent on Salmon recovery this year. A good start on figuring out what the military spends is located here:
As you can see, in the last budget, military construction was up 19% (!) to 23.9 Billion dollars. This 19% was above what the President requested. Perhaps the correct answer is to call salmon restoration “Military Construction” as it protects our local free food sources in the event of a war? Then we could add it to the budget, and find that Senator McCain suddenly needs it funded. Has there ever been a military program he has not wanted to fund? (update:actually this is happening already. The mitigation funding for environmental degradation that the Navy is providing to the Hood Canal Coordinating Council to help distribute to environmental restoration projects includes salmon recovery. Mission Accomplished!)
Or perhaps we can find $880B under the “Operations and Maintenance” budget, since likely we could feed restored salmon runs to the military. That budget was up 4.2% last time.
Let’s make sure we understand this fact, that the total of all salmon restoration projects for all the Pacific NW including Alaska is approx. $880M, which we will round up to $1B. This is 1/683rd of the last total military budget. But please, check my math. It’s not my strong suit.
And this isn’t all we are spending our tax dollars on to protect us. The list is long.
DOD which we have been describing is separate from: FBI Counter-terrorism, International Affairs, Energy Department defense spending, Veterans Affairs,Homeland Security,NASA defense related satellites, Veterans Pensions, Other defense related mandatory spending, and yes, interest on debt from past wars. (!)
While I am not advocating cutting spending on all these (as the Republican fueled sequester is actually doing), I am saying that to come out against salmon recovery when these budgets are not even being evaluated for waste reduction, in an era when our troops are coming home and we are getting out of a war, is quite the ‘whipping boy’ for the real issue. It seems that some of our politicians cannot see to give us any kind of “peace dividend” for our 10 years of sacrifices, both in taxes of our incomes, to the funding for young men and women that have been killed and maimed for our politicians demands of invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. A good friend lost his son there, so this is real to me. And Patty Murray still has to fight against the other side of the aisle, McCain’s side, to get any real increase in Veterans’ funding for the wounded coming home. The Sequester will slash spending there, too.
If we ever decided that our needs for this kind of spending of our tax dollars on our maintaining a world wide military against the possibly of a war, were not as high as we thought, we might see not only real substantial spending to restore salmon, far beyond what we are doing now, but also might see the kind of local investment I see in Canada. There, almost every small town has a nice swimming pool for their citizens, courtesy of the federal government. They have universal health care so mothers don’t have to make the hard decision if they can afford to take their sick children to the hospital ER and also afford the cost of medicine for them, as I’ve heard some of our local mothers talk about. And then there’s the issue of properly funding education. The list is long. This isn’t a hard thing to understand. We spend a huge portion of our budget (20%) on defense related spending. But even the Canadians have allowed their latest government to swing the priorities into decreasing everything but defense.
Senator McCain’s ‘side-show’ of political off the cuff comments is very much in line with his long history of this kind of balderdash. To put a lot of stock in his comments is simply to give the fool more PR. But since he asked for it, I think he deserves a bit of retort. Frankly, given the disasters he has helped foment in the last two elections for his party, it’s likely time for him to retire to one of his many homes around Arizona.
This is a good reason to subscribe to the Kitsap Sun. They still are supporting real journalism.
U.S. Sen. John McCain has thrown together a list of “egregious pork-barrel projects” found in the Democrats’ proposed spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. To my surprise, his list is topped by funding to restore Northwest salmon runs. In a news release, McCain said he couldn’t understand why such funding wasn’t cut from the proposed continuing resolution to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year.
Chris Dunagan blogs. Saving salmon tops McCain’s list of wasteful projects
Just in: Washington Environmental Council reports that a bill that would have fast-tracked mega-projects from gravel mines to coal export facilities (SB 5805) in Washington appears derailed for now in the State Legislature after it failed to advance before a key cutoff today. SB 5805 would have changed a little-used provision of state law to expedite the review and permitting for projects of statewide significance. Currently, for a project to be designated as a project of statewide significance, it has to at least provide a net environmental benefit and be supported by the local city or county government. SB 5805 would have removed both of these requirements and allowed fast-track permitting for mega-projects like coal export facilities in Bellingham and Longview and the Pit-to-Pier gravel mine on Hood Canal.
Not a total defeat, and WEC and us will continue to monitor whether it’s negotiated back to life in some way or another. But this work was done with a lot of support from local people, and those in the wider Puget Sound community. Neither of our Representatives supported this bill moving to the House, and Senator Hargrove did not support it either.
Trying to figure out whether the Demo who ran with heavy environmental support on the Peninsula now abandons one of his base, who worked hard for his election, or if this is just somewhat slanted reporting by the PDN. Kilmer could have said that he supports what he’s seen but needs more consensus building before he can push it over the top in DC. But he didn’t even apparently say that. He comes out in favor of increasing harvest levels in federal forests, with no explanation of why, or what’s currently wrong with the system.
While we agree that jobs are the primary thing to focus on, there has been an enormous amount of legwork done by the supporters of Wild Olympics, there does not appear to be any large scale negative issues with it, (read the scientific literature done researching it’s affects) and only a small contingent of folks against it, from all the polls that have been put out. Vocal opposition to be sure, some with big money, but not a majority of the public.
UPDATE AS OF 12/14/2012 at 5:26PM
We contacted Connie Gallant, of the Wild Olympics Campaign. Her quote to us was:
"In speaking with Congressman-elect Derek Kilmer earlier today regarding the statements published on the PDN about his opposition to the Wild Olympics, he claims the PDN "mischaracterized" his statements, that he never has said he opposes Wild Olympics, that he simply wants to see some changes made and more consensus reached. After clarifying several points to him about the proposal and the bill, he requested a meeting with the Wild Olympics coalition team very soon so that he can understand the issue better."
This update quote first appeared on the Olympic Peninsula Environmental News.
Read segments of the interview with him on the PDN today.
subscribe to the PDN. Keep local journalism alive.
To find out more about the Wild Olympics Campaign, see
Canada’s new conservative government continues to strip away environmental protections…
The Harper government unveiled a massive omnibus budget implementation bill Thursday that includes Fisheries Act amendments that will strip the term “habitat” from the most crucial section of the law. The government’s intent, according to a spokeswoman, to assist “everyday Canadians” in their dealings with federal fisheries bureaucrats.
An environmental scorecard from Olympia
By Daniel Jack Chasan
A major bill to allow more transfers of development rights to dense areas fares well, as does the phase-out of coal plants. But the effort to impose a tax on oil products for helping with stormwater projects around Puget Sound got little traction.
Guns not butter clams…Zero cuts for defense, 16% cuts for environmental protection. Draw your own conclusions. Please remember this when they call for donations to their campaigns in the fall & next year. – editor
4/13 Wall Street Journal
GOP Wins Deep Cuts in Environment Spending
BY JANET HOOK, NAFTALI BENDAVID and STEPHEN POWER
In negotiating the budget deal that averted a government shutdown, Democrats and the White House claimed a big victory in preventing Republicans from blocking a set of environmental regulations. But as details of the compromise became known Tuesday, it was clear Republicans had won deep reductions in spending at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Under the deal headed to House and Senate votes by the end of this week, the EPA’s 2011 budget would be reduced by 16% from 2010 spending, taking it to $8.7 billion.
That reflects the kind of tradeoffs each side made in the negotiations over the bill. The legislation doesn’t include most of the policy provisions that Republicans proposed to block funding for key administration priorities on health care, the environment and other issues. But Republicans found Democrats moving more than halfway in the compromise over how much to cut spending in the $1.05 trillion bill for the remaining six months of the 2011 fiscal year.
The latest version of the Jefferson County Draft Shoreline Management Plan was released Tuesday. It appears, at first glance, that many of the protections put in by the working science and citizens advisory groups were gutted. Included in the gutting were buffers beyond 50 feet in Shoreline Residential areas, and geoduck expansion concerns. Public comment period is now open. Assume that there will be considerable comment on this. The document is located at: