Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Announce New Endorsements & Video

sportsmen-for-wild-olympicsHundreds of Local Sportsmen Endorse Wild Olympics, Video Highlights Threats, Rivers & Local Support

(Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Video “Salmon Streams for Our Future” )

 

January 31st, 2014 – Today the group of Olympic Peninsula hunters, anglers, and guides of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics delivered signatures from more than 300 local sportsmen and women on a petition to Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer in support of their new legislation to permanently protect headwaters and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest and enhance access.  The signers urge the lawmakers to keep the ancient forests and free-flowing rivers wild, because “Peninsula salmon, trout, and steelhead rely on cold, clean water from upper reaches of rivers & streams on Olympic National Forest. These headwaters & streams are at risk as private industry and small hydro developers try to roll back temporary safeguards on our public lands.”

This new support comes on the heels of new endorsements by over two dozen major hunting and fishing organizations and local guides, including nineteen leading sportsmen groups and Peninsula guides who recently sent a joint letter to Sen. Murray and Rep. Kilmer urging action to safeguard this area.  Those signing the letter include Piscatorial Pursuits (Forks), Waters West Guide Service (Montesano), Angler’s Obsession (Forks), Little Stone Fly Fisher (Port Townsend), Johnson Guide Service (Sequim), Anadromy Fly Fishing (Forks),Game On! Guide Service (Shelton), Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics (Forks), Able Guide Service (Seiku), Gray Wolf Fly Fishing Club (Sequim), Peninsula Sportsman (Port Townsend), Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, the Wild Steelhead Coalition, the Northwest Guides & Anglers Association, the Washington Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Association of Northwest Steelheaders and others.

Both the petition and the letter state that “Only full, Congressionally-designated Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River safeguards will permanently protect backcountry elk habitat and sensitive salmon and steelhead spawning grounds against future development.” The group further notes that the final compromise legislation removed all roads from the proposed wilderness boundaries, ensuring Wild Olympics will not close roads or affect any road or trailhead access.

 

Sportsmen for Wild Olympics also released a new video:”Salmon Streams for Our Future” to spotlight the headwaters, rivers and salmon that would be protected under the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and the threats they face without permanent protection. It highlights the long list of support for Wild Olympics from 27 leading hunting & fishing organizations and local guides, and features stunning footage of spawning salmon shot by acclaimed local filmmaker John Gussman. An interview with Sequim fishing guide & Sportsmen for Wild Olympics co-founder Norrie Johnson explains how the legislation is vital to protecting the headwaters, rivers & streams on Olympic National Forest that local anglers depend on for salmon & steelhead fishing. The video closes with a call for hunters & anglers to visit the Sportsmen for Wild Olympics website and sign their online petition in support of the Wild Olympics legislation.

Dave Bailey, Past President of the Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club in Sequim, WA and a co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics says the group is releasing the video to show people that the threats to local salmon streams are real and that Wild Olympics is broadly supported in the local sportsmen community.

“People think that because these areas appear as they’ve always been, that they are safe.  That is the furthest thing from the truth,” said Bailey. “There is a determined effort in Congress to roll back safeguards on our public lands and open these sensitive spawning grounds to small hydro development, industrial clear-cutting and more road building once more.  That’s bad for fish, game, and sportsmen” said Bailey.

The Sportsmen are concerned that without immediate action on this issue, extreme logging legislation before Congress and the renewed push for small-hydro project development in Washington State are putting the remote backcountry headwaters and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest at risk.  (Click here to read the Sportsmen for Wild Olympics threats report, “Our Rivers & Headwaters at Risk”)

Aaron O’Leary, a member of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics and owner and head guide of Angler’s Obsession (Forks, WA),  put it plainly; “Supporting Wild Olympics will help preserve the salmon and steelhead fishing on the Olympic Peninsula for future generations.”  (Click here to see profiles of all the members ofSportsmen For Wild Olympics “About Us” )

Many area hunters and anglers have long been supportive of legislation introduced earlier by Senator Murray and former Representative Dicks, and participated in the four year public process initiated by local stakeholders and the lawmakers to craft a balanced protection plan for upper watersheds on Olympic Forest.

The Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Leaders have also updated their website to help dispel some of the myths about Wild Olympics & access, highlighting the fact that it will not close one single mile of the 2,250 miles of roads on Olympic National Forest and that Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers protect and enhance hunting & fishing access (Click Here to Read Wild Olympics Protects & Enhances Access Without Closing Roads).   “Wild Olympics will not only protect water quality and fish, but enhance public access,” said Roy Morris, Jr., a co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics and Owner/Head Guide for Able Guide Service out of Seiku, on the northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula. Dave Bailey added that “Wild and Scenic Rivers are managed to protect and enhance the values that make them eligible for designation that include recreational pursuits such as sportfishing.”

“We must not lose this critical opportunity to conserve and protect the headwaters and watershed forests that are vital to our wild fish, birds and wildlife,” said Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing GuideBob Triggs of Port Townsend — one of the co-founders of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics. “It is far simpler and less expensive to conserve the wilderness habitat that we have, rather than to attempt to restore these places later. The value of some wild places cannot be measured in money.”

“Only Congressionally-designated wilderness and Wild & Scenic River safeguards will permanently protect core backcountry elk habitat and critical salmon and steelhead spawning grounds against future development,” said Dave Bailey.  “The Wild Olympics legislation would give our fish, wildlife and salmon streams the gold standard of protection they deserve.”

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Video “Salmon Streams for Our Future”

 

·             Sportsmen For Wild Olympics Threats Report “Our Rivers & Headwaters at Risk”

 

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics About Us

 

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Website:www.SportsmenForWildOlympics.org

Representative Van De Wege signs onto bill to ban & label GMO Salmon

Republican State Representative Condotta (R) co-sponsored  by Representative Van de Wege, have put forward bill HB 2143,  to ban genetically modified salmon in the State. This would ban net pen operations in state waters from farming any genetically modified salmon. It does not ban raising them in upland closed container sites. Additionally it calls for identification of farmed GMO fish vs. commercially caught salmon. Background on this is that Washington was the first state in the country, in 1993,  to make it a law to label salmon as wild or farmed. It was heavily opposed by the same industry coalition back then. But it passed. We led the way in salmon labeling, and the arguments are again being made that labeling and banning of these fish should be a Federal issue, not a State issue. They also say it will cause consumer confusion. I  personally don’t know many consumers who are confused as to wild vs. farmed salmon labels. In fact, it seems to have spurred purchase of wild salmon, as consumers know that they are getting what they want, as opposed to not knowing if it is or isn’t. That confusion is more likely to lead to other choices of protein.

The reasons for this bill that have been put forward is to codify the rules on avoiding cross contamination on GMO salmon and to add a simple label on GMO fish when they are sold in Washington State stores.

At the January 17th Public Hearing, testimony was hot and heavy. Industry spokespeople were out in force to attempt to stop the bill. Also citizen activists testified in favor of it. Industry is attempting to muddy the waters by claiming that this will ban research and development of genetic fish, some of which could be hampering work on human disease development. To be clear, the bill does not ban that research. It bans farming GMO salmon in State Waters. That is defined as navigable waters in the state. The Sound, Strait, Outer Coasts and freshwater rivers and streams are usually what is meant by that term. 

Some of the testimony (pardon me if the names are spelled wrong, they were not always clearly identifiable):

A panel opposed to the bill showed up to testify:

Alan Cook of Icicle Seafoods. They opposed  the bill claiming that GMO salmon are already banned in State waters.

John Dentler Director of Troutlodge. They are the oldest company in aquaculture in America. They  grow Sable Fish (Black Cod) and Shellfish. He claimed they have no plans on rearing GMO salmon and trout.  They want to  carve out an exemption  specifically for triploid (sterile) fish in the bill. Labeling aspect is troubling to them. If we specifically label to this State, they are faced with labeling requirements. National and State environmental policy acts handle these issues, he said.

John Bialka Pacific Aquaculture on the Columbia. They produce triploid trout for restaurant business. Not interested in raising GMO salmon. Opposed the bill.

Also in opposition to the bill.

  • Dan Swecker ex-salmon farmer and ED Washington Salmon Growers Assoc.
  • JIm Jesernig ofWashington Association of Wheat Growers -
  • Tom Davis Farm Bureau
  • Heather Hansen – Friends of Farms and Forest.  “True intent is to stigmatize genetically modified food”
  • NW Grocery Association
  • James Curry NW Food Processors Assoc. – Opposed to the bill.
  • Dan Coin – Biotechnology Industry Association – Opposed.

Showing up in favor of the bill

  • The Yakima Nation
  • Doug Milholland of Port Townsend. He brought up Salmon Confidential and the work going on in British Columbia against farmed and GMO salmon.
  • Senator Marilyn Chase 32nd district (D)  testified in favor of the bill.
  • Ann Mossmiss – Ex-Alaska Fisherman. Food and Society Policy Fellow Institute of Agriculture and Trade Culture. Very concerned about the new genetically modfied  National Academy of Scientists are very skeptical and concerned on this. She was a very convincing speaker with a great deal of background on the subject.

The bill will encounter stiff opposition in the House and Senate,if it even passes out of committee. I highly recommend that any of you wanting to weigh in on this bill do so now. Send emails to Representative Kevin Van De Wege’s office.

Watch the whole testimony here:

http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014010063

The Bill itself:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2143.pdf

Bill Analysis:
http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014010063

Peninsula lawmakers back new legislation banning toxic chemicals

kevinvdwegemtg

Representative Kevin Van de Wege (along with Rep. Steve Tharinger  and Senator James Hargrove who was not in the photo) talks to PT folks, helping roll out the latest “Toxic Free Kids and Families Act”. The latest version of the bill (ESHB 1294) will help stop the ‘toxic treadmill’ of chemicals, banning toxic flame-retardants like Tris in children’s products and furniture. Rep Van de Wege was a skeptical when this was first introduced in 2007, but as a firefighter asked to be convinced, and came around to support this whole heartedly. Thanks to Rep. Van de Wege an earlier version passed, but now needs to be strengthened. This bill was sponsored by Washington Toxics Coalition, over 20 NGO’s who are working to rid the Sound and our bodies of these toxins. 

Environmental Lobby Day is no more…

Washington Environmental Council (WEC), who took over the remains of People For Puget Sound after it’s collapse  a few years ago, continued the long running and highly successful Environmental Lobby Day in Olympia. No longer.  WEC has determined that the event needs to die to continue to live. So they are running a new program this year, called 60 Days/60 Ways Action Plan. Here’s how they describe it:

Get Involved! 60 Days/60 Ways Action Plan
This legislative session we’re trying something new and exciting. We’re going to be interacting with legislators throughout the entire session. We have 60 days and 60 ways to help. What does this mean for you? We know you’re busy and time is limited, so whether it’s volunteering one evening at a phone bank, sharing a post on social media, or attending your local town-hall meeting, we’re giving legislators 60 days and you 60 ways to get involved.

Doorbell Days
Every Priority campaign will have at least one doorbell day during this legislative session. These days will entail passing out campaign information to targeted voters in the legislators’ own backyards.

Town Halls
Organized by your local legislators, we have two goals: to pack the room with constituents, and get at least one activist to the microphones to ask a question on each Priority.

Local Party Meetings
This includes attending legislators’ party meetings (both Democrat and Republican) and asking to put our issues on the agenda when appropriate.

Constituent Meetings
Every week during the legislative session we will have one weekly grasstop constituent meeting with a targeted legislator at their office in Olympia. The meetings will be a chance to talk about each Priority.

Phonebanks
Most phonebanks will be run out of offices in Seattle, but option may be available to call at home. Phonebanks will call voters in targeted areas to educate the public and legislators on our Priority campaigns.

Literature Drops
Each Priority will have at least one ‘drop’ day in Olympia. A local team of volunteers will canvas the campus with literature or some related item, infographic, or educational piece that will be distributed to all legislators.

Social Media Shares – Facebook/Twitter
Campaigns will develop weekly Facebook and Twitter feeds that will be posted and sent to share. They will include pictures, graphics, interesting facts, or links to action alerts.

You can sign up if interested, here: http://environmentalpriorities.org/

Last year, over 300 people attended Environmental Lobby Day, spending time learning about issues, meeting with their State Senators and Representatives.  I’m hoping that the folks at WEC/P4PS will make sure they have their metrics for the success of this new idea dialed in. I always had a lot of good feedback from people who came to the Lobby Day, and it introduced people to their elected officials, as well as to their power in calling for change. Losing the momentum of Environmental Lobby Day to push out to a indistinct cloud of people who you hope will actually take actions over a much longer period of time is fraught with possible problems. Hoping that we see some real successes with this tactic.

Along those lines, as posted here elsewhere, Representative Kevin Van De Wege is going to be holding a public meeting in Port Townsend to discuss his involvement with the Toxic Coalition leader Laurie Valerino at the PT Community Center. See the other post here for details.

Shhh…Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership At Work – Salish Sea Communications

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.

http://salishseacommunications.blogspot.com/2013/07/shhhpuget-sound-partnerships-leadership.html?showComment=1373384001721#c6277622826257682962

Legislature approves several Puget Sound priority bills

The fact that what did get put forward in the legislature this year did get passed is good news. Other bills that were important died in committee, some with very little help from even their sponsors (such as the bill allowing the banning of net pens that was sponsored by Representative Kevin Van De Wege and lightly supported by him). However, the rubber will meet the road in Olympia, this week and next, as the budget tries to get through. All these bills’ funding is stalled in the Senate, which, with a small Republican majority, is blocking a final budget. If you are so inclined, call your Representatives and Senator and tell them to get this done.  Kudos to NGO’s such as Washington Environmental Coalition, Puget Soundkeepers, Audubon, and companies such as Taylor Shellfish, who have stepped into a leadership role fighting Ocean Acidification, along with  many others who championed these bills.
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Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law all of the Puget Sound priority bills. Most recently, partners celebrated the signing of bills that prevent derelict vessels (ESHB 1245), prevent aquatic invasive species (SB 5702), strengthen the management of our coastal resources and protect Washington waters from the effects of ocean acidification (SB 5603). Attention remains on the budget, where little progress is visible toward bridging the significant impasse between the House and Senate.

State climate consultant hired to shrink greenhouse gases- News Tribune

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.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/06/05/2626915/state-climate-consultant-hired.html

New bill takes aim at derelict marine vessels – Whidbey News Times

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.

http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/205478281.html#

Happy Earth Day – WA Senate guts the Model Toxics Control Act

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
http://crosscut.com/2013/04/23/olympia-2013/114090/model-toxics-act-transparency-ranker-ericksen/

Support local journalism. Subscribe to Crosscut!

Washington State Passes Legislation To Tackle Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Earthfix

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.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/energy/article/washington-state-passes-legislation-to-tackle-gree/

WA State Bills to Oppose -E2SSB 5219 – Water Resource “Use”

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.

WA state bills to oppose – ESSB 5200 and HB 1375 – Water exemptions

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.

Senator John McCain calls NW Salmon restoration projects “Pork-Barrel”

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

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

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2013/03/13/saving-salmon-tops-mccains-list-of-wasteful-projects/#axzz2NTLCFcgT

Pit to Pier Bill (SB5805) Fast Track bill now appears dead

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.

UPDATE ON: Rep.-elect Kilmer won’t support Wild Olympics bill as it is now–PDN

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.

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20121214/NEWS/312149989/rep-elect-kilmer-wont-support-wild-olympics-bill-as-it-is-now

subscribe to the PDN. Keep local journalism alive.

To find out more about the Wild Olympics Campaign, see

http://www.wildolympics.org/

Fisheries Act changes introduced amid debate over new law’s intent

Canada’s new conservative government continues to strip away environmental protections…
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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.

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/environment/Fisheries+changes+introduced+amid+debate+over+intent/6525454/story.html

An environmental scorecard from Olympia

5/9 Crosscut
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.

More at
http://crosscut.com/2011/05/09/environment/20897/An-environmental-scorecard-from-Olympia/

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House Dems and the President sell out the EPA

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.

More at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703385404576258550820756980.html

Jefferson County Draft SMP released

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:

http://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/commdevelopment/Shoreline_PCRevisedDraft.htm

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