Draft Environmental Review Released For Oil Terminals On Washington Coast – KUOW

Hoquim and Aberdeen ports are being slated for crude oil shipments by possible building of oil shipment facilities for trains coming from the Bakken fields in North Dakota. The plan is for 1178 more oil trains and 638 more oil tankers to be added to the Gray’s Harbor area a year. These trains would be carrying huge quantities of highly flammable crude, much the same as the oil that destroyed the Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-Mégantic_rail_disaster for more on that). The plan is for up to 1188 oil trains per year coming into the area. Additionally, the Draft EIS talks about significant impact to the Quinault Tribal fisheries in the area, as the tribe will not be able to fish while boats are present, which essentially is all the time. As stated in the Draft EIS: “Tribal members would not be able to fish when ships or barges are moving through the area.” I guess it’s up to the Tribe to determine whether this particular fishery is worth fighting for, or whether there are other areas they can fish that are less impacted. It will be interesting to see what the Tribe has to say on this.

Also of interest is the trade off that the cities see in adding this highly polluting industry to their area. We all know that Hoquim and Aberdeen have been one of the poorest locations in the State, ever since the collapse of the logging industry due to the disastrous federal policies of allowing raw logs to be shipped to Japan in the 1980s. This  turned what had been an industry that was highly functioning with extraction and higher value processing jobs into a third world country where only cutting and transport of logs was done, wiping out mills across the area in short order. The Federal government green light to massive cutting with no concerns of market conditions or any need for local mills,  led to a short lived boom until the resources were gone. Meanwhile the industry blamed environmental organizations for suing to stop the destruction of all remaining forests to save what little habitat was being left due to a lack of oversight and planning by the Federal Government.

And so the proposal is to continue to eat away at locations where salmon can be fished and create a very large possible oil spill concern, one that not only would impact the Gray’s Harbor area but also the entire Washington and Oregon coast, if one of these vessels sank during a large storm due to mechanical failure. The trade off is to give much needed jobs to at least some of the people in the Gray’s Harbor area. How badly is this oil needed with the downturn in the Chinese economy, and other issues? Is the trade off of possible destruction of our recreational use of the Pacific Coast worth it to support the oil industry and it’s desire to sell their product to China and Japan? You can read and comment on the draft EIS if you wish at the link below.


KUOW summary story:

The Washington State Department of Ecology has just released its draft environmental review of two proposed oil terminals on the Washington coast. A third proposed terminal has not yet begun the environmental review process. The terminals could be built in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen, doubling current vessel and train traffic levels there. (KUOW)


Drought Becomes Deadly For Olympic Peninsula’s Hatchery Fish – KPLU

The Makah have had to kill off their hatchery fish. Not enough water. Too much heat.

This summer’s extreme drought is becoming increasingly deadly for fish in the northwest.

The state department of Fish and Wildlife had already lost about one and a half million juvenile fish in overheated rivers and streams in Washington at the end of July, due to this summer’s historically warm temperatures and low water levels

KPLU Story

Wild Fish Conservancy intends to sue EPA, NMFS over farmed salmon in Puget Sound

Very glad to see the Wild Fish Conservancy take this preliminary action to begin the notification of their intent to sue Federal government agencies over their evaluations of the endangered species act. If you want to see farmed salmon banned in Puget Sound, you might want to donate to the Conservancy to help their lawsuit.

Tuesday August 25, 2015- Today, Wild Fish Conservancy sent a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) associated with the agencies’ evaluation of the harmful effects to threatened salmonids from commercial salmon farming in Puget Sound.

In 2008, EPA consulted with NMFS under section 7 of the ESA on the effects of revisions to Washington Sediment Management Standards intended to enable commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound to be permitted under the Clean Water Act.  Despite the known harm and significant risks these facilities pose to wild salmonids, NMFS determined that EPA’s action is not likely to adversely affect protected species. The ESA consultation thus concluded without preparation of a biological opinion that would fully evaluate the effects of salmon farms and impose monitoring and other requirements designed to protect wild salmonids.

Wild Fish Conservancy challenged the 2008 consultation as insufficient under the ESA.  The Court found the 2008 consultation inadequate and set aside EPA’s approval of the revised Sediment Management Standards and further ordered EPA and NMFS to reconsider whether preparation of a biological opinion is required.

EPA reinitiated ESA consultation with NMFS in 2010.  Remarkably, NMFS again determined that the Puget Sound commercial salmon farms are not likely to adversely affect threatened salmonids and declined to prepare a biological opinion.
IHN Bainbridge
In May of 2012, there was a major outbreak of the infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus(IHNV) at the commercial salmon complexes near Rich Passage at the southern end of Bainbridge Island.  The outbreak occurred at a time when juvenile salmonids were migrating through the nearshore environment near the commercial salmon facilities. It can hardly be disputed that this disease outbreak adversely affected threatened salmonids—or, at a minimum, demonstrates that commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound may adversely affect ESA-listed species.

“Atlantic salmon farms pose an unacceptable health risk to ESA-listed wild salmon in Puget Sound,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy.  “By not fully evaluating the impacts of these farms, EPA and NMFS are in clear violation of the Endangered Species Act.”

The groups are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.

Court Filing: 60 Day Notice of Intent to Sue Letter, August 25, 2015


Dungeness River Fish Passage Video

An update on the efforts to allow returning salmon to get up the Dungeness River. Thanks to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, who continue to show leadership and dedication to saving the historic runs of fish on the river that their people have fished forever. This is the effects of our inability to deal with the root causes of climate change, which is out of control fossil fuel use.

Dungeness River Fish Passage 2015C from NW Indian Fisheries Commission on Vimeo.

Willapa Bay plan cuts Chinook production by one-third – Longview Daily News

The scientific debate over whether hatchery fish are outcompeting natives and subsequent lawsuits, have had an effect. This is good news for wild fish and wild fish advocates. The hatchery fish have been proven to lead to disasterous results in wild fish recovery. The study on wild vs. hatchery fish in the Rogue River basin is what has prompted this. The Rogue, a river that has never had a hatchery, has seen increases in native fish, while the similar river in Washington, from an environmental POV, the Skagit, which includes hatcheries, has seen their wild fish decimated. The key event that has been shown to be the differentiator is the introduction of hatchery fish into the Skagit. Now WDFW is acting on these lawsuits.

The production of hatchery Chinook in Willapa Bay will decrease by more than one-third as a result of a policy adopted recently by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. The policy, adopted in June, also is likely to decrease the number of fish commercial fishermen can catch if the commission’s action survives a legal challenge. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have said that they needed to adopt the new policy to avoid having the Chinook listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. (Longview Daily News)


As salmon vanish in the dry Pacific Northwest, so does Native heritage – Washington Post

A good overview of the issues for the general public. Most of us are aware of salmon, their life cycles and the tribes that rely on them. But if you know someone that lives elsewhere and is unaware of the issues, this is a good starting point. Done by a well known environmental writer from the East Coast.

As a drought tightens its grip on the Pacific Northwest, burning away mountain snow and warming rivers, state officials and Native American tribes are becoming increasingly worried that one of the region’s most precious resources — wild salmon — might disappear. Native Americans, who for centuries have relied on salmon for food and ceremonial rituals, say the area’s five species of salmon have been declining for years, but the current threat is worse than anything they have seen. Darrly Fears reports. (Washington Post)


Kuterra aquaculture by ‘Namgis First Nation raises hope for wild salmon— and some hackles – National Observer

An update on the attempt to create a financially viable closed-containment aquaculture in BC. Ramifications for the Olympic Peninsula because of the push to bring open water net pens to the Straits and expand use in the Sound continues.

The ’Namgis First Nation, with advice and support from a large number of groups, including Tides Canada, conservation groups, and funding agencies, has launched Kuterra, a land-based, “closed-containment” aquaculture project that keeps their Atlantic salmon out of contact with the larger marine ecosystem.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 375 other followers

%d bloggers like this: