Lawmakers want to protect water rights in Washington from Wall Street speculation – Investigate West

This issue could be a huge problem. Water rights are already extremely contentious. Now we have to worry about Wall St. bankers and investors owning them. Get behind these bills and let your legislators know you support them!


Worries that moneyed interests could control Washington’s water have sparked a push in Olympia to cut Wall Street bankers and international investors out of the state’s convoluted water rights system. Competing bills introduced during this legislative session take aim at the state’s water banks, which collect untapped water rights and sell water to users in need. Although the proposed legislation has received only tepid support, a consensus is emerging that action is needed to keep speculators from using water banking, as one state senator puts it, to “strangle” Washingtonians. Water banks collect water rights from rural landowners who have permission to take more water than they need. The banks then sell access to water to customers whose water rights are either too new or too small to meet their needs. Levi Pulkkinen reports. (Investigate West)

Lawmakers want to protect water rights in Washington from Wall Street speculation

State resurrects Miller Peninsula plans -PDN

A new “Destination Park” at Miller Peninsula. Seems on the surface like a good idea. More public beach access is needed, along with trails. Funding though is questionable and erratic. More on this, including public meetings, is coming in late spring. We’ll keep an eye out and let you know when they are happening.

A proposal to create a destination park on Miller Peninsula is back on the planning table. Staff with the Washington State Parks system are moving forward with a master plan to develop a state park on more than 2,800 acres on the peninsula between Sequim and the Clallam/Jefferson county boundary. In 2005, the Washington State Parks system began a six-year project to establish one of Washington’s next destination state parks, shelved those plans with a lack of secure funding. Michael Dashiell reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

State resurrects Miller Peninsula plans

More abandoning of environmental protection by Trump’s Administration

This radical right wing administration is continuing it’s push to destroy all environmental laws. Call your Congresspeople. Take action. Do something now. But my long range hope is after we get rid of these destructive morally bankrupt right wing politicians, we will rewrite the laws better than before. Hope springs eternal!

Trump’s new water rule: What it means for mines and pollution
Less federal oversight often means more local jobs. But it could also mean more water pollution. Whether that’s progress may depend on whether you live upstream or downstream from a project. Patrik Jonsson reports. (Christian Science Monitor)

and

Trump Administration Moves to Ease Rules Against Killing Birds
The Trump administration will move as early as Thursday to weaken a century-old law protecting migratory birds by dropping the threat of punishment to oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds “incidentally” in the course of their operations. The proposed regulation, if finalized, would cement a legal opinion that the Department of Interior issued in 2017. The agency’s top lawyer argued that previous administrations had interpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 too broadly, and that only actions explicitly intended to kill birds should be forbidden under the federal law. The death of a bird from an oil slick, the blade of a wind turbine or the spraying of illegal pesticides would no longer trigger penalties. Lisa Friedman reports. (BY Times)

Google’s new AI model ‘listens’ to killer whales to help protect the species -The Next Web

Cool new use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Now if it can only do a better job of spellcheck for me! I feel like I’ve added thousands of words to my dictionary and yet it still can’t just correct those for me. How about you? What would you like to see AI do for you?

Google‘s AI team has developed a new model to protect the endangered species of killer whales known as orcas in the Salish Sea. According to the Center for Whale Research, there are only 73 Southern Resident orcas — a subspecies of the killer whale — left in the world. So Google has teamed up with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to monitor their condition and alert experts in the event of sickness or accidents across 12 locations. Google‘s team trained its AI model using 1,800 hours of underwater audio and 68,000 labels that identified the origin of the sound. When the model “hears” sound of a whale, it displays its location on Rainforest Connection, an acoustic monitoring system for animals. Ivan Mehta reports. (The Next Web)

Google’s new AI model ‘listens’ to killer whales to help protect the species

Navy settles lawsuit, won’t scrape ship hulls in Puget Sound -AP

Lawsuits are always a last resort, but are well worth pursuing. I am a huge fan of them, as most people are too timid to really be a force to stop things like this. Our population here in the Northwest love to work on restoration projects, fixing what they allowed to be screwed up, but protecting the Salish Sea is not something they really take seriously. The people who actually do this kind of work are few and far between.

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday agreed to a 10-year moratorium on scraping the hulls of decommissioned vessels in Puget Sound. The deal, filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, settles a lawsuit filed by the Suquamish Tribe and two environmental groups, Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined the lawsuit. In the settlement agreement, the Navy said it would not conduct further hull cleaning in Sinclair Inlet except to the extent it is required for hull integrity tests or to prepare the vessel to be put in dry-dock. It agreed the preferred method for cleaning vessel hulls is to do so in dry-dock where the pollution can be contained. (Associated Press)

Navy settles lawsuit, won’t scrape ship hulls in Puget Sound

Olympic snowpack above normal at end of January -PDN

Good news for the Peninsula, as you may be aware, we get most of our water for cities like PT from the snow-pack.

Heavy precipitation in January has bolstered a once-diminutive Olympic Mountain snow-pack. Snow-pack was 120 percent of normal in the Olympics as of Thursday, up from 48 percent on New Year’s Day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Olympic snowpack above normal at end of January

Lobby Day (again!)

After our snow canceled the Environmental Lobby Day events last month, it’s been rescheduled this week. (ironic, isn’t it?) This is an excellent way to meet your legislators on their ground and let them know what is important environmentally. Mad about the net pens? Oyster farms in our National Wildlife Refuge? Believe me,the folks from Seattle aren’t fighting that.

Or want to support one of the great bills being promoted by the Coalition for Environmental Priorities?

So get out from behind Facebook and Next Door and get a group together to car pool to Olympia and participate! You get to schmooze with the best of them while you watch high paid and  well dressed lobbyists argue that environmental rules are too expensive! What could be funnier than that!

And while you are there, just to show that I’m not a total bummer of a date, where does one eat? My favorite place for lunch or dinner is Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar They have superb clam chowder and lots of other great eats. You can pretend you are one of them being plucked by a walrus and carpenter. But no, I’m serious, this is one of the finest restaurants in the state IMHO. Just go. You are on a field trip.

Also try Wagner’s European Bakery And Cafe for great lunches. More budget oriented. Or pack your own bag of goodies! Actually if you sign up you get a healthy lunch.

What bills are being supported? Take a look at my right hand top tab, where I’ve conveniently cut and pasted the Coalition Priorities. Or go to the URL listed a few paragraphs up above.

So sign up, read up on the bills being promoted, and learn how to effectively lobby your elected officials! It’s fun and is far better than watching an impeachment any day!


Date: Thursday, January 30, 2020 Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Location: Temple Beth Hatfiloh, 201 8th Ave. SE, Olympia, WA 98501

Join the Environmental Priorities Coalition and hundreds of activists to push for key environmental legislation in Olympia on January 30th!

During lobby day, you will team up with other activists to speak up for the environment and gain the skills to be a persuasive constituent. You’ll have the opportunity to attend issue briefings, learn how to lobby, hear from environmental champions, attend breakout sessions, and meet face-to-face with your elected officials to advance the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s 2020 priorities.

For the 2020 legislative session, we have adopted four priorities essential for healthy communities and a thriving environment: Clean Fuels Now, Healthy Habitat Healthy Orcas, Climate Pollution Limits, and Reduce Plastic Pollution.

Registration required. Schedule TBA.

Check out the video from 2019 Environmental Lobby Day!

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