Washington State Legislative Update 2/2

Committee hearings are essentially over. If a bill you support didn’t make it out of committee, it’s probably dead for this year.

The legislature’s site for tracking all bills is here:  Bill Information

Some bill trackers for important legislation are sponsored by the Northwest Progressive Institute:
https://www.nwprogressive.org/advocacy/
and the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance:
http://wliha.org/advocacy/state/

How you can watch and participate in the legislative process from the comfort of your home.
A list of bills being considered by the state legislature was matched up with a Washington State Democratic priorities agenda. It isn’t comprehensive nor does it include all of many important bills being considered but it is a covers a lot (over 80 bills) that are important to Democrats on most issues. The dates and time of bill hearings is generally known a few days in advance only. The schedule is updated weekly and even daily. You can go here
2018 Bill Hearing Schedule
to find next weeks hearing schedules. That document is always being updated you can keep referring to it for updates. What you will see, for example:

SB 6034    would allow county PUDs to provide end user telecommunications – Still Alive.

Comment hereClick on Senate Bill 6034 to learn more about the bill. Click on “Comment here” to leave a comment for the committee in charge of the bill.  “When” is the time the committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill. To watch any hearing on TVW, click on the bill, scroll down to available videos and watch live or later. So bookmark weekly 2018 bill hearings schedule or find it on the website.

Some important bills:

HB 1800 – Voting Rights Act (re-introduced) – Appears to be still alive as of Feb 2
SB 5991 – DISCLOSE Act, Increasing transparency of contributions. – Passed Senate, moving in the House.

HB 2431 and SB 6456. This would hand land use oversight to military commanders in areas near bases. Theoretically it could hand over veto power on land use regs to anywhere in Washington State! Supported by a governor (yes, Inslee) committee that is mainly the Chamber of Commerce in many military counties.  – Did not make out of committee.

HB 2300 – Degrade protection for marbled murrelet. – Uncertain. Still in discussion.
HB 1026 – Health Security Trust. – Died in committee?
SB 5701 – Apple Care Trust. – Died in Commitee?

HB 1075 – Capital Budget and HB 1080 – Bonds for Capital Budget. (Tharinger’s bills). – Appears dead?
SB 5772 – Property Tax reform. – Never had a hearing.
SB 5464 and HB 2059 – Washington Investment trust (Hasegawa’s bills). – Never had a hearing.

SB5747 – Addressing health care financing and development of a publicly sponsored integrated delivery system by creating the access for all trust. – Died in committee.

SB5957 – Establishing the healthy Washington program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage for all residents of the state. Public hearing was on 1.18 – Died in committee.

 

 

 

 

March 2018 – Oil Spill Preparedness Month – Events in Clallam County

Clallam Marine Resources Committee and its partners invite you to participate in the “March 2018 – Oil Spill Preparedness Month” by offering the following three events:

March 14th Webinar “Staying Prepared in an Evolving World of Oil Movement” at 12 – 1 pm

More than 20 billion gallons of oil moves through Washington each year, carried by vessel, pipeline, road, and rail. You are invited to an online webinar to learn about the recent improvements and current challenges Washington state environmental regulators face to keep the state’s oil spill program strong. Learn about bulk oil movement in Washington, implementation of the 2015 Oil Transportation Safety Act, properties of oil and potential impacts from spills, existing response capability and opportunities for staying involved.

The webinar will be hosted by NWSC and Clallam MRC and presented by Dale Jensen, Program Manager and Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, Preparedness Manager, Department of Ecology Spills Program.

Join from a video system or application dial 801312312@watech.webex.com or dial 173.243.2.68 and then enter the meeting number 801 312 312.

Join by phone toll free 1-855-929-3239 or 1-240-454-0887 US Toll

Meeting password: spills18

March 24th Free Oiled Wildlife Training – Search and Capture

The training, offered by Island Oil Spill Association and Clallam MRC, will take place at the Clallam County Fairgrounds starting at 8 am. The 8-hour training will cover:

  • Health & safety
  • Search & collection planning
  • Netting, stalking, teamwork, gear
  • Effects of oil & secondary complications
  • “Beak-to-tail” examination & treatment
  • Bird handling, intubation / hydration

March 31th Free Oiled Wildlife Training – Basic Intake & Stabilization

The training, offered by Island Oil Spill Association and Clallam MRC, will take place at the Clallam County Fairgrounds starting at 8 am. The 8-hour training will cover:

  • Health & safety. Facility requirements
  • Bird anatomy & family characteristics
  • Effects of oil & secondary complications
  • Hands-on bird anatomy and basic examination
  • Bird handling, intubation / hydration

You can sign up for one or both trainings at http://www.clallamcountymrc.org/ or by contacting Helle Andersen at 360-417-2416, 360-808-4984 or handersen@co.clallam.wa.us

Thanks

Helle Andersen

Project Coordinator

Clallam Marine Resources Committee

Wild Fish Conservancy Stands Firm Behind PRV Statements

We are reproducing today’s new press release from WFC to allegations by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife about the previous findings by the WFC in lab tests. There is obviously pushback from WDFW because if these findings are accurate, and there is no reason at this point to question them, it opens up many questions about whether WDFW has been doing it’s job, or whether they have been protecting the net pen industry. I can only say that there has been considerable support of net pens by WDFW (and Department of Ecology for that matter) over the years, so much so that it has been very difficult for any outside organization to question them about it. But of course, in B.C. a similar thing happened with the government agencies that should have been protecting the wild fish, but were actually simply in support with the net pen industries no matter what independent science found to be true.

 

 

In light of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) response to Wild Fish Conservancy’s (WFC) press release on February 15th, we stand firm behind our original statements, and aim to briefly but fully clarify our position on the matter of Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) of Norwegian origin found in escaped farmed Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound. It is our intention that this clarification will dispel any charges of inaccuracy when it comes to the PRV threat.

As is stated in the original release, WFC received independent lab results confirming the presence of PRV in 19 of 19 farmed Atlantic salmon tested that had escaped from a large-scale escape event off of Cypress Island in August 2017. Furthermore, testing of the samples showed the strain of PRV to be of Norwegian origin. Specifically, the S1 gene from tissue samples from eight of the 19 fish were sequenced and all identified as Geneotype 1a, which is known to be of Norwegian origin.

We take issue with a number of claims made by WDFW in response to this press release, mainly that the agency did not attempt to accurately represent WFC’s views on the matter, and that WDFW is not taking an appropriately precautionary approach when it comes to evidence of a potentially harmful virus being proliferated in Washington’s public waters.

WDFW mischaracterizes our view regarding the Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammatory (HSMI) disease. In the press release we accurately state that HSMI has caused up to 20% mortality in Norwegian net pens. We also state that PRV is known to be the causative agent of HSMI, which has been well documented.

We do not claim, however, that HSMI has been shown to occur in wild Atlantic or Pacific salmon and steelhead. We do not confuse HSMI with PRV, but we do express unease over PRV’s demonstrated relationship to the lethal disease. We are clear that our primary concern is with infection of the virus itself and the concerning possibility that it may cause harm to wild salmon and steelhead, particularly juveniles.

In the press release, WFC states:

“As PRV builds up in a salmon’s red blood cells, the virus may reduce the amount of oxygen cells can transport to the fish’s muscles, lowering the fish’s performance. For a wild fish, reduced performance means a reduced ability to capture prey, evade predators, and swim upriver to spawn.”

This quote identifies a credible biological mechanism by which PRV infection may lead to increased mortality in wild salmon and steelhead. Even in the absence of HSMI, there is the potential for PRV infection to harm wild fish. We believe this potential for harm should not be taken lightly, especially considering the status of the wild ESA-listed salmon and steelhead in Puget Sound.

WFC additionally takes issue with the claim that escaped Atlantic salmon were infected with PRV as a result of stress in the aftermath of escape. 100% of escaped Atlantic salmon tested by both WDFW and WFC (a total of 23 fish) tested positive for

PRV. In a recent broad effort to survey for disease among Alaska and Washington, only 4.6% of Chinook, Coho, and steelhead sampled in Puget Sound tested positive for the virus, a finding that dispels the notion that PRV is ubiquitous among wild fish. Similarly, Norway’s wild salmon disease surveillance program data shows that escaped farmed Atlantic salmon in wild salmon rivers have much higher levels of PRV infection (55% of fish sampled) than either wild-origin conservation hatchery brood stock (24%) or wild salmon (13%). Lacking data that would indicate the absence of the disease prior to escape, WDFW cannot state with any amount of certainty that the disease was contracted in the days following the escape.

As for the issue of the virus’ origin, WFC strongly disagrees with WDFW’s implication that PRV in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea originated in the Pacific Northwest, rather than being imported from Norway. Our independent lab results identified the S1 gene samples of Atlantic salmon as Geneotype 1a, which is known to be of Norwegian origin. WDFW’s implication that the virus is native to the Salish Sea is, at best, highly controversial. Our evaluation of the recent scientific literature on this issue leads us to conclude, in agreement with a majority of researchers who have published on the matter, that it is highly improbable that PRV is native to the eastern Pacific Ocean, and that its presence in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea is the result of importation from Norway.

Much of WDFW’s reply treats the press release as if it were a detailed scientific article, rather than a news brief presenting a summary of critical information. In the release WFC provided members of the press and public with references to the relevant scientific journal articles that informed our position; those interested in digging deeper are encouraged to dig deeper. Still, a press release is necessarily brief and general. It is not a scientific document, and a reviewer should not treat it as such. The testing of the tissue samples from the Atlantic salmon that escaped from the Cypress Island pen, the general results of which we announced in the press release, is part of an ongoing collaborative research project soon to be published in a major scientific journal. Contact information has been provided at the bottom of this press release, please don’t hesitate to contact WFC to request more information regarding the information provided in this release.

When it comes to the impacts of PRV on our wild salmon and steelhead, the science strongly indicates that Washington state agencies need to take a measured and precautionary approach, not a dismissive one. In Puget Sound, wild Pacific salmon and steelhead find themselves at considerable risk, with several species threatened with extinction and many surviving at only a fraction of their historical abundance. Even a small amount of risk from the spread of PRV, compounded with the other stressors our wild fish populations face, has the potential to bring about disastrous consequences to already imperiled wild salmon and steelhead. Due to this concern, a measured and precautionary approach dictates that state agencies must err heavily on the side of caution.

The burden of proof that PRV does not cause harm to wild fish does not rest on wild fish. The burden of proof, rather, lies squarely with the Atlantic salmon net pen industry and regulatory state agencies. This burden has yet to be shouldered by the industry and its defenders.

To date, WFC has not seen sufficient evidence from either of these entities that PRV will not harm wild fish. In standing firm on our concern over the impacts of PRV to wild Pacific salmon, WFC calls on WDFW and other state agencies to accomplish the following:

1. Stop all restocking of Atlantic salmon net pens until thorough industry-independent testing has proven the Atlantic salmon hatchery is not planting PRV infected fish.

2. Immediately test all Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound for PRV.

3. Remove all PRV-infected Atlantic salmon from Puget Sound net pens.

4. Immediately disinfect facilities showing any trace of PRV.

We maintain that these actions are essential to ensure that PRV-infected fish are not being planted into public waters and that Atlantic salmon raised in net pens are not amplifying and spreading the virus in public waters where it places our native salmon and steelhead at risk.

For more information, please contact:

Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director

(425) 788-1167

Or email us at:

info@wildfishconservancy.org

 

Thousands more trees planted on Tarboo Creek during Plant-A-Thon – PDN

In one day, 180 volunteers planted 4,300 native trees and shrubs along Tarboo Creek. The Northwest Watershed Institute’s Plant-A-Thon, an annual event since 2005, was held this year on Feb. 4. Volunteers from area schools worked to restore salmon and wildlife habitat, as well as reduce climate change impacts, by planting 2,300 native trees, and installing 2,000 live stakes of willow and other native shrubs along Tarboo Creek, said Jude Rubin, director of stewardship and public involvement for Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI). The Plant-A-Thon has become the largest environmental service project in East Jefferson County, Rubin said. (Peninsula Daily News)

https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/life/thousands-more-trees-planted-on-tarboo-creek-during-plant-a-thon/

Orca protection bill stumbles and dies on state Senate floor – Watching Our Waterways

State legislation that would increase protection for Puget Sound’s killer whales died this week amidst confusing action on the Senate floor. Now, orca advocates are pushing a narrower bill approved by the House to limit remote-controlled aircraft around whales, while they also hope for a $3-million budget appropriation to support other orca protection measures. Whether people should be allowed to fly a drone around the endangered Southern Resident orcas seems to be the issue stirring up the most attention in the Legislature — although it is a small part of the overall effort. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

 https://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2018/02/17/orca-protection-bill-stumbles-and-dies-on-state-senate-floor/

Cooke Aquaculture inspection finds problems at 2 other Atlantic salmon pens  – Seattle Times

Deficiencies have been found at Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound by an independent inspector, the state Department of Natural Resources reports. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz ordered inspections of all nine of Cooke’s net pens after a catastrophic collapse of one of its net pens at Cypress Island in the San Juans last August, allowing more than 200,000 Atlantic salmon to escape into the Salish Sea. The latest inspections from the contractor hired by the state, Mott MacDonald of Edmonds, found deficiencies at Cooke’s operations at its Hope Island and Rich Passage facilities, according to the reports released Friday. Problems included poor condition and deterioration of some anchor lines, surface rust and corrosion on parts of the facilities and concern about whether anchors were inside the boundaries of the net-pen leases. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/cooke-aquaculture-inspection-finds-problems-at-2-other-operations/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=mobile-app&utm_campaign=ios

Mussels on drugs found near Victoria sewage outfalls – CBC

For years, Victorians of all political stripes have been discounting their lack of a sewage system. Every time I’ve put a story up here, a couple of Victorians have, out of the blue, weighed in. I’ve even heard younger Victorians, who claim to be “green” tell me to my face that, “it’s no big deal” that their raw sewage has been pouring into the Strait for decades after every other city on the Strait and Salish Sea seems to have put in tertiary or secondary treatment systems. I rarely ever challenge them when they do that, as it’s pointless to argue with people who refuse to even look at scientific data. Well, the CBC finally looked into it, and the unfortunate joke is on them, as they have likely been poisoning themselves and their children if they have been eating any of the shellfish or bottom feeders from the area around their city.

As stated in the article, the sewage treatment plant *should* remove many of these chemicals. Now it is up to the local environmental departments to get the message out that people should not be dumping their pharmaceuticals and other chemicals down the sink or in the toilet. My hope is that, in some distant time, we will actually stop dumping *all* our wastes into the Straits and Salish Sea. Composting toilets have advanced to a place where we should be able to end the expensive and stupid habit that we have picked up in the last 100 years. While it was an improvement over what came before it, we have paid a price for it. There are no free lunches.

Monitoring by the Capital Regional District has found high concentrations of antidepressants, as well as other pharmaceuticals and personal care products in shellfish near the sewage outfalls around Victoria.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sewage-victoria-crd-drugs-contamination-mussels-pharmaceuticals-1.4537222?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

Contrary to agency claims, escaped Atlantic salmon were infected with a highly contagious and harmful virus – Wild Fish Conservency

The stories and assurances  that the net pen industry and their allies have told for years are now proven to be just lies.  I have sat in Marine Resource Committee meetings and had the industry rep blithely tell the group, with no scientific evidence,  that “there are no diseases down here, that’s a Canadian problem. ”  The WDFW, DNR and Ecology have been telling lawmakers there’s no problem, the escaped fish represent no threat because they are healthy and can’t interbreed. One thing that nature teaches us is that it only takes one genetic mutation to change everything in evolution. Let’s get the bill to phase out net pens passed and put this nightmare to an end.

To remedy the harm that may be imparted to our wild fish, and to get to the bottom of the disease’s source, WFC calls on WDFW, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Washington Department of Ecology to:
1. Stop all restocking of Atlantic salmon net pens until thorough testing has proven the Atlantic salmon hatchery is not planting PRV infected fish.
2. Immediately test all Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound for PRV.
3. Remove all PRV infected Atlantic salmon from Puget Sound net pens.
4. Immediately disinfect facilities showing any trace of PRV.
These actions are essential to ensure that diseased, PRV-infected fish are not being planted into public waters and that Atlantic salmon raised in net pens are not amplifying the virus and spreading it in the public’s waters where it places our native salmon at risk.
“Hopefully the Washington state legislature will successfully pass legislation to phase out Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound, but in the interim, this alone is far from enough to protect our wild salmon from this industry,” said Kurt Beardslee.“
It’s absolutely critical that our state agencies take immediate action to ensure we’re not planting or amplifying viruses into our public waters.”

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