Group sues feds to force Washington to protect Puget Sound – AP

Northwest Environmental Advocates have been around since the 1970s, and they were part of the groups that originally opposed the Satsop Nuclear Plant. I talked with their executive director, Nina Bell about the lawsuit today. Ms. Bell told me that the lawsuit is specifically addressing non-point pollution, which both the Tribes and environmental organizations have been requesting of the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) deal with for some years. Many of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning might remember that during the last round of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) that Governor Gregoire did a temporary exemption of agriculture from the CAO buffers.  This was due to extreme pressure on her from dairy and other large scale farmers in rural areas, such as Yakima. This exemption, I believe, is still in place, though the next round of CAO work is supposed to address it. The background on this is that there has been a lot of very signficant  amounts of cow and hog waste allowed to be dumped into rivers in the central part of the State. Over here on the coast, I have also witnessed, near Willapa Bay, out south of the Niawiakum Natural Preserve Area, between Bay Center Road and Dike Road, cows standing directly in the water that spills out into the bay. In that bay, there is also an oyster farm. Additionally, I have seen cows standing directly in Chimicum creek on occasions. While I don’t know the details of why they are allowed to do that in those particular set of fields, it is that kind of non-point source pollution that the suit is attempting to force the state to correct, and that the state admits is a violation of the Clean Water Act. The NEA and the Tribes have been pushing for WSDOE to forumlate the Best Managment Practices (BMPs) that can address these non-point source pollution problems for over 20 years. The NEA is asking the   Feds to withhold funding until actions are taken that do address the issue. Ms. Bell was very clear that the funds that the State gets, are considered earned funds. If the State has not been achieving its goals, then she believes that the Feds need to act, or be forced to act, to withdraw those funds. I will be recieving a copy of the lawsuit today, and will get back to readers as I understand more of the specific language it is using to describe the problem and remedy they seek.

An environmental group is suing the federal government to force Washington state to do more to protect Puget Sound from polluted runoff from roads, farms, logging and boats. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, seeks to force the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to cut funding to the state for failing to protect coastal water quality. A similar lawsuit by the same group – Portland, Oregon-based Northwest Environmental Advocates – resulted in the agencies cutting $1.2 million in grant funding to Oregon this year. The group says the agencies first told Washington in 1998 that it was failing to control such pollution, but there’s no evidence Washington has done any better, and the feds have not cut off funding in response as the law requires. The EPA declined to comment. (Associated Press)

%d bloggers like this: