WA state legislators file “Salish Sea Protection Act”

Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker and others have pre-filed the “Salish Sea Protection Act”.  We will be tracking the progress of this bill as it moves through the legislature.

The Salish Sea Protection package of new legislation, prefiled for the 2018 legislative session, will commit the state to improving oil spill response, strengthening protections of orca whales, banning aquaculture farming of invasive species, and prioritizing contamination cleanup to prevent stormwater runoff and increase affordable housing.

Salish Sea Protection Act

This legislation will fully fund Washington State oil spill prevention and response activities, update our critical, geographical response plans, research tug escorts and rescue tugs for all vessels carrying millions of gallons of oil and significantly increase coordination our with our Canadian neighbors. A second bill will move to establish a new, permanent Emergency Response Tug, as well as requirements for tug escorts for oil tankers, oil barges, and ATBs operating in Puget Sound.

Orca Whale Protection Act

With the Puget Sound resident orca population dropping to its lowest level since 1984, including the deaths of several juvenile whales, immediate action is needed before these whales enter a “death spiral” in which extinction is inevitable. This legislation dramatically increases enforcement of orca whale protection laws – providing for permanent dedicated enforcement vessel, while increasing support for salmon production and restoration and calls for a trans-boundary discussion of orca whale protection and preservation.

Atlantic salmon net pens

The crisis we face due to the escape of hundreds of thousands of invasive Atlantic salmon from the Cooke Aquaculture net pen failure last year is alarming. Subsidizing an industry that is using our public marine waters for profit while eroding our environment and local economies is no longer acceptable. This legislation eliminates all new leases and permits for invasive Atlantic salmon net pens as well as net pens for other nonnative finfish. It also requires strengthening oversight guidelines for existing net pen operations based upon updated scientific information, as the current regulations are more than 25 years old.

MTCA accounts and cleanup program

This legislation increases focus of toxic cleanups of nearshore environments and marine waters. This legislation includes provisions to speed up cleanups of contaminated properties.

2 Responses

  1. I appreciate your concerns, Jim. While I am absolutely in agreement that we should stop dumping treated sewage in the Salish Sea, the ending of net pens is about protecting the investments that your tax dollars have made over decades to try and restore wild salmon. Along with this industry that does not benefit any but a very small minority of owners, and a handful of employees, there are other issues. Overdevelopment and logging along streams, pollution from overfishing in the oceans, and from many scientific reports, stormwater running off our roads directly into fish bearing streams. As to the Exxon Valdez, it caused, and continues to cause massive harm to the ecosystem of Valdez, even to this day. All you have to do is dig 2 feet down to strike oil on their beaches.

  2. Considering the billions of gallons of contaminated wastewater WA state permits pouring into the Salish Sea each month (read Brightwater), the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the fish farms is rather small. When they start to get serious and quit playing politics, I would be more supportive.

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