State Senator Van de Wege introduces bill to ban seabed mining.

This idea is a good start to protect the seabed from mining efforts and I’m glad to see Senator Van de Wege getting ahead of this issue before it becomes a problem.Too often in the past we have allowed bad environmental practices to go on until science shows us the error of our ways. This bill is working off the science done elsewhere so we don’t have to repeat the same mistakes.

It’s unclear at this point as to who will be opposing this bill. But it will be worth following to see who shows up to testify against it. It’s slated to go to a public committee meeting on 26 January.

Press Release from State Senator Van de Wege.


Dear friends and neighbors,

It’s great when we enact laws to correct or eliminate activities that are causing harm. What’s even better is when we can address a problem before it even becomes a problem.

That’s the goal of my legislation to ban seabed mining, a growing industry that ravages natural habitat to extract minerals and deposits from the ocean floor. Simply put, seabed mining sucks up the ocean floor to capture metals, minerals and gemstones. This gouges the seabed, creating plumes of sediment that resettle in surrounding areas and can smother deep sea vents. The threat to marine life is obvious — locally we could see serious disruption to crabbing, fishing and shellfish. But the risks extend as well to scientific progress — some of these species are uniquely adapted to the lack of sunlight and intense pressure of deep water, and might prove critical to the research and development of medicines, protective gear and other applications.

So far, seabed mining has not been practiced in our state — and Senate Bill 5145 will ensure that it never is. The legislation would prohibit our state Department of Natural Resources from issuing permits or leases for mining on state-owned aquatic lands along our coast from Cape Flattery south to our state’s southern border, as well as in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River downstream from the Longview bridge. The bill will be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.

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