Dems support handing over land use veto to the military? Really? – State Legislation

As reported lately on the web site of the Coupeville Community Allies, Democrats in Olympia have sponsored an odd set of bills, HB 2431 and Senate bill 6456.

 

  • The bills on their surface seem to simply be adding the base commanders into the process for helping determine appropriate land use around the bases. But the criteria for the distance away from the bases is not defined. Theoretically, this could be *anywhere* in the county, given the scope of airfields and other training facilities. For instance, a proposed wilderness area could theoretically be stopped even if it’s hundreds of miles away based on base needs for overflight.

  • Given the Navy’s long demonstrated lack of real interest in anything other than it’s own needs, as demonstrated in the expansion of Whidbey Naval Base and it’s overflights in the west end of the Olympic Peninsula, it’s training flights that continue until midnight on many nights when training is in session, it’s expansion of undersea training to public beaches at all hours of the day or night as they see fit, with no ability by local officials to effectively limit it, and it’s overflights of unmuffled jets over Port Townsend and the San Juan Islands, the Navy has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted with land use decisions.
  • Base commanders should not have any right to dictate land use – this is up to the local governments and their citizens. Giving up this right to support “present and future” military missions constitutes a seizure of land use rights by the federal government, and is an inverse condemnation of public and private property.  Such actions are prohibited by Article 1, Section 18 of the Washington State Constitution, and by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Background

House Bill 2341 and Senate Bill 6546 are identical – they prioritize military land use over civilian land uses, even when properties are not adjacent to military installations.

They are backed by the Washington Military Alliance, a group of Chamber of Commerce members with four executives and a small staff.

The WMA claim that their charter is to “ensure defense industry vitality in an era of reduced defense spending.”  I am unclear of what ‘reduced” defense spending they are talking about, since the last tax bill that was passed granted even more money to defense, as did last years federal budget. We already spent approx 47% of our discretionary budget on defense and an unknown amount in our “black” budget, which the public is not entitled to see.

According to the web site, “The Balance“:

The U.S. military budget is $824.6 billion. That’s the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which covers the period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Military spending is the second largest federal government expenditure after Social Security at $1 trillion.  U.S. military spending is larger than the next nine countries combined.

The $824 Billion is approx. $100 billion more than we spent at the height of the war in the last decade!

Full text HB2341: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2341.pdf

Full text SB 6456: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/6456.pdf

The wording in HB2341/SB 6456 REQUIRES land use planning to incorporate any present or future missions of the military bases anywhere in the state – for any reason deemed appropriate by military base commanders. This means that the military mission trumps the local citizens’ desires. This turns local governing authority upside down. This gives veto power to a base commander over land use theoretically anywhere in the State and for any reason.The language in the bill needs to be substantially clarified, as to what constitutes “adjacent” lands in the eyes of the military.

They amend current legislation by:

  1. Making the prohibition of incompatible developments mandatory

  2. Extending the prohibition to lands that are not adjacent to the military installation

  3. Applying the prohibition to the benefit of any military installation, no matter how small

  4. Allowing the State Department of Commerce to spend up to $25 million every two years to acquire property to eliminate an existing incompatible use, or to increase the availability of housing affordable to enlisted military personnel. The criteria is that any organization receiving funds must show support for the military.

 

Pesticides and salmon: Can we see a light at the end of the tunnel? – Watching Our Water Ways

Once again, the National Marine Fisheries Service has determined in official findings that three common pesticides — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — raise the risk of extinction for threatened and endangered salmon. By extension, for the first time, the agency also concluded that those same pesticides threaten Puget Sound’s endangered orca population by putting their prey — chinook and other salmon — at risk. This politically and legally charged issue — which has been around for more than 15 years — has gone beyond a debate over potential harm from pesticides. It also raises uncomfortable questions about whether our society will follow science as we try to solve environmental problems. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

https://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2018/01/16/pesticides-and-salmon-can-we-see-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel/

1/19 – Meeting set in Sequim on net pen bills – PDN

You can make your voice heard. Come to this meeting and let our Representatives know what you think, and that there is public support and momentum on the Peninsula for at least two of these bills.  I don’t currently support Chapman and Tharinger’s bill. There is already plenty of science on the dangers of Atlantic salmon in net pens.  They should be supporting a ban on the use of all net pens for non native fish now, and support scientific research (like that going on in Manchester) for the possible use of limited small net pens for native fish, (for unique one off reasons like species reintroduction, etc). Also state funding and support of upland fish farming should be encouraged. It is proven to work elsewhere, but the scale to make it economically viable is difficult. We should be encouraging these efforts, and helping tribes such as the Jamestown S’Klallam to understand if it’s worth doing.

SEQUIM — Sen. Kevin Van De Wege and Rep. Mike Chapman are expected to discuss legislation dealing with Atlantic salmon net pens at a meeting in Sequim. The meeting is set from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19 at the Sequim City Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

Three bills related to net pens are making their way in the Legislature: Senate Bill 6086, House Bill 2418 and HB 2260.

SB 6086, https://goo.gl/ruyF9s co-sponsored by Van De Wege, would phase-out the pens as their leases expire.

HB 2418, https://goo.gl/Gn2UNY co-sponsored by Chapman and Tharinger, would delay construction of new nonnative fin fish aquaculture facilities until thorough study, including structural analysis of existing facilities, is complete.

HB 2260 https://goo.gl/k4h8Ln would prohibit Atlantic salmon being used in aquaculture in Washington state.

Read the whole story at:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/meeting-set-in-sequim-on-net-pen-bills/

 

What makes stormwater toxic?- Salish Sea Currents

Nice quick overview on stormwater and what is being done to better understand  and mitigate it.

Researchers are trying to determine which chemicals in stormwater are contributing to the deaths of large numbers of coho salmon in Puget Sound. It has prompted a larger question: What exactly is in stormwater anyway? Eric Wagoner reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/is/stormwater-mystery

Governor’s Results Washington Initiative – Environment and Puget Sound Recovery

Governor Inslee has as program called “Results Washington” One of it’s goals is to restore Puget Sound. Here’s a very good video on the reporting on September 27, 2017 to the Governor on progress and areas where we need to improve. Worth the watch if you are involved in work to help restore the Sound.

Sustainable Energy/Clean Environment — Welcome and agenda review, Governor’s opening remarks, Alignment of Puget Sound Recovery & Results Washington (protection/recovery of shellfish beds/habitat, pollution prevention from storm water runoff), Strategies and challenges for collective, cross-sector efforts to recover the Puget Sound ecosystem, closing comments.

Watch it here:   https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2017091075

Click to access G3%20Agenda%202017-09-27%20%28Governor%27s%20Results%20Review%29.pdf

Protest flotilla surrounds net pen off Bainbridge

DJI_0109 Panorama

A flotilla of boats Saturday surrounded the net pens on the south end of Bainbridge Island. Sequim photographer/filmmaker John Gussman was there.

It’s time to demand an end to net pens in the Sound.

Look at the full set of stills at

http://www.dcproductions.com/nofishpens/

 

Canadian environmental activist and documentary filmmaker Twyla Roscovich found dead

The incredible short life of Twyla Roscovich has ended in Campbell River, B.C. Twyla was the documentary filmmaker who worked with biologist/activist Alex Morton to create the documentary “Salmon Confidential”.

 

The post on Facebook said that foul play was not suspected at this time. Twyla went missing last week, as she headed down island to see medical specialists. Her car was found at the Quadra Island Ferry parking lot in Campbell River.

Twyla leaves a four year old daughter who was with her father at the time of Twyla’s disappearance. A Go Fund me site was created to help fund future educational needs of her daughter. This is the link to it.

You can support the legacy of Twyla by watching her movies, sharing them and never eating farmed salmon. It’s time to end this destructive industry forever. It is destroying salmon runs around the world, both here and in South America, Norway, Scotland and other places, along with pouring millions of gallons of anti-biotics into the sea. Just say no to farmed fish. Always ask your wait person whether the salmon they are serving is wild or farmed. They will know.

Resist propaganda by the fish farming industry and the aquaculture industry (who is fighting any regulations on aquaculture, even though it’s not shellfish). Paid spokespeople for the industry attend Marine Resource Committee meetings  in the north Sound as part of the mix of shoreline industries with a stake in making our waters clean. The industry does much good work in helping pass laws that protect our waters, as they are major employers in our rural counties.  I am not here to damn them entirely. But I have been the target, and have listened to their people denounce Alex Morton and her work, along with politicians that oppose them, such as ex-Commissioner Phil Johnson. They come on as bullies, talking over and down to anyone who questions them, but just remember that if they weren’t being paid by their industry, they wouldn’t likely bother to show up. Just tune them out, and challenge them when they attack anyone who tries to regulate or discuss regulating the farmed fish industry. It’s just fake news.

We call on Governor Inslee and the State House and Senate to watch this film and take action to permanently ban all future in water fish farms in Washington waters. There is new technology available to put fish farms in tanks on land. That should be the way forward.

I am crushed to hear of this woman’s death. She was dedicating her life to create a better world for herself, her daughter and the rest of us, especially those in British Columbia. We are all lessened by her passing. Go in peace, Twyla Roscovich.

Global warming made real

Over the last month, we have had a full taste of global warming. We are breathing it. It’s no longer just some abstract event impacting people in some far away third world country like Bangladesh or  even heat waves and droughts in Australia, on the other side of the planet.

Scientists (perhaps now fired by the current administration in Washington D.C) have been warning for decades that the effects of global warming will be much larger, more frequent storms. With the oceans being heated up, the normal storms will get even greater strength. And that is exactly what is happening with Irma and Harvey. There are still thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, that have never recovered from Sandy or Katrina, or any of the other storms we now have forgotten in the last ten years.

In the western U.S. a heavy drought with intense heat has laid in from California to British Columbia. Hundreds of fires are raging across the west, destroying Southern Oregon forests, the north side of the Columbia Gorge, the Cascades and into central British Columbia. Many of these fires are being described as the largest ever witnessed in these areas. Thousands have been displaced while the smoke from these fires are being breathed by millions for weeks on end, including us here on the Olympic Peninsula. The outcome of that will be greater lung cancers in years to come.

Snow packs in this heat continue to melt and rise. I drove north from San Francisco to Seattle last week, driving through Arizona desert like temperatures of 112 degrees F.  in Redding California. It was over 100 at the summit of Shasta’s I5 pass.

If this kind of heat continues, it will make farming in California very difficult. Along with the physical stress of trying to expect humans to farm in  112 heat, is the question of whether there will be snow pack for drinking and agriculture in 20 years. California produces a huge amount of our vegetables. Adapting farming for this kind of scenario is going to cost all of us a lot more at the grocery store.

The Americans who have willfully ignored the warnings of scientists now are part of the refugee pool in Houston and much of Southern Texas’ coast. We can look at that outcome and say, well, you asked for it by continuing to elect politicians that want to tell you that all is well.  But this country is not red or blue. It’s purple everywhere, with people supporting each side in elections, or no side at all.  Unfortunately, the neighbors of these ignorant climate change deniers  voted for people who wanted us to pay attention, had their candidates lose and also find themselves in the same, literal and physical boat.

This emerging crisis needs leadership. We unfortunately now find ourselves turning to local and state politics as the Presidency and Congress seem, for reasons harder and harder to comprehend, to willfully want to ignore the alarm bells of climate change. What is it going to take? A hurricane to level Washington D.C.?

Locally we need to continue to talk about where Port Townsend is going to get it’s water if drought continues for decades and snow packs continue to recede.  I don’t hear much about that issue at all.

Time to get serious and act as if every decision by our local and state governments is going to have to take global warming into consideration. Now.

An excellent overview of the state of the salmon in Puget Sound

Chris Dunagan is one of the best reporters in the Pacific NW covering the Salish Sea. Here’s a great overview of the state of the salmon.

Are we making progress on salmon recovery?

In recent decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to restore habitat for Puget Sound salmon. In this article, we look at how scientists are gauging their progress. Are environmental conditions improving or getting worse? The answer may depend on where you look and who you ask. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/is/salmon-recovery

Wash. Budget Has Pros And Cons For Environmental Policies – KNKX

A brief overview of the good news on the State budget front.

Washingtonians are parsing the state budget passed last weekby a divided legislature. It adds $1.8 billion for basic education over the next two years.  A big chunk of that comes from the closure of a so-called “extractive fuel” loophole, which is one of several new policies that many environmentally progressive groups like.

Eric de Place, an energy and climate policy analyst at the Seattle-based Sightline Institute, says from his perspective, the new state budget is mostly good news.

“I think on net, the budget was a win for the environment and a win for the climate,” de Place said.

http://knkx.org/post/wash-budget-has-pros-and-cons-environmental-policies

Damage estimate soars to $57M, but insurers likely to pay in flood at West Point wastewater plant – Seattle Times

The real damage is likely to not be known for decades. That’s the effect on our fisheries and underwater world from this massive, unprecedented spill that in effect, brought Seattle to the 1920s all over again dumping untreated sewage into the Sound for months.

The new price tag for the catastrophic Feb. 9 flood that crippled the West Point Treatment Plant is up to $57 million — more than double the previous estimate. But taxpayers may be off the hook for most of it. The Wastewater Treatment Division, in a letter Friday to the Metropolitan King County Council, updated its initial estimate of $25 million in damage, stating major repairs and replacement of equipment will continue through October and cost $49 million to $57 million. Christine Willmsen reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/damage-estimate-soars-but-insurers-likely-to-pay-in-flood-at-west-point-wastewater-plant/

Washington state loses big legal battle over salmon culverts – AP

As if it’s not bad enough with the lack of money to deal with the public schools, now this. I think a change to a state income tax is a way forward to properly make the wealthiest of our high tech workers, etc. pay their fair share. Property taxes are a joke. You can’t get to funding of all our needs by property taxes and you end up hurting fixed income elderly the worse.

Washington state lost a major legal battle Friday that could force it to spend nearly $2 billion to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers blocking fish migration. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year affirmed a lower court’s 2013 ruling ordering the state to fix or replace hundreds of culverts — large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but block migrating salmon. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/washington-state-loses-big-legal-battle-over-salmon-culverts

Muri’s bill supporting Puget Sound Partnership signed into law – Suburban Times

Good news, albeit a small thing.

The governor signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, that would help the on-going efforts of the Puget Sound Partnership…. Every two years, the Puget Sound Partnership is required to produce a State of the Sound science work plan. The plan identifies recommendations for improvements to their ongoing work in Puget Sound. Because of the short interval for updates, they are in a continuous planning mode. Muri’s bill changes the frequency of the report from every two years, to four years. By reducing the frequency of the updates, the proposal would help free up the Puget Sound Partnership’s resources. This would allow them to focus on meeting restoration performance targets. (Suburban Times)

http://thesubtimes.com/2017/04/20/muris-bill-supporting-puget-sound-partnership-signed-into-law/

EVENT: Farm Bureau to present on Hirst Decision 4/12 @7PM Chimicum Grange

Al Latham just alerted me that a fellow from the Farm Bureau will be doing a presentation on the Hirst Decision (on building permits and water rights) and current legislative activity around exempt wells at the Chimacum Grange, 7pm Wed April 12.

What is the Hirst Decision? It’s an extremely important new ruling that addresses an ongoing battle over development vs. water rights. Let me copy from the Dept of Ecology web site:

“A recent Washington State Supreme Court decision has changed how counties decide to approve or deny building permits that use wells for a water source.

In the Whatcom County vs. Hirst, Futurewise, et al. decision (often referred to as the Hirst decision), the court ruled that the county failed to comply with the Growth Management Act (GMA) requirements to protect water resources. The ruling requires the county to make an independent decision about legal water availability.

Background

We protect rivers and streams across the state by creating instream flow rules, which set the amount of water necessary for protecting fish, wildlife and recreation. In 1985, we adopted an instream flow rule for the Nooksack River (WAC 173-501) in Whatcom County. This rule closed most streams in the watershed to new water right permits but allowed landowners to use permit-exempt wells in most of the area. Whatcom County’s development regulations followed our instream flow rule.

A reliable, year-round supply of water is necessary for new homes or developments. Before the Oct. 6, 2016, court decision, many counties relied on what the Department of Ecology said about whether year-round water was available. This court decision changes that – counties now have to make their own decisions about whether there is enough water, physically and legally, to approve a building permit that would rely on a well.

Impacts

The case directly relates to Whatcom County but appears to set legal precedent that applies in other counties where there are instream flow rules that were not intended to regulate permit-exempt water uses. It is unclear how the decision affects areas of the state where there are no instream flow rules. Counties are working to review the decision and what it means for them. Contact your county’s building, planning or health departments if you have questions about how the Hirst decision may affect you.

Key points

  • Science has shown that rivers and streams are generally connected to groundwater. The Washington State Supreme Court said that water is not legally available if a new well would impact a protected river or stream, or an existing senior water right.
  • If your county determines that water is not legally available for your new use, the county would not be able to approve your building permit – even if you have already drilled a well.
  • We are providing technical assistance to counties as they determine their next steps. Our priority will be to provide information about the status of stream closures and instream flows.
  • Anyone with questions about how the decision affects them should contact their county government.

 

If Canada ups its oil shipping, should we worry?- Crosscut

Would be nice to think this bill has a chance, but appears that it doesn’t. There is always next year.

 

…. The House Finance Committee in Olympia is set to vote Thursday on a measure to require tug escorts for articulated oil barges. HB 1611 aims to address some shortcomings in the state’s oil spill prevention program. It would improve safety requirements for water transport, including mandating tug escorts for oil-transporting vessels. It also would tighten safety standards for pipelines and provide additional funding for the oil spill program administered by the Department of Ecology. Strong opposition from Republicans in the Senate means the bill faces a steep uphill climb, its sponsor, Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, acknowledges. She failed to get similar legislation passed two years ago, instead passing a bill that improved safety only for oil transport by rail. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

http://crosscut.com/2017/03/if-canada-ups-its-oil-shipping-should-we-worry-trans-mountain-pipeline/

Trump budget slashes agencies to focus on wall, defense – AP/Seattle Times

It’s no longer theoretical about what the Republicans might do to the environment. It’s here now and it’s real. They are going to take the money from environmental restoration and pour it into bombs and more border patrols. Is that really in our best interest as a country? What really matters to you as a citizen and what are we defending? We need all hands on deck to register disgust and anger at this proposed budget. Eastern Washington Republicans, Republicans from all over the Puget Sound region, including Mason county and other locales, and Representative Dave Reichert, the “brave” ex-sheriff that is afraid of holding public town halls because he doesn’t want to face the public that he is personally impacting with his support of these changes, all need to hear from you now. A year from now will be too late. Your neighbors, your environment, restoration of salmon stocks, the protection of the Orca, and by the way,  your health care if  you are not employed by a major corporation or the military, is all on the line. Our fellow citizens in the midwest have allowed us to be taken over by a far right wing zealot and a congress that will stop at nothing to strip us of our hard earned gains in environmental protection, health care, and much more. Time to speak up, or forever hold your peace.

President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget on Thursday, a far-reaching overhaul of federal government spending that slashes many domestic programs to finance a significant increase in the military and make a down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump’s proposal seeks to upend Washington with cuts to long-promised campaign targets like foreign aid and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as strong congressional favorites such as medical research, help for homeless veterans and community development grants. Andrew Taylor reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-budget-defense-spending-a-priority-over-agency-money/

Climate change, rural growth are priorities for new Washington lands commissioner – Seattle Times

The state’s newly elected lands commissioner says her top priorities will be to find ways to strengthen local rural economies and to prepare state lands and communities to deal with climate change. Hilary Franz, an environmental attorney who beat out retired Navy commander Steve McLaughlin, will take over the helm at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in January from two-term commissioner Peter Goldmark. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/climate-change-rural-growth-are-priorities-for-new-washington-lands-commissioner/

Whatcom asks state to pay for pilot program to offset well water use – Bellingham Herald

So after fighting this all the way to the Supreme Court the county now wants us taxpayers to foot the bill for trying this out. I suppose this might be a good trial situation. But let’s remember we don’t offer government sponsored trials for solar panels.

The County Council has asked the state Legislature to pay for a three-year pilot project that could address a state Supreme Court mandate that Whatcom County ensure new permit-exempt wells don’t hurt minimum stream flows and senior water rights. The idea came from County Councilman Rud Browne. The council voted Dec. 6 to ask the state for money, although no specific amount was requested…. The system – which includes software, water tanks, water meters – would allow homeowners in rural Whatcom County taking part in the pilot to seasonally store water during the wet winter months to offset the impact of their use in drier months. It would cost a little over $16,000 for a four-person household. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article121447892.html

Voter Turnout in Jefferson County Tops 85% – PT Leader

Kudos to the Jefferson County Democratic Party, which helped create an amazing voter turnout this year. Chairman Bruce Cowan deserves credit for steering a contentious turnout for the two candidates into a high turnout of ballots.

At last count, 85.45 percent of registered voters in Jefferson County turned out to vote. San Juan County beat Jefferson for turnout honors, with 86.62 percent of registered voters there casting ballots.

http://www.ptleader.com/news/election/voter-turnout-in-jefferson-county-hits-percent/article_b2b01a80-b109-11e6-abf4-432ce0d01a73.html

Polly Dyer, driving force for Northwest conservation, dead at 96 – Seattle Times

Goodbye to another legend.

The majestic wilderness of Shi Shi Beach, an indelible sight for many visitors to the Olympic wilderness near Neah Bay, might look entirely different today if not for the cheerful tenacity of Polly Dyer, a conservationist icon who died Sunday in Shoreline. She was 96. Equally at home testifying before Congress or entertaining a new generation of environmentalists in her Lake City living room, Pauline “Polly” Dyer came from modest means to become a driving force in Northwest wilderness and conservation circles. While unable to attend college as a young woman, she would grow up to count governors and Supreme Court justices among her friends. Claudia Rowe reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/polly-dyer-driving-force-for-northwest-conservation-dead-at-96/

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