CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO PROTECT WASHINGTON’S COASTAL WATERS

Well, this is going to be interesting.

Portland, OR—Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Trump administration, through its U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), from greenlighting a massive expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture in Washington state coastal waters. Industrial aquaculture already threatens Washington’s iconic and invaluable shorelines and bays, which are home to numerous marine species, including endangered salmon. However, the new 2017 permit issued by the Trump administration and now challenged in this case would allow an enormous expansion of the $100-million-dollar-a-year Washington state aquaculture industry, without any marine wildlife or water quality protections for these unique and sensitive ecosystems.

“The Corps’ mission is to protect public waters from harmful environmental impacts, but this permit violates that mission and federal law,” said Amy van Saun, CFS staff attorney, based out of its Pacific Northwest office. “The Corps cannot allow unbridled industrial aquaculture at the expense of Washington’s wildlife and residents. We will hold them accountable to the law and reverse this dangerous approval.”

The permit in question would allow shellfish aquaculture acreage to double to an estimated 72,300 acres, or a third of all Washington shorelines, including critical spawning and feeding grounds for forage fish, invertebrates like Dungeness crab, finfish like salmon and green sturgeon, and birds. Many of these species rely on eelgrass and other aquatic vegetation, and eelgrass helps to mitigate the effects of climate change on oceans. Industrial shellfish aquaculture is known to reduce or eliminate eelgrass, including though the use of pesticides. Yet the new permit has no restrictions on pesticide use, and the agency refused to even examine the impacts of pesticide use on shellfish beds and the surrounding tidal habitat.

“Unlike other pollutants, pesticides kill living organisms by design so are inherently dangerous. They are known to move around in the environment, especially in water, and harm non-target species,” said Dr. Marti Crouch, Ph.D, consulting scientist for CFS.

Neither does the permit restrict the enormous use of plastics by the industry, like the 42,000 PVC tubes per acre covered in plastic netting used to grow geoducks (a type of clam grown almost exclusively for the luxury export market). Netting can trap and entangle wildlife, while the plastics breakdown into microplastics that are hazardous to marine organisms, including the very shellfish being grown for human consumption.

Ignoring these impacts, the Corps’ new permit provides no protections for eelgrass, forage fish, and other species. Mirroring the lack of transparency in the Trump administration in many other contexts, the assessment was secret until after the final decision and even then, failed to explain how the agency would mitigate the permit’s harmful impacts.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Federal Court for the Western District of Washington, argues that the Trump administration violated numerous foundational environmental laws when it approved the Washington state permit, including the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Administrative Procedure Act. In addition, on June 21, 2017, CFS also separately filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue because the approval also violated the Endangered Species Act.

This is not the first time the Corps’ unlawful shellfish permitting has been challenged in court. In 2015, another public interest group petitioned the Corps to stop using the previous version of the current permit and then sued, claiming that the Corps failed to examine or prevent the ongoing and expanding harm to the Puget Sound ecosystem caused by the rapid expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture.

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About Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 900,000 advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood@CFS_Press

Per the opening of the lawsuit.

Washington State is home to unique and invaluable coastal ecosystems that are threatened by the unchecked expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture. This lawsuit challenges the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issuance of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 48 in Washington State without considering or fully disclosing the environmental impacts of its approval, an approval which greenlights a massive expansion of shellfish aquaculture with entirely inadequate protections. The Corps has a duty to protect public waters from cumulatively adverse impacts, but it has violated its environmental protection mission by issuing 2017 NWP 48 in Washington.

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules – AP

Ah yes, some of the folks in Eastern Washington and Idaho, people who’s livelihood was created by the tax payer funded dam projects that irrigated the dry eastern side of our state are back wanting the Feds to kill off the remaining runs of salmon for their short term benefits. These people, who have continued to complain for decades about the intrusion of the very government that created the dams and their farms, now wants it’s help again. This time to overrule the laws that protect our remaining runs of salmon. One of the big supporters of these folks has been Rush Limbaugh, among other radical right wing folks. You can bet your bottom dollar that if this committee ever comes to fruition, there will be not a single environmental representative on it.

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-administration-urged-to-avoid-salmon-protection-rules/

Environmental Penalties Down Under President Trump – NPR

This should come as a surprise to no one. This president and his inept band of anti-science vandals, are hell-bent on reversing decades of protection of our air, water and earth. But we need to document the damage they are causing by not enforcing the laws of both Republican and Democratic legacy.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July….  That’s significantly less than the number of cases prosecuted and the penalties collected under the same six month period by the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. Greg Allen reports. (NPR)

http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-environmental-penalties-down-under-president-trump/

Washington Lawmakers Leave Enviros Feeling Shorted – KUOW/Earthfix

Remember this when politicians come asking for more donations. Delivering environmental support is part of why they are elected.

Washington’s legislative session, the longest in state history, did not deliver the money environmentalists wanted for toxic cleanup, oil transportation safety, or natural resources. Going into the session, the Environmental Priorities Coalition — made up of more than twenty Washington environmental groups — had placed a priority on getting the state to spend more on environmental protection.  Eilís O’Neill and Courtney Flatt report. (KUOW/EarthFix)

http://www.opb.org/news/article/wa-enviros-feel-shorted/

So… after Paris, now what?

I doubt that anyone reading this hasn’t heard that the President of the 2nd largest polluting nation in the world has decided to walk away from a voluntary agreement to reduce greenhouse gases in the face of irrefutable proof that the earth is heading towards disaster within the lifetime of people alive now. He did this by saying he “supports the environment”, which one? And exactly how?

If this was an asteroid heading towards Earth, I doubt he would be equivocating. And if 99 engineers told him that if he drove his car across a certain bridge that it would fall down, would he pile his kids and wife into his limo and head off across? As Sally Field as “momma” told Forest Gump so clearly, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

So now, we go on without the federal government’s support. We can do that, we must do it and we will do it. Real leaders, not the fake ones in the White House and the EPA, have stood up and declared they will. Our Governor Jay Inslee, Oregon and California’s governors, Bloomberg in NYC, ex-Governor of California Arnold Schwartznegger and many many others are committing to simply go around and through the Federal Government.

The President has abrogated his primary role, which is to protect the people of the United States from harm and protect the Constitution. It will be meaningless to protect the constitution if the planet dies. His scientific brain trust and numerous business leaders advised him not to pull out of the agreement. Our allies and religious leaders did too.Add to this, his office of Emergency Management, during the beginning of this hurricane season, still is without a leader. .Mr Trump spends more time tweeting  at 6 AM  than actually doing something about filling key roles in his administration. His lack of leadership and his filling his closest ranks with traitors to this country, people who lack the moral compass to not fraternize with the enemy behind the backs of our own intelligence community is unprecedented. In making the announcement the other day, he had he nerve to say he “represented Pittsburg” when he lost Pittsburg to Hillary Clinton by almost 80 to 20%. He is a habitual liar and a small percentage of the American people believe him all the time.

So stay calm and carry on. This too will pass. And let’s find a leader for 2020 that can win in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin before the Republicans realize that Trump is more of a liability than an asset and impeach him. In the meantime there is a lot of work to do.

EVENT: Day of Science in Port Angeles – APRIL 22nd.

Science Celebration Flyer final

I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations – Guardian

Very disturbing news about what is happening to our base of science from the incredibly malicious Trump Administration. We saw similar  wanton destruction of science to validate a political point of view from the Harper Administration in Canada about three years ago. We can only hope that they are simply deleting web pages and not the actual data, which, in case I have to remind anyone, is data that we, the taxpayers, paid for. It is not theirs to delete. Perhaps a lawsuit is in order?

Just over 1% of US Arctic waters have been surveyed to modern standards. In truth, some of the maps we use today haven’t been updated since the second world war. Navigating uncharted waters can prove difficult, but it comes with the territory of working in such a remote part of the world.

Over the past two months though, I’ve been navigating a different type of uncharted territory: the deleting of what little data we have by the Trump administration.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/28/arctic-researcher-donald-trump-deleting-my-citations

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