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/

Political Suppression of Science: Lessons from Canada – Hakai Magaz

Not sure how bad it could get for science under Trump? You only have to look north of the border. For 10 years Canadians scientists were literally combing dumpsters to save their priceless history of climate science in Canada. No kidding. I was reporting on this as it happened back then here in this blog. This is well worth reading. From Hakai. Erica Gies reports.

During the 10-year term of Canadian Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, some government scientists were unable to publish their research or talk to the public without minders; research was defunded or blocked; and invaluable data archives dating back a century were destroyed in acts dubbed “libricide.” Reports were literally tossed into dumpsters.

https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/political-suppression-science-lessons-canada

EPA declares fracking contaminates drinking water

This week, the EPA finally confirmed what we’ve known all along: fracking contaminates drinking water.

https://www.epa.gov/hfstudy

Feedback from:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/12/epas-final-fracking-report-re-writes-takeaways/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/epa-report-fracking-hydraulic-fracturing-safety-risks/

https://psmag.com/dont-drink-the-water-93f4f1751554?gi=6c343acb4eb

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fracking-can-impact-drinking-water-epa-report-finds-1481652649

https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/14/headlines/epa_final_study_concludes_fracking_does_contaminate_drinking_water

Last year, after a 5-year study on the impacts of fracking on drinking water, the EPA released a highly flawed draft report. The topline claimed that there were no “widespread, systemic” impacts on drinking water from fracking.

US Forest Service finds “No Significance” in the Navy expanding war games next to Olympic National Park

In an expected ruling, the Forest Service rubber stamped the Navy’s plans to expand their war games using electronic warfare using high speed unmuffled jets right next to one of the quietest places on earth, the Hoh Rain Forest. In a ruling that can only be called cynical political point-making with the incoming Trump Administration, Dean Millet, the District Ranger in charge of the ruling, ignored tens of thousands of signatures on petitions and thousands of letters of concern, many of them from scientists, political figures and people with a stake in the economy of the Peninsula. He claims to have, “carefully considered public input” in making the decision, but that he found nothing at all to criticize in the Navy’s plans, means that he really didn’t try.

Now, we turn to the courts, and to the elected officials, like Derek Kilmer, who has done very little to stop this, somewhat understandably given the population of military retirees and Bremerton Navy jobs at stake in Kitsap County.

We hope that Representative Kilmer brings his earplugs with him when he and his family go hiking in the Olympic National Park next year, he’ll likely need them. Jets which are supposed to be flying at over 6000ft have been seen and recorded on numerous occasions  by many different eyewitnesses flying at less than 1000, despite the assurances of the Navy. In a video shot at a public hearing out on the coast a couple of years ago the head trainer from Whidbey admitted as much, saying that he had to discipline his cadets  sometimes for flying too low. But other than this one man, there is no real oversight to keep them above 6000′. We don’t have public records to look at even on something as non-essential to security as this.

Is that what a National Park is supposed to represent? Do we want to turn all our places of solitude from the stresses of our industrialized world into low level fly over training sites by unmuffled jets?  What exactly is something that the Forest Service considers a “significant finding?”  I just have no idea of what Ranger Millet’s threshold is. Should we take recordings of jets and go to his house, Representative Kilmer’s house, Senator Murray and Cantwell’s house at night and play them at full volume? Would that help understand the ask? And at what point do we have “enough” training spots in the US that we don’t need more? And who ultimately should decide that? Us, the military or a combination of the taxpayers and those in our employ. Why did the 1988 MOU between the Department of the Military and the FS not come into play?  That document seems pretty clear. Very short and to the point. Less than one page of law.

These are just questions that we would love answers from the people in power, some of whom we elected as recently as this November. It seems clear from this ruling that the Forest Service is not acting in our best interests. Since the Spanish American war we have set about turning the Puget Sound and Strait into a militarized zone. And now we seem to be at a point where our military does what it wants, regardless of what us, the taxpayers, want of it. This is truly the tail wagging the dog.

Also from Ashley Ahearn

Navy Granted Permits For More Growler Jet Training On Olympic Peninsulahttp://kuow.org/post/navy-granted-permits-more-growler-jet-training-olympic-peninsula
The Navy has just been granted permits by the U.S. Forest Service to expand electromagnetic warfare training over Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Now the Navy is cleared to drive trucks out into the Olympic National Forest, armed with electromagnetic signaling technology. Then growler jets will take off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and fly overhead, searching for the signal trucks from the air. It’s essentially a military training game of hide-and-go-seek. The trucks simulate cell towers and other communications behind enemy lines that the Navy wants to scramble. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Work begins on a new Washington State initiative for a meaningful carbon tax

The work has already begun to get a meaningful carbon tax passed in Washington State. I don’t know if the population of this state is willing to pay more in taxes, which is really what is at the heart of this whole issue, but there is no other way forward. I would prefer to see a massive push towards converting to solar, wind and getting people into electric cars, but the ‘powers that be’ in the environmental movement keep coming back to this notion of a carbon tax being something that the population will buy. Given Trumps’ election, I’m not so sure that this is true, but I’m willing to go along.

This plan includes a coalition of organizations that could actually get this done, and it’s up to the folks who failed with their ballot measure to suck up their loss, and join this coalition  to get this through. This initiative, while still raising taxes on gas, would use the money to put tens of thousands of people to work with it. That, to me, seems like a win/win situation.

With Trump headed for the White House, climate activists look to states for action to cut carbon emissions, and plan for a new legislative push in Olympia

Seattle Times original article.

Goodbye and thanks to Tom Hayden – Environmental Activist

Tom Hayden may have rolled off the screen of national politics after his stint in SDS and as part of the destruction and resurrection of the Democratic Party at Chicago in 1968, but he never went away, and his contributions to protecting the environment were numerous. Rather than  spend a bunch of time trying to boil the ocean, he focused on producing very good smaller tasks for the local needs, that also furthered the big picture.  A large puzzle is made up of lots of little pieces, that all fit. They all are important in piecing together something that may not be done until much later. And it takes a lot of patience over a lot of time to complete. There are lots of politicians, even local ones here on the Peninsula, who could take a page  from his book.  Goodbye and thank you Tom.

 

From Marcia Hanscom Sierra Club

Mr. Hayden was the strongest proponent Sacramento has had for protecting forests, wetlands, endangered species and wildlife.

A few anecdotes about Tom Hayden, in this regard:

1) He famously used his subpoena power as a State Senator to call in biologists from the then-CA Dept. of Fish & Game – so they would be required to testify under oath (and could not have their jobs put at risk) about how their science was undermined by the still-powerful hunting lobby.   Today’s CA Fish & Game Commission is now doing a number of the things that Senator Hayden wanted them to do – with hunting in California and hunting & fishing license funds declining.

2) He tried to get legislation passed to change the name of the CA Dept. of Fish & Game to the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife — he faced stiff opposition.  Finally, some time after Hayden left the legislature, in 2012 – Jared Huffman was able to get a bill passed that would do this.  The name change took effect on January 1, 2013

3) He called together a number of environmental leaders in the mid 90s – to a meeting in Santa Monica, where I remember well the gasps in the room when Tom suggested maybe it’s time to abolish the Coastal Commission, and just let the law stand without the (often-times seemingly corrupt) Coastal Commission itself.  He was talked down from the ledge, but some of us do wonder now if he was just a bit ahead of his time – as he was with #2 above!

4) He was a huge champion of protection of the Ballona Wetlands – being the only elected official to actually read the environmental impact report for the proposed Playa Vista development, which would have been the largest development in the history of the City of Los Angeles – mostly to be built atop the floodplain of the historical Los Angeles River where it joined with several other streams at the coast in the Ballona Valley.   Because a couple of environmental groups had settled a lawsuit against the Coastal Commission – and therefore, the local electeds for the area were supportive of what they claimed was a scaled-down development — Hayden – who didn’t even represent the area – was our lone supporter of any reknown….especially once Steven Spielberg and his DreamWorks partners announced they would be one-third development partners in the construction project.   Jeffrey Katzenberg called Hayden to tell him he would never get another penny for his political campaigns from Hollywood if he didn’t abandon us.  Tom stood firm.

5) After DreamWorks exited the Playa Vista project and the wetlands four years later, Tom sought a solution with other electeds in Sacramento.  Working with Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa and Fred Keeley (Santa Cruz), he helped make sure $25 million was placed into Proposition 12 – which eventually lured the Wall Street owned (Morgan Stanley/Goldman Sachs REITs) developers to emerge as a willing seller for the 600+ acres of land in the coastal zone (about 400 acres were built on) — the public acquisition took place in 2003/2004 – as part of Governor Gray Davis’ legacy.

6) Tom *regularly* would call Sierra Club leaders into his office – or come to see us at our offices – to seek stronger advocacy from us for efforts he was attempting to make in Sacramento.  I remember thinking it so odd that HE had to come to US to ask us to be stronger advocates.

Thank you, Tom Hayden, for your principles and your amazing work for our Mother Earth, which sustains us.

Marcia Hanscom
Executive Committee
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

&

Co-Chair, Sierra Club California Wetlands Committee

From his biography web page 

Despite serving under Republican governors for 16 of 18 years, and twice subjected to Republican-led expulsion hearings, Hayden managed to pass over one hundred measures. Included were:

  • District bills obtaining millions for restoring Santa Monica Bay and  the rebuilding of the Santa Monica and Malibu Piers;
  • A ten-year effort to hold off tuition increases for college and university students;
  • Establishment of a statewide Agent Orange registry;
  • Negotiations between Bishop Desmond Tutu and the University of California leading to divestment;
  • Ergonomic guidelines in purchasing;
  • Equal university access for disabled students;
  • Recruitment of gay and racial minority AIDs researchers at universities;
  • Crane safety inspection programs;
  • Back pay and fire safety protections for garment workers;
  • Requirement of set-asides for renewable energy in state planning;
  • Extension of sexual harassment codes to professional relationships;
  • Blocking several governor’s appointments to prison and university boards;
  • Hearings into fertility clinic scandals leading to resignations;
  • Prohibitions on date rape drugs;
  • Saving Los Angeles’ oldest cathedral from the wrecking ball;
  • Limits on gifts and contributions to transit agency board members;
  • Funding for student tutors in after-school programs;
  • Funding for tattoo removal;
  • Standards prohibiting MTBE in drinking water;
  • Funding to rehabilitate Indian sacred springs in LA;
  • Requirement for longer holding periods for lost animals in shelters;
  • Sister state relationship between California and San Salvador;
  • Reducing start-up fees for new small businesses;
  • Requiring trigger locks on guns sold;
  • Training for immigrant parents of public school children;
  • Independent inspector-general at Los Angeles school district;
  • Drafted largest state park and environmental restoration bond in nation’s history;
  • Minimum vision standards and testing for senior drivers;
  • Disclosure of slavery era insurance policies by California firms;
  • Prevented bills weakening state endangered species act;
  • Pay raises for jurors;
  • Children’s health standards in state EPA;
  • Funding for gang intervention projects.

 

1972-1982 – Mr. Hayden was Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointed chairman of the SolarCal Council, which encourages solar energy development.

NY Times attached

Focusing on state and local issues like solar energy and rent control, he won a seat in the California Legislature in Sacramento in 1982.

1993 – 2000

He was an assemblyman for a decade and a state senator from 1993 to 2000, sponsoring bills on the environment, education, public safety and civil rights.

“Hayden and Fonda started the Campaign for Economic Democracy, later known as Campaign California. The group fought for such causes as Santa Monica rent control, public spending on solar power and divestment from apartheid South Africa.

Much of the group’s money came from Fonda, whose movie career was booming and whose workout video business would spawn a fortune in the ’80s. It helped elect scores of liberals to local offices statewide and campaigned for Proposition 65, the anti-toxics measure that requires signs in gas stations, bars and grocery stores that warn of cancer-causing chemicals.

Hayden represented Santa Monica, Malibu and part of the Westside in Sacramento. His legislative achievements were modest (the words of the LA Times, notice how they editorialize on this issue, though the issues were hardly small issues. Compare this to the letter from Marcia Hanscom) — research into the effects of the herbicide Agent Orange on U.S. servicemen in Vietnam; repair money for the Santa Monica and Malibu piers; tighter rules to prevent the collapse of construction cranes, to name a few.”

L.A. Times article

Dr. Pete Schroeder wins Eleanor Stopps Award

Dr. Pete Schroeder was awarded the Eleanor Stopps Award for Environmental Leadership this morning at the annual breakfast held by the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

dr-pete-schroeder3

Dr. Schroeder is a Marine Mammal Veterinarian with the National Marine Mammal Foundation. Throughout his 50 year career studying marine mammals, Dr. Schroeder has improved the lives of these animal through direct veterinarian care, advocacy and education.

He has served as vice president and board member of the North Olympic Land Trust, Friends of the Fields and the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Additionally, he is a member of the Clallam Conservation Commission, the Dungeness River Management Team, the Steering Committee to the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program and as a representative of the Lead Entity Advisory Group to the governor’s Monitoring Forum for salmon recovery and Habitat restoration.

In 2004, Dr. Schroeder was appointed to the Fish and Wildlife Commission by Governor Gary Locke. Dr. Schroeder is currently serving his second term as a member of the Farmland Protection Advisory Committee for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation’s Farmland Preservation Program. Dr. Schroeder led the response to the 2002 stranding of the orca “Hope”. He advised in the collection of the gray whale by the Marine Science Center in May 2016.

In 2013, I interviewed Dr. Schroeder for the video I produced for the Dungeness River Management Team and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, on restoration of the Dungeness River, called “Working for the River.” You can watch the film and listen to the work that Dr. Schroeder did on behalf of donating his own land into the land trust along the river, to protect habitat.

 

The 2016 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award recognizes significant contributions in the protection and stewardship of our North Olympic Peninsula natural environment. The award pays tribute to Eleanor Stopps whose vision, advocacy and determination exemplify the power and importance of citizen leadership. From the 1960s through the 1990s Eleanor Stopps was an active member of the NW conservation community. Eleanor founded the Admiralty Audubon Chapter and took over the work of Zella Schultz to protect the nesting habitat for 72,000 pairs of seabirds nesting on Protection Island. She was also a tireless educator working with groups of students and Girl Scouts to raise environmental awareness. Eleanor Stopps recognized the need to protect the uniquely important marine environment of the Salish Sea. With no special political base or powerful financial backers she formed a coalition of grassroots supporters who worked to get legislation and public support for protection of Protection Island and the surrounding marine waters. She was a primary driver behind the establishment of the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge, one of the few established by an Act of Congress at that time. Today, it is a critical habitat link in the preservation of the whole Salish Sea region, providing breeding habitat for Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets, Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, Harbor Seals and Elephant Seals, and a myriad of other species.

The Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award is given annually to a citizen of the North Olympic Peninsula (Jefferson and Clallam counties) who has:

 Led a successful resource conservation effort that benefits the north Olympic Peninsula and its residents directly;

 Acted as a community catalyst for programs, initiatives or ventures that demonstrate a commitment to the future of the earth and its biodiversity;

 Become a model for future leaders in business and education; or has been an exemplary citizen or policy maker who has implemented decisions that, though they may entail risks, have helped our communities take the next step towards environmental sustainability.

Other nominees this year included Bob Campbell, Tim McNulty, Dr. Eloise Kailan, Ron Sikes and Dr. Schroeder. It was a very difficult decision for the nominating committee, as each of these individuals have been very successful in their careers here on the Peninsula. Nominations are allowed in subsequent years for any supporters of these nominees that wish to re-nominate.

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