Local legislators to host town halls on Peninsula in December – PDN

Upcoming events to allow you to communicate directly with our state and federal legislators. It would be a good idea to tell them how you feel about the proposed ban on net pen aquaculture, Navy jets, the new tax bill and other thoughts.

State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, Rep. Steve Tharinger and Rep. Mike Chapman will host a town hall tour of the northern 24th District in December to listen to the ideas, concerns and comments of people before the start of the 2018 legislative session.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/local-legislators-to-host-town-halls-on-peninsula-in-december/

Washington state senator says he’ll file bill to ban Atlantic salmon farming – Seattle Sun

Good news. Senator Ranker is going to try and shut net pens down.

Under fire after a collapse and massive escape last summer, Atlantic salmon net-pen farming would be banned in Washington under legislation that will be filed by Sen. Kevin Ranker this coming session. The legislation would allow existing state leases for the eight Atlantic net-pen farms now operating in Washington to run out by 2025. No permits for new farms would be granted, and no renewals for existing leases would be allowed. The bill also would require state agencies that regulate net-pen farming to keep a tighter watch on operations. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Sun)

 https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/washington-state-senator-says-hell-file-bill-to-ban-atlantic-salmon-farming/

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

http://www.results.wa.gov/sites/default/files/G3%20Agenda%202017-09-27%20%28Governor%27s%20Results%20Review%29.pdf

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/

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

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