Two forest parcels taken off bidding sheet – PDN

Good news this week from the DNR and the NW Watershed Institute.

Eighty acres of Jefferson County forest land will not be sold to the highest bidder, said Peter Bahls of the Northwest Watershed Institute.

That had been the state Department of Natural Resources plan.

REPAIRS OF BULKHEADS, DOCKS AND OTHER STRUCTURES NOW INVOLVE HABITAT ASSESSMENT – PSI

This is a huge change to the proposal, hopefully for the good. However, in reading this article I find that it may cause more problems than it solves. While I applaud the idea, the implementation seems problematic. I urge those of you interested in seeing this implemented or those seeing issues with the implementation to attend this meeting. Now is the time to tweak the process so that it helps people do the right thing.

NOAA Fisheries will hold online public workshops on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28 to explain the conservation calculator that the agency developed to assess the value of nearshore habitat. Both workshops will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Details will be posted on the webpage Puget Sound Nearshore Habitat Conservation Calculator.

Conservation common thread for new members of Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission -PDN

Michael Carmen writes of his interview with new Fish and Wildlife’s Commissioners, Lorna Smith and Fred Koontz. These two long time environmental conservationists bring years of experience to the job. These folks will help make things better if possible. They are up against giant bureaucracies that have been very resistant to change in the past.

Read the whole story at the Peninsula Daily News and subscribe while you are there. Support local journalism on the Olympic Peninsula.

Sea otter reintroduction to more of the Pacific Coast gets a nudge from Congress – KNKX

Some good environmental news! Tom Banse writes about the successful efforts to get money inserted into the newly passed budget to help continue the reintroduction of sea otters to the west coast. Info on Washington counts of sea otters also in this story.

“I’m very pleased. This is very timely,” Bailey said in an interview. “It will definitely help U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develop a strategic approach for how best to conserve and protect sea otters on the Pacific Coast.”

https://www.knkx.org/post/sea-otter-reintroduction-more-pacific-coast-gets-nudge-congress

How Trump tried, but largely failed, to derail America’s top climate report – NY Times

More fallout of the destructive force of Hurricane Trump. In this instance, scientists managed to hold off his flunkies from essentially gutting the report. As he leaves we can only look forward to rebuilding this nation’s science credibility world wide. Why is this important? Because the output of this report guides decision making for years to come.

EPA Finalizes rule to limit science behind public health standards – WA Post

As the Trump Administration burns all it’s bridges behind them in a scorched earth environmental policy, the latest outrage is the long anticipated culling of real science behind future decisions to protect our food, water or air. Or perhaps you would rather ignore the findings of scientists that don’t agree with your company’s toxic product. Wonder how they will do it? Read the article referenced below. The Biden administration will have it’s work cut out for it reversing these disastrous acts.


The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to limit what research it can use to craft public health protections, a move opponents argue is aimed at crippling the agency’s ability to more aggressively regulate the nation’s air and water. The “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule, which the administration began pursuing early in President Trump’s term, would require researchers to disclose the raw data involved in their public health studies before the agency could rely upon their conclusions. It will apply this new set of standards to “dose-response studies,” which evaluate how much a person’s exposure to a substance increases the risk of harm. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

EPA finalizes rule to limit science behind public health safeguards

Puget Sound Partnership Legislative Agenda

A good way to follow and perhaps participate in the upcoming legislative session.

  leg-update

January 4, 2021
Greetings, friends of Puget Sound!   The 2021 State Legislative session will begin January 11, 2021 and run 105 consecutive days. This email contains helpful resources to navigate this unique session and opportunities to engage with the Partnership during session.    
A COVID-19 Session Here are a few helpful resources prepared by the legislature to help you navigate this unique session due to COVID-19 restrictions. Click here to download a fact sheet that describes remote access for this session. Click here to download the House COVID-19 Sessions Operation Plan. Click here for the Senate session guidelines. As always, the legislature’s website is rich with additional information to help you navigate session.    
Opportunities to engage with the Partnership During the 2021 Legislative Session, the Partnership will offer multiple opportunities to help you (and us!) stay informed about legislative activities that affect Puget Sound protection and recovery efforts.
Legislative Updates. Sent via email and posted to our website periodically during session, the Update summarizes the priority topics we’re following.
Legislative Calendar. Sent via email and posted to our website every Thursday, the Calendar lists upcoming committee meetings involving legislation and information about issues that affect Puget Sound protection and recovery. Calendars will include public hearings where testimony may be offered. Legislative Information Call-In. Jeff Parsons, our Legislative Policy Director, will conduct a call-in meeting on Fridays, from 11:30 a.m. to no later than 12:30 p.m., to review the most important legislative issues we’re following, answer questions, and discuss partner perspectives. The first call will take place this Friday, January 8, 2021. Attendees will receive an agenda each week in advance of the call, usually on Friday mornings. If you are receiving this email, you are already signed up to receive updates by email on one or more of the above topics. If you would like to verify/update your subscriptions (each of the above opportunities has a separate subscription), please click here and follow the prompts. To participate and receive agendas for the weekly calls, please send an email to Don Gourlie at don.gourlie@psp.wa.gov. (If you signed up for this last year, you are already on the list and will receive the call-in instructions and agenda before our first call). If you have questions or concerns about the legislative priorities for the Puget Sound Partnership, please contact: Jeff Parsons, Legislative Policy Director, 360.999.3803. jeff.parsons@psp.wa.gov

Thank you for your contributions to help recover and protect Puget Sound. Connect with the Puget Sound Partnership for breaking news and other events affecting Puget Sound on Twitter and Facebook.  

Puget Sound Partnership Legislative Agenda The Partnership’s Legislative Agenda supports implementation of the 2018-2022 Action Agenda for Puget Sound and reflects priorities that were established in collaboration with our partners, as well as aligning with the Governor’s operating and capital budget requests and the findings and recommendations of the Southern Resident Orca Task Force.      

Hotly debated national permit for shellfish farms could be passed to Biden Administration – Puget Sound Institute

This is an important article to help one understand the forces at play over this issue. The Army Corp of Engineers current proposal, described in this article, would lead to more destruction of the remaining virgin bays it wants for commercial activities and likely lead to ever more lawsuits. The Corps and the industry are in this mess because a group challenged the Corps and unearthed the fraud behind the science they have been putting out for decades. Now we hold our breath and see if we get a push into the next administration for update to the process, but will they send it back for changes or approve it to get the industry back working?

But as they leave, the wrecking crew of the Trump administration is doing it’s best to destroy any and all environmental protections.

Legal protections for marine shorelines, streams and wetlands could be revised just before President Trump leaves office, as the Army Corps of Engineers updates 52 “nationwide permits” that allow for a variety of water-related projects. …”Another growing concern is the effect of shellfish operations on spawning habitat for so-called forage fish, considered critical to salmon and other important species”, said Laura Hendricks, executive director of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. Two key species, surf smelt and sand lance, spawn in the intertidal area where shellfish grow and where activities can affect their populations, she said.

Hotly debated national permit for shellfish farms could be passed to Biden administration | Puget Sound Institute

Climate Action for Christmas? Omnibus bill includes biggest policy shift in years.

Good news being reported by NPR. This blog will check into the details and come back with a more comprehensive overview later.

“The massive spending package just passed by Congress includes the most significant climate legislation in more than a decade, along with significant changes in energy policy. It was easy to miss, nestled among pandemic relief payments, the annual spending bill, new Smithsonian museums and protection from surprise medical billing. But pull out the energy provisions alone, and the bill is remarkable: It includes $35 billion in funding for basic research, extensions of tax credits for renewable energy companies, and a long-delayed mandate to reduce the use of a particularly damaging greenhouse gas. The fact that Congress managed to pass climate legislation at all is noteworthy in and of itself. For years, thanks to gridlock and an administration actively hostile to climate action, legislators have struggled to set new climate policy, even on measures that enjoy widespread bipartisan support. Camila Domonoske & Jeff Brady report. (NPR)”


Climate Action For Christmas? Omnibus Bill Includes Biggest Policy Shift In Years

Lawsuit launched over stalled habitat protection for endangered west coast orcas

It’s about time, the Trump administration has been stalling long enough.


The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government today [12/16] for its failure to finalize expanded habitat protections for critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales, whose population has dipped to just 74 orcas. The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed designating 15,627 square miles of new critical habitat in September 2019. The rule would expand current protections in Washington’s Salish Sea south along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California to Point Sur. The proposed rule followed an April 2019 court-ordered agreement after the Center sued the Trump administration in 2018 for failing to issue habitat protections required by the Endangered Species Act. The Act requires agencies to finalize proposed rules within one year. Today’s notice letter gives the Fisheries Service 60 days to comply. (Center for Biological Diversity News Release)

Lawsuit Launched Over Stalled Habitat Protection for Endangered West Coast Orcas

Inslee proposes his latest climate-change budget. Seattle Times

Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday unveiled a new climate-change package that includes a renewed push for a clean fuels standard and capping some greenhouse-gas emissions. Other proposals would further electrify Washington’s ferry fleet and reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, according to Inslee, and bring equity into environmental policy.Inslee’s plan comes as part of his new two-year budget proposal, and as lawmakers prepare to convene in January for the 2021 legislative session. Joseph O’Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/inslee-proposes-his-latest-climate-change-package-as-part-of-washington-budget-proposal/

Statewide plastic-bag ban faces likely delay due to COVID-19, supply chain issues. – KNKX


A statewide ban on single-use plastic bags is supposed to take effect on Jan. 1. But proponents are asking for a six-month delay. In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, they cite supply-chain issues and health concerns related to COVID-19. Seven groups who supported the law have signed on to the request. Restaurants say that going ahead with the ban would be an additional burden, when they’re figuring out how to remain in business doing mostly take-out orders. And grocery stores say they’ve had trouble getting enough of the thicker plastic and paper bags they would need under the new law. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Statewide plastic-bag ban faces likely delay due to COVID-19, supply-chain issues

Navy training proposal met with concern – Go Skagit.com

This is a never ending issue. Our Jefferson County Port Commissioners never seem to take this as a serious threat undermining our local parks. Once granted, it is unlikely ever to be “undone.” I’m glad to see the State Parks Commission taking it seriously.

“The public is very reluctant for you to have access to our parks,” Danenberg said. “There’s a creepiness factor that even if you’re never seen, we know it’s happening and it’s making the public uncomfortable.”

Navy training proposal met with concern | Local News | goskagit.com

Tracking the destructive environmental fury of the loser in the White House

As we reach the end of the most determined anti-environmental politician seen since the 1890s, his fury, like the remains of a Louisiana coastal town after the passing of hurricane, is only seen in retrospective. During the storm of his insane reign, doing the bidding of only his own warped mind, and cheered on by racists, industrialists and fools the likes of which we have not seen since the millions who fawned over Adolph Hitler before he brought them all to ruin, Trump attempted, on his own but with the help of toadies and tools of the oil and gas industry, to undo regulations that were instituted by a Republican President with bi-partisan support in the 1970s and many since. Tagging along were a who’s who of other businesses, including some right in our backyard that went to Washington and spent tens of thousands lobbying to try and court favor to eliminate local control of regulations that help to stop or slow their conversion of public beaches to monoculture aqua-industry. Given this flood of money and influence for the shareholders, all we could do was hunker down, hope it wouldn’t wash us all out to sea, comforting each other with music, food and hope as we sat around the night fire.

Now, the students and environmentalists around the country (and world) are coming out from hiding and tallying the President’s path through our most vulnerable people and places. It’s not pretty. But all was not lost. As we know, he lost an election that would have looked right at home in the most corrupt right wing banana republic, complete with lunatic fringe conspiracy theories and inept lawyers making claims for which their law school teachers would have not only flunked them, but thrown them out of school for advocating a coup d’etat in our ever fragile democracy. Their thinly veiled racist arguments (in only targeting votes from mainly African American dominated cities) was angrily thrown out by judges, some put in power by Trump. His path of legislative destruction of our environmental laws was only slowed by a small cadre of environmental lawyers and organizations who fought tooth and nail with support from their donors. Some they won, some they lost and some are still in litigation.

First and foremost, there is the ongoing tally of his rollback of hard fought environmental regulations in this country. To be clear, these regulations helped Republicans and Democrats alike to have cleaner water, more ducks to hunt and more control over the destruction that industry was doing to our land, air and waters. They allowed any citizen to attempt to slow the process that greed and the never ending quarterly profits demanded from our ever shrinking places that we try and protect from the corporate unending need to consume on behalf of shareholders, or really, just the skewed salaries of upper management. That Republicans laughed and clapped for photo ops as they watched them be removed is testament to their insanity. Who was he representing? It was perfectly clear.

The Harvard’s School of Environmental Law, has had an Environmental and Energy Law program that has been tracking the regulatory rollback of the mad man in the White House. They have a web site where you can go and see for yourself how bad it’s been.

But we did stop him in places. Lawsuits are still working their ways through the courts, and it will take support from a new Justice Department to continue to fight them. Don’t count on it. Projects like Pebble Mine are likely dead for now.

Stooges that Trump put in place in all levels of government will need to be washed out, which is not easy. But seeing them will be. They will be the ones doing their best to do nothing in their roles.

Science will return, as it always does after a bout of religious and political insanity. Even 1200 years of the Catholic Church running and ruining Europe couldn’t stop science from coming back and shining the light going forward.

Canada recovered a great deal from the destructive environmental fury of the bumbling and inept Steven Harper. And when your Canadian friends and family try and lord it over you at the next gathering, remind them that Trump only lasted one 4 year term. Ask them if they remember how long Harper and his goon-squad ran their science. (It was nine long years). Ask them what they were doing while scientists in Harper’s government threw a hundred years of science into trash bins at major government research centers (or carried them home to hide until he was gone) because of deep cuts that essentially ended historical record management. Yes, that really happened.

So it’s time to roll up the sleeves and dive back into the work. This blog will attempt to chronicle the next wave of changes for us here on the Peninsula, so far from the centers of power. The good news, if there is some, is that we have solid Democrat representatives, proven to work for positive changes in our county, state and White House. President Biden and his crew has the opportunity to rewrite rules better than before. But he only has three years before the next election unfolds, when the next wave of fanatical right wing morally bankrupt politicians come oozing out of Fox News and Parlor to attempt to overthrow what’s left of our democracy. He’ll have lots of people in Washington and elsewhere trying to stop him. His honeymoon will last one night and that will be it. Good news? He’s spent a lifetime working that system. Sometimes experience and old age counts. In fact, it always does. There’s a reason native peoples honor their elders. They carry hard earned knowledge. Right now, local knowledge of the swamps of Washington D.C. counts a lot.

Rome wasn’t built in a day it’s been said, but Greece’s democracy, that ours was modeled after, fell after a pandemic and a war. The master of history, the first war correspondent and the best, Thucydides, witnessed its fall. He wrote words 2400 years ago that could have been written yesterday.

“To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member. …any idea of moderation was just a an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character…fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of a real man, and to plot against an enemy behind his back was perfectly legitimate self defense…If an opponent made a reasonable speech, the party in power, far from giving it a generous reception, took every precaution to see it had no practical effect.”

Alright. Take some time to celebrate the election, get through December hunkered down and healthy, wear the damn mask, and then in January, it’s time to clean up after the hurricane. There’s work to do.

Al Bergstein – Editor and Publisher

Translation of Thucydides from the Penguin Classics “History of the Peloponnesian War” Translated by Rex Warner.

To help save orcas, pause whale watching – Opinion at Crosscut

Donna Sandstrom and Tim Ragen give their take on a proposal to possibly protect Orca from excessive noise and harassment. This is a highly contested idea by the whale watching industry and this represents one sides point of view. Read it, do some research and make up your own mind. You can have a say online at the Zoom link noted below.


Suspending commercial whale-watching boats can help southern resident killer whales avoid extinction. Opinion by Donna Sandstrom and Tim Ragen (Crosscut) And, if you like to watch:Sentinels of Silence? Whale Watching, Noise, and the Orca   Ecosong (10/22/20) And, to have a say: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Public Hearing on Commercial Whale Watching, Dec. 4, 11:15 a.m. via Zoom

To help save orcas, pause whale watching

Steelhead Farm Proposal Appealed to the State Supreme Court – Skagit Valley Herald

Now the battle against fish farming in Puget Sound moves to the State Supreme Court.


Environmental groups are taking their fight against Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to transition from farming Atlantic salmon to steelhead to the state Supreme Court. The groups appealed Monday a Nov. 6 decision by King County Superior Court Judge Johanna Bender that upheld a permit issued by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to allow such farms in area waters. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Steelhead farm proposal appealed to state Supreme Court

U.S. Leaving Paris Agreement – ABC

Yes, the largest polluter of greenhouse gases is walking away from offering any global leadership as many of it’s citizens are turned into climate refugees in California, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and more. Beyond the fact that the U.S. is continuing to help doom all of the planet to a nightmarish future, the first people most hurt from from the 2016 Presidential election is that they are more likely to be Republicans that voted for Trump. (that statement based on reviewing New York Times data maps of the districts voting records vs where the fires covered). Still, people in these same areas voted again for Trump and their own worse outcomes. The good news? Economics drive behavior as much as anything. Solar power is getting cheaper and more widespread. Devices become more power efficient. Insurance companies are forcing people to make better decisions about their future homes and many more communities are working on creating better building standards and zoning restrictions. It won’t be enough to stop the tide, but it could help mitigate the pain. If Biden can win, at least we will go back to a President that can do something rather than nothing. Congress will still be deadlocked, but some small progress will be reinstated. Cross your fingers. The future is watching.


The U.S. is set to officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on Wednesday, three years after President Donald Trump announced his intent to remove the country from participating in the global forum to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The historic accord seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the value that climate scientists have determined will have disastrous consequences if exceeded. Trump has assailed the agreement as economically detrimental and claimed it could cost the country 2.5 million jobs by 2025. He also said it gave other major emitters, such as China, a free pass. Julia Jacobo reports. (ABC)

The US is leaving the Paris Agreement: How that will affect the global mission to affect climate change r

Salish Sea Shared Waters forum wraps up third and final year of work to reduce risks of oil spills – KNKX

This work brought to you by those who fought for a stronger barrel tax in 2018, against the onslaught of money and influence from the oil refineries in the state. Representative Steve Tharinger co-sponsored this. Representative Chapman and Senator Kevin Van De Wege voted for it. They have been working to protect our Sound. Actions not words. A thing to remember as you fill out your ballot this week.


Washington has been stepping up systems to prevent and reduce the risk of oil spills, due in part to the looming expansion of Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline. It could result in as much as a sevenfold increase in the number of oil tankers traveling from Vancouver, B.C., through Puget Sound. In 2018, the state Legislature passed the Strengthening Oil Transportation Safety Act. Among its requirements, along with a barrel tax on crude oil and updates to contingency plans for oil spills, was the establishment of the Salish Sea Shared Waters forum. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Salish Sea Shared Waters forum wraps up third and final year of work to reduce risks of oil spills

President Trump signs bill permanently funding Land and Water Conservation Fund

This is huge. And I want to thank Representative Derek Kilmer for having fought hard for this. We have covered this issue in the past on this website. A huge win during a bad time for environmental protection. Smart of Trump and the Republicans to strip away as many of our environmental protections and then turn around and back a bill like this just before the election to burnish their environmental creds. Happens all the time in politics. But good for Kilmer to recognize the opportunity and run with it. He worked in a bi-partisan way to get the job done. Now it’s time to focus on ousting the President and ending this nightmare of selling the environment to the highest bidder.

A landmark bill committing $900 million a year for land conservation and a one-time $9.5 billion boost to help catch up over the next five years on maintenance needs at national parks was signed into law by President Donald Trump Monday.The Great American Outdoors Act, S. 3422, will increase by two or three times the historic average amount of money spent by Congress for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The program, used to fund acquisitions from willing sellers for federal, state and local open space and outdoor recreation, is paid for from royalties earned on oil and natural gas leases on public lands. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

www.seattletimes.com

 

The Esselen Tribe of Big Sur regain some of their land -The Optimist Daily and other sources

This is not about our Peninsula, nor the Pacific NW. But the story how this tiny West Coast tribe, almost wiped out and by most people, assumed dead and gone, have revived themselves and their lands, is a story worth telling. As many of you know, there is a famous “new age” retreat here, primarily by and for wealthy white people, (I only reference the images on their web site that are almost uniformly white) called the Esselen Institute. There is no mention on their web site that their name is derived from the native tribe who’s land they sit on. No honor to the tribe at all.

 

The coast here is supremely rugged, and the people who chose to live here must also have been very experienced in living in this unique environment. They were, by all accounts, a gentle and peaceful people. Not a warrior tribe. They unfortunately apparently trusted the Spanish who turned against them quite quickly.

Anyone who has visited the coast of Monterey and south, can only imagine what it must have been like being able to subsist off vast amounts of seafood, shellfish and rivers teaming with salmon, along with acorns, camas, and other flora further inland . The rivers there held runs (and still do) of steelhead. According to the Western Rivers Conservancy, who bought the land and donated it to the tribe, “The ranch’s ridgetop grasslands and giant redwoods are ideal feeding and nesting habitat for California condor, and wildlife biologists predict the land will become part of the expanding range of recovery for this endangered bird”

All of this in one of the most hospitable climates outside of Italy. In my mind, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and an astonishingly welcome place for human habitation. It is no wonder why these people settled here. Now, a small correction to the incomparable suffering of these people over the last couple of hundred years, as they were driven out of their homes to be enslaved by Spaniards, beaten by priests, and ignored and murdered by whites, looking to settle their land, is being righted.

According to Wikipedia: “About 460 individuals have identified themselves as descendants of the original Esselen people and banded together to form a tribe.” After an extended battle for the ability to be accepted as a tribe, due to the work of the Western Rivers Conservancy, land along the Little Sur river have been bought for them.

We are living in an age of recovery. While recovery of natural habitats is important, as important is the recovery of native peoples to the lands they lived on, in a balance with nature, for thousands of years. Their struggle and their true love of their lands continues to be a guidepost for those of us moving from a culture of imperialism, war, racism and conquest, to one of balance, cultural diversity and peace. The work has barely begun and has a long time before it can be called, “complete”. If ever.

View of Adler Ranch, Big Sur, California Photo by Doug Steakley

 


The story below would be more accurate if it had said, “…were forcibly removed from their lands and enslaved in Spanish missions.” That is the truth of the matter.

After 250 years, the Esselen tribe has reclaimed their homelands

In 1770, the people of the Esselen Tribe of northern California were forcibly removed from their lands and brought to Spanish missions. But now, after more than 250 years, the Esselen tribe is landless no more.

This week, the Esselen tribe finalized the purchase of a 1,200-acre ranch near Big Sur, along California’s north-central coast, as part of a $4.5 million acquisition that involved the state and an Oregon-based environmental group. The deal signifies a return to their ancestral homelands. It is also a big win for environmentalists as the tribe will conserve old-growth redwoods and endangered wildlife such as the California condor and red-legged frog, as well as protect the Little Sur River, an important spawning stream for the imperiled steelhead trout.

 

https://www.optimistdaily.com/2020/07/after-250-years-the-esselen-tribe-has-reclaimed-their-homelands/

and

http://www.westernrivers.org/blog/entry/protectingacriticalstreamintheheartofbigsur

 

 

 

 

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