ZINKE ORDERS BROAD ROLLBACK OF WILDLIFE PROTECTIONS

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced a “commitment to defer” to state hunting and fishing practices on all lands within agency purview. His order is a stunning abdication of a more than century-old legal foundation of federal primacy for wildlife management on federal lands, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

In a September 10, 2018 Memorandum to Heads of Bureaus and Offices, Zinke declared that henceforth states will be the “first-line authorities for fish and wildlife management” on all Interior lands and that Interior “hereby expresses its commitment to defer to the States in this regard.” To implement this reversal, Zinke directs Interior agencies compile any “regulations, policies, guidance that pertain to public recreational use and enjoyment of fish and wildlife…that are more restrictive than otherwise applicable State provisions” within 45 days. Within 90 days after that, each agency is supposed to recommend steps “to better align its regulations, policies, and guidance with State provisions.”

“This across-the-board abandonment of federal fish and wildlife safeguards is rooted in an ideological stance unsupported by any factual analysis,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, arguing that Zinke ignores the fact that many state game agencies are funded by hunting and fishing license fees and pursue practices, such as predator control, to maximize that revenue. “Federal parks, preserves, and refuges have a mission to protect biodiversity and should not be reduced to game farms.”

A sample of what Zinke’s memo could usher in is reflected by his controversial order that the National Park Service open its Alaska preserves to questionable hunting and trapping techniques, such as killing bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens, luring bears with bait, and shooting swimming caribou from a motorboat. Zinke’s order would put any federal wildlife protection not required by law on a path to repeal. This could mean federal parklands, refuges, and rangelands may have to accommodate states:

• Introducing non-native fish to natural lakes in a park or exotic pheasants for upland game bird hunting;

• Eliminating all wolves or other natural predator populations in a game management area; or

• Approving destructive or dangerous hunting techniques, such as trapping in hiking venues, hunting with dogs even on island refuges, hunting contests, and absence of bag limits.

Zinke’s memo posits the premise that “State governments have consistently demonstrated their commitment to sustaining fish and wildlife resources in perpetuity for the benefit of both current and future citizens.” This statement not only is demonstrably untrue but ignores the conditions leading to enactment of the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Mr. Zinke says that he does not want to give away ownership of federal lands but happily cedes their management,” added Ruch. “With his penchant for sweeping yet ill-considered actions, Ryan Zinke is on a trajectory to become the worst Secretary of the Interior since Teapot Dome.”

Navy wants to use more Washington state parks for stealth SEAL training – Seattle Times

Just say no to this insanity! Please let your state and federal representatives know how you feel.

The Navy wants to use 29 state maritime parks for stealth SEAL training, but state parks officials have yet to begin a review of the plan and say approval is no sure thing.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/navy-wants-more-washington-state-parks-for-stealth-seal-training/?utm_source=marketingcloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning+Brief+3-12-18_3_12_2018

UPDATE: Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen appointed to EPA post in Seattle- Bellingham Herald

This article in the Bellinham Herald has been denied by State Senator Ericksen. No announcement at this moment on who will be heading Region 10 of the EPA. 

The cynical abuse of power by the Trump administration continues with no let up in sight. Appointing politicians who have spent their careers denigrating the various bureaucracies they now are placed in charge of, with the marching orders to shrink, gut and cut any power that these agencies have to do their jobs. Doug Erickssen is one such politician who has made it clear he hates the EPA.

As reported in Oregon Live.com “The work of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? It raises “the cost of operations so high that too many businesses are closing and too few new businesses are opening up.”

According to the Seattle PI – “The EPA under Trump has dismantled regulations and withdrawn efforts under the Clean Water Act to block a huge proposed mine in Alaska adjoining two of Bristol Bay’s major salmon producing rivers.”

Candidate Donald Trump said at the debate of March 3rd, 2016,” Department of Environmental Protection. We are going to get rid are of it in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.”

State Sen. Doug Ericksen has been appointed to a new job as the senior adviser to the Region 10 administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle. He will start his position some time in the near future, according to the executive assistant for Chris Hladick, the regional administrator for the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region. The Ferndale Republican, in an email, neither confirmed nor denied that he had a new job with the EPA. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article193252109.html

So is this what Washington State Republican voters expected?

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/

President’s fiscal 2018 budget would slash EPA spending by 30% – CNN and NY Times

Trumps dead on arrival budget and the disaster that it wants to create.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request would slash EPA spending by almost a third, according to a copy of the President’s proposal obtained by CNN.

The budget blueprint, which the White House plans to submit to Congress next week, would cut the EPA’s total budget by more than 30% and its operational budget by 35% compared to current funding levels.
Some of the biggest cuts would go to categorical grants for science and technology and environmental program and management spending, which would face 40% and 35% decreases, respectively. Some of the hardest-hit programs would include clean air efforts in the environmental program and management category, which would be cut nearly in half.
The budget would also zero out money for states for dealing with such problems as non-point source pollution, radon, lead, underground storage tanks, pollution prevention and beach protection.
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