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:

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)

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)

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.

How much money could Trump take from science in WA? – KUOW

And this is only some of it.  The Trump recession that is coming as he dismantles science funding will affect us a lot here in the Puget Sound area. Behind the dollars are high paying white and blue collar jobs at these places.

A quick glance around Lake Union and you can tell there’s a lot of science happening in our state. With the Trump administration threatening cuts to research funding, we examined how much money this could mean for Washington state.

First of all, it’s difficult to lasso all the federal dollars going to science. So we zeroed in on two big agencies to get an overview: the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, looking at their reports for the 2016 fiscal year.

‘Job-killing regulations’ mantra and reality – Seattle Times

Regulations don’t kill jobs as much as shift them around. That doesn’t mean rules can’t cause pain locally. But an ill-advised rollback of regulations likely wouldn’t create many jobs, though it would increase dangers to health and the planet. Jon Talton writes. (Seattle Times)

Thoughts on the new Puget Sound Task Force – Salish Sea Communications

This was originally posted on Mike Sato’s “Salish Sea Communications“. It is a reply to Mike’s commentary on the newly formed Puget Sound Federal Task Force. It clarifies many things that probably could have been stated in a Press Release. With so many stakeholders out there, it seemed very confusing to many of us, and when people working for the Partnership did not know a thing about it in advance, I would have to stick with my perception  that it came out of the blue. However,  we appreciate Jacques White’s commentary.

The recent announcement from the White House did not come out of the blue. Congressman Denny Heck introduced the Puget SOS Act in September of 2015 and has been working advance the legislation since.

By this summer, it appeared that the Act, like many other pieces of federal legislation wasn’t going to get through Congress to the President by the end of his term. Congressman Heck along with Congressman Kilmer began working with federal agencies and the Puget Sound Partnership to look for other ways to move action on recovery of the Sound, and to foster greater federal investment and attention to the region. The funding announced is welcome, but the formation of a federal Taskforce in DC is perhaps more important, as it puts Puget Sound at an administrative level of attention closer to Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and the Florida Everglades. 

Of the $600M in new money, $450M is to support projects that came out of the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project , a joint effort of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife that started a major effort to evaluate nearshore problems and project ideas in 2001. The final Engineer’s Report released this year identifies over $1 billion in nearshore related projects, and the three projects targeted for the first phase estimated to cost $450M. The $20M for the Skokomish River and the $23M for the Mud Mountain Dam are similarly well vetted USACOE projects that address specific habitat or barrier problems and were ripe for inclusion in a funding package.

The $124M in federal funding is for the implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda and represents a 5 year commitment for EPA to match an equal investment from the state of Washington. It should be noted that all of the investments will require Congressional or state legislative appropriations, but the commitments from the executive branch, EPA and the Department of Defense to move forward on these positive steps to recover Puget Sound are significant.

This is all important work, but does not encompass even all the nearshore habitat needs, let alone the water quality issues we face which by some estimates amount to a staggering $500 billion dollar price tag if we were to capture and treat all stormwater in the Puget Sound Basin.

But as I mentioned previously, perhaps the most significant portion of the recent announcement is the formation of the federal Taskforce. From the announcement:

“The Task Force announced today is designed to effectively approach the multi-faceted threats these ecosystems face through development of a “Puget Sound Action Plan” to better coordinate federal programs and focus restoration efforts. The Task Force will develop this action plan in collaboration with the State of Washington and in consultation with tribal governments, as well as through input from a diverse group of stakeholders.

In particular, the Task Force will build on identified priorities in three categories: stormwater management, shellfish sustainability, and habitat protection and expansion.”

It should be noted that the “Puget Sound Action Plan” is for the federal agencies, and we can hope that it parallels the Puget Sound Action Agenda developed by Puget Sound Partnership, and that it focuses greater federal investment of our national time and treasure to recover Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.

The announced investments are relevant, valuable and timely. I would not get too worked up about whether you were deeply involved in the timing or content of the recent announcement, which was driven by strategies relevant inside the Washington, DC beltway. I would put your energy into supporting the planned expenditures in Congress and in the state legislature, and I would focus on getting your voices heard as the federal Taskforce works with regional interests to develop their action plan.

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