Dems maintain control in Peninsula primaries

If there was any question about whether the Democrats (and Democratic incumbents at that) would maintain control of offices here on the Olympic Peninsula, that was pretty much laid to rest with the outcome of the primaries.

Senator Maria Cantwell (against a vast array of challengers), U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer,  State Representatives Tharinger and Chapman, all easily shook off the opposition, by very large percentages. In the hotly contested 5th District of Spokane, the race against the incumbent Republican Sally McMorris Rogers against newcomer Lisa Brown is in a virtual dead heat. Democrats from across the state have converged on Spokane to get out the vote, and they obviously succeeded. The November race will be one of the most closely watched in the country, along with likely being one of the most expensive as both parties will pour the money in to hold or win the seat. Obviously, the shenanigans in the White House and Congress did not help Ms. Rogers.

The 8th district is going to be tough. Dino Rossi easily overcame any opposition, and the Dems are going to have to coalesce behind their candidate, who at this moment appears to be Pediatrician Kim Schrier. However that race is too close to call at this moment.

In the usually Republican safe district 3,Jaime Herrera Beutler ran against the two Democratic opponents, Carolyn Long who brought in 36.1% of the votes and David McDevitt won 8.1% of the vote. If the Democrats can iron out their differences and show up to vote as a block in November, they should win.

Clallam County, which went for the President in the last election, decidedly shifted back to blue with the primary.  Republican candidates did very poorly in voter turnout. Democratic incumbents easily crushed Republican numbers.

In Jefferson County’s third district, the south part of the county, Greg Brotherton, a well liked owner of businesses, won over Ryan McCallister for the chance to run against Jon Cooke, the Republican challenger.

The Jefferson County Democratic faction called the “Progressives” did not succeed in their attempt to take over the  Jefferson County Democrats, as a majority of  the “Back on Track” Democratic Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) won the precincts that they needed to win by approximately 21 to 38 (some are still too close to call).  The “Back on Track” faction is primarily those Democrats who have successfully destroyed Republican candidates for a decade, delivered Jefferson County to Obama twice, Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and then successfully delivered the county to Hilary Clinton, which angers some of the Bernie supporters, who felt that because they had won the primary in 2016 and Hillary lost (although she won the popular vote both in WA and nationwide, only losing in a few states that had nothing to do with the local Dems), that they were entitled to take control of the local party. That’s the backstory of why you saw more PCO candidates this year than ever before in the history of the county.

The tactics of the “progressives” appeared to turn off a lot of Democratic voters. Having been at a few Democratic meetings, the take no prisoners attitude and lack of decorum shown at the monthly meetings by some of their supporters seemed better suited to the rough and tumble world of Seattle politics, rather than the laid back nature of Jefferson County.  Hopefully both  factions will  hold hands in a circle and sing  “Kumbaya” at the annual Fish Fry.  Sitting back and not participating because your candidate didn’t win is not an option.  All hands are needed on deck in November to ensure that environmental and human rights protections are retained in WA DC, against the onslaught of the current administration. There is  no time left to stop man made global warming. The goal now is to start to understand how to live with it, along with how to help the climate refugees of Puerto Rico, Redding,  Santa Rosa, and many other locations burning up in this country.  For all we know, we may be next. The Republicans would do well to own up to global warming destroying the lives and homes of their constituents (Redding went heavily for Rs in the last election, including the President). Why not create a war on carbon based global warming? We’ve crushed ISIS. We are in an endless war on terror. The next endless war should be with anything involved in using the internal combustion engine or coal. That will last a lifetime or two.

Other news is that Joe Nole trounced Sheriff Stanko. This was perhaps the surprise of the election.  His common sense approach to tackling the issues of the sheriff’s department and concerns of collusion between the sheriff’s office and ICE was on the minds of voters.

Kennedy beat Haas for prosecutor’s office.  Kennedy very successfully pointed out that he had quit the office and went to work for Clallam County (while still living in Jefferson) and wanted to bring back what he considered better management of the office. Apparently voters agreed.

Kudos need to go out to State Democratic chairperson Tina Podlowski, who tirelessly hammered away at Washington Democrats to donate and get out the vote. Locally, the Democratic party at many levels, both “Progressives”and  the “Back on Track” people all did huge efforts to get out the vote for their candidates, which helped overall turnout. While some lost and some won, democracy was affirmed by the large voter turnout in Jefferson County. It is hard to say you didn’t have someone to vote for that could affirm your point of view, whatever it was. And a reminder that some of the greatest politicians our country has ever seen, from many political perspectives, were losers at least once. Losing in politics only means that your tactics and timing were off. Maybe next time they will align. No hard feelings. This is politics. Someone always loses. Figure out why. Then fix it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DNR Proposes Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area

In an effort to protect some of the last remaining high quality lowland shorelines on the east side of the Hood Canal, the State Department of Natural Resources has proposed creation of a new conservation area. This was done in discussion with the Trust for Public Land, The Great Peninsula Conservancy and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. Those of you who have driven the North Shore road, from around the south end of the Canal from Belfair, will remember that as you start north from the SW point you encounter a beautiful estuary that is very lightly inhabited. That’s Dewatto Bay.

The state will eventually offer fair market value to landowners if this goes through. However there is no requirement that landowners sell. The state has used this kind of process to secure land for perpetuity in other locations including here on the Olympic Peninsula.

The proposed Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) seeks protection for approximately five miles of Hood Canal shoreline, including Dewatto Bay and Little Dewatto Bay. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), along with our partners at the Trust for Public Land, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, and Great Peninsula Conservancy, are proposing a 1,700 acre NRCA to ensure conservation of important Hood Canal features for enjoyment by future generations: Lowland forests, high-functioning riparian areas, and vital nearshore and estuary habitat for fish and wildlife.

DNR manages NRCAs for conservation, wildlife habitat and low-impact recreation uses. An NRCA designation does not change local land-use zoning, permitted land uses, or development code requirements, and it imposes no new restrictions on landowners.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conducted two public information meetings on June 26th and June 28th in Dewatto and Belfair concerning the proposal of the Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). Staff from DNR’s natural areas program will hold a public hearing and a public comment period later this summer to provide information and receive testimony on the proposed boundary.

View the Proposed Dewatto NRCA Factsheet and Proposed Dewatto NRCA Boundary Map.

For more information, contact

Katie Woolsey

Natural Areas Manager

206-375-3558

Groups Challenge Army Corps of Engineers’ Refusal to Protect Puget Sound Shorelines

Corps’ Seattle District violates Clean Water Act, endangers Sound recovery
May 21, 2018

Seattle, WA —A lawsuit filed today against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) charges that the agency has refused to assert its Clean Water Act jurisdiction over most shoreline armoring in Puget Sound, and that endangered species and Sound shorelines are suffering the negative impacts of the Corps’ continued inaction.

Washington Environmental Council, Sound Action and Friends of the San Juans filed the suit after the Corps rejected a science-based government recommendation to correct its unlawful definition of the Seattle District Corps’ jurisdiction over shoreline armoring projects.

The coalition, represented by Earthjustice, is calling for federal oversight of shoreline armoring by raising what the Corps’ Seattle District considers the “high tide line” in order to better protect at-risk species and the shorelines themselves. The lawsuit also calls for a response to the groups’ 2015 petition asking for jurisdictional decisions on four shoreline armoring projects. The groups contend a strong federal policy to protect shorelines is critical to Puget Sound recovery.

“Shoreline armoring impairs the health of Puget Sound by damaging nearshore habitat important for forage fish that feed salmon,” said Mindy Roberts, Puget Sound director for Washington Environmental Council. “Currently, federal agencies don’t consider impacts from these structures, because their definition of what constitutes ‘the shoreline’ is too lax.”

Background

Armoring is the placement of hard structures — boulders, jetties, seawalls — on shorelines to help prevent erosion. The Corps is required by law to review proposed armoring projects up to the “high tide line,” which is generally the line at which land meets the water. But the Corps’ Seattle District uses a much lower tidal marker (known as the “mean higher high water” mark). As a result, the Seattle District does not review the majority of armoring projects in Puget Sound.

The Corps’ failure to assert jurisdiction means there has been no federal oversight of whether most armoring projects in the Sound meet the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act or any other federal requirement.

Further, the Corps recently rejected an interagency recommendation to use a higher tidal marker, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, which prohibits arbitrary and capricious agency actions. In rejecting the recommendation, the Corps ignored sound science and the law.

“The Corps has known for years that its high tide line marker in Puget Sound is unlawfully low,” said Anna Sewell, Earthjustice attorney for the plaintiffs. “But the Corps put its head in the sand and rejected a science-based recommendation from three regional federal agencies — including the Seattle District Corps itself — to protect 8,600 acres of shoreline area by raising that marker.”

This troubling lack of federal support puts Puget Sound shorelines at risk of further deterioration, particularly when shoreline armoring is well documented to be one of the most significant risks to the Sound.

“Puget Sound is already on the brink of collapse due to continued habitat loss, and it’s critical that the laws put in place to protect nearshore ecosystems are both followed and enforced,” said Sound Action Executive Director Amy Carey. “Unless we act now, the forage fish, the salmon and the orcas that are so desperately struggling to survive will be lost forever. It’s up to all of us to ensure this doesn’t happen — and it starts by holding the permitting agencies accountable for doing their jobs.”

“By disavowing its statutory authority, the Corps has shielded harmful projects from a review of their impacts on critically endangered and culturally vital Northwest species,” added Kyle Loring, staff attorney, Friends of the San Juans. “Its high-tide interpretation also leaves state and local governments on their own, at a time when our publicly-funded agencies should be working together to do everything in their power to protect what remains of our region’s rich heritage.”

The Corps must respond to the lawsuit within 60 days.

Reporter Resource

Read the brief.

Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Politics – New Yorker

William Ruckelshaus, who ran the E.P.A. under Nixon and Reagan, said that Pruitt and his top staff “don’t fundamentally agree with the mission of the agency.” Margaret Talbot reports. (New Yorker) See also: The E.P.A. Says It Wants Research Transparency. Scientists See an Attack on Science. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/26/climate/epa-scientific-transparency-honest-act.html Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times)

 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/02/scott-pruitts-dirty-politics

Cantwell helps secure $25M increase in the Land and Water Conservation Fund

From Cantwell’s office:

As the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Cantwell fought back against the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the country’s most successful conservation program, and secured a $25 million increase in funding over last year’s levels. The funding also includes specific allocations for Washington state projects, including $1 million for Lake Chelan Natural Recreation Area, $5 million for Okanagan National Forest, $6.3 million for the Forest Legacy program in South Puget Sound, and $2 million for the Dewatto Headwaters. Cantwell has long promoted the program, touting its importance for conservation and its positive economic affects for Washington state. In March of 2017, she introduced a bill to permanently authorize and fully fund the LWFC, and she has steadfastly defended the program in the face of attacks.

Puget Sound cleanup survives Trump attempt to kill it -Seattle PI.com

Glad to hear that we continue to get money for the clean up of Puget Sound, a project that will take probably as long as it’s taken to pollute it. But the work will continue.

Of course the trade off is that the military budget was given more than ever. And the Navy will likely continue it’s expansion throughout the northwest Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Trump administration failed in its efforts to wipe out money to clean up Puget Sound and other waterways from Chesapeake Bay to the Great Lakes, as Congress has refused to dry up spending on water programs. Puget Sound gets $28 million as part of $8.08 billion in funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The Trump administration had wanted to slash EPA’s budget to $5.7 billion, in real dollars its lowest spending in 40 years. The money is contained in a mammoth omnibus federal spending bill, passed Thursday by the House of Representatives and due for final action Friday in the Senate. [The bill passed the Senate and awaits the President’s signature.] Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

 https://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Connelly-Puget-Sound-cleanup-survives-Trump-12775110.php

Governor Signs Ban on Atlantic Salmon

Grateful for all the legislators, tribal leaders and environmentalists who backed and pushed this through. Sad that it took a disaster to get this done, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. Now the lawsuits begin, and Tim Eyman is apparently going to try and get an initiative put in place to overturn this.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

The whole bill language is here.

http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/2957.PL.pdf

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