Clean fuel legislation could be blocked again by one WA Democrat – Investigate West

The power of the oil industry continues to contaminate our state legislators, even with Dems in control. Can they push this through, around the objections of a Democrat who apparently doesn’t get the issue of climate change yet? 

“The annual push in Olympia to promote electric vehicles and biofuels at the expense of gasoline and “dinosaur” diesel has again failed to woo a key senator who killed the bill twice before. But whether that will matter this time is an open question…This year’s bill, House Bill 1091, cleared the state House of Representatives, 52-46, and passed a Senate committee hearing Tuesday morning. While boosters celebrate the bill’s progress, it may yet land before the Senate Transportation Committee — the place where the idea stalled in 2019 and 2020. The Transportation Committee chairman, Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, declined to put the legislation up for a vote both years, and still isn’t smitten with it. “Levi Pulkkinen reports. (InvestigateWest)

The future is arriving, and it’s not cheap

This New York Times article documents the increasingly difficult position coastal communities are being put in as man-made climate change heats the planet and raises the oceans. One can continue to pretend that it’s not happening, that it’s all a hoax, but it’s very real to these people in North Carolina.

www.nytimes.com/2021/03/14/climate/outer-banks-tax-climate-change.html

Great web site for tracking state legislative bills

Recently I stumbled on this web site for tracking bills and the legislators that are backing them. Check it out.

Legiscan https://legiscan.com/WA/

New Challenge to Navy EIS by COER

The Whidbey Island group “citizens of the ebey’s reserve” (COER)   is continuing it’s challenge to the Navy Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). These rubber stamp items never seem to be anything more than a bureaucratic formality rather than a serious opportunity for the public to challenge Navy demands to our waters and air.


The 60-Day Letter 

Threats to Northwest Washington
The United States military is waging a war on Americans and the living environments that are located next to their military installations. Civilians, communities, and the natural environment including the entire Puget Sound estuary have become casualties of that war. In Northwest Washington, the communities and waters—known as the Salish Sea—surrounding the Olympic Peninsula, San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands, and Puget Sound are under assault by the Navy…including iconic and endangered species such as the Marbled Murrelet and the Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) and decreasing numbers of salmon. 

Northwest Washington communities have partnered with the military to do their part for national security. In 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced its decision to vastly expand the Navy’s Growler jet program and electronic warfare training over Whidbey Island, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Peninsula. The impacts of more jets flying more often include deafening noise, poisoned air, land and water, livelihoods in jeopardy, and harm to threatened species in Northwest Washington. In making its decision, military leadership ignored the objections of citizens, organizations, elected officials, and public agencies. 

Because few public processes exist to ensure citizen input on military issues, SDA and its member groups (together representing 25,000 Washingtonians) have joined forces to seek a balance between the needs of the military and the needs of impacted communities. SDA encourages economic diversification and defends policies and institutions designed to preserve our land, air, water, and wildlife. 

COER, a founding group member of the Sound Defense Alliance has initiated legal action against the Navy’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, as well as other legal challenges over the past 8 years, including the attached 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue under the Endangered Species Act. 

The attached 60-day notice alerts government agencies of their violation of Section 7 of the ESA for failing to reinitiate formal consultations with regard to the NWTT SEIS and the Growler EIS.  These agencies have a duty to reinitiate consultation when “new information reveals effects of [their] action that may affect listed species or critical habitat in a manner or to an extent not previously considered.” 50 C.F.R. § 402.16(a)(2).  The duty to reinitiate Section 7 consultation in this case is triggered by Kuehne’s new scientific findings on Growler noise under water.  

These projects cannot legally go forward without new biological opinions that consider the effects of Growler noise radiating great distances in all directions from the air-water interface.  Moreover, the new biological opinions must analyze the effects of Growler noise deep underwater in conjunction with the effects of vast and increasing man-made noise affecting the underwater environment and the marine fauna that live and breed there. 

Listed government agencies have 60 days in which to consider COER’s notice and to reinitiate consultation in these projects before COER can file suit under the ESA.  

COER has offered to meet and confer with the agencies as to the violations noticed.

Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve (COER) is represented by Bricklin & Newman, LLP, attorneys at law, 1424 Fourth Avenue, Ste. 500, Seattle, WA 98101, telephone 206.264.8600.  

For more information on COER: search “citizens of the ebey’s reserve” on Facebook; or visit citizensofebeysreserve.com/

Mission Blue and SR³ brings Hope Spot to Salish Sea

Interesting new marine hospital comes to the Pacific NW with the help of a number of non-profits from here. The head of this project appears to be Dr. Sylvia Earle one of the legends of Marine Science and environmental education. All good news.


For Immediate Release
SALISH SEA DECLARED A HOPE SPOT IN CELEBRATION OF NEW MARINE ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Executive Director and Veterinary Nurse Casey Mclean examines an elephant seal’s vital signs. NOAA Permit 18786

SEATTLE – February 17 – The Salish Sea has been declared a Hope Spot by international nonprofit Mission Blue in recognition of SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) and their partners’ conservation goals to protect the local marine biodiversity. SR³ is kicking off their celebration as the Hope Spot Champions with the opening of a new marine animal hospital in Des Moines, Wash., coming soon.

Connecting the waters between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada, the Salish Sea is bursting with iconic and beloved creatures like the endangered Southern Resident killer whales and humpback whales. As the original inhabitants of the sea, these mammals called the region home thousands of years before human beings walked to draw borders between countries, build ports, and develop commercial fishing to feed the rest of the two-legged world. Today, man’s impact on the ocean has created increasing threats for marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.



Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “The Salish Sea holds immensely important biodiversity. This body of water has provided the residents of Seattle up to Vancouver with vital natural resources for millennia. We must act now if we want to protect the ocean and its inhabitants from the destructive effects of human interference. I want to thank SR³ and their partners for their important work in marine animal research and rehabilitation – it’s so important that people are aware of the creatures that they share the ocean with. If the whales, seals and dolphins aren’t healthy, humans won’t be healthy, either.”

Casey Mclean, Hope Spot Champion and Executive Director of SR³, explains how marine animals serve as important indicators of ocean health and of environmental changes that can impact humans. She elaborates, “From warming ocean waters to entanglements, marine animals are increasingly suffering.” She continues, “Without a specialized marine wildlife hospital in the region, many sick and injured animals are left without hope for survival. It also limits our ability to gain insights that would drive protections for many more animals.”

From injured seals to entangled whales, SR³ works to ensure that struggling marine animals receive the expert help they need. Their SeaLife Rescue Center – the first marine wildlife specialty hospital in the Pacific Northwest – is opening soon. As a community-supported nonprofit, SR³ relies on donations from individuals who wish to invest in the health of their blue backyard.

The Salish Sea is home to some of the largest and longest-lived marine species on Earth, including the North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), the giant Pacific chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri), the largest barnacle (Balanus nubilus), plumose anemone (Metridium senile), the largest sea anemone, cabezon, lion’s mane jellyfish, and 25 species of rockfish that have life spans of 50-200 years.

Protecting the animals of the Salish Sea will benefit the entire ecosystem – regardless of human boundaries. New conservation policies and activities can draw attention to the many rivers and streams that feed into the sea that are in desperate need of habitat restoration and protection.

Cristina Mittermeier, internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, Managing Director and Co-founder at SeaLegacy, describes SeaLegacy’s work as a Hope Spot partner. “If we want to live in a healthy and abundant Salish Sea, we must first imagine what that looks like. With images and stories, SeaLegacy is inviting us to imagine a different balance between business and nature. If we can ignite an imagined future in which orcas are thriving, fish populations are revered, coastal communities re-engineer their economies to sustain tourism instead of squandering our finite resources, and the knowledge and rights of the First Nations of this land are honored, then I am sure we can turn the hope encapsulated in the idea of this Hope Spot, into a reality we can gift the next generation.”


Mclean elaborates, “By teaching people how their everyday actions are connected to local marine health – and ultimately their own health – we can make the Pacific Northwest a safer and healthier home for marine animals – and for all of us!”
        
“We live, work and play near and in these waters and recognize that the region is on the brink of something incredible. We can achieve a resilient, sustainable, and healthy Salish Sea by bringing together diverse voices, building a movement around a shared ocean ethic, and by igniting hope,” said Dr. Erin Meyer, Director of Conservation Programs and Partnerships at the Seattle Aquarium. “Designating the Salish Sea as a Mission Blue Hope Spot connects us to communities around the world who are working together to catalyze positive change.” 
        
As SR3 delivers emergency response for sick, injured or entangled marine animals, they collect critical data in the process that helps drive broader protections. For instance, as they work to free entangled whales, responders also learn how they became entangled and work closely with fishermen and government agencies to develop ways to prevent entanglements in the future. Using drones to conduct scientific research, SR³ collects important health data that informs protections for dwindling populations such as the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

SR³ and their partners believe that improving the health of the Salish Sea will require a hands-on approach from all angles. Their goals for the Hope Spot also include to deepen working relationships with local tribal entities, create a place of union between the many non-government organizations (NGOs) working to protect the life within the Salish Sea, and increasing public action for the support of legislation that impacts the Salish Sea and its inhabitants. In order to ignite the public’s response, they’re working to educate residents within the Salish Sea watershed about how its protection is critical for human health.

The Salish Sea Hope Spot partner organizations include Pacific Mammal ResearchWhale and Dolphin ConservationSeaLegacySeattle AquariumMarine Conservation InstituteOcean WiseEarth Law CenterSea SmartCoextinction FoundationPNW ProtectorsUnited and Free.

Despite the decimation of its species, the inundation of pollution from poorly planned development, and elimination of some critical habitats, the Salish Sea has survived. 

“All is not lost,” stresses Mclean. “This ecosystem is still alive. It is resilient, and we have the opportunity to restore it. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it.”


About SR³ – SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) rescues and protects marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. With a marine wildlife ambulance, response vessel, and specialized veterinary staff, SR³ fills a unique role in the West Coast’s marine mammal stranding network. The organization’s expert first responders stand ready to deploy every day to ensure suffering marine animals receive the expert care they so urgently need. SR³ also works to address the root cause of marine animal health issues through scientific research projects. A major focus of this program is the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, using drones to collect health data that inform conservation actions important to their survival. The organization will open the region’s first marine wildlife specialty hospital early this year. www.sr3.org

About Mission Blue – Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Esri ArcGIS. www.mission-blue.org

Please contact Casey Mclean, SR³ Executive Director at casey@sr3.org or (425) 346-9798 for high resolution images, interviews or more information.

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— 

 EMILY CRAWFORD Founder / LUMINOSITY PR
 Pronouns: she/her/hers 206.880.3977 / Emily@LuminosityPR.com
 www.LuminosityPR.com

EVENT! Great Rivers of the West

This is a great idea for winter fun inside! Never had a chance to float one of the great rivers of the west? Now you have no excuse! You don’t even have to get wet, and you can decide which one you want to do for real! Oh, by the way, it helps a great organization too. Since the image below doesn’t have live links, go to westernrivers.org to sign up.

2021 State Legislative Update on Environment Issues

Rather than try to do this myself, the Puget Sound Partnership is tracking all the bills. Here’s there public PowerPoint on them.

https://pspwa.app.box.com/s/wagot10sy95a4fixrhioberup485mqza

Biden to place environmental justice at center of sweeping climate plan -WA POST

President Biden has implemented a breathtaking array of executive orders to address climate change this week. It is the most radical overhaul of environmental laws in decades. While there is much more to be done, the importance of these immediate steps cannot be underestimated. We applaud the serious nature that these represent. Obviously, the devil is in the details, but it signals a sea change. Don’t dismiss this!

The president plans far-reaching actions to cut carbon emissions, aid polluted communities and shift the nation away from fossil fuels. The administration will treat climate change ‘as the emergency that it is,’ one top adviser says.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/01/26/biden-environmental-justice-climate/

EVENT: Climate Assembly Online Open House & Launch Party

From John Cambalik.

Please consider registering for our Climate Assembly Open House and Launch Party!


Please forward this email to others who might be interested.


In the interim, check out the wealth of information being presented during the Washington (State) Climate Assembly!

On January 12, 2021, 80 assembly members, who represent Washington State in miniature, convened for the Inaugural Assembly Meeting of the first ever, in the United States, Climate Assembly.
Learning Sessions are livestreamed here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvsfOyeeCAzECRs-s7sNGCw.
Assembly details and recordings can be found here: https://www.waclimateassembly.org/assembly-details.
YICC,
John Cambalik, Volunteer

People’s Voice On Climate

Phone: 360-797-3161
Email: john@peoplesvoiceonclimate.org
Six Simple Things You Can Do Today:
• Read an article or watch a video about climate assemblies.
• Sign up for our newsletter. • Tell your friends about our climate assembly—this press release is a good start.
• Ask your state legislators to learn about, support, and endorse the Assembly.
• Go to the Assembly and PVOC websites to follow/share on social media.
Donate.

State Senator Van de Wege introduces bill to ban seabed mining.

This idea is a good start to protect the seabed from mining efforts and I’m glad to see Senator Van de Wege getting ahead of this issue before it becomes a problem.Too often in the past we have allowed bad environmental practices to go on until science shows us the error of our ways. This bill is working off the science done elsewhere so we don’t have to repeat the same mistakes.

It’s unclear at this point as to who will be opposing this bill. But it will be worth following to see who shows up to testify against it. It’s slated to go to a public committee meeting on 26 January.

Press Release from State Senator Van de Wege.


Dear friends and neighbors,

It’s great when we enact laws to correct or eliminate activities that are causing harm. What’s even better is when we can address a problem before it even becomes a problem.

That’s the goal of my legislation to ban seabed mining, a growing industry that ravages natural habitat to extract minerals and deposits from the ocean floor. Simply put, seabed mining sucks up the ocean floor to capture metals, minerals and gemstones. This gouges the seabed, creating plumes of sediment that resettle in surrounding areas and can smother deep sea vents. The threat to marine life is obvious — locally we could see serious disruption to crabbing, fishing and shellfish. But the risks extend as well to scientific progress — some of these species are uniquely adapted to the lack of sunlight and intense pressure of deep water, and might prove critical to the research and development of medicines, protective gear and other applications.

So far, seabed mining has not been practiced in our state — and Senate Bill 5145 will ensure that it never is. The legislation would prohibit our state Department of Natural Resources from issuing permits or leases for mining on state-owned aquatic lands along our coast from Cape Flattery south to our state’s southern border, as well as in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River downstream from the Longview bridge. The bill will be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.

President Biden’s first day. Environmental recovery begins.

On his first day in office, President Biden immediately sought to place a firm stake in the ground that the environment would be a lead issue. He issued an executive order stating his goal to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement. The process will take 30 days. He also issued orders for his agencies to review and as appropriate reverse the 100+ Trump actions that were hampering environmental quality around the country. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, which will be a significant blow to the struggling economy of Alberta, while protecting water resources for native tribes and hopefully lowering the emissions that this terribly polluting fuel source would have on air quality and climate change. Alberta needs to wake up to the reality that banking it’s future on tar sands is a losing proposition.

There are over 100 environmental regulations that Trump’s cronies implemented while he was in office. I say that they implemented them, because there was no indication that Trump himself knew anything about any of these issues, and they were simply brought to him by the hand picked hatchet men from industry that were put in offices by a variety of right wing industrial donors. Whatever they brought him, he signed. He was clear that whatever they wanted, he would do for them. But really help the voters that put him in office? That was a joke.

Biden brings an intelligence to the office that Trump never showed. Trump could have offset his anti-environmental moves with a massive infusion of government money into American industries and infrastructure rebuilding, creating millions of jobs across the country fixing roads and bridges. He failed to take advantage of his position. He squandered his time in office on petty issues and infighting.

Biden’s first steps are not just window dressing, but real substance that will have financial consequences for places like Alberta and many companies profiting from the XL pipeline in North and South Dakota. But fixing the environment will undoubtably bring financial consequences both good and bad. Some people will win, some will lose. There is no way to handhold everyone as we move towards a new era that may slow climate change, or keep us from not being swept away by it. To those people who are unhappy about possibly losing their jobs in the oil fields of Alberta and North Dakota, my answer to you is that tens of thousands of your fellow Canadians and those in California, Oregon and Washington State, among millions more around the world, in the Amazon, in Australia that have been displaced and made homeless by the massive climate induced fires that have spread everywhere as the consequences of burning fossil fuel come home to roost. Your few jobs are vastly offset by those casualties, and the industries that replace those jobs will be much larger and more dispersed to local communities. Installation of solar panels is one such industry as is the nascent production of electric vehicles.

We’ll continue to explore the ramifications to us here on the peninsula on Biden’s first 100 days.

We have survived Trump. Now to fix the environmental damage done.

The direct destruction brought about by ex-President Donald Trump has gratefully ended. We sit huddled in our homes and businesses, waiting out vaccines he promised but barely delivered, as a pandemic he brashly claimed would “just vanish” continues to wreak havoc with out economy and lives. Now, at least, we can begin the work of creating a better set of environmental protections than before. Rebuilding allows one to redesign and improve from the original, if needed. We clearly now see we need improvement in the laws that Trump and his band of thieves created or demolished in their four long years of infamy. It’s not just the Capital that lays smashed, but our sense that government might protect us from the worse parts of Capitalism. A terrorist from a foreign country could not have done a better job of kicking out so many of the pillars of this democracy. But we endured and now there is work to be done.

He left us granting pardons to some of his notorious henchmen (i.e. Steve Bannon, charged with pillaging a non-profit that raised funds for Trump’s border wall) and a raft of Executive Orders to finally overturn the people’s will and allow the drilling of oil in the Alaska wildlife refuge, among many others. This action, unneeded in a world awash in oil due to depressed economic activity was only done out of spite and to enrich the very companies who claim in their green-washing advertising to be working towards a new business model of “alternative fuels”.

With vast landscapes having been burned to the ground in fires that stunned even the most grizzled fire fighting veterans; thousands of our fellow countrymen and women left homeless from them, and global heat rising year after year to unprecedented levels, the challenges that we face seem overwhelming. We need to work together now more than ever, or face a total collapse into something far worse than destroyed ancient Rome. Democracies and Republics are fragile, there wasn’t one between ancient Greece & Rome and the 1700s. That’s a long time to go under the thumb of corrupt rulers. Trump took our democracy to the brink. Given what he unleashed in his last days, another four years of his Presidency would have altered us forever for the worse.

So I wish all of us to lay aside the anger and threats. There is a ton of work to be done building a new green economy, which is already underway right in front of our eyes. Electric cars, reusable packaging, solar electricity, recycling of existing trash, and lots more has been done and is being refined with every turn of the creative wheel of our industries here and around the world. We need immigrants from everywhere to help us build it. My great grandparents arrived here with nothing. Zero. My father, grandfather, grandmother and grand uncles pulled themselves out of poverty to go on to great careers that helped their communities. Immigrants are who we are, along with the descendants of slaves and native peoples we pushed to the brink in our creation of this country.

So there are things you can do, small and large things, depending on your ability and your financial position. But there are things you can do.

I wish President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris all the best. I leave you with the words of a superb artist out of the British Isles, Charlie MacKesy. His book “The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse” is a new best seller and an instant classic.

“This is getting harder”, said the boy.

“Then every step you take is a bigger victory” said the horse.

NW Salmon “Teetering on the brink of extinction” – KNKX

More evidence that we are not doing enough, and perhaps we are doing the wrong things. More science is needed, and more enforcement of rules protecting habitat and species. Time is about up. We have gone in one generation from vast schools of the finest protein source imaginable to zero.


Washington’s salmon are “teetering on the brink of extinction,” according to a new report. It says the state must change how it’s responding to climate change and the growing number of people in Washington. Washington’s State of Salmon in Watersheds report says time is running out for the Northwest’s iconic fish. The report, which is issued every two years, shows a trend of warming waters and habitat degradation is causing trouble for its salmon runs. Ten of the 14 threatened or endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the state are not getting any better. Of those, five are “in crisis.” Courtney Flatt and Bellamy Pailthorp report. (KNKX)

Report lays out bleak picture of Northwest salmon ‘teetering on the brink of extinction’

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.

Cooke’s Washington steelhead switch approved – The Fish Site

As long time readers of this blog will note, I am highly critical of the state granting permission to this company, which did such a horrible job of managing it’s facilities in the past. They showed by their previous actions to be incapable of being trusted in their maintenance and operational quality. The State also has fault, in that the legislature allowed, in years gone by, to have the over-site of the pens split between two different state agencies. The hope is that the over-site has been significantly strengthened, and that given the fiasco they brought to themselves that they have learned something. The article sited here only mentions that they passed the State’s scientific muster. No mention of tighter rules and regs on the farms.

They have also been working with some tribes locally in a type of partnership, which was to be expected as the tribes supported shutting down the raising of Atlantic salmon but did not want to back removing the pens. I predicted then that the tribes would be looking to get into the net pen business as Cooke was evicted, and here we are. The “science” that found that there is no ‘harm’ to the environment likely downplayed the destruction to the benthic layer under the farms, which is total and for all practical purposes, permanent, as long as the farm is there. We’ve seen NOAA downplay this risk, in order to promote aquaculture.

Cooke Aquaculture has been granted permission to start growing steelhead at four of its former salmon sites in Washington State.

https://thefishsite.com/articles/cookes-washington-steelhead-switch-approved

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.      

Quinault Tribe recall 29 tons of Dungeness crab – AP

If you bought crab between Dec. 23-28th, you must read this. I would suggest not eating it.


Nearly 29 tons of Dungeness crab is being voluntarily recalled by the Quinault Tribe. The recall affects live and uneviscerated Dungeness crab.  The crabs are being recalled due to possible elevated marine toxin levels. The toxin is called domoic acid, which can be harmful to people if the contaminated shellfish are consumed. The crab was caught by the tribe from Dec. 23-28 and sold to food processors in Washington. (Associated Press)

Quinault Tribe recall 29 tons of Dungeness crab due to toxin

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

Huge Herring Balls in San Juans

Friends of the San Juans have been keeping an eye on the waters of the islands and recently got to witness a herring event! These balls attract a huge number of predators and are a basis of much of the food for whales, birds and other fish. They have given me the ability to publish a few of their shots. With thanks to Jess Newley from Friends of the San Juans for the use of the photos! Might be a good idea to include them in your end of year giving if you can! Also thanks to Anne Schaffer of the Coastal Watershed Institute.

(an earlier version of this post incorrectly identified this as a spawning event.)

Humpback and flocks of gulls and marine diving birds (the most murrelets we’ve seen in over a decade) are just a few surface ‘tells’ of the seasonal migration underway.

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

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