Foot by foot, shoreline bulkhead removal outpaces construction – Watching Our Waterways

More good news. And why our work here at the Jefferson County MRC is so important. Shoreline soft shore projects continue to be a core priority of our work.  We have held homeowner workshops in the last year, and funded activities to help homeowners get projects going.

Christopher Dunagan writes: “It’s always nice when I can report a little good news for Puget Sound recovery. For the second year in row, we’ve seen more shoreline bulkheads ripped out than new ones put in. After officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife completed their compilation of permit data for 2015, I can say that 3,097 feet of old armoring were removed, while 2,231 feet were added….” (Watching Our Water Ways)


Hood Canal estuary (Duckabush) eyed for federal project

Great news. This would be a superb project to see funded!

A Hood Canal estuary has topped a long list of Puget Sound restoration projects that could get a powerful dose of federal funding. The Army Corps of Engineers ranked the Duckabush River estuary south of Brinnon as one of three priority projects out of 500 sites considered in Puget Sound. If approved by Congress, about $63 million would be spent reconnecting the river to its floodplain and tidal wetland. Highway 101 has cut off the river from the estuary for nearly a century. The project would remove road sections, culverts, berms and small bridges and construct an elevated 1,100-foot-long bridge upstream from the estuary. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Squid Eggs found along Elwha shore


Squid eggs, Beach Lake shore, east Elwha delta (Anne Shaffer/CWI)

Squid eggs in wrack line along restored Beach Lake shoreline, 20 October
Anne Shaffer of Coastal Watershed Institute writes: “… We’ve not seen these in the Elwha nearshore before. Squid have historically been a very important food resource for our region’s salmon and marine birds. They all but disappeared from our radar 15 or so years ago-but seem to have returned to the central Strait nearshore this summer and fall. An exciting new observation for Elwha nearshore that we hope is a harbinger for our future marine ecosystems.”

Working for *real* climate improvement

More on the issue if I-732. Want to affect real change, not just tax the polluters in a vague attempt to bring about some promises for lowering greenhouse gases?  Want to actually do a radical change? How about  installing vast amounts of non polluting wind and solar systems? China is doing it, apparently. This is one reason I am so skeptical of I-732 actually accomplishing anything, beyond making it’s voters feel good about voting for it. Let’s go get something real done!

China’s Wind Co. Profits, share price soar by 60%: 2 Turbines an Hour being Installed

But to balance this with more on the reality of the Chinese system. It is  also building coal fired plants. However, it is still true that they are radically overbuilding wind capacity. That is a *good* thing. At some point, the ability to store wind and solar will be invented, and that time is not long from now, given current trends. At that point, we can assume that China will be ready to quickly change over to wind.

China has been building two wind turbines every hour, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has told BBC News.
This is the world’s biggest programme of turbine installation, double that of its nearest rival, the US.
The nation’s entire annual increase in energy demand has been fulfilled from the wind.
But the IEA warns China has built so much coal-fired generating capacity that it is turning off wind turbines for 15% of the time.
The problem is that coal-fired power stations are given priority access to the grid.
An IEA spokesman told BBC News: “The rather rosy statement on wind energy hides the issue that 2015 and the first half of 2016 also saw record new installations of coal.
“China has now a clear over-supply. In the province of Gansu, 39% of wind energy had to be curtailed (turned off because there is not enough capacity on the grid).
The average European wind farm is forced to stop generating between 1-2% of the year.

‘Unsustainable’ position

He said: “China’s position is clearly unsustainable. It will need strong policy decisions, including the construction of many more grid lines and a phase-out policy for older, more inefficient coal power plants.”
State media has reported China’s plans to impose a moratorium on all new coal-fired plants until 2018.
The IEA says China installed more than 30,000 MW of new wind energy in 2015 – partly thanks to a rush driven by the Chinese government making its existing subsidies less attractive.
Construction has slackened in 2016, but only to a level of more than one turbine per hour.
Steve Sawyer from the Global Wind Energy Council told BBC News: “China’s build up of its capacity in wind – and now solar – is truly without parallel.
“It is no surprise that the Chinese grid’s capability to integrate this variable renewable energy has not progressed at the same rate, but to change this situation China needs to rapidly progress with electricity market reform.”
China has a recent history of setting targets on energy and climate change that it is sure it can achieve.

Local Call for donations for Standing Rock

Slightly off topic to the Peninsula, but worth noting. This in from members of Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship who have returned from Standing Rock.

We are writing to bring attention to the great need (and opportunity) to support the Standing Rock Sioux, more than 300 other Indigenous Tribal Groups from the Americas, and many other American citizens. Thousands of individuals and groups have gathered at Standing Rock, joining there in peaceful actions to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across Sacred Tribal Lands and under the Missouri River, which is the source of the region’s drinking water.

A group from Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, led by Rev. Florence Caplow, journeyed to Standing Rock and suggest that it is best to contribute funds, so that Native Peoples can purchase what they know best is required to survive the Dakota winter, and so that they will be able to sustain opposition to the invasion of their sacred lands, and prevent significant risk of toxic contamination of their Missouri River drinking water supply.

The Pipeline is intended to carry large quantities of volatile Bakken oil from North Dakota to refineries in Illinois (1,172 miles).  Transportation of volatile Bakken oil was responsible for the huge, lethal explosions of an oil train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, July 2013, resulting in the deaths of 47 citizens and destruction of most of the town’s buildings.

Peaceful, unarmed “Water Protector” Native Americans (Elders, Women, and their Children) have been pepper-sprayed, and attacked by guard dogs deliberately set upon them as they tried to keep bulldozers from destroying ancient gravesites.

Snow-filled Dakota winter days bring temperatures often as low as 40 degrees below zero.  Peaceful defenders of their land and water have  great need of warm clothing, supplies of water and food, firewood, etc.

Please contribute as much as you can, as soon as you can, to:–dakota-access-pipeline-donation-fund/

Native Peoples Connections Action Group  –  Green Sanctuary Committee

Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Port Townsend, WA

No on I-732

I have taken a bit of heat lately, over my decision to vote NO on I-732. I have been following the debate on this initiative for over a year, and feel I have a pretty good grasp on the issue. My analysis: It’s the wrong initiative at the right time. 

First, off. When I read a quote in the New York Times, by the person who is behind the initiative that says (the writer is talking about the initiative writer) :

This brings me back to my friend, Yoram Bauman, who sent me that headline. He is an environmental economist and stand-up comedian (yes, an unusual combo). He is also one of the leaders of the effort in Washington State to pass a carbon tax. He has been working tirelessly to build support.

Based on his experiences, he has a message for environmental activists: “I am increasingly convinced that the path to climate action is through the Republican Party. Yes, there are challenges on the right — skepticism about climate science and about tax reform — but those are surmountable with time and effort. The same cannot be said of the challenges on the left: an unyielding desire to tie everything to bigger government, and a willingness to use race and class as political weapons in order to pursue that desire.

That, my friends, is absurd on it’s face. Those of in the environmental movement (left right and center) have been stymied again and again by the Congress, controlled by the very same Republican Party that Yoram claims wants to solve the issue. They not only have offered no alternatives, but they deny it’s even a problem. You may remember that the last time they crafted an energy bill, under Dick Cheney, the did not even invite one environmental representative to the meetings. At that meeting, they put together legislation that allowed fracking to be done with no environmental oversight. They allowed fracking fluid to be dumped, and it is still dumped, in our rivers and oceans every day with no environmental oversight. Since then, over the last 8 years, they have stymied any attempt to put in place climate change law. They are boasting that they will overturn the Paris Climate agreement if Trump should win and they take over Congress and the Presidency. Luckily, that seems a long shot at this moment.

Mr. Bauman seems very naive about how the political sausage gets made. In this year of Donald (I will end the EPA) Trump, Dr. Jill (I’m not so sure about vaccines) Stein, and Gary (no need to worry about global warming as the sun will burn us up in a billion years) Johnson, is it surprising to find bad ideas made into an initiative by someone saying something like this? Is there something we are missing in his motives? According to his resume, he is a PhD in Economics. Frankly, I’m burned out on economists trying to force their voodoo on us. Think I’m alone in this thought? None other than the venerable David Suzuki supports this line of thinking. A quick thought on economists by David.

The initiative will give huge tax breaks to Boeing, will reduce the tax on all manufacturing businesses, while stripping tax revenues, if their predictions prove wrong, from the State just as the state needs it to fund basic education, something it has not been doing properly, well forever, according to the Supreme Court of Washington. The Seattle Times said, “state officials, who have forecast that instead of being revenue neutral as intended, I-732 would bring at least a short-term cut to the general fund of $797.2 million over six fiscal years.” We cannot afford a roll of the dice like that now. Education funding is at stake. In Jefferson County I’m finding  some of the same people wanting to McCleary fully funded supporting this initiative. Help me understand how this won’t affect the McCleary funding fiasco?

Reducing the B&O tax on manufacturing gives a huge tax break to Boeing. And what about the rest of the small businesses who pay B&O? They likely will find themselves right in the cross hairs of more tax increases because who else is going to be taxed to raise the money to meet the McCleary Decision?

It seems like a dream initiative. They say that no one gets hurt. I just don’t believe that for a minute.

Will the initiative actually help those affected by the rising prices of fossil fuel? The analysis by Siteline, which was generally in favor of I-732 glided over the following statement, “Still, it does have a hole in it: some 340,000 low-income families do not qualify for the Working Families Tax Credit. Some of them, perhaps many of them, will end up worse off by tens of dollars each year because the sales tax cut won’t fully offset their increased carbon costs. Some of them might come out as much as a few hundred dollars a year behind. The Working Families Tax Credits and sales tax cuts are important improvements on the status quo, but we lament I-732’s lack of additional funds to help low-income Washingtonians.” Really. So we should pass despite this failing? This is really the crux of the argument. It is a win for Boeing and a loss for perhaps 340,000 lower to middle income families who will have to pay the increased costs with no rebate from the State? If you were a single mom eking out a living watching all your cost of living go up while your pay is stagnant, would feel like a valid tradeoff? If you were having to choose between medication for your kids or paying higher costs at the pump to get to work would you think this is a fair choice? As I understand it, over 800 families are using the food bank in Jefferson County each week. Are those folks going to get the tax credit or just pay higher prices at the pump and/or on their electrical and heating bills?

Additionally, the initiative will do nothing to build new non polluting infrastructure to replace the bad carbon polluters.

The alternative is an initiative that was not put on the ballot (for fear that having two competing initiatives would kill both) that was widely supported by the environmental community, unions and minority communities, and would use the raised revenues to put in place new green infrastructure and create jobs.

To go along with the many environmental organizations opposing I-732, which include the Sierra Club, (see their letter of non support here  ) is the fact that State Senator Kevin Ranker, the most environmentally progressive senator in the state, has come out against the bill, should tell you something. He agrees that it doesn’t really change anything, and likely will stymie real progress for years.

So if it does not end up being revenue neutral, where will we come up with the money to fill that hole in the budget? Follow the money. Likely  no where, so look for additional cuts to environmental work, which is where a lot of McCleary’s funding is already being found.

The environmentally progressive network FUSE came out against the initiative with a very well laid out argument. Read it here.

Can we do something about getting an initiative backed by a much larger coalition? You bet.  By this time next year we can have a much better initiative on the ballot. Who’s backing the Alliance for Clean Energy and Jobs, who are ready to go with it?  How about Greenpeace as a starter? The Sierra Club? Unions galore? Many Tribes?  Here’s their steering committee. And check out the vastly longer list of their supporters at their web site.

The Alliance Steering Committee

  • De’Sean Quinn | African American Community
  • Matt deGooyer | American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific
  • Tony Lee | Asian Pacific Islander Coalition
  • Vlad Gutman | Climate Solutions
  • Aiko Schaefer | Front & Centered
  • Rosalinda Guillen | Community to Community
  • Cheri Cornell | CoolMom
  • LeeAnne Beres | Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light
  • Mark Liffmann | Environmental Entrepreneurs
  • Jill Mangaliman | Got Green
  • Peter Bloch-Garcia | Latino Community Fund
  • Nancy Hirsh | Northwest Energy Coalition
  • Rich Stolz | OneAmerica
  • Robby Stern | Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
  • Rebecca Saldana | Puget Sound Sage
  • Kelly Hall | Renewable Northwest
  • Adam Glickman | SEIU 775
  • Bill Arthur | Sierra Club
  • Ricardo Gotla | Transportation Choices Coalition
  • Josh Meidav | Tulalip Tribe
  • Jason Barbose | Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Sarah Cherin |UFCW 21
  • Brenna Davis | Washington Businesses for Climate Action
  • Mauricio Ayon | Washington Community Action Network
  • Shannon Murphy | Washington Conservation Voters
  • Becky Kelley | Washington Environmental Council
  • Sarah Clifthorne | Washington Federation of State Employees
  • Ken Lans | Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • Jeff Johnson | Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Think this through carefully before you vote. It’s damn complex and damn risky. If we are wrong here, and vote this into law and it fails to deliver, it will stymie real change for the good for over a decade.

Working for the earth: Students train for ecological projects – PDN

Good news, congratulations to the students and to the Northwest Watershed Institute.

Thirteen students from three high schools in East Jefferson County have finished field training for the newly accredited Watershed Science and Stewardship Class.

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