Congress Authorizes PFAS Testing at Military Facilities Throughout US -Whidbey Naval Base Included- MartenLaw.com

This has been an known ongoing issue with the Navy base, poisoning water supplies on Whidbey Island. The $500 million should help identify where this is happening and what can be done about it. The hidden costs of our “sound of freedom” as some promoters of the base would like to call it, creates poisoned ecosystems, ear splitting noise even inside insulated classrooms for children, and many other costs. Another sound of freedom is also the roll call in Congress to fund this activity.



By Jonah Brown

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (“FY22 NDAA”),
signed by the President on December 27, 2021, directs the Department of
Defense (“DoD”) to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (also
known as “PFAS”) at military sites throughout the country. A map of
formerly used defense sites can be found here: Former Sites
https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Formerly-Used-Defense-Sites/FUDS-GIS/.
A map of current military installations can be found here: Active Sites
https://militarybases.com/. DoD must begin its assessment with a report to
Congress on the status of 50 priority current and former sites within 60 days
of the effective date, meaning the end of February. A map showing the
locations of these sites can be viewed at the end of this article.

Groundwater contamination from use of PFAS-containing aqueous film-forming
foam (“AFFF”) has already been discovered at hundreds of current and
former DoD facilities, including military airports, National Guard bases, and
installations controlled by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The
FY22 NDAA provides $500 million in funding to DoD to fulfill Congress’
direction to test for PFAS.
Read More

https://www.martenlaw.com/news-and-insights/congress-authorizes-pfas-testing-at-military-facilities-throughout-us

Groups Again Sue Army Corps to Protect Washington’s Coastal Areas and Endangered Species from Industrial Shellfish Operations

Back to the battle lines in the courthouse to make the Army Corps. of Engineers live up to the law. They were found guilty of not doing diligence in the last year, and yet they reissued the same permits in the last days of the Trump administration with no changes by sending out “Letters of Permission” to get around the ruling. A truly cynical move. What can you do about this? Donate to either CFS or the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. From the press release today:


SEATTLE—Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) from continuing the excessive expansion of industrial shellfish operations without considering the cumulative impacts to Washington’s rich and diverse coastal waters. Industrial shellfish operations adversely affect Washington’s shorelines and estuaries by destroying critical habitat for numerous species, including endangered and threatened salmon and killer whales. These operations harm Washington’s aquatic and nearshore areas by increasing plastic netting and debris, micro-plastics, pesticides, and disturbances in the environment. 

“Despite clear statutory mandates and a previous court decision requiring the government to fully consider the potential impacts of proposed shellfish operations, the Corps continues to ignore its duties by allowing industrial shellfish operations to degrade important aquatic habitats, including through the use of plastics and pesticides, endangering Washington’s shorelines, biodiversity, and surrounding communities,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at CFS.

In the complaint filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, plaintiffs argue that the nationwide permit (NWP 48 of 2021) authorizing commercial shellfish operations in Washington violates several federal environmental protection laws, including the Clean Water Act (CWA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act, and Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint also challenges the Corps’ unlawful use of “Letters of Permission” (LOP) to approve industrial shellfish operations without public notice or comment and without considering their overall cumulative impacts. 

The new lawsuit comes on the heels of a previous lawsuit against the Corps, where CFS and allies successfully sued the Trump administration for issuing a similar nationwide permit (NWP 48 of 2017). The court found the previous 2017 permit unlawful under CWA and NEPA, stating that the Corps had failed to adequately consider the impacts on Washington’s shorelines and wildlife habitat, including the cumulative effects of expanding or continuing operations in sensitive areas. In a victory for plaintiffs, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed the lower court’s decision. 

In January 2021, during the last few days of the Trump administration, the Corps finalized the new nationwide permit for commercial shellfish aquaculture activities. In rushing to issue the permit, the Corps ignored comments from plaintiffs and stakeholders urging the agency to fix problems with its impact analysis before issuing the new permit. For example, neither the 2017 permit nor the 2021 reissuance include any restrictions on pesticide or plastic use. Much like the unlawful 2017 permit, the 2021 permit authorizes commercial shellfish aquaculture activities in Washington without full consideration of the potential adverse effects to aquatic ecosystems and wildlife, prompting CFS and allies to launch another lawsuit to vacate the permit.

“The Coalition is outraged that the Corps would try to avoid doing what is necessary as a bare minimum under the law to protect orcas, salmon, and marine life in Washington from the toxic and physical impacts of the massive number of industrial-scale aquaculture operations that have been proposed,” said Laura Hendricks, director of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. “This is precisely the sort of agency action that gives ‘government’ a bad name.”
 

The Corps has already relied on the 2021 NWP 48 to approve thousands of acres of industrial shellfish activities in Washington’s coastal areas, and the LOPs to approve thousands more without public input. Many of the acres authorized for shellfish aquaculture are located near critical spawning, breeding, and feeding habitats for forage fish, threatened and endangered species of salmon and green sturgeon, birds, whales, and other wildlife species. Additionally, operations authorized under the new permit destroy eelgrass and other aquatic plants that provide habitat to wildlife and other essential ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, sediment stabilization, and nutrient balancing, which help mitigate the effects of climate change. 

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are CFS and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound. CFS is represented by counsel from CFS and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound is represented by the Law Office of Karl G. Anuta and Law Office of Mike Sargetakis.

Researchers identify shellfish-killing phytoplankton behind massive summer die-offs in Puget Sound -KNKX

Why continuing scientific research on the Salish Sea is so important to continue funding. 

In July of 2018 and 2019, large numbers of oysters, cockles and clams died on beaches all around Puget Sound. No one knew why. It was a particularly bad couple of years, but summer mortality events with mass die-offs of shellfish happen regularly. They’ve been recorded by researchers in western Washington as far back as the 1930s. The source has remained a mystery. Now, scientists have pinpointed the cause: two species of toxic algae that don’t threaten people much — but can wreak havoc on the ecosystem. Beginning to figure out what’s killing so many shellfish is a breakthrough for growers and communities who live near the beaches. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

https://www.knkx.org/post/researchers-identify-shellfish-killing-phytoplankton-behind-massive-summer-die-offs-puget-sound

Wild Fish Conservancy submits lease proposal to take back public waters from the commercial open water net pen industry

Just when I thought that our environmental coalition was bankrupt of ideas and people willing to really fight for the environment, along comes this. The future of environmentalism. Let’s just buy out the economic exploiters destroying these sites. Get behind this. Tell Hilary Franz you want this done. She’s up for re-election and wants your donations. You have the power in you pocket. You will have plenty of wealthy businesses fighting this.


July 15, 2020: After the catastrophic collapse of Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island open water net pen in 2017, the public came together to pass Washington’s landmark law banning nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen aquaculture in Puget Sound after the expiration of Cooke’s existing leases. Taking advantage of a loophole in the law, the company submitted a new proposal in fall 2019 to transition their facilities to native species in order to avoid the phase out of their Puget Sound net pens and to qualify for new leases for all sites.

The continued use of public waters for commercial net pen aquaculture directly undermines the will of the public who have fought tirelessly to protect Puget Sound from this industry and invested significantly in the recovery of wild salmon, steelhead, orcas, and the health of Puget Sound.” says Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy. “The expiration of these leases comes less than once in a decade and offers the public a rare opportunity to work together to take back our sound and restore these waters after thirty years of rampant pollution and industrial use.”

In accordance with existing public-use regulations and in concert with obligations to fulfill tribal treaty rights, the campaign’s alternative, the Taking Back Our Sound Restoration Project, seeks to hold these lands in trust for the sole purposes of restoring these industrialized aquatic lands to their natural state for the restoration and conservation of threatened and endangered species, water quality, and the overall health and function of Puget Sound’s ecosystem; and restoring full access to 130 acres of aquatic lands to the public for their benefit, use and enjoyment.

Washington’s laws direct DNR to protect state-owned aquatic lands as a public trust and to strive for uses that ensure environmental protection, encourage direct use, and provide a balance of benefits for all citizens. As Cooke reapplies for each of its expiring or recently terminated leases, DNR will need to compare both applications and proposed uses against the state’s goals and philosophy for managing public lands, creating an unusual competition and leaving DNR with a precedent-setting choice to make—continue to lease these waters for the restoration of Puget Sound and use by all, or the degradation of public waters and profit of a few.

“To date, Commissioner Franz has shown exceptional leadership when it comes to holding Cooke Aquaculture accountable for our environmental laws and protecting Puget Sound from this industry” said Beardslee. “By choosing the Taking Back Our Sound proposal, Commissioner Franz will guarantee the public that these lands, currently degraded and restricted for private profit, will be restored and managed for the public’s benefit and use by all citizens.”

Throughout the coming months, the newly launched Taking Back Our Sound campaign will offer the public opportunities to make their voices heard on this important issue and to call on Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and DNR to make the Sound choice for Puget Sound and current and future generations.

Taking Back Our Sound is a new Our Sound, Our Salmon campaign to engage the public in a social movement to take back our waters from the commercial open water net pen industry to protect Puget Sound and restore the ecosystem for the use and benefit of all. Our Sound, Our Salmon is facilitated by Wild Fish Conservancy.

Wild Fish Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation ecology organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the northwest’s wild fish and the ecosystems they depend on, through science, education, and advocacy.

###

For More Information visit: oursound-oursalmon.org/taking-back-our-sound

PDF of cover letter to Commissioner Franz.
PDF of this press release.

Contact:
Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director, Wild Fish Conservancy (206) 310-9301 kurt@wildfishconservancy.org
Emma Helverson, Director of Campaigns, WFC emma@wildfishconservancy.org

Meet and Greet Sierra Club’s Endorsed Candidate for County Commissioner, Lorna Smith, July 14, 5PM

Sierra Club holds virtual meet and greet for Lorna Smith.

 

Lorna Smith has been an environmental activist since the late 1970s, and worked with prominent conservationists to establish a National Wildlife Refuge on Protection Island. She has made climate change one of her top priorities. She is a strong supporter of the County’s Comprehensive Plan and adopting a stronger Shoreline Management Program. She opposes plans to transport Canadian tar sands oil through our waters that will increase tanker traffic ten-fold and greatly increase the risk of oil spills. In her role as a planning commissioner, she has always put environmental considerations first and has opposed ill-conceived projects that negatively impacted communities and the environment. She has extensive experience building coalitions and seeking collaboration based on a lifetime of experience in government, NGO’s, and community groups, and through her extensive research on particular projects she has been able to convince decision makers to support her positions.  We believe this background and experience lends itself particularly well to this uniquely challenging period as we face the twin tasks of addressing disruptions caused by both the pandemic and climate change.

Meet Lorna on Zoom, Tuesday July 14 at 5PM

 

Join Zoom Meeting Link:

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81131568159

 

Meeting ID: 811 3156 8159

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,81131568159# US (Tacoma)

+16699006833,,81131568159# US (San Jose)

Getting dinner

Baila Dworsky caught this unusual duo last month.

Bailas Bird shot

The Elwha returns. Summer Steelhead survey on the river.

What Dam Removals Can Do for a River

Trout Unlimited produced a short video that shows the remarkable return of steelhead on the Elwha. Don’t miss this. Brought to you by Outside Magazine.

Rising from the Ashes, from Trout Unlimited, follows the scientists studying the summer steelhead resurgence in Washington’s Elwha River. Since the removal of the Elwha Dam in 2011 and the Glines Canyon Dam in 2014, these fish are now free to run from the Pacific Ocean up into the Olympic Peninsula.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2413366/steelhead-fish-return-elwha-river-washington-dam-removal?ct=t%28RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN%29#close

 

Jeff Co wins $1.2M for wetland restoration – PT Leader

A little belated good news for the county, Tarboo Creek and Discovery Bay.

The state Department of Ecology announced April 13 it secured seven National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants worth $5 million to help local partners restore coastal wetlands and 17,500 feet of marine shoreline in Jefferson, Kistap, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties.

https://www.ptleader.com/stories/community-partnerships-protect-forestland,69025

EPA Releases plan to keep water in Columbia & Snake rivers cool enough for salmon (KNKX)

Good news. Wonder why they changed their minds?

Salmon need cold water to survive. Dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers are making the water too hot, in some places by as much as 5 degrees. Now, after a drawn-out lawsuit and direction from the state of Washington, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has released plan to change that.   Last week, the state Department of Ecology used its authority under the Clean Water Act to require the federal operators of eight dams on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers to keep the water at 68 degrees or lower. Right now, it’s routinely hitting 72 or 73 degrees in parts of the system, says Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, which sued to get the plan. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

EPA releases plan to keep water in Columbia, Snake rivers cool enough for salmon

Comments needed on Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

A corporation intends to industrialize 34-acres* of the publicly-owned Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge with 80,000 plastic bags of oysters.  The U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Ecology are interested in your comments.

Submit comments by MAY 30, 2020.

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State’s Salish Sea is one of the most pristine national refuges. This Refuge was dedicated in 1915 for its abundance of eelgrass which sustains migrating and resident birds, their feeder fish and salmon.  The site hosts more than 250 species of birds, some of which nest and raise their young here. The 5.5 mile spit is one of the longest in the world and is a major U.S. attraction.           

For background information visit:  http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/dungeness-refuge-alert/

Comments are needed on any of the operation’s potential impacts:  Conservation, eelgrass, water quality, local and refuge economics, aesthetics, plastics, bird and fish feed, benthic life, shore erosion, cumulative impacts, and/or recreation, with as much back-up data as possible.

Click here to open Joint Public Notice

Where to submit your comments

Send your U.S. Army Corps of Engineers comments to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Attention: Pamela Sanguinetti,

P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, Washington 98124-3755; email pamela.sanguinetti@usace.army.mil    Reference Case #: 2007-1213

Send your Washington State Department of Ecology comments to:

Washington State Department of Ecology,  Attention: Federal Permit Coordinator,

P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, Washington 98504-7600; email ecyrefedpermits@ecy.wa.gov

For more details on how to comment, visit:

http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/how-to-comment/

*NOTE:

Due to the Applicant requesting a “phased “approach, the initial proposed work of ‘on-bottom bag culture” = 5 acres of 20,000 bags.  When the oysters grow to a certain size, they would be removed from the bags and spread on 29 acres of refuge beach shoreline to grow to commercial size and be harvested. Total allowable coverage is still 34 acres. The Applicant’s full plan is to cover 20 acres with 80,000 plastic bags of oysters.

This press release came from Protect the Peninsula’s Future

http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/

 

Nine U.S. states sue EPA for easing environmental enforcement amid pandemic

Fighting the incredibly destructive administration that continues it’s gutting of our environmental protections under cover of Covid.

Nine states on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for relaxing a range of companies’ compliance and monitoring requirements with federal clean air and water laws in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the policy is too broad and not transparent. Under the temporary policy announced on March 26, the EPA said it would not seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause…The coalition of the nine states – New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia – argue that the EPA lacks legal authority to waive “critical monitoring and reporting obligations that inform regulators and the general public of pollution hazards” and failed to weigh the impacts the relaxation policy will have on public health amid the coronavirus pandemic. Their lawsuit comes a month after more than a dozen environmental groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, whose president is former Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy filed their own challenge in the same New York federal court. (Reuters)

<https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-epa/nine-u-s-states-sue-epa-for-easing-environmental-enforcement-amid-pandemic-idUSKBN22P36U>

Trump Executive Order Opens the Door for Massive Industrial Fish Farms in Oceans – Modern Farmer

More outrageous anti-environmental rulings. Follow the money. Who’s behind this? Well given the political donations that have been talked about for the last few years, it wouldn’t take an intrepid student reporter long to find out. Anyone up for the task? Send me your findings and we’ll publish them.

Last week, the Trump administration announced an executive order opening the door for large-scale fish farming. That order, as reported by the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN), is designed at its core to expand the scope and facilities for aquaculture. What that likely means is a reduction in regulations, and the creation of large offshore fish farms. Dan Nosowitz reports. (Modern Farmer)

<http://modernfarmer.com/2020/05/trump-executive-order-opens-the-door-for-massive-industrial-fish-farms-in-oceans/>

This year’s herring spawn events in Puget Sound were the largest in decades -PSP

More good news.

Throughout the Sound in March and April, Pacific herring were spawning in large numbers. In Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay, in Port Orchard and Port Madison, in Henderson Bay, and near West Seattle, and possibly in Discovery Bay, Holmes Harbor, and elsewhere. There’s uncertainty about the precise extent and the size of the spawning due to stay-at-home restrictions limiting observation and measurement, but it’s clear that this has been a big year for herring. Kevin Hyde writes. (Puget Sound Partnership)

<https://medium.com/puget-sound-partnership/this-years-herring-spawn-events-in-puget-sound-were-the-largest-in-decades-855dce58df6f>

EVENT: Board of health meeting broadcast on KPTZ 5/14 @ 2:30

KPTZ will live broadcast Thursday afternoon’s special meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Health. The meeting is to review Dr. Tom Locke’s recommendations regarding a Variance for Governor Inslee’s Phase 2 criteria to reopen manufacturing, new construction, domestic services and office-based businesses. 

He also recommends overnight camping, sit down restaurants, and services relating to tourism remain closed. 

This joint meeting starts at 2:30 pm Thursday, May 14th. There will be additional County meetings next week, all in preparation for our Commissioners to vote on these recommendations, at their May 22nd meeting. 

Listen at 91.9FM or audio streamed live, at KPTZ (dot) org.

Washington wolf population increased only 11% after another season of killing Phys.org

The state continues to kill wolves to please one, yes, just one, rancher who refuses to follow best practice guidelines. bringing on wolf attacks on his herd. It is a travesty. Inslee ought to be ashamed. Again, we watch as politics dictates environmental degradation. There have been no confirmed wolf sitings on the Olympic Peninsula, though they are expected at some point.

“Washington’s wolf population increased by just 11% in 2019, according to figures released today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. – Dramatically less than what is needed to sustain the healthy growth of a wolf population into additional good wolf habitat across the state. “

The Profoundly Radical Message of Earth Day’s First Organizer – NY Times

We are fortunate to have Denis in Seattle. His message now?

“Covid-19 robbed us of Earth Day this year. So let’s make Election Day Earth Day.” He urged his readers to get involved in politics and set aside national division. “This November 3,” he wrote, “vote for the Earth.”

Denis Hayes, Earth Day, climate change, renewable energy and the challenges ahead. John Schwartz reports. (NY Times)

The ‘Profoundly Radical’ Message of Earth Day’s First Organizer 

An Important Time to Listen – The Narwhal

Interesting perspective on the ability to suddenly measure ocean noise without human activity.

The pandemic offers a temporary reprieve from the clamour of ocean noise — which can affect how whales and other species communicate, navigate and feed — and an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of human activity for marine life. Jimmy Thomson reports. (The Narwhal)

‘An important time to listen’: ocean scientists race to hear the effects of coronavirus under water 

Inslee signs bill to strengthen derelict vessel prevention program -San Juan Islander

Good news! A new round of funding to help our counties deal with the issue of derelict vessels.

The state Department of Natural Resources will receive additional funding to address derelict vessels under a measure signed by Gov. Jay Inslee this week. Senate Bill 6528, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), will strengthen the program addressing the problem of sunken or neglected boats in Washington’s waters. (San Juan Islander)

Inslee signs bill to strengthen derelict vessel prevention program

Salish Sea basin was one of continent’s most densely populated areas when Europeans arrived – The Province

The book 1491 also had this kind of hypothesis. Now we are finding it likely was true. More to come I’m sure. And we never can really know what was lost.The histories, the natural cures for diseases that they knew of, and so much more. The European invasion was perhaps the most destructive thing ever done to the planet. The great rush to explore the planet to exploit it’s natural resources is now in it’s end game, unless something very radical changes to save it.

Vancouver has the highest population density among Canadian municipalities, according to the 2016 census, and New Westminster, the City of North Vancouver, Victoria and White Rock all make the top 10. It was like that, too, before the first Europeans arrived in the 1700s, according to a study published in the Journal of Northwest Anthropology that was co-written by Richard M. Hutchings of the Institute for Critical Heritage and Tourism. The Salish Sea Basin was one of the “most densely populated” pre-contact geographical areas, Hutchings said from his home on Gabriola Island, which is home to 98 of the pre-contact sites the study counted. Immediately after contact, indigenous populations began crashing, he said. The arrival of diseases such as measles and smallpox carried by Europeans was primarily responsible. Gordon McIntyre reports. (The Province)

Salish Sea basin was one of continent’s most densely populated areas when Europeans arrived

Earth Day events go online because of virus – Puget Sound Institute

Yes, even Earth Day is now digital.

Canceled! Canceled! Canceled! Participants in this year’s Earth Day activities won’t be rallying in large groups, participating in environmental festivals or coming together to clean up the Earth. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — Wednesday of next week — the environmental movement will be uniquely digital, with many people celebrating from their home computers. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Earth Day events go online because of virus

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