Plastic Oceans Plastic Bags State Kicks off Campaign for a Statewide Reusable Bag Bill – PRX and others

Washington State Lawmakers are poised to work with environmental groups to push for a ban on plastic non resuseable or recycleable plastic bags this year. Australia just announced that they have reduced plastic bag use (think those white bags used at grocery stores for casual shopping) by 80% for the year. Given how much plastics we are finding in *all* our waters, as well as in our fish, this is a small but critical thing *everyone* can do. Let’s just do it!

According to the Washington State Environmental Coalition:

Thin plastic bags are used for only a few minutes and discarded. Only 6% of these bags are ever recycled. Plastic bags blow into our waterways and the ocean, clog the stomachs of wildlife, and break down into smaller pieces that also get eaten. Plastic bags also clog recycling equipment – costing money because they have to be extracted – and are the major contaminant in our commercial compost. The Reusable Bag Act would eliminate thin carry-home plastic bags at all retail establishments and include a pass-through charge to motivate people to bring their own reusable bags and help cover the stores’ cost of more expensive bags.

and from PRX

The campaign for a reusable statewide bag bill kicked off this month. Environmental organizations and their legislative allies hope to build off existing 23 local ordinances already in place in Washington and introduce the bill in the 2019 legislative session. Proponents say there are more than 86 million metric tons of plastic in our oceans with the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash for every foot of coastline spilling into oceans annually. Martha Baskin reports. (PRX)

Plastic Oceans Plastic Bags State Kicks off Campaign for a Statewide Reusable Bag Bill

 

State invites comments on fishing, hunting, rec programs and policies 

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking input from citizens on it’s policies and procedures. They also want thoughts on what could be improved. You can go to the Department’s web site directly here to fill out a form to give them input.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildfuture/

Washington’s Wild Future
A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife

Since I joined WDFW in January 2015, I have been asking people, “If you could tell the director of Fish and Wildlife one thing, what would you say?” Well now is the time for people all across the state to do just that. I want to hear about what we are doing right, where we need to improve, and where we should focus our efforts and our funding over the next five to 10 to 20 years.

This opportunity is part of our new multi-year initiative, Washington’s Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife.

We are embarking on this effort to strengthen the department’s relationships with communities, increase support for conservation and outdoor recreation, and help ensure WDFW programs and services meet the public’s needs.

The comments and proposals we receive will help determine priorities for conserving and managing Washington’s fish and wildlife in the coming years.

We will summarize the comments and suggestions from the public, as well as input from outdoor organizations and the department’s advisory groups, later this year (2015). That information will be used to help identify potential changes in WDFW’s operations and services, and to develop future policy, budget and fee proposals.

We face major management challenges over the next several years, and for us to be successful we need the public’s support and assistance. That’s what this initiative is all about – listening and working with you to build a stronger and more effective Fish and Wildlife.

Public Meetings

Six regional public forums are scheduled for September and October. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation from WDFW about the importance of fish and wildlife management to Washington’s quality of life and the economies of local communities throughout the state. Participants will then be invited to talk with representatives of the department’s Fish, Wildlife, Enforcement, Licensing, and Habitat programs, as well as Unsworth and his immediate staff.

The meetings are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

  • Sept. 10 – Selah Civic Center, 216 1st St., Selah.
  • Sept. 30 – Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
  • Oct. 6 – WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek.
  • Oct. 8 – Saint Martin’s University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey.
  • Oct. 14 – Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.
  • Oct. 20 – Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.

We want to hear from you!

Washington state budget outlook predicts shortfall – Tacoma News Tribune

This has been the elephant in the room, for trying to get anything new done at the State. It shows that our economy is far from ‘back to normal’ as the revenues are still far below needs.  From what I’ve heard, our legislators don’t want to hear any asks for anything outside the current needs. It seems that someone, sometime is going to have to start telling the voters that if they want everything they are asking for, our tax system will have to be reformed. There is no way that we can get everything we want, and rely on the system that was such a good idea in 1865, when we had what seemed like unlimited trees to cut, and relied on virtually no big businesses for employment. Now, with the profits from Microsoft, Boeing and other global businesses being funneled into tax havens like Nevada and Delaware, the burden for all these needs falls on the people least able to pay for it, the public. But so many of them don’t want to hear about a progressive income tax. Without increasing new taxes, the burden for implementing McCleary for example, is going to fall on all the other state agencies, such as environmental protection, cleaning up waterways, fish and wildlife, higher ed, and the like. Is this really what you expected when you voted for these new measures? Where did you think the money would come from?

Washington state lawmakers are facing a projected budget gap of more than $2 billion for the next two-year budget ending in mid-2017, in large part due to a new voter-approved initiative to shrink class sizes, according to a state budget outlook released Wednesday. That projected shortfall does not include half of the expected financial obligation needed to increase funding for education as directed by the state Supreme Court, nor does it count the additional amount needed if collective bargaining agreements with state workers are approved. Rachel La Corte reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/11/19/3497083/washington-state-budget-outlook.html

Washington population grows to nearly 7 million – Seattle Times

Not good news for getting us a better environment. More pressure than ever.

The state says Washington’s population grew by almost 100,000 last year to nearly 7 million.  Nick Provenza reports. (Seattle Times)

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2014/06/washington-population-grows-to-nearly-7-million/

Public invited to weigh in on state marine parks use and fees – Bothell Reporter

Boater? Add your voices to the survey.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is asking the boating public to help the agency better understand how boaters use state marine parks and provide their views on possible changes to fees and policies for next year. Boaters are invited to take an online survey at: www.parks.wa.gov/165/Boating-Fees. The 30-question confidential survey takes about 5-15 minutes to complete. The deadline to complete the survey is June 15. A summary of results will be posted on the same web page in July.

http://www.bothell-reporter.com/news/261712291.html

State Department of Natural Resources announces trial geoduck aquaculture lease initiative on state owned lands – DNR

It is not clear where these trial tracks are located. Expect followup when known.

STATE DNR ANNOUNCES TRIAL GEODUCK AQUACULTURE LEASE INITIATIVE ON STATE-OWNED AQUATIC LANDS

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that it is initiating a small pilot program to allow geoduck aquaculture on a limited number of state-owned aquatic lands.

DNR anticipates entering into lease agreements with existing applicants once all environmental review and permitting processes are complete. This effort is a follow-up to commitments made by the agency in 2007. Numerous steps remain before active aquaculture would begin on public lands including potential site assessment; State Environmental Policy Act review; issuance of local government conditional use permits; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Title 401 permitting; and Washington Department of Health Certification.

In 2007, the Legislature established a geoduck aquaculture research program under Washington Sea Grant and established a regulatory advisory committee with participation from government, Treaty Tribes, and citizen representatives to help guide related research. DNR plans to require monitoring at geoduck cultivation sites on state-owned aquatic land to provide further opportunity to study the effects of geoduck aquaculture on the aquatic environment.

http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BusinessPermits/News/Pages/2013_08_02_dnr_announces_trial_geoduck_aquaculture_leases_nr.aspx

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