Nationwide Permit for Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture in Washington ruled illegal

The Army Corps of Engineers 2017 issuance of a Nationwide Permit (NWP 48), at least as it relates to commercial shellfish aquaculture in Washington, was just ruled illegal by a federal court:

This decision has huge positive consequences for the Salish Sea environment, for it recognizes and responds to the cumulative impacts of the spreading transformation of the Northwest’s most pristine native shorelines into mass-production facilities for monocultures wrapped in PVC and plastic.

To see a discussion of this decision, go to The Olympic Peninsula Environmental News blogpost “Federal judge rules Army Corps aquaculture permit is unlawful in Washington State,” 12 Oct 2019, https://olyopen.com/2019/10/12/federal-judge-rules-army-corps-aquaculture-permit-is-unlawful-in-washington-state/, accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

To see pictures of what industrial aquaculture does to our shoreline, and to see a description of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat’s legal actions to undo the destruction caused by the “blanket aquaculture permitting fast-track,” which had been allowed by NWP 48, please go to the website Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat at http://coalitiontoprotectpugetsoundhabitat.org/, accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

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To read the court’s decision, go to https://app.box.com/s/dwftuu3wnam6bxfv32qlq5e03wo5t0hr, accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

Quotes from the court’s decision (note: Plaintiffs are The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and the Center for Food Safety. Defendants are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al. with the Intervenor-Defendants being Taylor Shellfish, Inc. and the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association):

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE, Case 2:17-cv-01209-RSL   Document 65   Filed 10/10/19.

“Plaintiffs challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ issuance of Nationwide Permit 48 (“NWP 48”) authorizing discharges, structures, and work in the waters of the United States related to commercial shellfish aquaculture activities. Plaintiffs argue that the Corps failed to comply with the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), and the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) when it reissued NWP 48 in 2017. They request that the decision to adopt NWP 48 in Washington be vacated under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) and that the Corps be required to comply with the environmental statutes before issuing any new permits or verifications for commercial shellfish aquaculture in this State” (2)

“The Court finds that the Corps has failed to adequately consider the impacts of commercial shellfish aquaculture activities authorized by NWP 48, that its conclusory findings of minimal individual and cumulative impacts are not supported by substantial evidence in the record, and that its EA does not satisfy the requirements of NEPA and the governing regulations” (21).

“The Corps’ issuance of a nationwide permit, at least with respect to activities in the waters of the State of Washington, was arbitrary and capricious and not in accordance with NEPA or the CWA. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 706(2), the Court holds unlawful and sets aside NWP 48 insofar as it authorizes activities in Washington” (22).

Ridgetop [Silverdale] forest land might be traded to a developer; public comment asked for

The public comment period for the Ridgetop Land Exchange in Silverdale, formerly known as the Bucklin Hill Land Exchange, between the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Evergreen Housing Development Group was extended to Oct. 11, 2019 at the request of the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners to ensure transparency and public involvement. County Commissioners also requested the project name change to more accurately reflect the location of the state property.

DNR proposes to trade a 27-acre parcel of Common School Trust land located between Ridgetop Boulevard and State Highway 303 for a 1.5-acre parcel of commercial property in Snohomish County. DNR notes the exchange will provide long-term revenue for public school construction by exchanging a residential property that earns no income for a commercial property that will generate immediate revenue through an existing commercial lease.

The state trust property is within the urban growth area boundary of Silverdale. A portion of Clear Creek Trail crosses the property, through an easement held by Kitsap County. The Evergreen Housing Development Group intends to build a market-rate multifamily project on the site, retaining the Clear Creek Trail.

A public hearing was held Sept. 12 and afterwards, the public comment period was extended from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11.

Following the evaluation of hearing testimony and a property appraisal, DNR and Evergreen HDG will prepare an exchange proposal to present to the Board of Natural Resources for a final decision at one of its regularly scheduled monthly meetings. The board meeting provides an additional opportunity for public comment.

For more information about the proposed land exchange, including maps, go to https://www.dnr.wa.gov/managed-lands/land-transactions/ridgetop-land-exchange .

Comments, which must be submitted before 4:30 p.m. Oct. 11, 2019 to be considered, may be submitted to DNR, Ridgetop Exchange, Attn: Rich Scrivner, P.O. Box 47014, Olympia, WA 98504-7014 or email to exchange@dnr.wa.gov. For more information about the proposal, contact Rich Scrivner at 360-902-1059 or Rod Rennie at 360-902-1166. 
source: Kitsap County Electronic Notification System

Thank you Kitsap Sun and The Seattle Times

On the front pages of the 21 September 2019 issues of the Kitsap Sun and the Seattle Times are big, bold, colorful pictures of climate strikers in Bremerton and Seattle respectively (see references below), and within these newspapers is comprehensive reporting on local protests as well as information about the global climate strike that just occurred.

            It’s because of papers like the Sun and the Times—with their reporters, photographers, editors and the many other people who create the print and digital news—that pertinent, thoughtful, informative, and truthful information is available to me.

            My computer and phone provide me unlimited access to a plethora of opinions, some of them knowledgeable, informed, and insightful, but many incomplete, ignorant, or nefariously misinformative. Wading through the morass of untruth to find truth is often overwhelming and time consuming. By going to the pages and websites of the Sun and the Times, I know my time will be rewarded with quality, edited for correctness and clarity, information about my community and about issues that affect me and mine.

Thank you Kitsap Sun and Seattle Times.
MRM

21 September 2019 climate articles in the Kitsap Sun and The Seattle Times:

— Chris Henry, “Kitsap adds its voice to global climate change protest,” Kitsap Sun, 21 September 2019, 1A and 6A, Print. [The digital version is available by going to the 21 Sept. issue at https://kitsapsun.com.]

 — Evan Bush, “‘This matters more than school’: Thousands hit Seattle streets,” The Seattle Times, 21 September 2019, A1 and A6, Print.

— Evan Bush, “‘The youth are watching’: Global Climate Strike draws students, adult allies to Friday demonstrations in Seattle,” 20 September 2019, Web, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/the-youth-are-watching-global-climate-strike-to-draw-students-adult-allies-to-friday-demonstrations/

The strike tomorrow will be big; youth have created it.

“Tomorrow is the global Youth Climate Strike, and here’s how it’s looking:

  • 4,500 strikes planned (1000+ just in the US!)

  • 137 countries

  • 73 trade unions and federations

  • 500 organizations

  • 1,000 companies

  • 2,500 websites joining the Digital Climate Strike

This is huge. And it’s all due to the incredible young people who are leading these strikes all over the world. Be part of the largest climate demonstration in history.”

— source: Sierra Club update, 19 Sep. 2019

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And from US Youth

“Thank you for striking with us. Thank you for standing up for our generation. And thank you for being part of the movement that will save our future.

Tomorrow, a movement will begin and history will be made.

Let’s do this.

In solidarity,
US Youth Climate Strike Coalition”

Climate song "Do it now"" (Istanbul version)

A song being sung around the world, and especially fitting for tomorrow’s global climate strike, is “Do it now.” Another wonderful version I came across today is this one from Turkey.

Sing for the climate. “Do it now”  Turkey (Istanbul CEVRE College)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixn9pB4DkB4&list=RDIxn9pB4DkB4&start_radio=1

To see details of the Bainbridge Island and the Bremerton Climate Strikes, which will be held tomorrow, 20 September, please go the Kitsap Conservation Calendar on this website.

Inslee response to Global Climate Strike walkout

Gov. Jay Inslee responded to the Global Climate Strike that will take place Friday, September 20 when a number of students are expected to miss school.

“I encourage educators to embrace Friday’s Global Climate Strike as part of a strong civic education for young people. The youth of today will inherit the planet of tomorrow. The cataclysmic impact of climate change will impact them more than any generation before them.

“If I had the authority to excuse students from school to participate in this Global Climate Strike, I would grant it. But I don’t. However, I support their engagement and activism on this crucial issue. Their future is the one truly at stake. Moments like this in our environmental history will define us and will reverberate for generations. I commend the youth in our state and across the country standing up for their future."

— source: Washington Governor Jay Inslee newsletter, 17 Sep 2019

20 September: Climate Protest - Bremerton; Climate Strike - World

People in Kitsap County will join strikers from around the world on 20 Sep. 2019 (three days before the United Nations emergency climate summit). This protest in Bremerton has been organized by 350 West Sound Climate Action (and supported by West Sound Conservation Council and many others).

            At the Bremerton event (as described by the West Sound organizers), you can “show your support for effective action to address global warming. We will wave signs and sing. Some will march from the roundabout to the Norm Dick's Building. Show your love for our home—Planet Earth.”
            - When: meet at the Manette Bridge at 2:30 p.m.

             - Where: The roundabout on the east side of Manette Bridge, 1101 Wheaton Way (a small park next to the bridge), Bremerton WA 98301

 A song we’ll likely be singing is “Do it Now.” The You Tube videos of hundreds of people in Belgium singing this song. It can be accessed by clicking Recording here  or by going to

            “Do it Now,” Sing for the Climate, Belgium

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGgBtHoIO4g

             “Do it now.” Sing for the Climate, studio version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7V1qLLsn7M

—        You can get more information and RSVP  for the Kitsap protest by going to https://actionnetwork.org/events/bremerton-climate-strike (accessed 8 Sep. 2019)

Thank you, Sandra Staples-Bortner

A true force for habitat conservation is graduating to a different phase of life: Sandra Staples-Bortner, executive director of Great Peninsula Conservancy, is retiring from GPC at the end of May. During her eleven years at GPC’s helm, she has calmly but persistently steered people and organizations toward accomplishing stewardship and acquisition of natural habitat on our peninsula. A well-written, detailed overview of GPC’s many successes can be read on this link:  https://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2019/05/12/sandra-staples-bortner-to-retire-from-great-peninsula-conservancy/

Sandra’s great strengths are her care for the environment, her vision and optimism and organization, and her wonderful ability to enlist people of diverse persuasions to the cause of habitat conservation: environmentalists, birders, hikers, bikers, kayakers, shore stewards, earth ministry folks, tribal members, business people, legislators, tourism representatives, loggers, county- and city-administration workers, scientists, Navy sailors, and lots and lots of young and old citizen-volunteers.

Anyone attending a GPC spring dinner sees gathered there a cross section of West Sound society comprising many individuals that have, in their own way, been working with and supporting conservation through GPC. Many are at the dinner (and have been part of GPC for a year, or years) because they know that no matter what busyness and responsibility life their confronted with elsewhere, what they do with GPC—the time, effort, and money they give to it—is for something good.

We thank Sandra for the great good she has done for us—the plants, animals, and people of this great peninsula—for now and for generations. She truly is a force for nature. We wish her fair winds and following seas.

West Sound Conservation Council

Climate Change Hope

On 7 May, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the 100% clean energy bill, which was crafted by the Washington State legislature. It is the strongest clean energy bill in the nation. That bold and wise action gives us hope.
     David Wallace-Wells, in his newly published book, The Uninhabitable Earth, paints a grim picture of our future . . . saying that “if we allow global warming to proceed, and to punish us with all the ferocity we have fed it, it will be because we have chosen that punishment—collectively walking down a path of suicide” (220).
     The hope exists in that the coming cataclysm—which was engineered by us (unlike an earthquake or a collision-course asteroid)—can still be ameliorated by us, but only if we take action soon (ideas paraphrased from pp. 30-31).
    
On 7 May, the people of Washington State took action. May our wise, caring, and bold stewardship action spread to other states and countries. May it benefit the future of our children, grandchildren, and the many other species with us on this gift of a life filled, blue-green earth.