Salish Sea Headlines
Sometimes there are victories in our efforts to protect the environment, fight the climate crisis, and preserve habitat . . . and for this we give thanks.
APRIL 2021 HEADLINES
2021-04-16 Michael Maddox, Letter, “Pleased with Olympia’s action on climate issues,” Kitsap Sun, 16 Apr. 2021, Print, 6A.
Key points: Washington State Senator Christine Rolfes has been a climate leader who, as Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, played a powerful role in overcoming resistance to the Clean Fuels Standard Bill (HB 1091) and the Carbon Cap Climate Commitment Bill (SB 5126).
2021-04-08 Jessika E. Trancik (The Conversation), “Technology can alter emissions outlook,” Kitsap Sun, 8 Apr. 2021, Print, 8A.
Key points: Government policies can accelerate advancements in solar energy, wind energy, lithium-ion batteries, and other clean-energy technologies.
2021-04-03 Associated Press, “Demo hydrogen fuel cell electric bus hits the road at Kitsap Transit,” Kitsap Sun, 3 Apr. 2021, Print, 1A and 2A.
2021-04-13 Lisa Friedman, “Executives Call for Deep Emission Cuts to Combat Climate Change,” New York Times, 13 Apr. 2021, Web, Executives Call for Deep Emission Cuts to Combat Climate Change
“More than 300 corporate leaders are asking the Biden administration to nearly double the emission reduction targets set by the Obama administration.”
2021-04.09-Doyle Rice (USA Today), “CO2 levels highest in over 3 million years,” Kitsap Sun, 9 Apr. 2021, Print, 3A.
2021-04-16 “Inslee signs legislation to add Billy Frank Jr. statue to U.S. Capitol,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee e-newsletter, 16 Apr. 2021.
“Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 1372 on Wednesday, which will place a statue of tribal leader Billy Frank Jr. in the National Statuary Hall.”
2021-04-11 Brier Dudley, “Indiana publisher irrigates the news desert,” Seattle Times, 11 Apr. 2021, Print, D2.
Key point: Many communities no longer have a local newspaper since so many have gone out of business in recent years; however, some civic-minded investors are stepping in to save some of the papers.
2021-04-04 Eric Wagner, “Protect Mount St. Helens’ Volcanic Landscape,” Seattle Times, 4 Apr. 2021, Print, D1 and D4.
The U.S. Forest Service plans to build a road over the Pumice Plain of Mount St. Helens to Spirit Lake to lower the level of the lake so it doesn’t cause a mudflow on towns downstream from it. Building the road will damage (via the road, introduced invasive species, disturbance by humans) a rarely seen laboratory in the regeneration of life after a volcanic eruption. Advocates to preserve Pumice Plain want the Forest Service to use a less destructive method to lower the water in the lake.
Maureen Cervinsky (League of Women’s Voters-Kitsap), Letter to the editor, “Learn more about how plastics pollute,” Kitsap Sun, 12 Apr. 2021, Web, https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/opinion/readers/2021/04/12/learn-more-how-plastics-pollute/7195344002/
webinar will be 21 April, 5 p.m. “Plastic: The Big Picture, Local Insights, and What You Can Do!” Hosted by the League of Women’s Voters-Kitsap and Olympic College.
MARCH 2021 HEADLINES
2021-03-28 Somini Sengupta (New York Times), “Farmed fish are eating more vegetables,” Seattle Times, 28 Mar. 2021, Print, A7.
2021-03-24 Somini Sengupta, “That Salmon on Your Plate Might Have Been a Vegetarian,” New York Times, 24 Mar. 2021, Web, vegetarian salmon
Key points: Twenty years ago, farmed fish were fed lots of wild fish, like anchovies, a process that was contributing to the decline of wild fish. Now, according to this article, farmed fish are being fed more plants, like soy, which is a cheaper feed.
2021-03-29 Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, “Biden administration launches major push to expand offshore wind power,” Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2021, Web, Biden pushes wind power
2021-03-23 Lisa Friedman and Jim Tankersley, “Biden’s Recovery Plan Bets Big on Clean Energy,” New York Times, 23 Mar. 2021, Web, Biden Bets Big on Clean Energy
2021-03-21 Lynda V. Mapes, “Saving Washington forests for carbon storage, not logging,” Seattle Times, 21 Mar. 2021, Print, A1, A12 and A13.
Excellent article about Washington State’s forests, timber revenue and jobs, and whether more forests should be set aside as ecological reserves in the fight against climate change and extinction.
2021-03-18 Editorial Board Opinion, “Opinion: The danger of climate change is imminent. The Senate must approve a strong policy, Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2021, Web, Congress must go big on climate change
21-03-14 Editorial, the newspaper’s view, “Strike deal for infrastructure, environment, and jobs,” Seattle Times, 14 Mar. 2021, Print, D3.
An article about pairing the need to repair and improve infrastructure in Washington State with the billions of dollars that would be raised by “cap-and-trade carbon limits and allotments for companies to purchase,” as proposed by Senate Bill 5126.
2021-03-11 Biden has fulfilled several of his environmental pledges during his first days in office.
— Alexandra Jaffe (Associated Press), “50 days in: Where Biden stands on key promises,” Kitsap Sun, 11 Mar. 2021, Print, 3A.
– “Signed an executive order that revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.”
– “Halted the development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
– “Halted new oil and gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters.”
– Biden rejoined the U.S. into the Paris climate accord.
– “Biden pledged to establish enforceable commitment from other nations to reduce emissions in global shipping and aviation and to convene a climate world summit. The U.S. will hold such a summit on April 22, Earth Day.”
2021-03-10 Braela Kwan, “Fighting British Columbia’s Pipelines to the Last Mile,” Investigate West, Web, 10 Mar. 2021, https://www.invw.org/2021/03/10/fighting-british-columbias-pipelines-to-the-last-mile/
2021-03-07: Gene Bullock, letter, “Clean Fuel Standard way overdue,” Kitsap Sun, 7 Mar. 2021, Print, 6A; Web, https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/opinion/readers/2021/03/05/clean-fuel-standard-way-overdue/4600869001/
2021-03-05 Governer Jay Inslee Update about Climate Action at the Washington Legislature
The following is from a Jay Inslee for Washington e-notice, 5 Mar. 2021:
“Here in Washington state, we’re taking huge steps toward making our bold climate agenda a reality.
“Last weekend, our effort to enact a statewide Clean Fuel Standard moved forward — with the Washington House of Representatives passing our Clean Fuel Standards bill, HB 1091! A huge thank you to all the legislators who are showing such leadership on this important issue and to all of you who have been calling and emailing asking for action.
“This is huge progress, so I’m hoping you’ll join our team fighting for more: Will you add your name right now in support of our bold climate plan as it moves to the State Senate? “A Clean Fuel Standard will cut air pollution by requiring cleaner transportation fuels to power vehicles and investing in communities most impacted by transportation pollution.
“This is critical because transportation pollution is Washington state’s largest source of air pollution and is linked to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. This pollution causes serious health problems, like premature death in people with heart or lung disease, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, increased coughing, and difficulty breathing. And now with the added impact of complications from COVID-19 and “smoke seasons,” we need to act now more than ever.
“But this is just one of the bills targeting the climate crisis here in Washington state this session: The legislature is focusing on cutting pollution from the building sector, clean and just ways to fund transportation, prioritizing environmental justice (through the HEAL Act), and investing in a just recovery.”
2021-03-01: Low-carbon fuel bill [HB 1091] passes state House
— Joseph Claypoole (WNPS News Service), “Low-carbon fuel bill [HB 1091] passes state House,” Bainbridge Island Review, 1 Mar 2021, Web, https://www.bainbridgereview.com/news/low-carbon-fuel-bill-passes-state-house/
2021-03-03 Mark Reynolds and Ted Larson Freeman, Opinion, “Climate is on the agenda. A carbon tax should be too,” Kitsap Sun, 2 Mar. 2021, Print, 5A.
“A carbon tax can quickly slash our emissions and save lives—plus, when designed right, it can eventually pay people and benefit American business.” Reynolds and Larson also quote the 2018 report by the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (the report which tells us that the world must reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050) says that “carbon pricing is a necessary condition of ambitious climate policies.”
Climate Change Effects
2021-03-07 Michael Crowe, “Washington facing massive loss of kelp, study finds,” King 5 TV, 4 Mar. 2021, updated 7 Mar. 2021, Web, https://www.king5.com/article/tech/science/environment/washington-kelp-loss-department-natural-resources-study/281-82ef5a84-6d11-478c-a0cd-6603a6b0da0a
2021-03-28 press release from Haselwood Automotive Group, “West Hills Honda [in Bremerton, WA] earns Honda environmental leadership award for improving the environmental performance of its operations,” Kitsap Sun, 28 Mar. 2021, Print, 4C. 2021-03-10 Associated Press, “State House approves bill for Billy Frank Jr. statue,”Kitsap Sun, 10 Mar. 2021, 2A, Print.
When: Wednesday, 31 Mar. 2021, 8 p.m. (Pacific Time)
Where: KCTS 9 Public Television
Description: “With a million species at risk of extinction, Sir David Attenborough explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all, threatening food and water security, undermining our ability to control our climate, and even putting us at greater risk of pandemic disease.
— source: KCTS 9 Viewer Guide, March 2021, p. 2.
2021-03-28 “Keep watch on the future of the free press,” Seattle Times, 28 Mar. 2021, Print, A-11.
This column presents in tabular form proposed legislation (as well as litigation cases filed and regulation and reform proposed) meant to safeguard our free press. The legislation listed (along with the details and sponsors of each) are these: Local Journalism Sustainability Act (H.R. 7640), Future of Local News Commission Act of 2020 (S. 4772), Competition and Antitrust Enforcement Reform Act (S. 225), Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (no number posted).
To read the Seattle Times Free Press coverage, go to st.news/freepress.
2021-03-14 Brian Dudley (Seattle Times Free Press editor), “Next for Congress: Saving the nation’s local free press,” Seattle Times, 14 Mar. 2021, Print, D1 and D4.
Dudley’s article discussed antitrust legislation now being processed in Washington, D.C. to enable the free press to bargain collectively with platforms like Google and Facebook. Congress is starting to take action because as House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-RI said, “The crisis in American journalism has become a real crisis in our democracy and civic life.”
2021-03-12 The importance of local news—wonderfully worded
— Niran Al-Agba, MD, “How local news actually can make us healthier,” Kitsap Sun, 7 Mar. 2021, Print, 1C and 3C; Web,
Pediatrician and Kitsap Sun columnist Niran-Al-Agba, MD, writes a clear and useful column about health issues. This 7 March article talks of the importance of local news and of how having local newspapers available to us, with their reporters out in the community, affects our health.
2021-03-23 Marcus Eriksen, “Opinion: I thought I’d seen it all studying plastics. Then my team found 2,000 bags in a camel” Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2021, Web, 2,000 plastic bags in a came
Key points: U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said last month that the “oceans are filling with plastic <Plenary, Opening – Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly>” Erikson says that statement doesn’t tell the extent of our plastic deluge. He says that plastic pollution is everywhere (land and air, too), not just the sea, and that it’s clogging and strangling creatures in all those environments. He adds that plastic recycling is not working and that consumers are subsidizing plastics through cleanup costs.
2021-03-02: “Washington state’s bag ban on hold during COVID-19,” Kitsap Sun, 2 Mar. 2021, Web.
FEBRUARY 2021 HEADLINES
Aquaculture: Federal Greenlight of industrial shellfish aquaculture unlawful
2021-02-11 Centers for Food Safety press release at https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/6264/court-of-appeals-backs-environmentalists-federal-greenlight-of-industrial-shellfish-aquaculture-unlawful
Summary: Industrial aquaculture has been inexorably replacing shoreline habitat in Washington State, aided and abetted by an Army Corps of Engineers blanket approval (Nationwide Permit 48) of most shellfish aquaculture facilities, thereby adding to the death of the Salish Sea by a thousand cuts.
A just announced U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling affirmed a previous court ruling that such blanket approval violates the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, and that the cumulative effects of the tens of thousands of acres of aquaculture must be considered by the Corps.
Per the Center for Food Safety press release referenced below, Amy van Saun, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety, and counsel in the case, said, “The Court confirmed what we have argued for years: Industrial aquaculture has seriously harmful environmental impacts and regulators must rigorously evaluate them when deciding whether or not to allow it.”
As with most efforts to protect our plants, animals, and habitat, lots of sweat, time, and money by lots of people was required to achieve this success. As Laura Hendricks of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat (Laura is the David who has for years slung stones against the aquaculture industry Goliath) said after this victory, “Citizens have been trying for decades to limit the environmental destruction of our shorelines by the shellfish industry. . . . we look forward to finishing this story with limits on shellfish industry expansion. We still have work to do to make sure the Army Corps does their job to protect our treasured Puget Sound and Willapa Bay/Grays Harbor, but the message from the Federal courts is clear!”
This court decision is a victory for Washington’s shoreline environment, all the creatures that depend on it, and for the many people who don’t want our beaches and waters transformed into a mass of plastic.
2021-02-26 Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis (Washington Post), “Biden is hiking up the cost of carbon. It will change how US tackles global warming,” Seattle Times, 26 Feb. 2021, Web, https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/biden-is-hiking-up-the-cost-of-carbon-it-will-change-how-u-s-tackles-global-warming/
2021-02-19 America is All In (https://www.americaisallin.com/)
See the blog posting, dated 10 Mar. 2021, on this website, regarding the 19 Feb. 2021 webinar of the announcement of America Is All In. At this webinar (as recorded on the blog posting) were comments by
• Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies
• John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
• Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor
• Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington
• Vi Lyles, Mayor, Charlotte, North Carolina
• Lloyd Dean, CEO, CommonSpirit Health
• Other speakers include representatives from tribal nations, higher education, and faith institutions
2021-02-18 Dino Grandoni (with Alexandra Ellerbeck), “The Energy 202: Democrats eye climate in big infrastructure push,” Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2021, Web, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/18/energy-202-democrats-eye-climate-big-infrastructure-push/
2021-02-16 Ledyard King (USA Today), “Bill Gates on Climate Change: ‘We need a plan,’” Kitsap Sun, 16 Feb. 2021, Print, 6A.
Summary: Bill Gates believes we can achieve, per the article, “President Joe Biden’s ambitious goals of decarbonizing the energy sector by 2035 and attaining net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” He says that Biden is doing the right things, but that we need a national plan. He relates that without government involvement, we won’t succeed, and that the effort needs to come from many areas: government, universities, national labs, and the private sector.
Gates’s book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs,” went on sale recently.
2021-02-05 Steven Powell, “Poulsbo student wins 3 awards for environmental film,” North Kitsap Herald, 5 Feb. 2021, Print, 5.
Summary (from the news article and from watching the documentary):
Abirami Subramanian, a 14-year-old sophomore at West Sound Academy in Poulsbo, teamed up with students Serena Griffin, Cambria Bartlett, and Mercy Gilniy to create an award-winning documentary about how our education system fails to adequately teach youth about the environment and the health of our planet. In the documentary, Abi and her colleagues (with guidance by teacher Nisa Frank) suggest that a solution to the lack of education about our planet’s health—and an antidote to misinformation—is project-based learning. Watch the documentary and feel inspired about the upcoming generation.
To see the nine-minute documentary, Youth Misinformed, please go to https://myhero.com/youth-misinformed
2021-02-09 Brady Denis, “Countries must ramp up climate pledges by 80 percent to hit key Paris target, study finds,” Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2021, Web, countries must ramp up climate pledges
Democracy needs an Educated, Engaged Citizenry
2021-02-28 “Case violates the rights of the free press,” Kitsap Sun, 28 Feb. 2021, Print, 1C. This editorial was first printed in the Des Moines Register.
2021-02-07: Brier Dudley (Seattle Times Free Press editor), “U.S. needs infrastructure of democracy plan,” Seattle Times, 7 Feb. 2021, Print, D1 and D4; Seattle Times, 5 Feb. 2021, Web, https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/u-s-needs-infrastructure-of-democracy-plan/
My comments: The Seattle Times has published many articles in its Save the Free Press series discussing the importance of the local free press to an informed democracy. A point I’d like to highlight from the above article (which discusses other worthy measures for strengthening our democracy) is that an educated, civically engaged citizenry is important to sustaining our democracy. It sounds obvious and mundane, but like exercising regularly and brushing our teeth, if we don’t do them, we fall apart and suffer pain.
As Dudley’s opinion piece explains, for years our nation’s schools have not invested in civics education, and that deficiency is now showing up in students’ test scores and in Americans’ susceptibility to misinformation about elections. To try to remedy this undereducation, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Sen. Joh Cornyn, R-Texas have proposed an Educating for Democracy Act that would authorize $1 billion a year for civics and history education.
2021-02-16 Nathan Pilling, “Historic build to start in Poulsbo,” Kitsap Sun, 16 Feb. 2021, Print, 1A and 5A.
Summary: 468 housing units, a community center, pool, and possibly a senior care center will be built.
2021-02-15 Christian Vosler, “159-home subdivision planned on Waaga Way” Kitsap Sun, 15 Feb. 2021, Print, 1A and 4A.
2021-02-04 Clear Creek land across from Saint Michael’s won’t be developed.
— Jessie Darland, “Ridgetop parcel plans moving slowly,” Kitsap Sun, 4 Feb. 2021, Print, 1A and 7A.
Summary: That forest land that we hike in that’s across the highway from St. Michael’s Hospital . . . the forest that we get to from the Clear Creek Trail near the dog park—well, that was going to developed into 600 units, but now it’s not. That’s because of the public outcry over the plan to pave some of the little remaining open space in the concrete-and-building-filled town of Silverdale that can still be preserved for hiking and birding. Considerations for what to do with the land have been slowed during the COVID-19 epidemic, but they are still active. You can read the details in the Sun article below.
2021-02-28 Electric Chargers Still Scarce
— Christopher Mims, “The Electric-Car Revolution Needs More Plugs,” Wall Street Journal, 27 Feb. 2021, Print, B4.
As per the title, Mims makes the point that fast-chargers for electric vehicles are still scarce.
2021-02-20: Norman Mayersohn, “Thinking of an Electric Car? Take Your Choice,” New York Times, 20 Feb. 2021, Web, Thinking of an Electric Car
Many electric cars models are now available for sale.
2021-02-19 Changing what we drive
— Charlie Michel, letter, “Changing the status quo on what we drive,” Kitsap Sun, 19 Feb. 2021, Web, Changing the status quo on what we drive
Per the Hal Bernton article in the Seattle Times (see that 9 Feb. entry below), the Washington Attorney General say that a Clean Cars 2030 bill will not survive in court. Michel points out in his letter to the editor that climate change is changing the status quo. I agree. As the parts per million keeps climbing upward, and our skies fill with smoke, we will find that the need for certain actions (like converting to electric vehicles from gas vehicles) will become bluntly obvious.
2021-02-09 Regarding the proposed gas car ban (House Bill 1024 and Senate Bill 5256)
[posted to MMC blog on 2021-02-21]
— Hal Bernton, “Washington state’s proposed ban on registration of new gas passenger cars prompts pushback from attorney general,” Seattle Times, 9 Feb. 2021, Web, Washington State’s proposed ban on gas cars–pusback from the state’s attorney general
Kitsap Environment News
2021-02-16 Funding Community Forests
— Nathan Daniel, “Community Forest Program will benefit Kitsap,” Kitsap Sun, 18 Feb. 2021, Print, 5A; 16 Feb. 2021, Web, Community Forest Program
Nathan Daniel, the executive director of Great Peninsula Conservancy, notes in this letter to the editor that funding of the new Community Forests Program is now being considered in the Washington legislature. If approved, it could help purchase for our community a 500-acre block of forest (“The Divide”) in the North Kitsap. The Kitsap Audubon Society has written to the legislature advocating for full funding of this program
[Note: In 2011, Senator Rolfes submitted the bill that eventually created the Community Forests Program. She, Representative Drew Hansen, and Representative Tara Simmons support funding it.]
2021–2-26 “Kitsap County Shoreline Master Plan Comment Period and SEPA Review are closing next week,” 26 Feb. 2021, Kitsap Electronic Notification System
How to Submit Comments
- Online: https://reviewsmpkitsap.participate.online/
- Email: ReviewSMP@co.kitsap.wa.us
- Mail: 614 Division Street – MS36, Port Orchard, WA 98366
- Join Public Hearing: Join remotely on March 2, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. by going to:
- Meeting ID 826 6783 3221 Password 588757
- Phone +1-253-215-8782
- “Timber harvesting underway at Kitsap County’s Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park,” Kitsap County News, 26 Feb. 2021, Kitsap Electronic Notification System,
Check the Kitsap County Parks Department website for updates at https://www.kitsapgov.com/parks. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-337-5350.
— Team Cantwell e-notice, 11 Feb. 2021
Summary: Senator Cantwell is officially chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation — the first woman to ever hold the position! After 20 years of serving on the committee, making sure Washingtonians and all Americans are looked out for, she is breaking barriers serving in the head position.
Migratory Bird Protection
— National Audubon Society, “Rollback of Migratory Bird Protections Delayed by New Administration: The decision to delay implementation of this rule change offers an opportunity to reinstate and strengthen the 100-year-old law, 4 Feb. 2021, Web, Migratory Bird Protection Continues
For democracy—Microsoft supports a free press and independent journalism
— Brier Dudley (Seattle Times Free Press editor), “Q&A: Brad Smith of Microsoft,” Seattle Times, 21 Feb. 2021, Print, D1 and D4; Web, https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/qa-microsofts-brad-smith-on-saving-the-press-and-democracy/ As Smith, the president of Microsoft, says in this article, “For some time we’ve appreciated that you can’t have a healthy country or any kind of healthy democracy without healthy journalism.” He goes on to describe a two-sided disease occurring in America : “one is the spread of disinformation on social media, and the other is the financial weakening of more traditional and independent journalism.” To read how Microsoft recently supported the free press in Australia, please go to the above article.
Salmon and Dams
— Lynda V. Mapes, “A new day for the Columbia Basin?,” Seattle Times, 7 Feb. 2021, Print, A1 and A12, A13; “GOP congressman pitches $34 billion plan to breach Lower Snake River dams in new vision for Northwest,” Seattle Times, 7 Feb. 2021, Web, New vision for NW dams and salmon
My brief summary of this comprehensive three-page article by Mapes:
Dams supply power, provide irrigation, and enable transport of goods along rivers in the Columbia Basin. Wild salmon are headed toward extinction because of dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Consequently, the Northwest has been embroiled in expensive litigation and programs for decades.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson proposed a paradigm-shift solution to the dam/salmon conflict. He proposed breaching functioning dams while replacing their important functions by other means—and funding this solution through a $34 billion federally supplied Columbia Basin Fund.
Simpson say his proposal is meant to spur regional conversation for a new vision for the Northwest.