Rep. Bishop (R-UT), Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Westerman (R-AR), Subcommittee on Oversight, have launched an investigation into the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)’s efforts to protect aquatic species from military operations in the Pacific. The basis: NRDC is acting on behalf of China to weaken national security and must register as a “foreign agent.” The letter to NRDC states that given the “close ties between NRDC and the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party,” the Committee wants to explore the close relationship and NRDC’s efforts to influence U.S. security policy. The proof of NRDC’s ties?: the fact that NRDC reports on China’s environmental efforts and helps China to maintain a positive perception to the American public, and that NRDC is more critical, litigious and takes an adversarial approach to the U.S. government—in particular the U.S. Navy’s operations in the Pacific.
“We are interested in environmental litigation by U.S.-based 501(c) organizations against the Department of Defense and its negative impact on our national security,” House Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop and Oversight Subcommittee Chair Bruce Westerman wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis. – Reuters
NRDC responded to the probe saying they were looking forward to meeting with the Committee, and that their work is on behalf of Americans and the world our future generations will inherit.
What happens when the world’s largest user of fossil fuels fails to fully disclose its contributions to air pollution, respiratory diseases and climate change? What would you say to the fact that in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), the U.S. Navy analyzed the exhaust emissions of only 36 of its 160-jet fleet of EA-18G Growler jets, and that the analysis covered only takeoffs and landings?
Emissions from Naval flight operations beyond about six miles from the corners of each runway are not analyzed. Greenhouse gases for takeoffs and landings are listed in the EIS but are not added up, so if readers want to know the totals, they have to do the math themselves.
Please read the full, well-researched article by Karen Sullivan here.
Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times
Jill Silver, founder of 10,000 Years Institute, has been recognized for her work on invasive plants in habitat areas on the Olympic Peninsula. See this Seattle Times article by Linda Mapes.
Mapes writes about Jill’s “Pulling Together in Restoration” project, a two-year state grant of the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative and other support, to deploy a crew of 25 people, with family-wage jobs, to protect salmon habitat in what the writer calls “a gold standard.” Thanks to Jill for her leadership as an OFCO Board member, for representing OFCO in the Olympic Peninsula Forest Collaborative, and for protecting our Olympic Peninsula habitat.
The Wilderness Society (TWS) led the effort to oppose the forest provisions in the Forestry Title of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), known as “the House Farm Bill that aimed at deconstructing decades of conservation work for our federal forests.” See some of the attempted rollback of environmental protections here.
The bill failed passage in the House (yeas 198 to 213 nays). According to TWS, the takeaway: This version failed because of its radical departure from the past more bipartisan efforts. The Senate will be taking up some version of the farm bill. The regressive goals of the bill likely will come back in other forms; for now, they have failed. They include:
- Repealing the Conservation Stewardship Program and incorporating parts of the program into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program;
- Revising the requirements and process for the Environmental Protection Agency pesticide registration program;
- Requiring farmers to make a one-time election to obtain either price loss coverage or agricultural risk coverage for the 2019–2023 crop years; and
- Expanding the categorical exclusions that exempt certain forest management activities from requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act to prepare an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.
(excerpted from the Congressional Research Service bill summary)
See the conservation letter here.
The Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO) submitted comments to the Jefferson County Dept. of Community Development on the controversial expansion of the Penn Cove mussel raft operations in Quilcene Bay. OFCO expressed concerns over the inadequate scientific documentation underlying the conclusion that the new project will not pose significant impacts to threatened and endangered species, to the habitat in Quilcene Bay, and to public health in nearby swimming beaches. Penn Cove has applied for a 60% expansion of their operations. Penn Cove currently subleases the Coast Seafood Dept. of Natural Resources tidelands lease for the project and the expansion will add 9 more mussel rafts to the existing 24. Mussel raft operations in Hood Canal and Puget Sound are raising protests. The Olympic Peninsula Environmental News (OPEN) blog posted a recent article on other mussel projects.
Environmental and legal concerns over the lack of strong regulatory oversight by the Washington State Dept. of Ecology go back several years. OPEN’s blog linked to a 2014 law review article in the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law discussing the subject.