Category Archive: Posts

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Climate Costs of Militarizing the Olympic Peninsula

Growler jet - Google free imageWhat 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.

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Board Member Jill Silver Recognized for Invasive Plant Work

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.

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OFCO Joins 122 Conservation Groups to Oppose Forest Provisions in Farm Bill – Bill Fails

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.

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OFCO Opposes Expansion of Penn Cove Shellfish Project in Quilcene Bay: Outdated and Inadequate Science

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.

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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Coast Seafood Petition for En Banc Review

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Coast Seafood’s petition for en banc review. The Court has discretion to allow en banc review by 11 judges where there are grounds to do so.

OFCO alleges that Coast Seafoods is violating the federal Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants from an oyster hatchery on Quilcene Bay without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. Coast previously had claimed its oyster hatchery is the world’s largest shellfish hatchery, capable of producing over 45 billion eyed oyster larvae per year. Coast moved to dismiss the case and lost at the District Court, saying it was not required to apply for a permit. In March the Ninth Circuit decided that Coast is not exempt from the permit requirements.

The case will go back to federal District Court for decision unless Coast chooses to apply for a permit and settle the case. Coast also has the option of appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.