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U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms OFCO’s Clean Water Act Win, Advancing Protections for Hood Canal and Puget Sound

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued their decision in Olympic Forest Coalition v. Coast Seafoods Company on March 9, affirming OFCO’s case. 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 (NPDES) permit. Coast 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 and lost at the District Court and now at the Court of Appeals.

“The case is very important for Quilcene Bay and perhaps all of Puget Sound,” said Paul Kampmeier the attorney representing Olympic Forest Coalition, “because it clarifies the important legal issues—whether aquatic animal production facilities using ditches, channels, and pipes are point sources that require NPDES permits. The Ninth Circuit ruled today that they do. The case is not over but the decision today should provide greater protection for Hood Canal and Puget Sound.”

See press release here.

UPDATE 03/27/18: Coast Seafoods petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case en banc, with a panel of 11 judges. How long will Coast drag out the process and escape following basic law like other businesses?

Navy Special Operations ESA Comments

From the West Coast Action Alliance:

The Navy has opened for comment an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Special Operations in which Navy SEALs stage covert small-team landings via mini-subs and small boats, with up to 20 personnel concealing themselves ashore for up to 72 hours, plus mock gun battles with paintballs, called “direct actions.” Although the Navy owns 46 miles of shoreline in the Pacific Northwest and more than 151,000 acres of land here, this combat training will occur in our communities, boat marinas, 65+ state parks, public beaches, and on some private lands in Puget Sound and on the outer coast. It’s possible that this training may entail climbing some of the steep glacial till cliff faces around Port Townsend, which local residents and property owners know are already dangerously eroding. One of the places selected for mock gun battles with paintballs includes the Memorial Peace Park atop the bluffs at Fort Worden, which some residents interpret as a stick in the eye, not to mention being an assault on a place that has historic, cultural and spiritual value.

And here is how you can submit official comments: Click here.

Here’s a map of training sites. Click to enlarge. Purple = combat training. Most of these are civilian-populated areas with ecologically sensitive shorelines.

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OFCO v. Coast Seafoods Oral Arguments Before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Paul Kampmeier of Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, attorney for OFCO, presented oral arguments in the case on appeal by Coast before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 8. View the video from the court here.

The court will give its ruling on whether Coast was required to apply for an NPDES permit under the Clean Water Act in the next few months.

With appreciation to Paul for his dedicated defense of the marine waters of the OP!

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People’s Public Hearing on Atlantic Salmon Net Pens

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National Park Service Extends Comment Deadline to October 10 on Goat Removal Plan – OFCO Submits Comment

Please click here to review background information.

The Olympic Forest Coalition has submitted a comment on the National Park Service’s Mountain Goat Management Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Our colleagues of the Olympic Park Associates are requesting that our members write and express their support for a modified Alternative D. Click here to view OPA’s web page.

OFCO supports the capture and removal of non-native goats, with their relocation to the North Cascades which have declining populations, and lethal removal. While the lethal removal of invasive non-native goats is a heartbreaking option, the removal plan from the 1980s failed to stop the destruction of alpine habitats and allowed this aggressive species to increase in population at 8% per year. This has led to further degradation of natural areas, public safety problems in popular recreation areas and a tragic death. Click here to see OFCO’s comment. Please consider the issue carefully, review the science and plan, and write a comment today!