Sound Status Update – February 2019

Dear Friends,

It’s safe to say that after one of the snowiest months in recent memory, we sure are looking forward to the official start of spring on March 20th. But even with all the snowfall, we’re in hot pursuit of meaningful environmental action in Tacoma and Washington State. We’ve submitted comments on projects that would have impacts on endangered salmon, and laid out some of the key state legislation we’re keeping an eye on. We’re also gearing up for our annual dinner & auction fundraiser, and we’re thrilled that both WA Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Mayor of Tacoma Victoria Woodards will take part in the event this year!

We Need a Second Review of the LNG Plant in Tacoma

We need you to urge Tacoma City Council to require a second review of the proposed changes to the LNG facility in Tacoma. Since its initial review in 2015, the scope of the proposed project has undergone significant changes, none of which have been reviewed or analyzed. Our climate, our orcas, and our salmon will all be negatively impacted by this project, and we need to understand the impacts of these new changes.

Contact Tacoma City Council here: http://ow.ly/l8bF30nTjRb

Big news for our upcoming Auction!

We’ve got some big news for our Cheers to a Healthy Bay auction this upcoming April! We are thrilled to announce that Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz will be our guest speaker for this year’s fundraiser. Commissioner Franz is leading the push to make Washington’s lands resilient in the face of climate change, investing in carbon sequestration and clean energy with wind, solar, and geothermal infrastructure.

Additionally, City of Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards will also be a part of this year’s auction by helping us with our Call for Support. The fundraiser is truly shaping up to be our most exciting and fun auction yet, so grab your tickets today!

  • Individual Tickets: $150 per person
  • Table of 8: $1,200
  • Table of 10: $1,500
Purchase Tickets

Port Channel Deepening & Widening

Photo by Clemens Vasters

To ease the navigation of large container ships, the Port of Tacoma has requested that the US Army Corps of Engineers investigate the feasibility of deepening and widening the Blair Waterway in Commencement Bay. The Corps has determined that just an Environmental Assessment (EA) sufficiently analyzes the impacts of the project; however, we have requested that the Corp conduct an Environmental Impact Statement instead because it is a more thorough review and would provide more information on the project’s potential impacts on salmon health, Tribal treaty fishing rights, contaminated sediments, greenhouse gas emissions, and how the project’s underwater noise might disturb marine mammals like our Southern Resident killer whales.

To learn more about our thoughts on the project, read our public comment letter.

For more background information on the project, read this article by the Tacoma News Tribune: www.thenewstribune.com/latest-news/article219793345.html

Dam Spillover Public Comment

Citizens for a Healthy Bay supports Ecology’s authority to regulate water temperature around the nine federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Regulating these water temperatures to be consistent with State water quality standards is one of many steps in preventing the warming of river water due to the environmental impacts of climate change. Warmer waters weaken salmon immune systems and widen the range of their predators, increasing their risks of mortality. Although this is not the final answer to recovering our native salmon populations, it is one step in the right direction.

Upcoming Legislation

Listed below are five bills working their way through the State House and Senate that we are keeping an eye on. While we’ve chosen to feature these five bills in this month’s newsletter, there are many more bills we are following. For more information and how to get involved on currently proposed legislation, please contact Erin Dilworth, our Policy & Technical Program Manager at edilworth@healthybay.org

Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act HB 2009/SB 5489

According the Washington Tracking Network, parts of our community rank 10 out of 10 on the health disparities scale – these communities are often made up of low-income and/or people of color, and their health is more negatively impacted by environmental harms than surrounding communities. One way to combat this type of environmental injustice is to require the agencies that make decisions that affect the environment to meaningfully consider what environmental burdens, benefits and investments are made, where. The HEAL Act will do just that by creating a legal definition of environmental justice and requiring state agencies to adopt policies and procedures that will lessen environmental harms on already highly-impacted communities. Citizens for a Healthy Bay, along with over 70 other groups, supports the HEAL Act.

Protecting southern resident orcas from vessels HB 1580/SB 5577

  • Establishes go-slow and no-go zones around southern resident orcas and creates a permitting system for commercial whale watching companies
  • Representative Jinkins is a sponsor of this bill, thank you!

Protecting marine habitat HB 1579/SB 5580

  • Increases protections for Chinook salmon and their prey species, particularly forage fish, by establishing more strict regulations around the development of shorelines
  • Representative Jinkins is a sponsor of this bill, thank you!

Reducing toxic contamination HB 1194/SB 5135

  • Requires the Department of Ecology to identify chemicals that are known to be harmful to marine life, and establish regulations to keep those chemicals out of consumer products
  • Representative Jinkins and Senators Fey and Darneille are sponsors of these bills, thank you!

Oil transportation safety and spill prevention HB 1578/SB 5578

  • Increases oversight of oil-carrying vessels and directs the Department of Ecology to place an oil spill response vessel in northern Puget Sound
  • Representative Jinkins is a sponsor of this bill, thank you!

Thank you to Mayor Woodards and Councilmembers Beale, Ibsen and Mello signed on in support of the last four of these bills!

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