Sound Status Update – September 2019

Tonight’s Public Hearing on Tacoma’s Fossil Fuel Policy

Taking action against fossil fuels in Tacoma is *really* important because, as a major port city, Tacoma’s actions can bottleneck the transportation of fossil fuels, which in turn can limit the extraction of fossil fuels elsewhere in North America and decrease the amount of fossil fuels burned in other places. This means Tacoma has an outsized role to play in fighting the climate crisis. In our opinion, Tacoma is the most important place in the country to be working against fossil fuels right now.

One of the cornerstones of our work right now is to not only renew the existing ban on new fossil fuel projects in the Port of Tacoma, but also to strengthen these protections to include any expansions of existing fossil fuel facilities as well. The first step to strengthen these protections will take place tonight, on October 1, where Tacoma City Council will conduct a public hearing regarding the reauthorization of the Tideflat Interim Regulations.

*Please join us tonight at 5:00 p.m. at Tacoma City Council to ask our leaders to strengthen these protections and close this gaping loophole that puts the clean future we’re all working towards at risk. Check out our talking points here.

Action Opportunity Schedule
October 1 | 5:00pm | Public Hearing: Tideflats Interim Regulation Renewal
October 8 | 5:00pm | First Reading of Ordinance: Tideflats Interim Regulation Renewal
October 15 | 5:00pm | Final Reading of Ordinance: Tideflats Interim Regulation Renewal

Stand for Our Sound Location Announcement

Our one-of-a-kind Stand for Our Sound fall fundraiser is back again this year!  The event will be held at the stunning Pacific Seas Aquarium at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on November 14!

Stand for Our Sound
Thursday, November 14, 2019

the Pacific Seas Aquarium
5400 N Pearl St | Tacoma, WA
Doors open at 6:00 | Program at 7:00

Purchase Tickets Today

The fundraiser will be a cocktail party full of delicious food and cocktails, wonderful friends, and an inspiring program and Bay Hero awards ceremony, all while getting up and close and personal look at the animals that call Puget Sound home.

Next steps on the Liquefied Natural Gas Plant in Tacoma

CHB’s Policy & Technical Project Manager Erin Dilworth testifying to the Puget Sound Air Agency

Back in July, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) stated they intend to move forward and approve the construction permit for the Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility. PSCAA has ignored the requests of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and over 80 community organizations, including Citizens for a Healthy Bay, who have all demanded this permit be denied.

A big thank you to all those who weighed in and submitted your comments voicing your concerns about the project. Citizens for a Healthy Bay submitted our technical public comment to PSCAA on September 9, stating our opposition to the project on numerous grounds as well as requesting PSCAA to require mitigation of the project if it decides to move forward. If you’re interested in reading our full comment, you can do so here.

In the meantime, PSCAA board members Dow Constantine, King County Executive, and Ryan Mello, City of Tacoma Council Member, have sent a letter to PSCAA stating they believe the agency failed to directly consult with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, which PSCAA is legally required to do. We are now waiting for PSCAA’s response and will continue to provide updates and new action opportunities as they arise.

The Environmental Protection Agency is Rolling Back the Clean Water Rule

Hylebos Creek Restoration Project-Port of Tacoma

Hylebos Creek Restoration Project-Port of Tacoma

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would roll back an Obama-era protection called the Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule was introduced in 2015 to clarify which bodies of water fall under the protection of the landmark Clean Water Act, and this new rule allowed streams, rivers, wetlands, and “navigable waters”—particularly ones that are seasonal—to be included under the Clean Water Act, expanding vital protection to wetlands and small streams that provide drinking water to 1 in 3 Americans and also provide our communities with flood and storm protection, water pollution filtration, recreation, and habitat for culturally and economically significant wildlife like salmon.

Our waters are interconnected, and if we want to have clean water in our larger streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, we need to protect the smaller bodies of water that flow into these larger systems. The Clean Water Rule is about stopping pollution before it happens. People and their communities suffer when polluters get free passes to destroy our rivers and drinking water sources, which is exactly what repealing the Clean Water Rule will do. We need to be doing more to rein in polluters and stop pollution at the source, not less.

Sign on to this petition to tell the EPA protect our waters

Washington is Updating its Rules on Oil Spill Responses

The Washington Department of Ecology has initiated a public comment period on a proposed update to the rules governing how companies transporting oil through the state must be prepared to respond to a spill. In 2018, legislation was passed that directed Ecology to update rules to enhance protections for non-floating oils, including tar sands crude oil from Canada, which can submerge and sink when spilled, making oil spill response operations far more difficult.  Tar sands crude oils are currently moved through Washington via vessel, train, and pipeline. Spills of these oils in other states, such as on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, have had catastrophic results leading to years-long response efforts and limited recovery of sunken oils.  Environmental organizations have contended that Washington’s rule should require more rapid response for companies transporting these oils to respond to spills before they submerge and sink.

Written public comment will be accepted until October 9th, so please submit your comments urging Ecology to require a faster response time to oil spills here.

Help Our Beloved Whales on Orca Recovery Day

Photo by Kelly Keenan

Did you know that water flowing from storm drains often empties directly into Puget Sound, and carries with it chemicals that are toxic to orcas? Join us on Orca Recovery Day to help keep Tacoma’s waters clean by volunteering to glue storm drain markers to curbs with the “No Dumping, Drains to Puget Sound” message.

Meet us in the parking lot of Mann Elementary School (1002 S 52nd Street, Tacoma) at 10am to receive instructions, supplies, and your marking route. Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty.

**Register and sign the waiver here**
https://forms.gle/zCJeYeUWTgAXiYkq9

This event is family friendly! We’ll have coffee, juice, and breakfast goodies to keep you fueled! Also, big shout out to One Tree Planted and Promise the Pod for supporting this event and helping make it possible!

Check out Promise the Pod on Twitter and Instagram.

A Word About the Global Youth Climate Strike

On September 20, we came to support the Youth Climate Strike event at Tacoma City Hall and People’s Park. The biggest takeaway from this event is that our future is bright. The hard work and tenacity of the youth organizers and protesters was simply inspiring. The fight against climate change will be long and hard, but moments like those are what bring hope.

Endangered Southern Resident Orcas Spotted Near Tacoma!

On September 24, we probably had our coolest ever staff meeting. We decided to have our staff meeting while conducting a bay patrol of Commencement Bay, and while we were out there, saw the endangered Southern Resident orca whales (J pod and K13’s) as they passed on through by Dash Point towards the Point Defiance/Tahlequah ferry lane! It was a truly special experience, especially as sightings of the endangered orcas in South Puget Sound seem to be less and less frequent. It was a great reminder that the environmental progress our community is pushing for affects not just us, but the unique and beautiful life around us as well.

Like Our Work and Want to Support What We Do?

For almost 30 years, Citizens for a Healthy Bay has worked to take action and bring people together to achieve a clean and healthy Commencement Bay that benefits both our community and the surrounding ecosystem that calls Puget Sound home. Your donation is an essential part of helping that work continue. Thank you!

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