Update | Electron Dam Pollution and Lawsuit

Earlier this year, CHB teamed up with Puget Soundkeeper to file suit against Electron Dam to hold them accountable for polluting the Puyallup River. In the summer of 2020, Electron placed old artificial field turf into the river during a construction project. In late July 2020, a large amount of plastic and rubber debris associated with the turf broke free and washed down stream. The crumb rubber and plastic in the artificial turf is toxic to salmon and other animals that live in and around the river. CHB teamed up with Puget Soundkeeper to file a lawsuit in March 2021, and joined in the United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) case against Electron. Our case is one of four against Electron Dam, and the cases cover a multitude of Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act violations.

While it often seems like the wheels of litigation turn slowly, a lot of good progress has been happening since then. The Puyallup Tribe joined both our lawsuit and that of the DOJ, bringing their voice to the case. Further, a federal judge agreed with the Puyallup Tribe that the dam was illegally killing salmon and trout. Indeed, the Tribe has called the Dam a ‘fish killing machine’. The judge ordered Electron Dam to stop operating until it can get the required permits, while the Washington State Department of Ecology fined the Dam $501,000 for illegally discharging artificial turf into the Puyallup River, and added water quality monitoring requirements for the Dam.

As the case proceeds, CHB is dedicated to continuing to stand with the Puyallup Tribe and working towards a solution that is best for the resource and communities impacted by Electron’s actions.

There are only 21 tickets left before we are SOLD OUT!

Don’t miss your opportunity to purchase tickets to our first in-person event in almost 2 years!!

Come support CHB, applaud our amazing award winners, and enjoy an afterhours peek at the beautiful Pacific Seas Aquarium!

Join us Thursday, November 4, 6:00PM at the Pacific Seas Aquarium at the Point Defiance Zoo.

Click HERE to purchase your tickets. 

**Stand for Our Sound is a fully vaccinated event; guest must show proof of vaccination at the door OR via email prior to the event.

Tacoma City Council Postpones Tideflats Vote to 11/16

Tacoma City council has delayed the vote on the Tideflats Regulations – a vote that could make the regulations permanent while also banning the expansion of existing fossil fuel facilities. The City Council said that more time was needed to refine the code and also to have a government-to-government consultation with the Puyallup Tribe, who have been calling for an end to the unlimited fossil fuel facility expansions that Tacoma has allowed.

The First Reading of the regulations – which is the last change for any real changes to be made to the code – will take place on Tuesday November 9th, with the final vote slated for Tuesday November 16th. 

The recommended regulations have a weak definition of renewables that allow for the 15% expansion of fuels like compressed fracked gas, propane, and other fuel blends that do not move us to a low carbon economy.

Council must strengthen this definition before the final vote!

Click HERE to send a letter to council, demanding council fix the renewable fuels definition to allow us to focus on low and zero carbon fuels, and also ask them to reduce the percentage of expansion.

You can also send personalized comments to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@cityoftacoma.org,or mailed to: City Clerk’s Office, 733 Market Street, Room 11, Tacoma, WA 98402

Environmental Justice Camp Visits Mount Rainier National Park

On Saturday, October 16th, CHB took our Environmental Justice Camp for Girls to Mount Rainier National Park for a day of hiking and outdoor environmental education. With the help of Washington Trails Association’s Gear Lending Library, we were able to outfit participants head to toe with the proper gear and clothing they needed to be comfortable. After entering the park, we met with Park Ranger Cristina Martinez for our first hike along Trail of the Shadows near Longmire visitors center. We learned about interactions between rock and ice and how they helped shape the landscape, and about geothermal activity as we touched the water bubbling out of the hot spring. Don’t worry, it was more “warm” than “hot”.

After a short drive to Paradise Visitor Center, we hiked the Nisqually Vista Trail. Stopping at the viewpoint for lunch and lecture, we discussed the causes of climate change and the effects it has on the environment and local communities. Park Ranger Martinez shared her own experiences as a woman of color in the field of science and environment, highlighting programs and pathways that are available for youth. We ended the day with our first snowball fight of the season!

The City of Tacoma has a new draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) available! City Council will review the draft CAP on November 9th during their study session.

Tell your City Council representatives to adopt and fully fund the CAP with a letter of support. We encourage you to read the Plan and make note in your letter of the actions you think are most important for the City to prioritize.

Over the last year, CHB has partnered with the City of Tacoma to engage communities in the climate action planning process. Given the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic and the multiple crises our communities are facing right now, this has been a challenging but necessary process. In total, we heard from over 900 community members about their priorities, concerns, and visions for a more sustainable Tacoma throughout climate action planning. This input, as well as the latest science on Tacoma’s greenhouse gas emissions, has informed the City’s 46 near-term actions and strategies for climate action. To keep our communities safe and prepare for the impacts of climate change, the City needs to match and even exceed the goals outlined in this Plan. Learn more about the City’s climate action plan and process.

CHB is proud to welcome Dana Coggon, Kitsap County Noxious Weed Control Coordinator, to our Board of Directors.

CHB’s board is composed of knowledgeable and experienced leaders from business, government, and education. They define and advance the mission of CHB and act as ambassadors to the community.