Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee:
Legislative and Congressional contacts:

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shellfish Politics in Washington DC: Is Gregoire the right package for the EPA?

Currently taking place in Washington DC is the annual "Walk on the Hill" where shellfish growers, lobbyists and their attorneys meet with congressional leaders and agencies to press their case for expanding the shellfish industry. Festivals of wine and oysters as well as use of the Acadiana Restaurant are annual lobbying events.

"Simmable, diggable, fishable"
For who?
Bill Dewey from Taylor Shellfish
teaching then Governor Gregoire
what "diggable" is to the shellfish industry.

Perhaps the most significant effort being put forth will be to get Washington's outgoing Governor Gregoire nominated to head the EPA. She's a woman who used to be Washington's Attorney General who also headed Washington's Department of Ecology. Isn't it a perfect package? It is, but it takes more than a package mailed from the northwest to run the agency created to protect human health and the environment.

It takes more than a package
of sound bites to get things done.

As was so well put in 2012 by another writer describing Governor Gregoire's progress on improving the waters of Puget Sound after five years of effort: "Swimmable, diggable, fishable" makes a nice sound bite — and certainly a level below which one wouldn't want the health of the Sound to sink — but it would hardly constitute recovery." [click here for full article]

Being reactive - or inactive - does not make for sound leadership of an agency where being proactive is critical.
Pointed out in a December 2011 press conference, while head of the Department of Ecology it took the shellfish industry dressing "her down" in the late 1980's to get the agency she was then responsible for (the Department of Ecology) to act on increasing pollution levels in the waters of Puget Sound.

When asked at a 2012 press conference what actions she would take on the proposed coal terminals in Washington through which hundreds of tons of coal would be exported to China, the largest producer of CO2 in the world, she chose carefully crafted political answers learned while Attorney General to say "nothing." This after having been cheered by NOAA head Janet Lubchenco as being a "strong leader" addressing CO2 emissions. And supporting "green" technologies.

Oysters shipped from Washington continue to cause significant numbers of illness from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, something the state's Department of Health under then Governor Gregoire was responsible for controlling. This despite the FDA expressing strong concerns over the shellfish industry's inability to control outbreaks from Vibrio years ago. The shellfish industry's response was to express concern about "undue economic impacts to shellfish producers."

These are not indicative of being a strong leader acting for the long term health of the people and the environment. It is a person reacting to political pressures from industries.

It takes more than a package.
Running an agency the size of the EPA, whose responsibility is to protect human health and the environment, takes more than a package of soundbites shipped from the northwest. And a few oysters.

No doubt the shellfish industry feels different, given her support for lessening regulatory oversight of that industry, allowing it to expand wherever they would like in those "swimmable, diggable, fishable" waters. No doubt it will also be a topic of conversation January 30 at the Acadiana Restaurant over raw oysters. Let's hope nobody gets sick.

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