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:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Politics Can Be Messy

"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made." John Godfrey Saxe, 1869
 Representative Brian Blake
(D) 19th Legislative District
Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chair

February 21, a hearing on House Bill 1894 before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Chaired by Representative Blake, was in part like watching sausage be made. It was not inspiring.

"My finger is on the button controlling the sausage machine."
As Chair of the Committee listening to testimony for and against House Bill 1894, Representative Blake is able to control what testimony is heard and recorded and what is not. Should he feel testimony is straying too far from addressing the specific bill he is able to "stop the sausage machine" by turning off the microphone in front of whomever may be testifying, preventing that testimony from becoming part of the public record. The machine did not run smoothly on the 21st.

Representative Seaquist
(D) 26th Legislative District
Sponsor of HB1894

House Bill 1894 
[click here for HB1894 bill digest]
[click here for complete bill]
House Bill 1894 is the result of Representative Seaquist having had numerous concerns expressed to him by residents on or near Burley Lagoon over the proposed expansion of shellfish operations both within and nearby the enclosed bay. Included was feedback from the shellfish industry, including Taylor Shellfish who had leased the ~300 acres contained within the lagoon. Politics is messy. HB1894 is in part focused on promoting the shellfish industry and in part focused on expanding research to address the growing and evolving shellfish industry's methods and structures used. [click here to hear Representative Seaquist's presentation before the committee] Washington taxpayer funds would pay for most of it. Many taxpayers testifying did not feel they should fund programs which, on the surface, appear to benefit the shellfish industry who pays little in the form of taxes.

Property taxes paid in the south half of Burley Lagoon
Tideland: <$400
Upland: >$120,000

Who pays for what?

Citizen testimony on proposed bills is rarely refined.  [click here for video of citizen testimony which was cut off] (Note: If TVW.ORG is busy you may have to click on the "refresh" button.)
In a perfect world citizen testimony before a committee addresses specific portions of a bill and reasons why they are for or against it, with possible solutions, followed by the committee chair thanking them. Reality is quite different, something Representative Blake has no doubt seen many times. Whether what Representative Blake did was reasonable is subjective. Whether the frustration his actions created was warranted is also subjective. It was certainly a messy part of the hearing and not particularly inspiring for anyone.

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