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, June 20, 2013

2 Faces of Burley Lagoon: Industrial Shellfish Farming at Night and Gray Whales During the Day

"We work with the tides and it's simply too bad you sleep at night." 
June 20, between 1AM and 3AM, Burley Lagoon was once again treated to a midnight symphony of engines and high pressure hoses from the shellfish industry. Apparently unaware that there are high tides during the day they could use they have decided to allocate their resources to disturbing the dead of night, for wildlife and residents who live in or near Burley Lagoon. Are there really no other options?

Burley Lagoon is different -
we get to work at midnight.
The previous day, June 29, people near Burley Lagoon were treated to the other side of a dynamic ecosystem which has supported a diverse body of wildlife for generations. In this case, a Gray whale found itself the center of attention. During a large part of the day the Gray whale seemingly found itself pondering the changes going on in Burley Lagoon.
Gray Whale at the mouth of Burley Lagoon.
A passive shellfish operation operated for decades by the Yamashita family is now being transformed into an industrial operation by Taylor Shellfish. At all hours of the night tidelands are being "cleaned" and "prepped" along with barges entering and leaving, loading and unloading their gear. Burley Lagoon is changing, and most reasonable people would agree it is not for the better. Unless you are the Taylor family.

Politics makes a difference, locally and nationally. 
Attorneys, lobbyists, and public relations firms are all well funded by the current profits generated from geoduck farming, helped also by government funding to promote the industry. This allocation of financial resources is putting at risk the Shoreline Management Act's overarching policy:
the public’s opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible consistent with the overall best interest of the state and the people generally." (RCW 90.58.020)
Political donations from shellfish associates help ensure the process moves to benefit the industry. March 28, the day after the Pierce County Detienne geoduck farm hearing, shellfish law firm Plauche and Carr donated $500 to Gig Harbor mayoral candidate Jill Guernsey. Taylor Shellfish employee Bill Dewey has personally donated over $12,000 to various candidates over the past few years. Not to mention the free shellfish provided at numerous political gatherings and well placed non-profit conservancy donations.
Gallatin Public Affairs
 Bruce Gryniewski
“I don’t believe in this eco-McCarthyism view
that if you work for coal,
you can’t do anything good in the world.”
What is evolving in Puget Sound and seen in California is only a part of a larger corporate movement to dismantle the environmental protections which have been in place for decades. Marketing sound bites of "job creation" and "helping the economy" resonate throughout press releases created by public relations firms. Recent articles have described Gallatin Public Affairs new love affair with coal. Criticism of the risk it puts Puget Sound at is labeled as "eco-McCarthyism", the outfall of a well paid strategic plan developed in somebody's downtown 11th floor office.

Yesterday it was reported by the Earth Law Center that "California Congressmen Tom McClintock, a conservative Republican, and Jim Costa, a moderate Democrat, are co-sponsoring a bill [HR 934] in the House of Representatives that would remove the federal wild and scenic designation on a section of the Merced River west of Yosemite National Park, thereby stripping it of federal protections." It is only one of the rivers being considered for "de-listing" by Congress, following in the footsteps of Diane Feinstein's failed attempt to force renewal of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company's lease in the only shoreline wilderness on the west coast, through a rider introduced in Congress.

These seemingly separate and distinct activities - Drakes Bay Oyster Company, coal export terminals, and Merced's Wild and Scenic designation - are indicators of the corporate forces at play who wish to redefine what a natural environment is. If allowed to move forward, it will take another generation to rein in what was undone, if it can be done at all.

How you can help Puget Sound.
Two groups who are involved in helping to ensure that the Shoreline Management Act is not skewed towards an industrial transformation are Case Inlet Shoreline Association and APHETI. Contact either to ask how you can help. Alternatively, contact your political representatives and tell them it is time to protect the Shoreline Management Act from a "corporate makeover." See also the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, currently appealing various permits.
How you can help nationally.
Contact your Congressional representatives and demand they stop corporate attempts to dismantle the environmental regulations in place, whether HR 934 or otherwise.

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