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:

Friday, August 2, 2013

NOAA Rejects Pacific Legal Foundation Petition to Remove Puget Sound Orcas from Endangered Species List

Southern Resident Orcas
San Juan Islands, WA

(photo from NOAA)
In a NOAA press release issued today, it announced it has rejected a petition filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to remove Puget Sound's southern resident Orca population from the list of endangered species.
Pacific Legal Foundation's
Attorney Damien Schiff

"would like to litigate"
Government, subsidies and litigation
August 2 of 2012, PLF's Principal Attorney Damien Schiff filed a petition with NOAA requesting the southern resident Orcas be removed from the ESA list. In the petition PLF claimed the group was not genetically distinct, only geographically distinct and that "erring on the side of caution" leads to an "end justifies the means" philosophy, resulting in the listing of a subspecies as endangered. This "ends justifies the means" has also been used by Corey Goodman to question the motives of those who believe Drakes Estero should be allowed to become a marine wilderness area, currently prevented by Drakes Bay Oyster Company's continued commercial operation.
The petition was filed on behalf of CESAR (Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability,a nonprofit organization dedicated to "scientific rigor" in environmental regulations), Empresas Del Bosque Farms (2,200 acres growing cantaloupes, almonds and asparagus which has received $323,006 in government crop subsidies) and the Coburn Ranch (4,000 acres growing almonds, grapes and various row crops which has received over $5 million in government crop subsidies). PLF maintains the "family run farms" are harmed by the government, but neglects to mention this same burdensome government has also provided millions in subsidies to them.
PLF attorney Damien's response to the rejection of their petition was "...the finding does tee up various issues that we would like to litigate over." He does not say what the "various issues" are which he and PLF would like to "litigate" over. Farm subsidies will likely not be one of the "issues" teed up.
Pacific Legal Foundation - well funded to "litigate" in Washington or California
The Pacific Legal Foundation is one of the oldest conservative groups believing in limited government and protecting businesses from what it perceives as unfair burdens, especially when those "burdens" relate to environmental regulations. At the end of 2012 they had amassed over $33 million in net assets, having  received over $8 million in donations in 2012 alone. Of those amounts, they spent "only" $4 million in "legal activities" in 2012.
They have been active in minimizing regulatory oversight of shoreline owners in various Puget Sound counties as well as the California Coastal Commission, with the latter being referred to as a "power-hungry band of regulators". The California Coastal Commission is now embroiled in law suits with Drake's Bay Oyster Company over coastal violations it has failed to act on.
In addition to PLF's involvement in trying to de-list the southern resident Orcas they are also involved in supporting Drake's Bay Oyster Company. Attempts by public relations firms to distance Drakes Bay Oyster Company from associations with conservative groups have to date failed, primarily because it still continues. Recent appearances on conservative radio talk shows have not helped with the "message". 
Tar is sticky
As Steven Maviglio noted in is piece for the California Majority Report, the attempt by Drake's Bay Oyster Company to distance itself from the conservative right-wing groups it has associated with is not something it can simply walk away from and pretend didn't happen. Ongoing relations with the Pacific Legal Foundation who have brought attention to a northwest icon, the endangered southern resident Orcas, makes the road they walk on very sticky.


Update 8/3: Getting further bogged down in the tar.
Corey Goodman, neuroscientist and past Stanford professor who supports Drake's Bay Oyster Company "debated" a citizen, Bruce Kranzler, on the nuances of scientific research today with conservative talk show host "MZ" on KSCO. One has to admire Mr. Kranzler for his willingness to listen to Goodman's displeasure about the data not being "perfect" as it was in examples he used when teaching within the walls of Stanford University.
Update 8/6: Bruce Kranzler comments on Drakes Bay Oyster Company's Public Relations press and the "debate" with Kevin Lunny and the great Dr. Corey Goodman on The California Majority Report.

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