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:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Coalition Files Legal Petition with Army Corps - Cumulative Impacts Analysis Needed

If one is found to have no significant adverse effect...

...then hundreds are just fine. Right?

If one baby is cute why not have 5?
Harsh? Of course. However, this is the point made in a petition sent to the Army Corps of Engineers by The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. In the notice mailed to the Corps it is argued the Corps' Nationwide Permit 48 (used for permitting shellfish farms) has not considered the massive expansion of industrial shellfish activity now occurring in the tidelands and waters of Puget Sound.
The fragmentation of Puget Sound's 
most valuable and fragile resource.

Connect the dots.
In a public notice sent out today (see below) the Coalition points out the original analysis performed by the Corps, the basis for reissuing the 2012 NWP48, assumed the permit would be used "about 50 times a year for 5 years" or, 250 permits. In the first two years the Corps has received 1,000 applications and issued over 900.

Just give them the candy. Maybe they'll stop screaming "I want I want I want".
This is a motivated industry flush with cash. As the Coalition has argued before county examiners, commissioners, the shorelines hearings board, and in court, the cumulative impacts of discrete farms, when taken as a whole, are adversely transforming Puget Sound's intertidal areas. The proposal to spray the neurotoxin, imidacloprid, in Willapa Bay to destroy the native burrowing shrimp and the herbicide imazamox are only two examples of an industry which has reached a scale considered industrial by any metric used. Continuing to issue permits may stop one group from screaming, but another, concerned about the expansion, will only get louder.
Kevin Lunny - A lease not renewed, 
a settlement agreement signed,
still kicking, and is now "terrified."
(Wondering, "Is that the answer I was supposed to give?")
(April 29, before the House of Representatives,
answering Representative Labrador.)

Control the conversation
Well paid lobbyists and public relations firms such as the Glover Park Group continue to try and frame the shellfish industry as small families trying to make a living, overburdened by regulations. Attempts to create regulations are met with well paid contract scientists generating opinions and evaluations showing no harm, some owning the very types of operations they are expressing opinions on. Academic scientists and institutions are funded with money controlled by politicians who are lobbied and presented with testimony from people such as Kevin Lunny whose lease ended but who feels he has been somehow persecuted when the simple reality is he bought a company knowing its lease would not be renewed. Representative Labrador, playing Mr. Lunny like a pawn, is better served by looking at this industry and the "science" used to justify their expansion than listening to an individual who made a bad business decision being used to frame a false conversation.

Get involved and stay involved. The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat is, has been, and will be.

Press Release from the Coalition
(links to letter sent are at the end)

Date:  May 5, 2015

Contact: Laura Hendricks  (253) 509-4987

The Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat (Coalition) filed a legal Petition today with the US Army Corps of Engineers, asking that the Corps suspend the use of the Clean Water Act Nationwide Permit (“NWP”) 48, which allows industrial aquaculture activities in Puget Sound. 

The Coalition contends that the Corps has authorized too many of these industrial style shellfish operations. This Petition follows on the heels of the same group prevailing in Thurston County Superior Court.  On April 3, 2015 the Court upheld a Shorelines Hearings Board Decision that ruled there was insufficient cumulative impact analysis in a Pierce County Shoreline permit for one of the industrial aquaculture projects at issue.The Conservation group cited and submitted over 51 studies and other documents, supporting their Petition.  They claim the Corps is acting unlawfully, by continuing to issue permits without adequate analysis of the impacts. 

Numerous detailed comments have been filed by the Coalition with the Corps, and with County planners, opposing operations of the sort allowed by NWP 48.  Scientists have pointed to scientific studies documenting harm of many types from industrial scale aquaculture, including plastic pollution in Puget Sound waters. Shellfish operations use hundreds of thousands of plastic PVC tubes, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) netting, plastic bands, HDPE oyster bags and HDPE mussel disks for their operations.  

Scientists who have looked closely at the issue say the resulting plastic debris and plastic particles harm aquatic life. According to Charles Moore, the world renowned marine plastic debris expert who has testified for the Coalition in a recent Shorelines Hearings Board proceeding: "At the present time, it does not appear possible to introduce any conventional plastic into the marine environment, without harmful consequences."

At the heart of the Coalition challenge is an analysis that the Seattle District of the Corps did when NWP 48 was reauthorized in 2012.  That analysis presumed that the permit would be used only about 50 times a year, for 5 years.  So the impact evaluation that the Corps conducted was premised on a maximum number of shellfish operations of roughly 250.  However, in the first 2 years of the NWP’s existence, the Corps has already received over 1,000 applications and already issued over 900 permits.  A map of the applications provided by the Coalition shows in stark contrast the enormous number of applications approved or pending in South Puget Sound. 

The Conservation group contends that the Corps should have long ago stepped back and reevaluated.  Laura Hendricks, a Citizen Representative said her members were outraged that the Corps continued to process and issued these permits, after it should have become clear to the Corps in the first 6-8 months that they had grossly underestimated the number of shellfish operations that would seek authorization under NWP 48.

“We’ve been advocating for a cumulative impacts analysis to be completed for years” said Hendricks.  “For some reason, the Corps simply refuses to listen." Coalition to Protect Puget Sound representative Curt Puddicombe was equally upset: "We don’t understand why the Corps continues to process permits at this insane pace.  They are supposed to be implementing the Clean Water Act in a way that does not allow harm to the public interest, and they are supposed to take a thorough ‘hard look’ at the environmental impacts of a project, before they approve it. Instead, they seem to be using a proverbial ‘rubber stamp’ and allowing the commercial shellfish industry to potentially damage the Sound with an excessive number of industrial scale aquaculture operations.”

This legal action comes shortly after the Coalition voiced opposition to the shellfish industry's use of pesticides in Washington marine waters and the intended spraying of the new pesticide Imidacloprid. After public outcry, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) canceled the Imidacloprid permit, but Imazamox is scheduled to be sprayed in Willapa Bay/Grays Harbor in the next few weeks on over 3,000 acres unless the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) grants a new injunction. The Coalition filed an injunction in 2014 to stop the prior spraying on 300 acres and the PCHB denied the motion based on Ecology's objection.

For more information, and a copy of the Petition for Suspension, the staggering number of permitted aquaculture sites in Puget Sound and supporting literature check out:  

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