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:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Willapa Bay Shellfish Grower Fined $175,000 for Clean Water Act Violations - DOE Taken for Another Ride

Who is managing who? 
The Willapa Bay shellfish industry takes
the Department of Ecology for another ride.

June 19, 2015: Wiegardt Brothers Inc. (WBI) president pleads guilty to violating the Clean Water Act.
2012 - 2014: Permit monitoring violations by WBI knowingly occurred.
April 8, 2013: Department of Ecology reauthorizes WBI's permit based on "up to date information on the facility's waste treatment practices" in order to "...minimize the number of active permits that have passed their expiration dates..."

Just tell them what they want to hear.
Or don't.

Continuing to confirm shellfish growers are far from being the PR description of "good stewards" of Washington's most critical marine waters and habitat, Willapa Bay shellfish grower and seafood processor WBI has been found guilty of knowingly discharging untested effluent into Willapa Bay for two years, between 2012 and 2014. The Seattle Times reported June 20th the president and majority owner of WBI (Frederic "Fritz" Wiegardt) was fully aware WBI was "...not performing the monthly effluent sampling that their permit required." [For more, see Department of Justice press release.]

"Compliance with fecal coliform limits
has proved difficult for most seafood processors."
What about everybody else? Does that mean nobody
needs to care any longer about fecal coliform discharges?

In April of 2013, at a time when Mr. Wiegardt was fully aware of the permit violations occurring, DOE approved a reauthorization of WBI's discharge permit for an additional 5 years. In that reauthorization notice, they write seafood processors had difficulty complying with fecal coliform limits so were not overly concerned of past violations. Included was a table from February 2008 showing 5 separate days of exceeding fecal coliform levels, in one month. It was assumed none were reported after that date, but based on the admitted guilt of inadequate monitoring it is now impossible to say. (Note: While Public Notice of the decision was published in the Chinook Observer in January of 2013, it did not note a reauthorization versus renewal process had occurred.)

Advantages of Reauthorization over Renewal
It's less work for DOE because it will
"...minimize the number of active permits 
that have passed their expiration dates..."
(Department of Ecology)

In consideration of reauthorizing or renewing discharge permits, DOE has the option of either doing a complete review of the permit or simply reauthorizing the permit. How DOE lessens its workload through reauthorization versus renewal is explained in the permit reauthorization notice this way:
When Ecology reauthorizes a discharge permit it essentially reissues the permit with the existing limits, terms and conditions. Alternatively, when Ecology renews a permit it re-evaluates the impact of the discharge on the receiving water, which may lead to changes in the limits, terms and conditions of the permit. [i.e., it takes more work]
 The 2013 reauthorization document noted DOE was not concerned over fecal coliform violations, apparently because it is "difficult for most seafood processors" to control. Instead, DOE was satisfied with reliance on shellfish grower WBI because:
"Ecology has up-to date information on the facility’s waste treatment practices, the facility’s production levels; and the nature, content, volume, and frequency of its discharge (see more information in Appendix C)."
“What really got us was the social media,” said Willapa Bay 
shellfish grower Ken Wiegardt, a fifth-generation farmer.
Chinook Observer, June 15, 2015 
quoting WBI's "fifth generation" member
on why the people did not want
the neurotoxin imidacloprid sprayed
into Willapa Bay and its shellfish beds.

Lost on the Wiegardt and Sheldon families is that it is the duplicity of the shellfish industry which "really got" the public to revolt against the Willapa Bay shellfish growers, not "social media" making people aware of it. When the PR curtain of being a "good steward" is pulled back to reveal how little shellfish growers really care about the marine habitat they profit so well from, hiring a public relations firm won't help. Unless you happen to be an employee of a public relations firm or a lobbyist. Then you can expect the shills to prosper.

No comments:

Post a Comment