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:

Monday, April 29, 2013

May 2: Detienne Geoduck Farm Hearing #2

May 2, 10AM to 4PM
Pierce County Permit SD35-05
Detienne Subtidal Geoduck Farm
Contact: Ty Booth email: tbooth@co.pierce.wa.us
Pierce County Council Members: pccouncil@co.pierce.wa.us
Location: Pierce County Public Services Building, South Entrance, Public Meeting Room
2401 South 35th Street, Tacoma
After the proponents for the Detienne subtidal geoduck farm dropped off over 80 additional exhibits at the March 27 Hearing, the Pierce County Hearing Examiner was asked for and granted a second Hearing. In addition, the Examiner also granted the public time to review the additional information and submit comments, as well as have the proponent's attorney and consultant respond to those comments.

In addition, the proponent's attorney supplied an additional letter to the County in which they asked for reductions and elimination of various conditions. Those negotiations were not distributed to the public but some of what occurred is found in letters available on the county's website. They include an April 9 memo from the attorney and an internal April 24 memo to Pierce County Planning.

In those memos are found the continued resistance from the shellfish industry to conditions which limit their operations. Included are discussions of buffer distances from existing eelgrass beds and wanting some types of protected eelgrass to be considered a "weed."

Is this really science?
Not found in the memos but in the response to comments by the proponent's attorney is the mistaken belief that this commercial subtidal geoduck farm, planted in densities of over 40,000 geoduck per acre, is somehow similar to wild geoduck densities. In the response to the County, the hired consultant (Environ) mistakenly tries to put forth the argument that because there are a few isolated pockets of wild geoduck in higher densities than what studies used, it must mean studies which looked at subtidal geoduck farming may be used to show there is no harm.

In fact, virtually all subtidal studies did not consider isolated dense pockets of geoduck (if they exist). They instead assumed densities were far less and modeled studies based on that lower density. As an example, the Department of Natural Resources sediment plume study, a supplement to its EIS, harvested 24 geoduck from a 30M X 30M site (900 square meters, or ~1/4 of an acre) and then based sediment plume generation from that.

Studies show sediments settle quickly and are local - because studies did not go on for weeks.
Another argument put forth is that sediments settle out quickly and are localized. If your study looks at harvesting during one tidal cycle it may very well be true. However, industrial operations are not simply one cycle or even 2 day events. They may last for months.

Eelgrass is a priority habitat and is protected because it is fragile and its habitat functions are critical to a variety of species.
One of the most telling sentences in an exhibit submitted was this explanation of why a bed of eelgrass died off, found in Exhibit 78, a study by David Ward, discussing changes in eelgrass beds: Most eelgrass losses were likely the result of sediment loading and turbidity caused by a single flooding event in winter of 1992–1993. Significant and adverse impacts on eelgrass from sediments and turbidity may happen quickly, within a single event, and be devastating. Harvesting of commercially planted farms go on for months. In this case it is immediately adjacent to one of the few eelgrass beds in south Puget Sound.

If approved, Pierce County will set a precedent based on selective and unrelated studies which will be felt throughout Puget Sound. There is no better example of why it is time for the Examiner to decide whether environmental impacts were adequately considered. No science showing impacts does not mean impacts are not happening. You simply need to look to see it is lacking, then act.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Drakes Bay Oyster Company to California: "Oops, I meant to say ..."

Darned Math

In what appears to be the latest attempt by Drakes Bay Oyster Company to prevent creation of the only Congressionally designated national seashore wilderness on the west coast they have revealed to the California Fish and Game Commission that they made a small mistake. Instead of estimated cleanup costs being the $10,000 they have been reporting for the past 7 years to the Commission, it instead may cost up to $600,000. Apparently they also feel taxpayers should be responsible for it despite their knowing their right to use Drakes Estero would end in 2012.

With new numbers out on the table, perhaps the Commission might consider looking at the past 7 years of payments received over those years of Drakes Estero occupancy allowed before their right to use Drakes Estero tidelands and waters ended. In addition to the sudden increase in estimated cleanup costs, Drakes Bay Oyster Company has also estimated they have over 19 million oysters in Drakes Estero. An audit using those numbers may reveal Drakes Bay Oyster Company has made another miscalculation. Also at the expense of California taxpayers.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spreading the Wealth - From the Shellfish Industry to Puget Sound

What else will the minus tides
bring to us over the next few days?
Times of upcoming low tides (Olympia)
Thursday April 25, 12:16PM, -1.2
 Friday April 26, 12:57PM, -2.2 Saturday April 27, 1:40PM, -2.8 Sunday April 28, 2:27PM, -2.9 Monday April 29, 3:16PM, -2.6 Tuesday April 30, 4:09PM, -1.8

Mussel Disc
(Eld Inlet)
Mesh netting
(Eld Inlet)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Huffington Post on Drakes Bay Oyster Company's Strange Alliance with Oil

"Oil and water? We know they don't mix. As for oil and oysters, apparently they do." Huffington Post, April 24

Huffington Post's Helen Grieco writes today on Drakes Bay Oyster Company's strange alliance with oil and how the current owners got there. [click here for article]

From the article is a brief background:
As a refresher, here are the key facts: the Point Reyes National Seashore was established in 1962 and ten years later, taxpayers purchased the property that belonged to the Johnson Oyster Company for inclusion and protection in this national park, though a 40-year non-renewable leaseback meant the public would have to wait until 2012 to see the fruits of their investment. In 1976, Congress designated 33,000 acres of wilderness in the Seashore, including the Drakes Bay estuary, giving these prized lands and waters much needed protections. Notably, the estuary was the first marine wilderness on the West Coast. But again, the temporary existence of the oyster company meant the protections wouldn't manifest until the oyster lease expired.

Fast-forward to 2004: The original oyster company sold its lease to new investors, the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, who purchased the business at a significant discount given the looming 2012 lease expiration. But immediately after purchasing, the company commenced a lobbying campaign to stay beyond 2012, a campaign to hijack from taxpayers the land they purchased and planned for the historic conservation achievement of marine wilderness. The new company owners, their lawyers, lobbyists, and political backers fought for an extension, which outgoing U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar denied. He allowed the permit to expire under its own terms and in turn, ensured there would be no precedent set by allowing commercial development of a natural area already deemed by Congress as deserving of the highest protections.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Center for Disease Control Reports Vibrio Illnesses from Shellfish Rise 43% in 2012

Percentage increase of disease related
to various forms of bacteria
transmitted through food.
(from CDC press release, 4/19/2013)

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that illness contracted from consuming raw shellfish rose 43% in 2012. In comparison to other food borne diseases, Vibrio related diseases have continued to increase despite assurances from the shellfish industry that they do not need any further oversight. Relative to other forms of bacterial caused disease transmitted through food, those related to Vibrio have increased far more than any others.
Relative rate of increase/decrease
of food borne illnesses. Vibrio is contracted
primarily through the consumption
of raw shellfish, usually oysters.
(from CDC press release, 4/19/2013)

Of the two types of Vibrio, vulnificus (Vv) and parahaemolyticus (Vp), the latter was by far the greatest cause of illness. The former (Vv), while causing fewer illnesses in number, is far more deadly, with an estimated 50% of those contracting the illness passing away.

Bob Rheault, Executive Director
East Coast Shellfish Growers Association

In response to the announcement, Bob Rheault, Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, stated the reason for the increase was that more people are eating raw oysters (or maybe more contaminated oysters are being eaten?). In an article posted on "MarketWatch" he states production has increased by 10% (not quite explaining how that led to a 43% increase). He also went on to say in the article that, “Unfortunately a lot of our demographic is old white guys with liver failure.” [click here for article]

Those with weakened immune systems (e.g., organ recipients who take immune suppressant drugs or "old white guys with liver failure") are more susceptible to the disease. Also related, but not mentioned, is that genetically modified oysters which are sterile no longer "plump" or become "watery" during the summer months when spawning normally occurs, creating a larger "firmer" supply being available during the warmer summer months when Vp or Vn are more likely to exist in larger quantities within oysters.

Washington's Department of Health and Washington shellfish growers are currently holding what may be termed emergency meetings on how to control something which to date they have been unable to. Despite new management protocols having been implemented after a 2006 spike in illnesses traced back to Washington oysters, vibriosis from Washington oysters continues to increase.
Laboratory Confirmed Cases of Vibriosis
From Washington Oysters

What may help is if the attitude expressed by Brian Sheldon, oysterman from Willapa Bay, changes. At a meeting of shellfish growers last year, this note was made in the minutes in response to support having been expressed the previous month for a refrigerated truck having been purchased:
Brian asked that it [reference to the refrigerated truck] be stricken from the record because it gives the impression that the industry supports the changes that require refrigeration to transport oysters and that the industry is "caving in" to unfounded safety concerns along the WA Coast.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Shoreline Hearings Board to Hear Appeal of Taylor Mussel Farm Permit Denial

The Shoreline Hearings Board will hold a hearing on Thurston County's denial of Taylor Shellfish's permit for their proposed 58 raft mussel farm, located at the mouth of Totten Inlet. The public is invited to attend.

One of Taylor's current mussel farms
located in Totten Inlet.
(click lower right corner to enlarge)

Taylor Shellfish has proposed placing 58 rafts near the mouth of Totten Inlet to expand production of their non-native Mediterranean mussels sold. Thurston County required an environmental impact statement to be performed which the Hearing Examiner decided was lacking in its analysis of cumulative impacts. The Examiner gave Taylor the opportunity to provide additional information which they chose not to do, and instead asked that the permit be denied. [click here to read Taylor's request for denial] The Examiner complied. Over one year later, additional information the Examiner asked for is now being provided to the Shoreline Hearings Board.

After the permit was denied (as requested) Taylor then appealed that decision to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. The Commissioners in turn agreed that the information provided was lacking in its analysis of cumulative impacts, supported the Examiner's permit denial, and denied the appeal.

After the Commissioners decision, Taylor then appealed the decision to the Shoreline Hearings Board where it will be heard, with additional information now being provided. Thurston County's Prosecuting Attorney's Office and APHETI's attorney David Mann (Gendler and Mann) will defend the decision to have denied the permit. [click here for APHETI site]

Taylor Shellfish could have easily provided the Hearing Examiner the additional information they are now providing to the Shoreline Hearings Board. Not having done so has resulted in a significant expense to Thurston County taxpayers.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat Files Petition to Delete Japanese Eelgrass as a Class C Weed

The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat has filed a petition with the Noxious Weed Control Board to remove Japanese Eelgrass from its Class C weed classification. [click here for petition] Previously classified as a Priority Habitat Species by Fish and Wildlife, through Taylor Shellfish lobbying the Director of Fish and Wildlife removed the species from the PHS list (see emails below). So doing allowed the Noxious Weed Control Board to then have it classified as a Class C noxious weed.

Initially limited to commercial clam beds in Willapa Bay, further lobbying by shellfish growers pressed the NWCB to expand the classification to all of Washington State's marine waters, including Puget Sound. Despite their advisory board recommending the move not be put in place and there being only hearsay of manila clams being "smaller" they approved the expanded classification. This strategic move has in turn allowed the shellfish industry to press the Department of Ecology to allow the spraying of the indiscriminate herbicide Imazamox.

Conflicts are seen at multiple levels, including the County level where Pierce County is now being pressed by shellfish attorneys in permit decisions to exclude Japanese eelgrass from consideration in permitting. [click here for response letter] Pierce County has taken the position that Japanese eelgrass provides important  habitat functions and is important to protect. The shellfish industry does not like being told what to do.

WDFW email on why "industry leader Bill Dewey"
(Taylor Shellfish) would like Rep. Brian Blake
to "refrain from proposing legislation"
as it would involve public hearings.
(click to enlarge)
 WDFW email with Bill Dewey
(Taylor Shellfish) "for your eyes only"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pacific Oyster Die-Off in Australia

Foodmagazine yesterday reported that Australia has experienced its second large die-off of Pacific oysters. [click here for article] It is currently unknown what the cause is, but it is unrelated to the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome caused by the Ostreid herpesvirus-1 (OsHV-1) which earlier caused a mass die-off in both France and Australia. [click here for article on POM] In the case of POM, the viral outbreak has been associated with higher water temperatures and crowding. Both are related to the Pacific oyster where in Puget Sound hatchery die-offs are felt to be related to lower levels of pH being experienced.

Intensive aquaculture of non-native species is not without risk. Whether it be the non-native Pacific oyster or the genetically modified Atlantic salmon, risks to native species can be increased dramatically. It is something agencies responsible for ensuring the safety of Puget Sound's ecosystem need to consider, and something citizens need to be sure is being done.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Drakes Estero Wilderness: Judge Asks California to Explain Why it Acted Against Drakes Bay Oyster Company's Unpermitted Activites

Better asked: What took you so long?

In the beginning, Drakes Estero supported native shellfish reefs which the shellfish industry overharvested, bringing the populations of native shellfish to near collapse. In their place came artificial grow out bags and racks to grow non-native shellfish. Along with them came an industry who feels they should not be regulated and a company who has chosen to ignore violations.

Drakes Estero National Seashore Wilderness Area

Why are you acting on the violations? Better put, what took you so long to act on these violations?
The Marin Independent Journal reported today that Marin Superior Court Judge Lynn Duryee has asked the California Coastal Commission to explain why it acted against the numerous violations Drakes Bay Oyster Company has incurred over the past 7 years. While the answer is quite obvious - DBOC violated numerous regulations and ignored agreements to rectify them - attorneys have a remarkable way of making the simple become complex. Throw in "selective science" from "contract scientists" on oyster filtration and the waters become even more turbid.

Attorney Zachary Walton,
testifying about
oyster filtration.
scroll to #11 and click on the reel

Drakes Estero is not Chesapeake Bay nor Puget Sound
At the CCC hearing Zachary Walton, attorney for DBOC, tried to explain how if the oysters were removed from Drakes Estero an environmental disaster the likes of which have never been seen in the waters of California would occur. In fact, Drakes Estero is one of the most actively flushed bodies of water in California. It is not Chesapeake Bay, in large part due to the California Coastal Commission enforcing regulations which have prevented problems seen in Chesapeake Bay from occurring in Drakes Estero. Nor is it Puget Sound, a body of water in Washington which has large inflows of fresh water carrying a variety of nutrients.

Environ's selective science on oyster filtration is countered by Dr. Peter Baye.
In a Declaration from Dr. Peter Baye, a coastal ecologist who specializes in restoration of estuaries in Central and Northern California, he states: The open tidal inlet promotes extensive rapid daily tidal flushing (turnover) of the lagoon with clear marine-salinity water. Unlike the large upland inflows of freshwaters from large urban watersheds experienced in Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, Drakes Estero has very small fresh water inflows, minimizing impacts from upland areas and maximizing effects from tidal flushing.

Shellfish are not the only thing which remove nitrogen from the waters of Drakes Estero.
In Dr. Baye's declaration he goes on to refute Environ's Mr. Luchessa's claim that if shellfish are removed, eutrophication from excessive nutrients would occur in Drakes Estero (presumably what Mr. Walton is relying on when he pleads before the CCC). Ignored by Mr. Luchessa are the effects from denitrification and tidal flushing, both large and significant means by which nitrogen is reduced. Further, the large and substantial beds of eelgrass also absorb nitrogen. In short, you cannot simply state that removing oysters will cause a problem. Even if you are an attorney or a contract scientist.

DBOC grow out bags.

DBOC disturbs sediments all day long, perpetually. 
DBOC attorneys will argue removal of the structures in Drakes Estero used by DBOC to grow its non-native shellfish may create temporary turbidity. However, DBOC's harvesting activities create turbidity problems on an ongoing and perpetual basis from prop wash, picking up growout bags, and hauling out oysters from racks. The impact from removing these structures will be short term, sediments will settle out quickly, and be over within months.

DBOC oysters hauled through the waters
creating turbidity as well as spreading
non-native invasive tunicates they are covered with.

In the end, removal of artificial structures and non-native shellfish will restore Drakes Estero to what it was, allowing native shellfish to re-establish the large reefs which once existed, dismissing any argument of environmental harm.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Daylight Minus Tides Begin: Shellfish Attorneys Continue to Fight Regulatory Oversight

Daylight minus tides begin to expose what's been going on in Puget Sound's tidelands, the "most valuable and fragile of its natural resources" (Shoreline Management Act).
April 10, 2013, the first daylight minus tides begin. Geoduck PVC and netting will once again appear as Puget Sound's waters recede, revealing a transformation which could not have been imagined when the Shoreline Management Act was passed in 1971. State and local agencies have allowed themselves to become agents of the shellfish industry's attorneys and contract scientists who fight every attempt to control their developments in the tidelands. [click here for Pierce County's response to the Chelsea Farm/Detienne attorney's demands that conditions be dropped or modified] In the letter is found the pressures county employees are put under by the industry which has evolved and who sees no problem with dropping off over 80 exhibits the day of a hearing, many of questionable relevance beyond creating a burden on those responsible for regulating the industry.
April and May Tide Tables (Olympia) - click to enlarge

Considered a "preferred use" when the Shoreline Management Act was passed in 1971, the shellfish industry has evolved into the very industrial development which the Shoreline Management Act was intended to protect the shorelines of Puget Sound from for the future generations. Instead of small family farms earning a living through spreading oyster shell and spat along the tidelands, creating a natural ecosystem, they have been replaced by large corporations using forests of PVC pipes, netting and growout bags requiring the displacement of all native species in the way.
Harstine Island, south of Wilson Point on Taylor Shellfish tidelands

PVC and growout bags are claimed to provide "structure" for other species. Ignored is that native species are removed before placement of the "structure" and that the "structure" is ripped out after one to two years, creating an additional net loss to the ecosystem. "Tidelands return to a natural state in 6 to 9 months." Seemingly forgotten is they are never allowed to return to a natural state, but instead are placed in a perpetual cycle of creation and destruction of artificial ecosystems. Science? A Master's Thesis is used in place of peer reviewed studies. Peer reviewed study used? One in which geoduck are grown for 1 year (not five), removed, followed by a "pretend" harvest. Is that really what decisions should be based on? 
PVC tubes for geoduck and growout bags for oysters. Natural?
An industry who had once been seen as one of the few providing a means by which the goals of the Clean Water Act could be achieved has become one which fights to control any shoreline developments through regulations, for its direct financial benefit. Creation of wilderness areas is fine, as long as it does not involve their tideland developments. Yet when they are asked to work within those same standards it is somehow a "regulatory burden" preventing "family wage jobs" from being created. Jobs apparently not wanted by the unemployed, or few others. In early 2012, Taylor Shellfish had to let go of 160 employees as the result of an immigration audit. In Washington DC, lobbying efforts for immigration reform continue as the industry cannot find domestic workers it needs.
Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm in Hammersley Inlet.
A benign industry of the past has become one who sees no problem with septic fees being added to shoreline property taxes, already taxed higher than any other property, yet winces when complaints of an acre of tidelands producing over $1 million in revenue is only paying $2 in property taxes, and little else in the way of taxes. Claims of its being a "preferred use" no longer apply to the methods and structures used. It is one which creates "family wage jobs" so disliked by everyone it runs the risk of being shut down due to a lack of documented immigrant workers. And it is one which has no problem demanding state taxpayers pay for water quality monitoring and funding for research to support hatcheries unable to produce non-native species it wants to grow.
The waters recede as the months of summer approach, revealing an industry who would prefer they stay hidden. As the waters recede and expose the reality of what the shellfish industry has become the agencies responsible for ensuring the Shoreline Management Act is implemented as it was intended need to evolve as much as the industry has.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Drakes Bay Oyster Company Sues the California Coastal Commission

Trust us, this is the same as wilderness.
(picture from Coastal Commission hearing)

Willingly or not, in another sign of Drakes Bay Oyster Company believing they don't have to follow the same regulations as others who own coastal property, the Lunny family has chosen to sue the California Coastal Commission. As reported in February, "The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously on February 7th [2013] to issue a unilateral Cease and Desist Order against the Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC). The Coastal Commission's Order states that, “DBOC violated multiple provisions of the 2007 Consent Order, through its actions and its failures to act,” including for ongoing unpermitted development, violations of harbor seal protection requirements, failure to control significant amounts of its plastic that has polluted the marine environment, failure to pay fines imposed in 2009 for illegal activities, and failure to correct ongoing violations of the California Coastal Act despite repeated notices from the Commission." Their reaction to the cease and desist order? File a lawsuit. [click here for press release]

DBOC: We don't
need permits. We're different.
(pictures from 2/7/13 Commission Hearing)


Oysters covered with invasive tunicates
which are spread throughout Drakes Estero
through DBOC shellfish harvesting,
harming native shellfish and habitat.

The Lunny family allows themselves to be used by well funded conservative groups such as Cause of Action. Their donors remain hidden behind a legal cloak which will eventually be pierced. Many of these donors are directly tied to corporations who believe regulatory oversight is good, as long as it isn't them being regulated. Footprints in the sand lead directly to the shellfish industry and the oil industry. What strange bedfellows, both preventing the only shoreline wilderness area on the west coast from being created as Congress intended it be.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Haley Geoduck Farm Comments due Monday, April 8

Comments on the "Haley" geoduck farm SEPA (environmental impact) and shoreline permit are due Monday, April 8 by 4:30. Comments should be sent to Ty Booth at: tbooth@co.pierce.wa.us, referencing permit "SD5-13, Taylor Shellfish Farms - Haley." Additional information, is located here (click on the "Documents" tab to view the "Notice of Application").

Location of proposed geoduck farm.

One big happy family - the geoduck cabal.
As an indication of how tightly the geoduck industry is controlled, this application is from Taylor Shellfish for tidelands jointly owned by Seattle Shellfish and the Carol Taylor Family Partnership. Seattle Shellfish has a geoduck nursery facility directly east, located in Spencer Cove on Harstine Island where they recently met with Mason County about an upland hatchery where additional seed would be produced (see below) [click here for notes on meeting]. Seed from the hatchery would be grown out further in the nursery, then used both in Spencer Cove and transported to the proposed farm. Additional industry ties are found in the recent Taylor Shellfish/Arcadia Point Seafood applications in Thurston County. While 3 separate permits were applied for, Arcadia Point Seafood and Taylor Shellfish worked jointly on legal briefs, with each testifying in support of the other at the hearing in Thurston County, held the same day. Currently before the Hearing Examiner in Pierce County is Chelsea Farms using the same legal firm and environmental consultant, providing near  identical "legal logic" and "studies" to support their permit application. (Note: Chelsea Farms also has a permit application before the City of Shelton for their own separate "nursery.") There is little doubt about the coordination occurring among the four major geoduck growers with multiple projects being tied to each other, not in isolation.

Location of Seattle Shellfish
hatchery proposal on Harstine Island.
Location of Seattle Shellfish
nursery facility, west of the
proposed Haley farm.
Overview of Harstine Island and Spencer Cove (left)
with the Haley Farm on the right,
just north of Herron Island.
What's wrong with a controlled market? Nothing, if you're controlling it.
Creating a controlled market has its benefits, the most important being things are predictable. You control what gets done where, and more importantly, how much money you make. But in the case of geoduck farming, a controlled market has left tideland owners holding the short end of the stick. Is it any coincidence that leases for private tidelands to grow geoduck on are almost all 10%? Generating over $1,000,000 in net profits off an acre of tidelands and only offering 10% to the owners because "it's the going rate" is great - unless you own the tidelands and don't ask "why's that the going rate?"

Waterfront property holds great value - if you know about it.
As seen in the current permit application geoduck growers are fully aware of the value tidelands hold. For roughly $250,000 Seattle Shellfish and the Partnership purchased a parcel with tidelands capable of generating >$2 million in 5 years (~2 acres are able to grow geoduck). Assuming they get the permit.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Drakes Bay Oyster Company's Knot to Oil Gets Tighter

 "he urged a House subcommittee to open up part of
Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil drilling."
Representative "Doc" Hastings
Republican, WA

The knot tying Drakes Bay Oyster Company to oil drilling in wilderness areas was pulled tighter today, this time by Washington state Representative "Doc" Hastings (R - Wa). As a strong proponent for opening wilderness areas to drilling and mineral extraction it is no surprise. Ironically, Representative Hastings was also strongly opposed to the proposed federal protection of the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, within his own home state, recently put in place.

Who needs wilderness?
"There is a small but active element in the Republican element in the house that does not support wilderness," Spitzer of the Wilderness Society said. He holds Doc Hastings, the chair of the Natural Resources Committee, most accountable. [click here for article]

We hear what we want to hear.

You only hear yourself if your ears are plugged.
Continuing to ignore the fact that Congress intended for this final commercial operation in Drakes Estero to end in 2012, he continues with ongoing complaints about how irrelevant studies were implemented and interpreted. He writes that in 2009 Congress "authorized" Secretary Salazar to extend for another 10 years the farms authorization and special use permit but ignores the fact that the original 2009 rider was changed from "requiring" the extension to merely giving him the option. We hear what we want to hear. [click here for letter from Hastings]

Oops, I did it again!
Shell Oil drilling platform, grounded.

It's just about an oyster farm.
This issue is far beyond an oyster farm. Any doubts were dispelled when the conservative "Cause of Action," with clear ties to the conservative Koch Brothers, stepped in to provide legal support for the Lunny family. It was made more clear when Senator Vitter attached a rider to his energy bill which would have both required continued operation of the commercial farm and also removed the wilderness designation from Drakes Estero. [click here for article] The oil industry is clear in its wishing to dismantle the protections which the Wilderness Act brings to a small area for current and future generations. They see in the Lunny family's complaints about "big government" a window of opportunity to exploit an opportunity and have drawn in as pawns that family and well intentioned chefs. [click here for Huffington Post article] The objective in the gambit is to open the door for redefining what "wilderness" is and creating a "new environmentalism," a direct outfall of the "personification" of corporations.

Oyster racks in Drakes Estero.
"Wilderness" through corporate eyes.

Riding on the coat tails.
Riding on the coat tails of the oil industry is the shellfish industry who sees a golden opportunity to exploit one of the few remaining bodies of water available for industrial shellfish operations. Drakes Estero, with its clear waters and protected embayment, and minimal payments to the state, offers an economic opportunity for them to exploit further. Despite Tomales Bay and Humboldt Bay offering ample opportunities for reasonable development outside of this wilderness area, they have poured resources into fighting this through lobbyists and attorneys. Is it any wonder the largest shellfish company, Taylor Shellfish, is also located in Washington state which Representative Doc Hastings is from?

Bill Taylor, Taylor Shellfish
Wilderness in the forests is great,
not so in the tidelands.

Wilderness is good - just not on tidelands the shellfish industry uses.
Most ironic in all of what is unfolding in Drakes Estero is the support for expanding wilderness areas on the Olympic Peninsula. The Wild Olympics campaign is endorsed by Bill Taylor, owner of Taylor Shellfish. [click here for endorsement] Where is his support for the only designated shoreline wilderness area on the entire west coast? Clouded in the conversion of tidelands for shellfish production.

Geoduck shellfish farm in Puget Sound.
Coming to Drakes Estero?

The shellfish industry: canary in a coal mine or strip miners of the tidelands?
Doc Hastings may have found a new political donor.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Detienne Geoduck Farm Permit Receives a Second Hearing

May 2, 2013 at 10AM
Comments due April 10, 4:30PM
Email to: tbooth@co.pierce.wa.us
Disc of the new exhibits, $7 - call Ty Booth at 253-798-3727
(see email below)

A last second "document dump" of information
by the proponent may be reviewed by the public.

"Document dumps" must have time to be reviewed by the public.
On March 27 Pierce County's Hearing Examiner held the first public hearing on the Detienne subtidal and intertidal geoduck farm permit. At that hearing the proponent, in a last minute attempt to overwhelm the examiner, county and the public, performed what is kindly described as a "document dump." When the public complained about the last minute drop-off and asked for time to review the relevance of the material, the proponent's attorney objected. Fortunately for the public the Hearing Examiner agreed that there should be additional time to review both the last second information as well as information presented at the hearing.
Friends of Burley Lagoon newsletter provides a County email on the second hearing and a summary of the meeting.
Friends of Burley Lagoon members provide below a special newsletter which describes the meeting as well as the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat's "Cycle of Loss" showing the net losses to Puget Sound habitat from geoduck farming.
Friends of Burley Lagoon
"Lagoon Links Extra"
March 28, 2014
Email from Pierce County Planner Ty Booth
(click to enlarge)

Meeting Summary
(page 1 of 3)
click image to enlarge
(page 2 of 3)
click image to enlarge

 page 3 of 3
(includes "Circle of Loss")
click image to enlarge
Become involved. The shellfish industry's immense profits being earned from geoducks are buying "science" and paying attorneys and public relation firms to define a "new environmental movement" which is undoing decades of work to ensure future generations may enjoy Puget Sound's diverse ecosystem. [click here for article on Seattle's past environmentalists being bought out by the coal industry]