Topic: puget sound
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October 18, 2013 at 4:33 PM
Everyone has a stake in the conversation
I completely agree with Jay Manning and Bill Taylor [“What we can do about ocean acidification and climate change,” opinion, Oct. 10].
For the sake of our environment and the economy, we must protect Puget Sound.
In doing so, every tool at our disposal should be used to address this issue through restoration projects as well as increasing access to outdoor recreation to show Washingtonians that everyone has a stake in conservation.
For some context, of the $523 billion spent nationally last year on recreation, $86.2 billion went to boating and $35.5 billion was spent on fishing. That’s 1 in 5 dollars spent on boating and recreational fishing.
One under-utilized tool is the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP). Two-thirds of WWRP projects protect or restore Puget Sound while others fund biking and walking trails that offer an enticing alternative to driving.
Thanks to Gov. Inslee’s support, we are seeing strong conservation spending. This year over $300 million was allocated in the capital construction budget for everything from habitat restoration to parks, $65 million of which went to the WWRP.
I hope we will see increased investment in our environment during the next biennium.
George Harris, Seattle
September 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Column misrepresents cruise ships
Peter Goldmark’s column inaccurately represents the cruise industry and does not make mention of our world-class environmental practice or the regulatory controls and oversight we have in place. [“Guest column: We must keep boat sewage out of Puget Sound,” Opinion, Sept. 18.]First, cruise ships are not discharging in Puget Sound, and have not in years, as per our Memorandum of Understanding with the Washington Department of Ecology.
Beyond that, the member lines of Cruise Lines International Association — North West & Canada (CLIA — NWC) have invested more than $60 million on wastewater-purification systems that treat water to standards higher than most land-based operations. The practices deployed by CLIA — NWC members serve as a model of environmental stewardship for cruise ships everywhere.
In addition, Goldmark’s column does not distinguish between different regions of the Sound, treating it as one homogeneous body of water. Most of the effects described by Goldmark are localized. Sewer overflows and suburban runoff are prime contributors to water-quality issues in South Puget Sound and South Hood Canal, where cruise ships do not operate.
As an industry, we support the goal of protecting Puget Sound and have adopted the appropriate technology and practices to be sure we do our part.
Greg Wirtz, president of Cruise Lines International Association — North West & Canada, Vancouver, B.C.
September 19, 2013 at 6:39 PM
Small boats not at fault
Peter Goldmark’s highlighting of sewage discharge from recreational boats in Puget Sound misses the mark. [“Guest column: We must keep boat sewage out of Puget Sound,” Opinion, Sept. 18.]
There is almost no place in Puget Sound that is the required three miles from shore to allow any such discharge under current law. Such an area might be found in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but the effects of a few boats in the middle of that body of water would pale in comparison to Victoria’s daily dumping of millions of gallons of raw sewage into it every day.
When beaches near Seattle are closed due to foul water, the cause is usually attributed to storm runoff through inadequate land-based systems, not a small boat miles away.
Regulations should be needed and meaningful; his suggestion fails this test.
James AuBuchon, Sammamish
August 23, 2013 at 11:13 AM
The law of unintended consequences
I recently stopped at a railroad crossing and was amazed at the length of time it took to wait for the coal train to pass. [“Mayor had coal-study findings since July,” page one, Aug. 20.]
It was at least five minutes, which made us do the math. If 18 additional coal trains come chugging up the coast to Bellingham and then return, that is 36 additional trips that will disrupt traffic, congest the piers, blight the beaches and local communities with more coal dust, increase asthma and respiratory illnesses, and depreciate real estate.
But that is just the human cost. What about the health of Puget Sound and the salmon and shellfish industries? Coal is quickly becoming a dirty word, as much as the industry would like to call it “clean.”
Why can’t we see the big picture? The global climate is changing rapidly, and if our thriving communities are in danger, we all lose. Sure, there would be some jobs with the coal terminal, but there never seem to be as many as predicted, and the consequences will also harm those who are painting a rosy picture.
Ask the mine workers, ranchers and farmers who traveled all the way from Wyoming and Montana and testified at the public hearings about the law of unintended consequences.
Elizabeth Cunningham, Seattle
August 7, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Legal firm works against the environment
The article in The Times about the Puget Sound orca victory over California farmers noted that the farmers were represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation. [“Puget Sound orcas versus Calif. farmers: Whales win,” page one, Aug. 3.]
It should have been noted that the Pacific Legal Foundation is regularly at the forefront of legal actions that are designed to challenge federal environmental protections, including the Endangered Species Act.
It is a legal firm that is undermining our planet’s health.
Bruce Barnbaum, Granite Falls
August 5, 2013 at 7:32 PM
Action does not do enough
I applaud the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission for imitating the giant Pacific octopus — like the cephalopod, they are completely spineless. [“Around the Northwest: Pacific-octopus hunting banned,” NW Saturday, Aug. 3.]
An icon species, too big and tough to eat, fails to get protection throughout its total range in the Puget Sound because of political expedience.
The octopus has one up on the commission — at least it has guts.
Gerald Joyce, Seattle
August 1, 2013 at 6:58 AM
Shoreline Management Act must be updated
The article on Bellevue’s waterfront conflict reveals the uphill struggle in modernizing environmental regulation. [“Waves of concern over Bellevue waterfront rules,” page one, July 29.]
Bellevue’s waterfront demographic couldn’t be more complicated: Money and political influence meet a well-educated constituency of waterfront homeowners who certainly comprehend their unique stewardship responsibility.
Updating the Shoreline Management Act of 1971 is a debt well past due.
Will waterfront owners choose to serve a healthier Puget Sound ecology on our behalf? Or will they deny science, just to preserve the croquet court — all under the ruse of property rights?
Art James, Port Townsend
July 31, 2013 at 6:53 AM
Commission should ban octopus fishing in Puget Sound
This Friday, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission will be adopting rules regarding catching and killing of giant Pacific octopus here in the Puget Sound.
Giant Pacific octopuses are the largest in the world, and are some of the most intelligent sea creatures we know.
The current rule allows people with a fishing license to catch one octopus per day, year round.
If the commission (partnering with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) eliminates recreational fishing for giant Pacific octopus, it would not adversely affect anyone, because few people fish for them. It could generate thousands of dollars from out-of-state scuba divers coming to the Puget Sound to encounter one of these glamorous megafauna.
Some sportfishers object to closing the octopus season for philosophical reasons — they want no decrease in fishing opportunity. I hope the commission takes the larger view, and recognizes that designating Puget Sound as a giant Pacific octopus sanctuary is in the best interest of Washington’s economy.
David Jennings, Olympia
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