Port Townsend Indivisible Environmental Team

Mission Statement and Goals:

The Environmental Team’s mission is to identify key issues and educate the community on practical actions that can be taken to resist the current Presidential Administration and Congress’s efforts to deny the reality of climate change and to issue executive orders and/or legislation that will cause harm to our environment and public health.

To this end, the Environmental Team will:

  • Research key topics, such as the dismantling/defunding of the EPA, including federal regulations regarding fossil fuels, toxic waste, air pollution, etc.
  • Network with existing federal, state, regional and local environmental groups and individuals to learn from one another and to find appropriate collaborative opportunities.
  •  Identify and implement specific resistance actions, such as phone calls, letters to Members of Congress, and protest marches.
  • Communicate our findings and recommend actions to the broader community in order to build on and strengthen our impact.

Contact the Port Townsend Indivisible Environmental Team 

 
Name *
Name
 

Summary: EPA at the Federal Level & Some Impacts of Proposed Budget Cuts

Why and when was the EPA formed? Born in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, the EPA was established by the Nixon administration in 1970 to consolidate into one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection.  Nixon’s decision to enact the Clean Water and Air Acts (and the EPA to enforce them) came not because of his own caring, but because of the pressure of millions of Americans who turned out the first Earth Day in 1970.

EPA’s Mission Statement: To protect human health and the environment – air, water, and land.  The EPA, State, Local and Tribal agencies work together to ensure compliance with environmental laws passed by Congress, state legislatures and tribal governments.

The bill before the House, HR 861 to abolish the EPA.  Fortunately, it’s extremely unlikely that this will happen.  The EPA was created to implement environmental laws through creating regulations and enforcement.  The laws must be enforced; if not the EPA, who else could do this?  HR 861 would have to be passed by House and Senate, which would be nearly impossible.  EPA is more likely to suffer a slow death through smaller, incremental cuts – such as bills, joint resolutions, budget riders, etc. 

Changing existing environmental rules is not easy or fast.  To change existing rule that have been in effect longer than 60 days requires a public comment period, then probable litigation, starting with the lower courts, then slowly ascending to the Supreme Court.  Could take 1-2 years, or more.

Trump’s proposed budget would cut EPA funds by 31%.  Though this could change before the budget is approved, any budget cuts will reduce EPA’s ability to enforce current laws and regulations, and to generate new regulations to protect the environment, particularly under environmental regulation hater Pruitt.  The impact would be felt in all states and most cities.  Congressional hearings on Trump’s proposed budget will begin in May

Under proposed budget cut, the Trump/Pruitt plan is for the EPA to lay off 25% of its employees and scrap 56 programs, including pesticide safety, water runoff control, and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA.  The plan does maintain funding given to states to administer waste treatment and drinking water.  But as a result, the budget for the rest of EPA would actually be slashed by 43%.

On March 28, Trump signed Executive Order to dismantle Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Obama’s CPP regulations would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet.  Without the CPP, the U.S. won't be able to live up to its pledge, made in Paris in 2015, to make deep cuts in emissions (25% below 2005 emissions by 2025).  That could jeopardize the Paris deal, in which nearly 200 nations made similar pledges.  The Paris Agreement is intended to prevent the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which most experts say would lead to an irreversible future of rising oceans and extreme weather, leading to drought, flooding, and food and water shortages.

Trump’s order directs EPA Director Scott Pruitt to immediately review and begin steps to rescind the CPP, but the good news is that this is the first step in a process that could take years and a lot of litigation.  It’s unclear if the effort will ultimately succeed.  Hopefully, Trump and Pruitt will be long gone!

Local Environmental Data

-Puget Sound supports 3,200 shellfish jobs that generate $184 million in revenue each year. 

-80 percent of statewide tourism and recreational dollars are tied to Puget Sound. 

-Washington state’s marine industry generates $30 billion annually.

-Every EPA dollar spent on Puget Sound recovery efforts has leveraged more than $24 in matching funds from other federal agencies and local partners, including the state, tribes, and non-profits.

 

Examples of projects these investments have funded include:

- Kitsap County Health District’s Shellfish Restoration and Protection Project

- Pierce County Shellfish Watershed Project

- Protecting and Restoring waters important to Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

-Chico Creek Estuary Restoration Project

Source: Derek Kilmer, Link

The majority of our derelict fishing net removal and shoreline restoration projects in northern Puget Sound have been funded through EPA, NOAA and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Many would not have happened without federal investment, including:

  • Restoration of beaches at Deception Pass
  • Removal of thousands of derelict fishing nets in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juans, Snohomish County waters, throughout the Sound, and on the WA Coast has been funded by NOAA and EPA through grants.

“The Northwest Straits Commission distributes over $500K/year in federal funding to the MRCs for great projects in Jefferson, Clallam, Island, Snohomish, Skagit, San Juan and Whatcom counties.”

Source:  Caroline Gibson, Executive Director of the Northwest Straits Foundation

 

PT Indivisible Environmental Team Action Suggestions for Everyone

 

Federal Level:

·       Call Members of Congress (MOCs), especially before and during the May congressional discussions of Trump’s proposed budget, which includes a proposed 31% cut in EPA funding, telling them to oppose draconian budget cuts to the EPA.

·       Write letters to MOCs, reminding them of the “terrible legacy” they will leave for their children and grandchildren if the proposed budget cut and the dismantling of the EPA are not stopped.

·       Donate to the National Resources Defense Council (The NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy group with approx. 500 lawyers and scientists.)

·       Write and call Scott Pruitt, EPA director: 888-675-0973.  Tell him the draconian budget cuts to the EPA, and other efforts to undermine the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the Paris Climate Agreement will result in a far less habitable planet for all of our children and grand children, including his.  Demand that the Clean Power Plan be kept as it is or that it’s replaced with rules and regulations that reduce carbon emissions even more.

·       Join the national Science March, April 22, DC, Seattle, or Port Angeles

·       Join the People’s Climate March, April 29, DC, Seattle, or Port Angeles

 

State Level:

·       Call State-level Congressional Representatives asking:  How do they propose to continue the Dept. of Ecology when federal funds are cut?

·       April 20: Carpool to Olympia to support Carbon Tax Initiatives & resist EPA cuts.

·       April 22: Join the Earth Day National March for Science in Port Angeles or Seattle, 10:00am.

·       April 29: Join the National People’s Climate March in Port Angeles or Seattle

·       Defend and support what Dept. of Ecology does in our state.  (See website for details).

Local Level:

·       April 22: Earth Day – Visit the “Focus on Science” - Port Angeles Pier

·       April 29: 3-5 pm – Join the Peoples Climate March in Port Angeles.

·       Involve land support local Tribal groups.  Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe received funding for channel restoration for the Lower Dungeness floodplain.

·       Seek local coverage in both the Leader and the PDN. Possible feature article around the time of Earth Day.  Our environment matters!

·       Help us find out how our local environmentally oriented organizations will be affected by the EPA and WA Ecology funding cuts.  Attend meetings and speak up!

·       Contact Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) and ask how they are addressing the King County West Point Treatment Plant flooding (Feb 9-16 2017) which resulted in:

o   235 million gallons of wastewater (including 30 millions of raw sewage) being dumped into the Puget Sound http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/silence-reigns-as-sewage-spews-into-puget-sound-heres-why/

·       Is DOE holding king county responsible? Financially? If so which restoration projects will those funds be granted to? Ask how you as a citizen can best assist DOE to preserve our local environment. Be kind.

o   Bookmark and frequent the DOE public events and hearings calendar and show up. https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publiccalendar/

o   Contact our representatives and thank them for their continued support for the health of our local waterways, our public lands, and natural resources which sustain our local communities.

o   Work with local tribes (who have legal clout) in helping to protect our local environment. Attend local Native Peoples Connections Action Group Meetings held every second Tuesday of the month @QUUF 10am-12pm

o   Appealing to federal, state, county, city, and tribal governments is essential. Most grant money for environmental research, protection, and restoration projects must travel through one or more of those channels.

§  Donate or fundraise to help support The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in testing for radioactive isotope cesium-137 at their Neah Bay testing site: http://give.whoi.edu/site/TR/Events/General?px=1028764&pg=personal&fr_id=1110

§  Radioactivity in our ocean has increased since Fukushima. The levels are not considered a threat currently (based on current research), however, continued testing is essential in keeping current.

 

·       Growlers are a health risk for humans and animals including marine animals.

o   Thank Derek Kilmer for pressing the Navy for answers on the impacts of training missions on the Olympic Peninsula http://kilmer.house.gov/news/press-releases/kilmer-presses-navy-for-answers-on-impacts-of-training-missions-on-olympic-peninsula-

o   Document the noise in a jet activity log, send emails to maryjane.robins@mail.house.gov (Kilmer’s local office) with complaints, AND call the navy complaint hotline 360.257.6665

·       Attend the Port Angeles Climate March-3:00-5:00pm Saturday, April 29. We have a lot of beauty here to protect.

The budget document also proposes the elimination of regional programs focused on restoring watersheds and coastal and marine habitats.  These include programs for the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Champlain, Long Island Sound, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, the Great Lakes, and South Florida.

Some EPA Website Links

Federal:

https://www.epa.gov/

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2016/11/trump_can_t_abolish_the_environmental_protection_agency.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/02/congress-wont-terminate-the-epa/516918/

http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/2/13/14533134/possible-future-epa-trump

https://www.rtoinsider.com/trump-clean-power-epa-41075/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/31/new-epa-documents-reveal-even-deeper-proposed-cuts-to-staff-and-programs/?utm_term=.9c8385763eb7

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/31/new-epa-documents-reveal-even-deeper-proposed-cuts-to-staff-and-programs/?utm_term=.9c8385763eb7

Local:

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/silence-reigns-as-sewage-spews-into-puget-sound-heres-why/

https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publiccalendar/

http://give.whoi.edu/site/TR/Events/General?px=1028764&pg=personal&fr_id=1110