Our Wild America
Senator Murray & Representative Kilmer Reintroduce Wild Olympics Bill with Groundswell of New Support from Peninsula Tribes, Mayors & Businesses
Citing benefits to Olympic Peninsula salmon recovery, local jobs, economy, & clean water, the Quinault, Quileute, Elwha, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribes and mayors of Port Angeles, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Port Townsend, Elma and Ocean Shores joined more than 800 local businesses, elected officials, farms, faith leaders, sportsmen, conservation & recreation groups now backing Wild Olympics
For Immediate Release:
Orca Recovery Task Force calls for urgent action to increase Columbia-Snake river chinook salmon populations, among its recommendations for Governor Inslee to protect critically endangered orcas from extinction.
November 16, 2018
Bill Arthur, Sierra Club, 206-954-9826
Sam Mace, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, 509-863-5696
Joseph Bogaard, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, 206-300-1003
Governor Inslee’s Task Force delivers two recommendations affecting the federal hydro-system to increase chinook salmon for Southern Resident orcas: increased ‘spill’ and a planning forum to prepare for the potential removal of the lower Snake River dams.
Washington Voters Value Wild Salmon Over Lower Snake River Dams
New poll shows 4 out of 5 voters believe preventing extinction of wild salmon is very important
U.S. District Court approves joint federal-state proposal for 2018 spill plan to help juvenile fish migrating past federal dams and reservoirs in the Columbia-Snake River Basin
Increased spill will increase survival and adult salmon and steelhead returns in the years ahead.
To read the full press release, click here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 2, 2017
Bill Arthur, Sierra Club, email@example.com, 206-954-9826
Liz Hamilton, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, 503-704-1772
Joseph Bogaard, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Twenty-five conservation organizations and fishing and
whale-watch business associations call on Governor Inslee to
act quickly to help critically endangered Columbia Basin
salmon and Southern Resident killer whales.
To read the full Press Release, click HERE.
June 30, 2017
Northwest business and conservation leaders oppose legislation to overturn 2016 federal court decision and push imperiled wild salmon populations closer to extinction.
House bill would weaken the Endangered Species Act and increase costs and uncertainty for Northwest communities and businesses by protecting failed recovery efforts.
Read the full Press Release
April 19, 2017
Idaho groups seek end of sockeye salmon barging program
Boise—A consortium of Idaho conservation groups this week called on the federal government to end barging of sockeye salmon, a practice they said is clearly bad for Idaho’s most imperiled and endangered salmon
Read full Press Release
Court Grants Increased 'Spill' to Aid Endangered Columbia/Snake River Salmon
March 27, 2017
Today we won a decision by Judge Simon (Federal District Court) that has ordered the federal agencies starting in 2018 to provide higher spill levels at the dams in the lower Snake River and also the lower Columbia River. Providing more "spill" means putting more water of the spillways at the dams to pass young migrating salmon over the dams rather than have them go through the turbines. Studies have shown that moving salmon over the dams via spill has improved the numbers of young salmon and steelhead that make if safely down the rivers (if dammed) and out to the ocean. The Sierra Club joined a number of other environmental and fish groups in asking the Judge for this injunctive relief while the agencies are working on the longer-term Environmental Impact Statement (NEPA process) that will include evaluation of removing the four lower Snake River dams. We believe that removing these four dams is the most important action we can take to restores the salmon runs of the Snake River system. However, additional spill is an important interim measure that provide benefit to the salmon immediately while the EIS is being done.
This is the same judge who ruled in May 2016 that the federal agency salmon plan (Biological Opinion) was inadequate and illegal and violated both the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). The judge ordered a comprehensive EIS be prepared. We just completed the scoping process where the public and stakeholders provided comments on what should be included in the EIS. The Sierra Club submitted comprehensive comments and over 35,000 members commented. We joined our ally organizations in asking the judge to provide this interim, injunctive relief, of additional spill during the migration season.
Appeals Court: Clean up Spokane River PCB pollution
Dept of Ecology must redo permit for Spokane County's Wastewater Treatment Facility consistent with water quality laws
Aug. 17, 2016--Spokane – On Aug. 16, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued the third legal decision in favor of Spokane River advocates seeking to stop more PCBs from being added to the Spokane River from Spokane County’s wastewater treatment facility. Three courts have now ruled that the Department of Ecology (Ecology) failed to do what the law requires: analyze whether the County’s discharge of PCBs has potential to violate state water quality standards, and if so, then impose appropriate limits to prevent such violations. The Appeals Court left intact an earlier ruling that the Spokane River Toxics Task Force is not an adequate or legal substitute for pollution control limits.
EPA challenged over failures to clean up Spokane River PCB pollution
June 6, 2016--Last week in U.S. District Court, Spokane River advocates challenged as inadequate an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to remove the industrial pollutants known as PCBs from the Spokane River. They hope for a ruling that will end decades of foot-dragging and produce a reasonable, expeditious cleanup plan for the river.
40 Organizations Oppose New Dams, Diversions in Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Water Conservation is Better Option for Water Scarcity
May 12, 2016--On Wednesday, May 11, 40 conservation and outdoor recreation organizations submitted comments on a controversial proposal to build dams and divert water from seven lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
This 400,000-acre federal wilderness area, located near population centers in Puget Sound, is among the most popular and beloved wilderness areas in the United States. After spending more than three years and nearly $1 million in tax dollars, Washington State Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) and Chelan County released a scoping proposal for public review and comment.
Spokane River PCB Cleanup is Not Adequate: Federal Appeals Court Dismisses State-County Appeal
Spokane County, Kaiser, and Department of Ecology had challenged decision to protect Spokane River
April 6, 2016--Spokane: Advocates for the Spokane River hailed an April 5 decision by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing the appeal filed by Spokane County, Kaiser Aluminum Washington, LLC, and the State of Washington Department of Ecology (State Ecology). The Ninth Circuit decision lets stand the U.S. District Court’s ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot substitute the Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force, a polluter-dominated committee process, for a cleanup plan for Spokane River PCBs.
Spokane River Advocates Petition State to Increase Summertime Water Flow
March 1, 2016--Spokane – On Monday [Feb. 29], advocates for the Spokane River petitioned the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) to increase its flow rule for the popular and heavily-used Spokane River. The Spokane River is a much beloved urban river that flows through the second largest city in Washington State, including spectacular waterfalls and a deep gorge. Conservationists are seeking a minimum summertime flow of 1,800 – 2800 cubic feet per second (CFS) to support fisheries and recreation, and protect higher flows for recreation when available.
Sierra Club & LCV Action Fund Unite to Endorse Senator Murray for Re-Election
Jan. 8, 2016--WASHINGTON, D.C. — The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund and the Sierra Club, which represent two of the nation’s leading environmental organizations, joined forces today to endorse Senator Patty Murray for re-election to the U.S. Senate from Washington. Senator Murray is a champion for growing our clean energy economy, tackling the climate crisis and safeguarding our public lands.
Sierra Club Celebrates the Obama Administration's Rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline
Nov. 6, 2016--Washington, D.C. -- Today, the Obama Administration rejected the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, further cementing his climate legacy.
In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement:
Broad Coalition Cheers Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2015
June 4, 2015--Quilcene, Wash. - The Wild Olympics Coalition today cheered the introduction of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer to permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers. If enacted, the legislation would designate the first new wilderness on Olympic National Forest in nearly three decades and the first-ever protected wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness Protections Bill Passed!
The U.S. Senate passed the bill to protect vital additions to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness while also adding three new spectacular rivers to the our state’s Wild and Scenic River system. The House passed the package earlier.
Read the full news release. Click HERE.
More recent news on carbon pricing:
- Washington Governor Proposes Carbon Pollution Cap -- New York Times, Dec. 17, 2014
- Statements from environmental and clean energy economy leaders on Gov. Inslee's Climate Action -- Dec. 17, 2014
- Polling shows some public support for taxing carbon pollution in Washington -- Tacoma News-Tribune, Dec. 16, 2014
Orca Task Force
For Immediate Release: Legislature Funds Key Orca Task Force Recommendation to address community needs
April 29, 2019
Sam Mace, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, email@example.com , 509-863-5696
Robb Krehbiel, Defenders of Wildlife, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-883-7401
Bill Arthur, Sierra Club, email@example.com, 206-954-9826
Jacqueline Koch, Jacqueline.Koch@NWF.org, 206-687-8546
Snake River Forum will convene stakeholders to collaboratively develop a contingency plan
SEATTLE, April 28, 2019 — With support from Governor Inslee and 43 lawmakers in the House and Senate, the Washington State legislature included funding in its final state budget to convene a stakeholder forum recommended last fall by the Governor’s Southern Resident Orca Recovery Task Force. The forum represents a critical next step to bring stakeholders together to proactively identify and detail the needs of communities in the event the federal government decides to remove four dams on the lower Snake River to protect salmon and help orca facing extinction today.
“We are extraordinarily grateful that the legislature followed Governor Inslee’s lead to begin urgently-needed contingency planning if federal agencies decide dam removal is necessary to restore our salmon and orcas,” said Sam Mace, Inland Northwest program director for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. “We look forward to working with Governor Inslee and stakeholders in the state to move this critical dialogue forward in 2019.”
Restoring abundant salmon populations to the Columbia-Snake River Basin has important implications for communities along the lower Snake River as well as tribal, commercial and recreational fishing communities upstream and downstream who have long suffered from reduced fisheries due to the dams’ and reservoirs’ devastating effects on Northwest native fish.
Mace added: “This good news is particularly well-timed given Congressman Mike Simpson’s (R-ID) announcement last week to work with others in our region to find effective ways to address Bonneville Power Administration’s serious financial challenges and the plight of endangered wild salmon and steelhead. We are encouraged to see leadership emerging in both states. The problems facing salmon, orca and energy in the Northwest can’t wait.”
Last Tuesday in Boise, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson announced his commitment to restoring salmon to Idaho in keynote comments at a day-long conference on salmon, energy and communities [ https://www.boisestate.edu/sps-andruscenter/2019-environmental-conference/ ]. He and his staff are “asking hard questions” and working with affected stakeholders to identify options for replacing the services currently provided by these dams in the event that they need to be removed. Representative Simpson noted that the financial challenges facing the Bonneville Power Administration and steep decline of salmon stocks that return to Idaho are becoming more urgent to his constituents in Idaho. He emphasized the need for the Northwest to address these inter-related problems or run the risk that “someone else will write it and impose it upon us.”
A stakeholder-led discussion that examines the economic and social costs, benefits and tradeoffs of restoring the lower Snake River by removing its four dams has never occurred in Washington or other Northwest states.
“For decades, our elected officials have avoided the difficult conversations we need to have about the lower Snake River dams and their impact on salmon and orcas,” said Robb Krehbiel, Northwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife and member of the Southern Resident Orca Task Force. “Bringing people together to work collaboratively on solutions that help salmon, orca and our communities is the right next step. Time is not on our side. Salmon and orca advocates are very grateful to the Orca Task Force, Governor Inslee and the legislature for recognizing this need and supporting this much-needed conversation.”
“Commercial fishermen like me look forward to the opportunity to participate in this dialogue. Fishermen and farmers have a lot in common. Now is the time for food producers from both sides of the state to begin work together on solutions that work for both communities,” said salmon fisherman Amy Grondin, who, with her husband, co- owns Duna Fisheries in Port Townsend. “For too long, farmers and fishermen have been pitted against each other and this must change. We all want to make a living and do our jobs and we need real solutions that help make this possible. Our communities need to work together to develop an action plan regardless of what the government decides—dams in or dams out."
“Funding Snake River stakeholder discussions is critical for Washington communities to assure their voice is heard and interests addressed if the four lower Snake River dams must be removed - which the science shows is essential for salmon and orca,” said Bill Arthur, Sierra Club Salmon Campaign Coordinator. “This is a great complement to Congressman Simpson’s comments recently at the Andrus Center Conference in Idaho. It is gratifying to see Washington and Idaho step up and begin to look at solutions that can work for communities while taking actions essential for salmon and orca.”
Beyond Dirty Fuels
WA Climate Activists Deliver Nearly 150,000 Public Comments to Gov. Inslee Urging Him to Reject Fracked Gas
Army Corps Denies Coal Export Permits and Upholds Lummi Nation Treaty Rights
Pacific Northwest communities celebrate tribe's leadership in landmark victory
May 9, 2016--BELLINGHAM, Wash. - After careful review, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a landmark decision to deny federal permits for SSA Marine's proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, a coal export facility at Xwe'chi'eXen, also known as Cherry Point, Washington. In January 2015, the Lummi Nation asked the Army Corps to reject the project because of its significant harm to their treaty-protected fisheries and ancestral lands. The historic decision deals a severe blow to SSA Marine's struggling proposal and marks the first time that a coal export facility has been rejected based on its negative impacts to the treaty rights of a tribal nation.
Puget Sound Energy Makes Move to Transition Off of Coal Power
Binding Order Secures Pathway To Retirement for Colstrip Units I and 2 In Montana
March 17, 2016--SEATTLE, WA -- Today, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved a petition filed by Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Sierra Club and the NW Energy Coalition asking to delay the pending April 1, 2016, rate case with the commitment that PSE include a retirement and cleanup plan for the older coal-fired units Colstrip Units 1 and 2. The new rate case must be filed no later than Jan. 17, 2017.
Columbia River Threatened by New Oil Refinery and Explosive Oil Trains
April 15, 2015--Longview, Wash. – The rapid growth of oil trains in the Pacific Northwest now brings a new threat: a proposal for an unprecedented new oil refinery on the Columbia River. Recently obtained documents show Riverside Refining, LLC, seeking a partnership with the Port of Longview to build an oil refinery in Longview, Washington, supplied by controversial oil-by-rail. This would be the first west coast refinery constructed in over 25 years, and the largest new refinery in the continental United States since 1976. ...
“We’re facing the warmest decade on record and there is a drought declaration in the Yakima Valley where I live,” stated Margie Van Cleve, Chair of the Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Locking ourselves into 50 years of dirty fossil fuel production is absolutely the wrong way to go.”
Survey Reveals Key Research Findings on Carbon Pricing and Clean Energy in Washington
Nearly two-thirds of Washington voters back the idea of enforcing current limits on carbon pollution. A strong majority (64 percent) supports taking steps to enforce existing targets for limiting carbon pollution in the State.
Those were findings of a survey of Washington voters conducted last fall by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates to assess views on issues related to climate and energy policy in the state. Support for enforcing limits on carbon pollution cut across every major subgroup of the Washington electorate, including:
- 92 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents, and 57 percent of liberal and moderate Republicans
- 70 percent of women and 56 percent of men
- 68 percent of voters under 50, and 60 percent of voters age 50 and over
- at least 59 percent of voters in King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Spokane counties and 55 percent of voters elsewhere in the state.
A statement from the survey firm concluded that these and other survey findings "demonstrate strong public concern about the ongoing impacts of global warming, and a firm desire for Washington state government to live up to its commitment to address it."