Sunday, October 21, 2018

County Commissioner race update

Well, I was totally put off by the offensive piece I found in my mailbox yesterday and wondering what to do about it. I should have known, Janet St Clair was on top of it. Here's her response to a somewhat childish hit piece by Rick Hannold.  On one side of the mailer he tells us all the wonderful things he claims to have done. As I've mentioned before, he is very good at taking credit for the work of others. On the other side he makes all sorts of claims about Janet, including using $ signs for the S in her name.

Here's an interesting one: while Hannold claims to have "saved" Conservation Futures, in this piece he accuses Janet of wanting *Increased "Conservation Futures" property taxes on Island County homeowners.  So which is it? Did he save Conservation Futures or destroy it? We know he advocated against the program - and then claimed credit for the good it did at Barnum Point. As I've said before, giving credit where credit is due doesn't cost anything and there's plenty to go around. I guess not for Rick Hannold.

He claims Janet wants to raise gas prices 'for $eattle special interest groups.' That translates to Janet supports I-1631, the fossil fuel fee which is necessary to move Washington to a renewable economy. But then Rick Hannold doesn't believe climate change is real, so why change what we're doing?

Anyway, let Janet say it in her own words:

Subject: Staying positive, staying focused...it's about the issues
Date: October 21, 2018 9:42:20 AM PDT
To: Marianne Edain <fh@whidbey.com>

Well, my opponent released his first mass mailer this weekend.  While doorbelling, a voter commented that he received it and considered it “campaign silliness.”  I guess Mr. Hannold can make up silly names about me but we will continue a campaign based on the issues and our values of inclusive, respectful and responsive leadership.

As a senior executive in nonprofit organizations, I spent nearly 20 years developing effective programs to better serve people, with efficient resources and strong outcomes.  My responsibilities spanned six counties in North Puget Sound where I worked to develop and advocate for access to care across urban and rural areas.  I built strong and effective teams that worked collaboratively to provide innovative solutions.  I know how to work with local stakeholders as well as state and federal partners to bring resources to our communities.

I’m quite certain my opponent doesn’t want the voters to look too closely at the true results of his four years in office.  But let’s take a look by starting with his own claims:

    1.    He claims he “led the ban on fish net pens.” That legislation was passed in 2012…THREE years before he took office.  He denies climate science and resists policies to protect our environment. I will continue to promote education, incentives and when necessary legislation for a sustainable Puget Sound.

    2.    He claims he “shepherded Barnum Point across the finish line” yet initially opposed that land acquisition and gives no recognition to Whidbey Camano Land Trust or FOCIP for their heroic efforts to protect this legacy for future generations. I will work with community partners to support their efforts and give credit where credit is due.

    3.    He says his first response is “What about Camano” and he brought “extra” services to this Island, extra services that are core programs on Whidbey. Camano Island has waited years for housing, mental health and veteran support.  It finally arrived in his last year in office and only on a limited basis.  He claims we "are resistent to change" when criticized for not engaging the community on our new county annex.  We are not resistent to change, Mr. Hannold, we just want a voice in the issues that affect us.

in his recent mailer, he dug down deep and the worst he came up with about me…I’m from Seattle and a Democrat.  Then in an astounding lack of knowledge about the difference between the roles of a County Commissioner and a State Legislator created a confusing list of policies I’ve neither suggested nor, in many cases, could implement as your next Island County Commissioner.  Let’s elect someone who understands the job, demonstrates integrity and has a truly proven record of accomplishments. 

So what can you do to make sure we don’t allow Rick Hannold to waste four more years with negative and extreme partisan politics, self-centered leadership and inability to develop effective and broad-based solutions for our communities…Help me set the record straight.  Share this email with friends or neighbors, join our social media outreach and share our message or volunteer to phone bank or doorbell to get out the vote.  It’s time for voters to make a new choice.
Janet St. Clair has proven leadership, experience and integrity.
  
Fire Rick, hire Janet as your next Island County Commissioner.

Thank you for your support,
Janet




Janet St Clair  http://www.janetstclair.com/

Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 General Election

 Its the 2018 General Election

     I can hear the thud of ballots dropping as I type furiously to get the blog done. I know I promised to have it available before you got your ballots. Then I was informed that the October 19 date was not the deadline for mailing but the deadline for receiving. I started getting calls yesterday. I presume that many of you have received your ballots today. Good thing we’re live and ready.

First, you need to know that you are registered to vote. To check, go to
https://weiapplets.sos.wa.gov/MyVote/#/login  
The deadline for registering on line or for changing name or address has passed. If you miss that deadline you will have to go to the

Elections Office at
400 N Main Street in Coupeville.
The deadline to register or change your name or address in person is October 29, 2018.

For more information call 360-679-7366 or email  elections@co.island.wa.us
They’re open 8:00 – 4:30  Monday - Friday

The Elections Office tells us that ballots must be postmarked
on or before election day, November 6.
The League of Women Voters has just let us all know that the Postal Service is being less than helpful. Ballots dropped in mailboxes in Island County get shipped to Seattle for processing, and are usually postmarked the next day. Which means your ballot would be postmarked too late. So if you drop your ballot in the mail on November 6 it may very well not be counted. NOT GOOD!

There are several solutions.
1. Get your ballot in the mail by Monday, November 5.
2. If you can’t do it before November 6, take it to the counter and ask the postal clerk to hand stamp it. And no, you don’t need to put a stamp on it.
3. Drop it in one of the 6 ballot drop boxes before 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 6. They are located at:
   
    Island County Elections Office
    400 N Main Street    Coupeville

    Trinity Lutheran Church
    18341 Hwy 525    Freeland

    Ken’s Corner Shopping Center
    4141 Hwy 525 (at Langley Road)    Clinton

    Island County Camano Annex
    121 N East Camano Drive    Camano Island

    Langley Post Office, front patio
    115  2nd Street        Langley

    Oak Harbor City Hall
    865 SE Barrington    Oak Harbor

If you haven’t received a ballot by October 22, contact the Elections office.

And here is Marianne’s regular disclaimer: I would never presume to tell you how to vote. That is very much your business. I’m merely telling you how I intend to vote and why. You can make your own decisions from there.

I’m beginning to learn about this blogging business, so that now I no longer have vagrant italics or underlines, and this time I’ve even figure out how to make sure all the web links are live and functional. Next thing you know I’ll learn how to add images (don’t hold your breath).

Whatever you do, VOTE. And encourage, hassle, bug, and convince everyone you know to vote as well. Feel free to forward information about the blog to all and sundry. Your vote has never been more important. The planet and government you save may be your own.

Initiative 1631

 Initiative Measure No. 1631 concerns pollution.

 This measure would charge pollution fees on sources of greenhouse gas pollutants and use the revenue to reduce pollution, promote clean energy, and address climate change impacts, under oversight of a public board.

 Should this measure be enacted into law?
 yes
 no

 I’ve been studying 1631 since before it qualified for the ballot. It is long and complicated. This is a whole program which will change how a number of state agencies operate. The initiative itself runs to 38 pages. The Voter’s Guide which has now shown up in your mailboxes has a surprisingly good (and long) summary, particularly the ‘fiscal impact’ section. I recommend reading it.

 The basics: energy used in Washington State will pay a fee at the wholesale end, starting at $15.00/ton of CO2 emissions, into a special state fund. This means that pipelines bringing oil, trains hauling coal, and similar sources, will pay the fee. There is a complicated schedule of just who pays and when, in order to avoid either double payment or non-payment. There are, as the NO people tout constantly, certain exemptions. One of those exemptions is for fuels moving through Washington but not for use here. There is an exemption for PSE’s Centralia coal fired electric generation plant, with the rationale that it is scheduled to be shut down in 2025 anyway. There are also exemptions for certain power intensive industries which claim they could not continue to operate otherwise. I have some heartburn with that, but it is relatively small in the overall scheme of things.

 Yes, it is likely that some prices will increase, especially gasoline and propane, but probably also PSE, which generates some 60% of its electricity from fossil fuels. There is no mandate for retail price increases, and the fee is actually a very small amount compared to profits, but we can expect the industries to use the fee as an excuse to raise prices.

 Ok, that’s the down side. The up side is that the funds collected will go into a specifically designated fund – and here’s where things get a bit complicated. There are specific targets for how the funds are to be disbursed. Hold your hats. Here we go.
 70% of total expenditures must be used for clean air and clean energy investments.
  25% must be used for clean water and healthy forests investments.
 5% must be used for healthy communities investments.

 Don’t even try to add up the percentages because there is a whole lot of overlap.
The state agencies are directed to map out particularly contaminated and polluted areas of the state. Those will be designated as “pollution and health action areas.” and will have priority for cleanup funds.
A minimum of 35% must provide direct meaningful benefits to “pollution & health action areas.”

A minimum of 10% of funds must benefit one or more tribes. There is a provision that the tribes must be consulted on any project affecting either their lands or their usual and accustomed fishing sites.

There is a specific definition of what constitutes a benefit.

 This kind of says it all:
 §4. (1)  All funds must be used for programs, activities, or projects that yield or facilitate verifiable reductions in pollution or assist affected workers or people with lower incomes during the transition to a clean energy economy.

 Various state agencies, including Dept of Commerce, WSU Extension Energy Program, WSDOT, Utilities Commission, Ecology, DNR, Dept of Ag, and RCO (the Recreation & Conservation Office, which disburses funds for acquisition of lands for conservation) are all given pieces of the fund to administer, and are all directed to create procedures and criteria. The bottom line is that they all need to show to the new board how they plan to meet the CO2 reduction standards.

The plan must prescribe a competitive project selection process that results in a balanced portfolio of investments containing a wide range of tech, sequestration, and emission reduction solutions to reduce CO2 from 2018 levels by a minimum of 20 million metric tons by 2035 and 50 million metric tons by 2050 – while creating economic, environmental, and health benefits.

 There are very specific requirements for how to help poor people and those whose jobs will disappear.
Either Commerce or a utility, in consultation with poor people, will develop plans to carry out this section to maximize the number of poor people who will benefit. The plan must be submitted to the Board for approval. It anticipates:
    ~ bill assistance programs
    ~ reduce dependence on fossil fuel transportation via public and shared transportation
    ~ reduce household energy consumption via weatherization and/or solar panel installation
    ~ community renewables, owned by participants
In consultation with non-profits and tribes, design and implement comprehensive enrollment campaigns. The intent is to enroll 100% of poor people.

(5) within 4 years a minimum of $50mil/year must be set aside to maintain a worker support program for fossil fuel workers affected by the transition. Commerce may allocate additional funds as necessary.
    (a) worker support: full wage replacement, health benefits, pension contributions for every worker within 5 years of retirement. (there is a whole calculus of how long people have to have worked, etc). Up to 2 years of retraining costs, including tuition & related costs based on in-state community and tech college costs. Peer counseling services during transition, employment placement services, prioritizing employment in the clean energy sector, relocation expenses, and many other services deemed necessary.

§5. Clean Water & Healthy Forests
    Funding must be used to: restore and protect estuaries, fisheries, and marine shoreline habitats; prepare for sea level rise; address ocean acidification; reduce flood risk; restore natural floodplain ecological function; increase the sustainable supply of water; improve aquatic habitat, including groundwater mapping and modeling; improve infrastructure treating stormwater from inside UGAs.
    Healthy forests funds must be used to: increase resilience to wildfire; improve forest health; reduce vulnerability to changes in hydrology, insect infestation, and other impacts of climate change.
    DNR must set standards and create rules. These funds may not be used to violate tribal treaty rights or result in ‘significant long term damage’ to critical habitat or ecological functions. Investments must result in long term environmental benefit and increased resiliency to the impact of climate change.

§6 Healthy Communities investments. Creates a Healthy Communities account.
Funds will: enhance community preparedness and awareness before, during, and after wildfire; relocate tribal communities impacting by flooding as sea level rises; teacher professional training re environmental, social, & economic impacts of climate change; and strategies to reduce pollution.

DNR must develop procedures, criteria, and rules, which must prioritize benefits to communities with limited English proficiency and other vulnerable populations in communities at risk from wildfire.
    20% of the fund must be set aside to develop community capacity to participate in implementation, including teaching people grant writing. Funding is a competitive process, with a preference for vulnerable populations in Pollution and Health Action areas (defined elsewhere) and rural communities. Any tribe that applies must receive up to $200k/year to build tribal capacity to participate.

(9) "Environmental burdens" refers to the cumulative risks to communities caused by historic and current:
     (a) Exposure to conventional and toxic hazards in the air, water, and land, and;
     (b) Adverse environmental effects, which are environmental conditions caused or made worse by contamination or pollution or that create vulnerabilities to climate impacts.


    There will be created an Environmental and Economic Justice panel which will review funding proposals for consistency with the standards set. This is the “unelected board” the NO people are so upset about. That “unelected board” actually consists of 15 voting members, who must review and approve projects. It will consist of the Commissioner of Public Lands (DNR), directors of Dept of Commerce, Ecology, and Recreation and Conservation Office, 4 at-large positions and 6 co-chairs of the 3 investment panels. There are specific requirements for these positions. The governor appoints the chair and the 4 at-large positions, one of whom must be a tribal representative and one of whom must represent vulnerable populations in a polluted area. The Dept of Health, WSDOT, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction will be non-voting members. The chair is a full time staff position housed in the office of the governor. Board members serve 4 year terms. Those who are not state employees are entitled to compensation.

    The Clean Air and Clean Energy panel must be co-chaired by one business representative and a representative of labor. The panel may have a maximum of 9 members representing tribal, environmental, business, and labor communities.

    The Clean Water and Healthy Forests panel must be co-chaired by one tribal leader and one representative of statewide environmental interests. Again, a maximum of 9 panel members representing tribal, environmental, business, labor, and a “pollution and health action” area.

    The Environmental and Economic Justice panel must be co-chaired by one tribal leader and one representative of vulnerable populations, plus 2 union reps, and 5 other members of whom at least one is a tribal rep and two represent vulnerable populations.

    The duties of each of the panels are spelled out in great detail, including a schedule of deadlines for each of the many tasks.

    And on it goes. This is long, detailed, incredibly thought out, inclusive, and workable for poor people. There are parts of it I don’t like, for instance the part that says that utilities can take a credit against the fee for qualifying projects. I feel somewhat better about it when it says that Investor Owned Utilities (read that as PSE) may not take a profit from any fee exempt project.

    I was crabby about 1631 at first. I thought it was too little too late. After reading the thing I have changed my mind. This is going to be a major change in how Washington operates. It is a desperately needed major change. Most of you will have heard of the latest report by the International Panel on Climate Change, the one which gives us about a decade to clean up our act before the planet simply shrugs us off. 1631 is Washington’s attempt to take that warning seriously and do what needs doing – and trying to take care of those who could be hurt most in doing so.

    Here’s the financial picture:

Clean Air Clean Energy Washington (the coalition sponsoring 1631)        $11,215,526.13
Major donors include:
    The Nature Conservancy
    League of Conservation Voters
    Bill Gates
    Action Now Initiative
    Nick Hanauer
    Washington Environmental Council
    Washington State Labor Council
    Washington Conservation Voters
    NW Energy Efficiency Council
    Green Advocacy Project
    Front and Centered/Latino Community Fund
    Climate Solutions
    Audubon Washington

No on 1631  (sponsored by Western States Petroleum)                $22,127,179.90
And just in case you were under any illusions, the major donors to the No campaign are:
   Phillips 66
   BP America
   Andeavor (used to be Tesoro)
  American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers
  US Oil & Refining Co
  Koch Industries
  Chevron USA
  Valero Energy Corp
  PBF Energy
  Western States Petroleum Assoc
   

     I have been campaigning for 1631, writing about it, testifying for it, even going way out of my comfort zone and canvassing door to door for it. And now I’m blogging for it. If we want to continue living on a planet which continues to support us, we need 1631.

    I will be voting an enthusiastic and hopeful YES.



Initiative 1634

Initiative Measure No. 1634 concerns taxation of certain items intended for human consumption.

This measure would prohibit new or increased local taxes, fees, or assessments on raw or processed foods or beverages (with exceptions), or ingredients thereof, unless effective by January 15, 2018, or generally applicable.

Should this measure be enacted into law?
yes
no

https://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Connelly-Coke-and-Pepsi-put-5-1-million-into-13147294.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewsletterspi&utm_term=spi

As of 10-18-18 the PDC reports that “Yes to Affordable Groceries” has raised over $20 million. By painful contrast, the Healthy Kids Coalition has raised a whopping $16k.

Other jurisdictions have taxed or banned outright the sale of high fructose sugary drinks and can actually track improvements in public health as a result. The industry obviously is not thrilled with having their somewhat toxic products banned or taxed and is throwing millions into some very imaginative advertising campaigns. I just Googled I-1634 and the first hits are: Washington Initiative 1634, Prohibit Local Taxes on Groceries, and Yes! To Affordable Groceries,  and November 6, 2018 general election TNT endorsement against Initiative 1634.

Ballotopedia (www.ballotopedia.org/Washington) reported in September that the Yes campaign had received over $8 mil in donations from such companies as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper/Snapple, Red Bull, and the Washington Grocery Association. The opposition, the Healthy Kids Coalition, reported $250.00. As ever and always, the big guys, in this case the soft drink industry, can buy or bully to get what they want, which is no responsibility for the damage they are doing the public health.

Here’s the breakdown as of 10-18-18:

Coca-Cola Co        $9,653,767.73
Pepsico                   $7,278,737.28
Keurig Dr Pepper   $2,109,261.30
Red Bull                 $237,212.31

I am disgusted, and even though I expect this will pass based on that huge advertising budget,

I will be voting a resounding NO.

Initiative 1639

Initiative Measure No 1639 concerns firearms.

This measure would require increased background checks, training, age limitations, and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic assault rifles; criminalize noncompliant storage upon unauthorized use; allow fees; and enact other provisions.

Should the measure be enacted into law?
Yes
No

The League of Women Voters (bless them) has done a great job of summarizing the issues. Check their review here: https://lwvwa.org/ballot-measures

They tried valiantly to maintain a neutral stance, but that is really hard when the “no” side comes up with the inane arguments they do. For starters, we’re dealing only with assault rifles. I, for one, believe that assault rifles, if they are to exist at all, belong strictly in the military, in spite of Dave Hayes’ quip at the candidates’ night that “one man’s assault rifle is another’s hunting rifle.” If we can’t ban these weapons outright, then the least we can do is impose some pretty obvious and basic measures. It turns out that the limitations being proposed already exist for hand guns. Who knew that assault rifles were less regulated than pistols? The “no” people claim that a background check is an imposition on their 2nd  amendment rights. They claim that even if we limit the legitimate market there will still be a black market. They don’t seem to understand that the black market is illegal. That’s why its called the black market. They object to the 21year minimum age to own one of these weapons with the argument that young people are able to enlist in the military at age 18 and they’ll use such weapons there. What seems to be lost on these people is the fact that the military is highly regimented, and while young soldiers are indeed taught to use these weapons, they are also taught the rules and responsibilities around that use, and they don’t get to take them into town on leave. I’m just waiting for the gun lovers to claim they have a 2nd amendment right to own a shoulder mounted missile launcher, and a Scud missile, and . . .

The part about "criminalize non-compliant storage upon unauthorized use" translates as: if you leave it lying around, rather than storing it under lock and key, and someone does something bad (like killing the neighbors) with it, then you will be held criminally liable for making the weapon easy to get at. 


https://www.mcclatchydc.com/latest-news/article218426785.html
Prospective owners would have to prove that they have completed a firearm safety training program in the last 5 years.
Existing rules that dealers must wait to deliver pistols to buyers with outstanding arrest warrants would be expanded to include semiautomatic rifles. One wonders just why people with outstanding arrest warrants are able to buy any kind of gun.

I think it is telling that the conditions being imposed already exist for hand guns. One has to wonder why a permit and training are required for a pistol but not for an AR 15.

Following the money:

Pro 1639:
Safe Schools, Safe Communities        $4,662,378.02
Major donors include:
    Paul Allen
    Nick Hanauer
    Steve Ballmer
    Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund
    Alliance for Gun Responsibility Foundation
    FUSE Voters
    Nancy Nordhoff
    Washington State Association for Justice

Anti 1639:
Save Our Security, No on 1639        $51,613.28
Shall Not Be Infringed            $29,801.61
Stop 1639, Shall Not Be Infringed        $31,075.96
Washingtonians & NRA for Freedom    $455,780.83

I happen to hate guns and the harm they do to innocent and unsuspecting citizens just trying to live their lives.

I will be voting an enthusiastic YES.

Initiative to the Legislature


 Initiative Measure No. 940


Initiative Measure No. 940 concerns law enforcement. This measure would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation, mental-health, and first-aid training, and provide first-aid; and change standards for use of deadly force, adding a “good faith” standard and independent investigation.

Should this measure be enacted into law?
yes
no

We’re going to have to take a step back here. I-940 is an initiative to the legislature rather than an initiative to the people. An initiative to the people, if it gains enough signatures, goes directly onto the ballot. An initiative to the legislature goes to the legislature. The legislature has a few options. They could adopt the initiative as presented, in which case it goes to the governor for signature into law. Or the legislature can put the initiative on the ballot in the next general election. Lastly, if they really don’t like it, they can put the initiative on the ballot along with their own alternative proposal. Instead of these options, Rep Dave Hayes sponsored a bill in the legislature, HB 3003, to bypass the initiative. HB 3003 passed and was signed by the governor. Then the whole mess went to court because Tim Eyman sued to keep 940 off the ballot.  Supporters of 940 pointed out to the judge that there was a poison pill hidden in 3003 which said that if 940 qualified for the ballot, which it did, then 3003 would go away. Tricky, eh? The judge agreed that it was tricky and allowed 940 to go on the ballot.

You can see and hear Dave Hayes claiming we don’t need 940 because we’ve got 3003. But by its own language 3003 is dead precisely because 940 is on the ballot.

I’ve been listening to Dave Hayes, who is a cop, and the candidates for sheriff, talk about 940. They all claim that they already receive de-escalation training. You could’ve fooled me, based on the stories I’m seeing about homeless and/or mentally ill people being shot in Oak Harbor and abused in Langley. It would also require first aid training. What? You mean our cops aren’t getting first aid training as an automatic part of their job training? And then there are the standards for use of deadly force. I would certainly like to see those standards spelled out very clearly. Dave Hayes has been heard to say that 940 as written is a catch 22 for cops. On the other hand, sheriff candidate Rick Felici says this is no big deal and they can work with it.

Follow the money:

Pro 940:
De-Escalate Washington            $3,200,059.37
contributors include:
    Puyallup Tribe
    Nick Hanauer
    ACLU
    Open Society Foundation
    ACLU of Washington
    UFCW Local 21
    SEIU
    Vulcan Inc
    Muckleshoot Tribe
    FUSE Washington
    Progress Alliance of Washington
    Seattle Seahawks
    Snoqualmie Tribe
    Tulalip Tribes
    Disability Rights Washington
    WA State Association for Justice
    Rooted in Rights
    Raise Up Washington
    Amnesty International
    Not This Time
    PNW Regional Council of Carpenters

Anti-940:
Coalition for a Safer Washington        $154,105.01
contributors include:
    Seattle Police Officers’ Guild
    King Co Police Officer’s Guild
    San Jose Officers’ Association PAC
    Sergeants’ Benevolent Assoc
    San Francisco Police Officers’ Assoc PAC
    WA Republican Party
    SnoCo Republican Party
   
Cops Against I-940                $42,922.50
contributors include:
    WA Council of Police & Sheriffs
    Tacoma Police Union Local # 6
    Vancouver Police Officers’ Guild
    Responders Emergency Services
    Spokane Police Guild
    Lynnwood Police Guild       

I don’t like sneaky attempts to cancel out the peoples’ will. I believe we need more training for our various police agencies and more specific standards.

I’ll be voting YES.

Advisory Vote No 19

Advisory Vote No. 19
Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6269


The legislature expanded, without a vote of the people, the oil spill response and administration taxes to crude
oil or petroleum products received by pipeline, costing $13,000,000 over ten years for government spending.

This tax increase should be:
Repealed
Maintained

To start, you need to remember that this measure has already been passed into law, and the entire advisory vote is an expensive charade forced on us by yet another Tim Eyman initiative. The negative language is required by that Eyman initiative, and the “costing $13 mil for government spending” translates to: “will bring in $13 mil over 10 years.” And its completely advisory. It has no weight of law. But at least we can let the legislature and the Dept of Ecology know that we support oil spill prevention and cleanup.

This bill was introduced at the request of the Dept of Ecology. Its title is Strengthening Oil Transportation Safety.

In 1990 the legislature passed legislation which created the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program. You may remember the concerns about super tankers threading their way among the rocks and shoals of the San Juans. The legislation put the responsibility for this program on Ecology.  The program requires oil spill prevention plans, contingency response plans, and documentation of financial responsibility for vessels and facilities which may discharge oil into navigable waters.

Ecology’s responsibility covers railroads, oil refineries, pipelines, and vessel operators. The report (6269-S2/E SBR FBR 19.pdf) goes into all the gory details of the plans. Bottom line: all those facilities must submit their various plans to Ecology for review and approval. There is an oil spill response tax of  $0.01/barrel to fund the state’s response to spills whose cleanup cost exceeds $50k. When the oil spill response account hits $9 mil the tax is suspended. There is a credit against the oil spill account for any crude or petroleum sold for export. The bottom line here is that the tax is tiny, downright infinitesimal, compared to what it would likely cost to clean up a spill in the Salish Sea.

Ecology has become concerned that the diluted bitumen (‘dilbit”) which is coming out of Alberta and North Dakota acts very differently from the fuels which were the subject of the earlier reviews. The existing response plans just plain don’t take account of this new material.

There is something called the Northwest Area Contingency Plan to coordinate federal, state, tribal, local, and international response to oil and hazardous substance “incidents.”  Ecology needs to update its contingency plans and rules to account for the new “dilbit” material by the end of 2019. Part of that process is setting up equipment and training responders.

Every 3 years Ecology must require at least one joint large-scale multiple participant equipment deployment drill of onshore and offshore facilities and vessels to determine the adequacy of compliance by owners and operators.

Ecology, in consultation with the Puget Sound Partnership and the Pilotage Commission must complete a report on vessel traffic and safety in the Salish Sea. There are a lot of requirements which I will not copy. The preliminary report is due to the legislature November 1, 2018 and the final report is due June 30, 2019. By July 1, 2020 Ecology must report to the legislature on what activities are not expected to be continued, recommendations for potential funding sources, and a forecast of future funding needs.

The first $200k each year is allocated to the National Guard for oil spill and cleanup training.

This went into effect 4-1-18.

So, what we have is a minuscule tax of $0.01/barrel of oil to deal with painfully predictable spills of fossil fuels into our waters. We already know that the producers and shippers of that oil immediately point fingers and fail to do what’s necessary to prevent further damage. So the state has reasonably stepped in to create a program to minimize that damage. We also know that $9 mil is basically just about enough to buy coffee for the responders and not much more. What we can say is that, small as it is, it’s a start in the right direction.

Even though technically it doesn’t matter, I will be voting MAINTAINED.