My name is Robert Vreeland. I am a member of the executive committee with the Olympic Climate Action group which has more than 600 members in Clallam County. We believe that one of the goals of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) should be to inform Clallam County residents of potential climate change impacts. This goal, pg. 1-18, was in an earlier draft but has been removed from the current draft. The earlier draft Goal #13 stated “To protect people and property from adverse impacts related to climate change and to promote resiliency in responding to climate change impacts.”
At its recent meeting Olympic Climate Action agreed that in order to manage risk and liability, the County’s SMP should fully acknowledge the imminent potential for sea level rise. Acknowledgement of climate change impact projections is particularly important to residents owning properties along low lying shorelines, Shoreline Residential – Intensive and Marine Waterfront Designations. Some of these properties (e.g. 3 Crabs and Diamond Point) may be exposed to sea level rise and storm surge inundation by as early as 2030, based on projections in the Climate Change Preparedness Plan for the North Olympic Peninsula, Sept. 2015 (see http://www.noprcd.org/about2). Given the existing technical studies and maps showing severe threats to dozens if not hundreds of low-elevation shoreline properties, often within 10-15 years, OCA believes County citizens could be financially liable for property losses to homeowners as well as home buyers if these risks aren’t clearly indicated in the most relevant County-wide planning document used to guide development and land use decisions.
The 2017 Draft SMP presently contains policies and a regulation regarding climate change and/or sea level rise and storm surge for: Restoration (pg. 3-32), Transportation (pg. 3-36), Buffers (pg. 6-1) and Regulations – General, 14 Shoreline stabilization (pg. 4-23). We believe it is imperative that similar policies or regulations be incorporated for residential shoreline properties < 200 feet deep measured from the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) landward, given these properties have the smallest buffers for Minor New Development, 50 feet. It may be appropriate to have similar policies/regulations for Shoreline Residential – Intensive and Marine Waterfront, Minor New Development on lots > 200 feet deep (75-foot buffers), as well as Major New Development and Shoreline Residential – Conservancy Minor New Development < 200 feet deep (100-foot buffer), if these properties are low-lying and could be potentially subject to sea level rise and storm surge in the near future.
Furthermore, “hard” shoreline armoring such as rip rap and sea walls, even if mitigated, will impact the neighboring properties, coastal sedimentation system, and nearshore ecology, and these risks need to be acknowledged in the SMP. At the Clallam County Planning Commission meeting of 6/21/17, the consultant for Clallam County on the SMP mentioned that there are approximately 83 parcels in the 3 Crabs and Diamond Point areas that could be permitted to install hard armoring to protect their properties.
“I believe in the sun and the stars, the water, the tides, the floods, the owls, the hawks flying, the river running, the wind talking. They’re measurements. They tell us how healthy things are. How healthy we are. Because we and they are the same”
-Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Tribal Leader
The people of our Salish Sea are rising like the tide to protect what we love and cherish as sacred, to stand together like the trees and lift each other up and the “each other” includes our grandchildren’s grandchildren, the orca and salmon people, the tree and bird people and all the other animal people of our Salish Sea. To stand in solidarity with Salish Sea tribes to ensure their treaty rights are honored and respected and for other nations to have their unceded territories and natural laws honored and respected.
President Trump’s withdrawal from our country’s commitment to the Paris climate accord has engendered both dismay and determination around the globe, and here on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Climate Action has joined that chorus. Around the country, groups are now calling for their state and local governments to fill in the void of federal leadership by committing to meet the goals of the Paris accord. Members of Olympic Climate Action have worked for more than four years to educate North Olympic Peninsula communities regarding climate change, and we have seen our Peninsula governments respond with serious efforts undertaken at the tribal, county, and city levels to incorporate sustainability into their operations and come to grips with the challenge of climate change. While there is more work to be done, we want to take the opportunity at this critical point in history to applaud these local efforts and commit ourselves to facilitate them in any way we can, to, in the words of the Preamble to the United States Constitution, “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
We invite concerned individuals to join OCA’s Local Climate Action Planning Committee to help move these efforts forward. Contact us at https://olyclimate.org/contact-us/.
Here are some links highlighting Peninsula governments’ actions to protect us from climate change:
Olympic Climate Action will hold a vigil for the Paris Accord on Friday, June 2, from 5 – 6:30 pm in front of the Federal Bldg. at First and Oak Streets in downtown Port Angeles.
We will be there to witness this tragic development and express our profound sadness and disappointment in the President’s decision.
Wear black and bring a drum and candle if you have one–we’ll have some there.
Without the federal government to protect us, it’s up to us make progress.
President Trump is reported to be leaning toward completely withdrawing America from the Paris Climate Agreement. This would be one of the most foolish and reckless decisions of any President in history. Scientists estimate that this single act could result in an additional 0.5°C of global warming, which could make the difference between a difficult-but-livable planet and an unlivable one.
But until this decision is official (that could be soon), there’s still time for one last-ditch effort to sway the White House to avert this catastrophe-in-the-making.
Things to do right now:
1. Send an email to President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis imploring them not to make the dangerous and ill-advised decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
2. Spread the word on social media.
Sign this 350.org PETITION by 5 PM Eastern time.
Write a LETTER TO THE EDITOR
3. Get the phones ringing at the White House. Dial the switchboard at 202-456-1414 (9-4 Eastern time) and ask for the comment line (the switchboard can be easier to reach than the comment line). Or you can try the comment line directly at 202-456-1111 or 855-980-5634. (If you get a busy signal, it means the phones are ringing off the hook, so please be patient and try again.)
5. Stay tuned for local rallies. We’ll discuss these at Sunday’s OCA meeting.
If Trump completely withdraws from the Paris agreement, he would be ignoring advice from his Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, the Pope, his daughter Ivanka, the CEOs of major companies like Apple, Google, General Mills and even ExxonMobil and Chevron, our foreign allies and many others. Instead he’d be siding with hard-liners like Steve Bannon, EPA chief Scott Pruitt and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — all of whom are pushing to abandon the Paris accord. We cannot let this group prevail.
By unanimous agreement at our meeting of 5/7/2017, we have sent this letter to our state legislators:
Senator Kevin Van de Wege
Representative Steve Tharinger
Representative Mike Chapman
Washington State Legislature
Dear State Legislative representatives from District 24:
Olympic Climate Action maintains a membership of more than 600 members from the Olympic Peninsula through email and other social media. Our membership promotes action by government at all levels to both mitigate climate change and prepare adaptation measures. We believe that the single most urgent thing we need to do as a society is to put a price on carbon that reflects its true costs and provides a disincentive for its use. Our membership has been happy to see a number of proposed carbon tax bills under consideration by the state legislature. Each has its pros and cons. In urging your own consideration, we would like to underscore the following concepts:
- Urgency: Scientists tell us that we have precious little time to waste on converting to a clean-energy economy, and therefore we urge action on a carbon-pricing bill NOW. Economists seem to converge on an initial price at $25 per ton of CO2.
- Efficacy: Scientists such as James Hansen, former NASA lead climate scientist, also tell us that to set a target that doesn’t risk the safety and well-being of the next generation, we need to aim for 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere by the end of the century, and that to hit such a target, we need to reach a 91% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our carbon pricing needs to aim for that target.
- Support for mitigation: Use some of the proceeds to actively support the reduction of our carbon footprint through incentives, research, and infrastructure investment. Explore the creation of a market for forest carbon sequestration.
- Equity: Assure that those least able to deal with additional expenses in their budgets find relief; that poor communities least able to deal with cope with climate impacts are helped to achieve resiliency; and that workers in dislocated economic sectors are helped to find alternate employment.
- Integrity: Construct the program in such a way that it does not lead to “leakage” of greenhouse-gas emissions to other states or countries.
- Accountability and oversight: Ensure that taxpayers’ funds are spent both effectively and efficiently with broad benefits, including implementing the State’s Clean Air Rule.
In addition to carbon pricing, we also support these related initiatives:
- Oil Transportation Safety (HB 1611) will help address a $3.6 million funding shortfall in state oil spill prevention programs, improve oil spill prevention for Puget Sound, and provide more public input on proposed oil pipeline projects. This is common-sense protection for our communities, and it comes under threat of vastly increased shipping in our waters.
- The creation of an electric vehicle charging station loop around the Olympic Peninsula. While such infrastructure will enhance our tourism business, it will also facilitate the conversion by local residents to electric vehicles. We hope you will work with your colleagues to support General Fund investment in publicly-available electric vehicle charging stations, as well as the maximum allowable funding of EV chargers from the VW litigation settlement.
Please respond with your positions on these topics, or if you wish we’d be glad to meet with you to discuss these critical issues.
The members of Olympic Climate Action, adopted unanimously at our general membership meeting of May 7, 2017
Remember those cold days in February when people in Port Angeles and Sequim were protesting US Bank’s support of DAPL pipeline ? Well, good news. US Bank has revised its environmental responsibility policy to state that it will no longer directly fund any oil or gas pipelines! And any relationships with companies/people in the oil or gas industry will be subject to additional checks on the “potential impact on dependent communities and indigenous people.” Activism works!
This Saturday, May 20, from 11am-12 people will be going out to the PA and Sequim branches of US Bank, where we protested, this time to bring flowers and wave signs thanking them for listening to the people. Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1348163088552428/
Here is an article: http://www.ecowatch.com/us-bank-divest-pipelines-2408440397.html