The people of the Olympic Peninsula, like the people of Washington State and the United States, want to address climate change. $32 million of Big Oil money does not deny that fact!
From Yale Climate Opinion Maps 2018:
Sample survey question: “Congress should do more to address global warming.”
6th Congressional District (Olympic & Kitsap Peninsulas): 62%
Clallam County: 62%
Jefferson County: 65%
Washington State: 64%
United States: 62%
At their June 19th meeting, the Clallam County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted Resolution 2018-62, reinvigorating planning and action on climate, shepherded by Commissioner Mark Ozias.
In this resolution, the Commissioners note local impacts of climate change including “increased likelihood of storm surge and coastal flooding…low snowpack resulting in drought and water shortages…major fires…advance of invasive species, and ocean acidification.”
Clallam County had previously passed a Climate Action Plan in 2009, calling for an 80% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions from County government operations by 2050, and a climate-preparedness resolution in 2016, but neither has led to significant action in recent years. This resolution puts life back into County action on climate by:
- Focusing on land-use planning via the County Comprehensive Plan
- Updating the County’s 2009 Climate Action Plan and putting wheels under it
- Engaging the broader community in a conversation about climate change and what to do about it at the local level.
OCA member Bob Sextro spoke in favor, saying, “The past 30 years have been very kind to us on climate change; the next 30 years probably won’t be. This resolution will help the County continue the dialogue, continue the action, and move forward.”
Thanks to Commissioner Ozias, the other Commissioners, and the OCA members who helped shape this resolution and move it forward. We look forward to working with the Commissioners and the community on these issues.
At their regular meeting of June 19, 2018, starting at 10 a.m., the Clallam County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution long in the making, shepherded by Commissioner Mark Ozias, to reinvigorate a Climate Action Plan passed in 2009. The draft of the resolution is here.
Passage of this important resolution is not guaranteed; your input may help sway the Board of Commissioners to support it. You can provide input:
- In person, at the beginning or end of the meeting (agenda here–please note the instructions for speaking given at the end), limiting your comments to three minutes.
- In writing, either by presenting it to the Clerk of the Board prior to or at the meeting (where you can also read it aloud), or by sending an email to the Commissioners by the prior business day.
BACKGROUND: Clallam County passed a Climate Action Plan in 2009, and a climate-preparedness resolution was passed in 2016 with OCA support, but neither has led to significant action in recent years. Commissioner Ozias hopes to put life back into the CAP to quantify the actions the county needs to take and to engage citizens in dialogue about their concerns related to climate impacts and mitigation.
GUIDELINES FOR COMMENTS:
- Speak from your own experience: Why are you concerned about climate change? What would you like to see County government do about it?
- The resolution itself has great talking points and is a good place to start.
- It’s helpful if you can think of ideas that will motivate individual council members to pass the resolution and implement the CAP. In what various ways will the resolution help their constituents?
- Commissioner Ozias reported that many County department heads are anxious to investigate ways they can help the county save money and reduce our carbon footprint. Getting climate back on the agenda should help to serve both goals.
Climate change is going to occur no matter what we do, but planning ahead can minimize its severity and maximize our resiliency. Let’s do our part here to come to grips with this reality.
At their work session on 2/12/18, the Board of Clallam County Commissioners discussed a resolution proposed by Commissioner Mark Ozias for Clallam County to take further steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Clallam County residents are urged to communicate with their Commissioners about this resolution. Public comment of a general nature is taken at the end of Tuesday weekly Commissioner meetings, which usually end in the late morning; or you can write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Clemens, who facilitates OCA’s Climate Action Planning committee, made this comment in support of the resolution at the regular Commissioners meeting on 2/13/18. If you’d like to join Michael’s committee, contact us.
Background: OCA presented these recommendations to the Clallam Commissioners on 5/1/17:
Clallam County should renew its commitment to climate action in several ways:
- Take steps to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, as the Board of Commissioners committed to in Resolution 27 of 2016.
- Take steps to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases, as described in the Board of Commissioners’ adopted Climate Action Plan of 2009, and broaden the approach to address the carbon footprint of the county as a whole, not simply County government.
- Include means for priority-setting, evaluation and adaptive management.
- Encourage cooperation among multiple players in the county, including cities, Port, PUD, College, tribes, as well as Jefferson County, perhaps using the North Olympic Development Council as a vehicle.
- Move forward via a combined effort of County government, other entities, and committed citizens.
- Look for innovative and integrated approaches to addressing climate change, by addressing community resiliency, public safety, energy, transportation, future infrastructure needs, economic development and other challenges together.
At today’s hearing on Clallam County’s Draft Shoreline Master Program (September 2017, Ed Chadd submitted the following comments on behalf of OCA, urging greater consideration of climate change in shoreline planning in order to protect both the public and County government (news article here):
I am here representing Olympic Climate Action, a group of local citizens dedicated to researching, educating, and acting on the issue of climate change, with a distinctly local focus. We have a mailing list of more than 700, and our monthly meetings consistently draw 15-20 Clallam County residents concerned about climate change education, adaptation, and mitigation. These comments on the County’s draft Shoreline Master Program reflect the consensus of our group, developed at these monthly meetings over the course of more than two years.
We believe one goal of the SMP should be to inform Clallam County residents of potential climate change impacts. In a prior draft, Goal #13 was “To protect people and property from adverse impacts related to climate change and to promote resiliency in responding to climate change impacts.” We note with concern that this goal has been removed from the current draft, and we would like a clearly-stated reason as to why. Continue reading
This Peninsula Daily News story in the wake of Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris climate accord includes reactions from OCA members, the Local 20/20 sustainability group in Port Townsend, and officials from Clallam County and the Jamestown S’Klallam, Quileute, and Quinault Tribes:
At Tuesday’s Clallam County Commissioner meeting, Commissioner Mark Ozias committed to taking further steps with his fellow Commissioners in 2017 to prepare for climate change and reduce Clallam County’s climate impact.
“I’m looking forward to moving into next year with a much more firm sense of where we’re at and where we would like to go,” Ozias said.
We thank Commissioner Ozias for his leadership on this vital community issue and look forward to working with the Commissioners and others in 2017.
In a presentation to the Dungeness River Management Team, CarbonWA executive board member Mike Massa made the case for the I-732 revenue-neutral carbon tax and refuted the statements that the Clallam County PUD had made opposing the initiative at a previous DRMT meeting. Here are his slides in Powerpoint and PDF format.
Note the projected economic impacts:
“We are disappointed that the Clallam County PUD Board of Commissioners voted against supporting Initiative 732, a measure designed to accelerate the switch to affordable clean energy.”
In a guest opinion piece in the Sequim Gazette, OCA members collaborated on a response and appeal to the Clallam County Public Utility District Commissioners to rescind their opposition to the Carbon Tax Initiative, I-732. The main points:
- Most Clallam residents will keep more money in their pockets with I-732.
- I-732 will help the PUD meet its state and federal regulatory mandates.
- Most importantly, I-732 will curb fossil fuel pollution which contributes to climate change, a problem with serious social and economic consequences for Clallam County–winter floods, summer drought, wildfire, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification among them.
The piece concludes: “We have a responsibility to protect our children and future generations from these dangerous and costly threats to our community. With I-732, we can reduce taxes while protecting the environment. We urge the Clallam PUD commissioners to support I-732 and fulfill their mission to provide reliable, efficient, safe and low cost utility services in a financially and environmentally responsible manner.”
Catastrophic weather events seem to capture more headlines with each passing year–including events which have cut off power or water to PUD customers. The time for “business as usual” is past. We will continue to educate the PUD Commissioners and PUD customers about the advantages of I-732 to our community, our state, our nation, and the world at large. Climate change is not going away, and these issues aren’t either–in fact, they become more compelling with each passing day.
(Peninsula Daily News 4/12/16) PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners have approved a work plan to adapt to potential impacts of climate change.
After hearing testimony from a split group of public speakers Tuesday, county commissioners voted 3-0 to pass a resolution directing six county departments to consider impacts and strategies contained in a North Olympic Peninsula Resources Conservation and Development Council report on climate change.
“The point of this resolution is to try and give our county staff some tools to try and plan for the future,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said.
(Full article here.)
To view the Climate Change Preparedness Plan for the North Olympic Peninsula, go to www.tinyurl.com/PDN-climatechangereport.
League of Women Voters Candidates Forum
Sunday July 12
Shipley Center, 921 E Hammond St, Sequim
1.00 PM – 3.45 PM
Candidates for Clallam County Commissioner District 1
Jim McEntire, Mark Ozias, Bryan D. Frazier
Please Vote in the Primary Election August 4
Ballots Mailed Out on July 15
OCA’s comments to the Planning Commission on the draft SMP – Part One
OCA’s comments to the Planning Commission on the draft SMP – Part Two
Clallam County is replete with coastal and inland waters, both marine and fresh. These waters, the stuff of life, are at the heart of our unique character and natural systems. Orcas, fish, wildlife, plant communities, and clean water depend upon well-functioning shorelines.
The County Planning Commission is accepting your comments on a revised draft of Clallam County’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP). Public support is needed to adopt a locally-based SMP that embraces environmental safeguards for Clallam County’s hundreds of miles of shoreline. These shorelines are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, more severe storms and storm surges, erosion, and ocean acidification.
Please attend the public hearing at the Clallam County Courthouse at 6:30 PM on February 18 and provide testimony, or submit comments electronically by COB on Feb. 27 to SMP@co.clallam.wa.us. For more information on the Draft SMP: http://www.clallam.net/LandUse/SMP.html. Here are some talking points:
- Personalize your comments to reflect your interest in shorelines. Are you a shoreline property owner? A beach walker? A clam digger? An angler? A bird watcher?
- The SMP should adopt a protective setback, given the increased potential for erosion due to climate change. Other counties in the Puget Sound region have adopted 125’, 150’ and even 250’ vegetative buffers. Clallam County should set buffers based on best available science, including projected impacts of climate change.
- A major study of the projected local impacts of climate change is being conducted right now, with a draft report due by the end of June. Sections of the SMP that could be impacted by climate change should await the publication of this study, or at least be written in such a way that emerging scientific findings will trigger necessary revisions to the SMP.
- Clallam County and Planning Commission should give preference to protecting and restoring the ecological functions of the shorelines – for water quality, habitat, refuge for salmon, etc. Intact ecological function will be key to resilience to the impacts of a changing climate.
- The SMP should limit the erection or expansion of hard structures such as jetties, sea-walls, bulkheads, and riprap on shorelines. These artificial structures alter water movement in ways that increase erosive energy elsewhere, accelerating the breakdown of the system as a whole. Alternatives such as “soft armoring” should be promoted and incentivized.
- For more detail, see the comments sent by OCA on the draft SMP (links above).
Last month, OCA sent a letter to the Clallam County Department of Community Development noting a gap in the Department’s analysis of threats in its proposed update to its Shoreline Master Program (SMP), required under the state Shoreline Management Act – namely, the lack of any reference to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s study of probable climate impacts in the eastern part of Clallam County–arguably the most recent scientific study of climate impacts relative to shorelines in Clallam County. We plan to submit more extensive and detailed comments about the draft SMP during public hearings in February.
ClallamCounty has a Climate Action Plan for its own governmental operations which sets the following carbon-emissions reduction targets: Continue reading