Washington CSE Environmental Legislative Alert

Shoreline Regulations Threaten Property Rights

State Controls. Last year, the Department of Ecology (DOE) issued new regulations controlling land use within 200 feet of rivers, lakes, wetlands, and the Pacific coast. The new regulations replace existing rules enacted in 1972.

Eliminating Existing Uses. The regulations set buffer requirements of anywhere from 60 to more than 180 feet for new development. This land must be left uncleared of any vegetation. DOE claims that existing farms, homes, and businesses will not be affected by the regulations. However, DOE has made clear its intention to phase out what it calls “prior non-conforming uses” — meaning that any shoreline property is in jeopardy.

Takes Away Property Rights. The shoreline regulations replace established private property rights with a vague concept of the “general public interest.” Property owners may no longer be allowed to add on to existing homes, stabilize shorelines to protect houses or farms from erosion, or remove unwanted vegetation from their yards.

Shoreline Regulations

State controls over land use within 200 feet of a shoreline.

Phases out many existing land uses.

Takes away property rights.

Stop the Land Grab. CSE supports HB 1374, which would repeal the new regulations and reinstate previous shoreline rules. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Mulliken, Mielke, Crouse, Sump, Dunn, DeBolt, Hatfield, Delvin, Van Luven, B. Chandler, Bush, McMorris, Boldt and Schindler.

Blue Ribbon Transportation Plan Calls for New Taxes

A $150 Billion Boondoggle. Last November, a Blue-Ribbon Commission proposed a $150 billion, 20-year statewide transportation plan. Despite all this new spending, the plan promises only to make traffic congestion “no worse than the national average.”

New Fees and Taxes. To pay for this massive boondoggle, the commission calls for a dozen new taxes and fees, including higher gas taxes, a tax based on the number of miles driven, a surcharge on sales of vehicles and auto parts, license fees, and a “traffic mitigation” fee.

Blue-Ribbon Transportation Plan

$150 billion in spending over 20 years.

Calls for a dozen new taxes and fees.

Wastes money on programs that have not reduced congestion in other states.

Senseless Spending. Forty percent of “early action” funding is destined for bike paths, HOV lanes, vanpools, and pedestrian walkways — things that have not reduced congestion in other cities. The plan also proposes using “smart growth” to solve traffic problems. In reality, this poorly defined concept could be used to justify almost any spending the commission wants.

Salmon Recovery Based on Junk Science

Not Enough Fish? Over the past decade, more than two dozen subgroups of salmon and steelhead have been placed on the Endangered Species List. Yet salmon populations are surging. For example, Sockeye runs are the highest in 15 years and spring Chinook salmon runs are the highest since 1938.

Count Every Fish. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a bureau of the Department of Commerce, oversees salmon recovery. Rather than counting all the fish in our rives, which might negate the need for Endangered Species Act listings, NMFS ignores hatchery-born fish and considers only fish born in the wild to be actual salmon.

Salmon Recovery

Despite surging populations, dozens of salmon subgroups are on the Endangered Species List.

NMFS refuses to count all salmon in our rivers.

Congress may enact ESA reform this year.

Sensible Reform. The federal government may take up reform of the ESA — which has not been re-authorized since 1992 — this year. CSE will support proposals that employ sound science, protect property rights, provide compensation for property owners, and set realistic and clear targets for recovery. Congress needs to know that citizens support these reforms.

Climate Change Legislation Threatens Energy and Economy

No Scientific Consensus. Some scientists believe that man-made greenhouse gases — mainly carbon dioxide — created by burning the fossil fuels that run our cars and provide electricity are causing global temperatures to rise. However, despite claims of a scientific “consensus,” climate scientists who deal with actual temperature data find little evidence of an unnatural change in temperatures, and no real evidence linking what people do with any alleged climate change.

Washington Alone? Two bills in the legislature, SB 5530 and SB 5674 attempt to make Washingtonians solve this allegedly global problem alone. They call for capping carbon dioxide emissions, imposing costly emissions offsets for producers of electricity and gas — which would mean higher electric bills and gas prices — and continued subsidies for impractical “alternative” energy.

Climate Change

SB 5530 and SB 5674 are based on flawed science.

Attempt to make Washingtonians solve an allegedly global problem alone.

These bills would dramatically harm the economy with no benefit to the environment.

Economic Pain with No Environmental Gain. Even if global warming were proven, it makes no sense for Washington State to go it alone in limiting carbon dioxide emissions while the rest of the world does not. Washington’s economy, and its citizens, would take a big hit —without having any effect on the environment.

Preserve Our Economy. CSE opposes SB 5530 and SB 5674. The sponsors of SB 5530 are Sens. Fairley, Kline and Kohl-Welles, and sponsors of SB 5674 are Sens. Constantine, Jacobsen, Prentice, Fraser and Kohl-Welles.