• BREAKING: Port of Vancouver Holds Oil Terminal Lease Amendment Public Hearing

    Crude Oil TrainsAs we have reported, this August 1st marks the deadline for the Port of Vancouver to renew the lease for the Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal.

    Tesoro Savage has approached the Port with a proposed 2-year extension to renew the lease prior to the August 1 deadline. The Port’s staff, although still on record supporting the Tesoro project, recommends against the lease renewal, citing growing concerns with the terminal moving forward.

    Port Commissioners will vote on the lease renewal on Friday April 15th and are holding a public hearing next Tuesday at Clark College to hear public testimony in advance of their vote on the lease renewal.

    A quite different slate of Port Commissioners will vote this time compared to those on the commission in 2013 when the lease was first approved after massive public opposition.  With the addition of Eric LaBrant last year, a staunch opponent to the terminal, the three Port Commissioners are now divided in their support.  Commissioner Brian Wolfe is also now voicing his own concerns with the Tesoro project.

    From the Columbian:

    Wolfe, who has become the three-member commission’s swing vote on the oil terminal lease changes, said he won’t make up his mind on his vote until after Tuesday’s daylong public hearing at Clark College’s Gaiser Hall. The commission expects to vote on the request on April 15.

    “My position today is I’m still going to listen to everybody next week and try to do at the end of the week what’s best for the Port of Vancouver,” said Wolfe, who backed the initial lease agreement.

    Eric LaBrant was not a member when the commission unanimously approved the original lease in 2013. But he won his seat on an anti-terminal platform, easily beating a staunch terminal supporter. Commissioner Jerry Oliver remains a supporter of the terminal.

    Rosemere Neighborhood Association encourages everyone to attend the Public Hearing this coming Tuesday; voice your opposition to the terminal; and urge the Port Commissioners to not only reject the lease renewal proposed by Tesoro Savage, but to cancel the lease outright.

    Read the Agenda for the Port’s April 12 Meeting, including the full Lease Amendment Proposal between the Port of Vancouver Tesoro Savage here: Agenda-and-documents-for-April-12-2016-Commission-Meeting.pdf

    Here are the Public Hearing details:

    Oil Terminal Lease Amendment Public Hearing:

    •  Tuesday, 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM, Doors open 8:00 AM. Public testimony will begin after the Port’s regular business meeting, with speakers chosen by lottery.
    • Gaiser Hall, Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver

    Port Commission decision:

    • Friday, 1 p.m. April 15, the commissioners will make a decision on the lease amendment. No public comment will be taken.

     

     

     

  • Update: New Hurdles for Proposed Oil Terminal

    WA State Supreme Court
    Our friends at Columbia Riverkeeper, Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC), and Sierra Club learned this week that the Washington State Supreme Court will review the previous lower court rulings in their lawsuit  challenging the Port of Vancouver’s closed-door meetings in 2013 during the port’s initial consideration of the Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal lease.

    If they are successful, and win at the Supreme Court level, the potential result could be the court voiding the current lease agreement.

    From the Columbian:

    “If we were to prevail at the Supreme Court, we believe the remedy the court should give us is voiding the lease and asking the Port of Vancouver to make a new decision on the lease in light of the information in a final environmental impact statement,” said attorney Miles Johnson with Columbia Riverkeeper.

    That is not the only challenge facing the Port’s lease agreement. As the deadline looms for the Port to confirm the terminal lease this summer on August 1st, Port Commissioner Brian Wolfe is re-thinking his support for the project:

    Late Thursday, Commissioner Brian Wolfe told The Columbian that he hadn’t made up his mind about how he might cast another vote.

    “Am I prepared to make a decision on it? No,” Wolfe said. “I honestly don’t know; there are so many variables to consider.”

    Wolfe’s uncertainty turns what was a 3-0 decision nearly three years ago into a big maybe.

    “It was and will remain a really hard decision between economic development and the environment, in my mind,” Wolfe said.

    The other two Port Commissioners are divided; Jerry Oliver is expected to re-affirm his support for the terminal, and Eric Labrant,  the newest commissioner, is a longtime opponent to the project, so Wolfe’s vote could sway the lease vote this summer.

    And just this past week, local elected officials have teamed up to submit op-ed pieces to two major regional newspapers slamming the proposed Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal.

    Aisha Topper, Vancouver City Councilmember, and Amanda Fritz who serves on Portland City Council penned a letter to Washington Governor Inslee in The Oregonian on February 25 titled Washington governor must save Portland, Vancouver from giant oil terminal (OPINION). It begins by stating the two cities “stand together in opposing the largest proposed oil terminal in North America.”

    Vancouver Councilmember Bart Hanson, who has led the city’s opposition to the terminal, teamed up in a letter with Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart submitted to February 27 Spokesman-Review Vancouver oil terminal is a dangerous plan.”

    Their messages could not be clearer – they urge Washington State Governor Inslee to stand up for citizens and deny the Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal.

     

  • Gov. Inslee Directs WA Department of Ecology to Draft New Water Quality Rules

    Washington-StateSealWashington Governor Jay Inslee announced Thursday he is directing the WA Department of Ecology to draft new water quality regulations in order to comply with an order from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

    In September, the EPA told the state it would issue federal rules on Washington’s water quality if the state did not act.

    Inslee’s announcement prompts the WA agency to draft new rules in order to preserve its decision-making process and would allow the state to avoid further federal regulation of industry and local governments responsible for reducing water pollution.

    Gov. Inslee explained:

    “My goal all along has been to update Washington’s clean water rule with one that assures the health of Washington’s people, fish and economy,” Inslee said.  “The number one thing I hear over and over when talking with people is how critical it is that we maintain control over creation of this rule to ensure that we’re protecting human health while providing businesses and local governments sensible tools to comply with the stricter standards.”

    To view the entire press release, go to the governor’s website at http://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-new-path-water-quality-rule-continues-work-broader-toxics-reduction

  • Carl Addy, Environmental Champion

    Carl Addy, September 12, 1943 - August 31 2015

    Carl Addy, September 12, 1943 – August 31 2015

    It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and environmental champion, Carl Addy.

    Carl was a great friend to the Rosemere Neighborhood Association over the past two decades.  A longtime water quality expert, Carl’s knowledge of the history of environmental issues in Clark County was unmatched.  His generous nature shared that knowledge throughout his career, and his fierce dedication to his work was an inspiration to all who knew him.

    His loss leaves a void in the Clark County environmental community that is felt by us all.

     

    From the Columbian newspaper:

    Carl Leon Addy, September 12, 1943 – August 31 2015

    Lifelong Vancouver resident and beloved husband, father, grandfather, co-worker, and friend, Carl Addy, passed away on August 31, 2015.

    Carl graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School and from Pacific Lutheran University. He began his job as a Med Tech at Vancouver Memorial Hospital the day after his college graduation. Carl later worked at the SW Washington Health District for over 20 years.

    He and his business partner, Tom, opened Addylab, a private water quality testing lab, in 2000. True to form, Carl retired from SWWHD on a Friday and began work on Addylab the following Monday. He worked until he became ill in May 2015.

    Carl was a kind, generous, and hard working man. He was undoubtedly one of the finest friends or co-workers a person could have. He enjoyed hiking, camping, and being in the Columbia Gorge. Carl was an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout leader, and a long time member of the Vancouver Lions Club. He died after a hard fought three-month battle with lung cancer. Carl will be deeply missed.

    He is survived by his wife Robin; son Todd; daughter Susan; daughter-in-law Sondra; three grandchildren; two great-grandsons; brother Gary; sister-in-law Judy; a niece and a nephew.

    His memorial service will be held at Evergreen Memorial Gardens on Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: The Columbia Land Trust, 1351 Officers Row, Vancouver, WA 98661

  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Featured at Columbia Riverkeeper Fundraiser

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Columbia Riverkeeper Fundraiser May 2015

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Columbia Riverkeeper Fundraiser May 2015

    Columbia Riverkeeper held a successful fundraiser on May 26 to celebrate their 15 years of championing clean water and environmental efforts in safeguarding the Columbia River.

    We would like to thank Columbia Riverkeeper for a wonderful evening headlined by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. with Rosemere Neighborhood Association Officers at Riverkeeper Fundraiser May 2015

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. with Rosemere Neighborhood Association Officers at Riverkeeper Fundraiser May 2015

    Mr Kennedy, environmental attorney, best-selling author, and activist was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for helping restore the Hudson River.

    In 2000 he encouraged the formation of Columbia Riverkeeper dedicated to protecting the great river of the west, the Columbia River.

    We want to wish Columbia Riverkeeper a Happy 15th Anniversary and many more successful years in environmental stewardship!

  • BIG WIN FOR CLEAN WATER: CLARK COUNTY AGREES TO IMPROVE SALMON HABITAT AND COMPLY WITH STORMWATER POLLUTION LAWS

    December 18, 2013

    Contacts:
    John Felton, Rosemere Neighborhood Association, 360‐993‐4939
    Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper, 503‐348‐2436

    BIG WIN FOR CLEAN WATER: CLARK COUNTY AGREES TO IMPROVE SALMON HABITAT AND COMPLY WITH STORMWATER POLLUTION LAWS

    County agrees to comply with stormwater pollution laws, fund significant stream restoration in lieu of
    potential federal penalties

    (Vancouver, WA) Clark County Commissioners voted today to improve salmon habitat and reduce dirty stormwater pollution as part of a binding settlement agreement with neighborhood and conservation groups.

    “This is a win for clean water and healthy salmon runs in Clark County,” said John Felton, chair of the Rosemere Neighborhood Association. “This is a good result for the community as a whole.”

    Rosemere Neighborhood Association along with Columbia Riverkeeper and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center challenged Clark County’s violation of laws designed to protect salmon and reduce pollution. After the County lost several rounds of litigation, the County has agreed to take steps to correct the problem. Clark County agreed to comply with the Clean Water Act and to provide $3 million in funding to an independent third party, the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board, that will oversee projects to protect and restore Clark County rivers and streams harmed by stormwater pollution. The settlement will need to be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and the federal
    court overseeing the lawsuit.

    “This agreement means cleaner water and more salmon for the region as a whole,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “The County will now act to reduce polluted stormwater and invest in protecting salmon. It’s a win‐win.”

    Stormwater pollution, which is created when rain mixes with debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flows into storm sewer systems and then into local waterways, is the number one source of water pollution in urban and developing areas in Washington state.

    The settlement comes after a state appeals board found that the County’s stormwater program violated the law—the state appeals board’s decision was upheld by the Washington Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court. At the same time, a federal judge concluded that the County’s stormwater program violated the Clean Water Act and the Court blocked continued implementation of the County’s illegal stormwater program. The federal court ruled last June that the County was liable for violating federal law, exposing it to potentially millions of dollars in penalties and corrective action for projects that were built to inadequate standards.

    Under the County’s disputed stormwater program, damage to rivers and streams from the stormwater pollution had shifted burdens to taxpayers, from developers, to pay for the impacts of urban stormwater runoff. Impacts range from

    Plaintiffs in the litigation were represented by attorneys Janette Brimmer and Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice.

     

    *****

    To view or download Press Release click here (pdf format)

    Related articles:

    The Columbian: Clark County to pay $3.6 million for violating Clean Water Act
    The Oregonian: Clark County to pay $3 million as part of pollution settlement

  • LANDMARK DECISION: Federal Judge Rules Clark County Violated Permit, Clean Water Act from 2008-2011

    Judge Rules Clark County Violated Clean Water Act for Three YearsUS District Judge Ronald Leighton ruled Thursday Clark County violated their Phase I Permit from August 2008 to December 2011 in what marks a landmark decision for stormwater controls in Washington State.

    Rosemere Neighborhood Association, Columbia Riverkeeper, and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center represented by Earthjustice attorneys Jan Hasselman and Janette Brimmer began the fight for enforcing EPA Clean Water standards for polluted stormwater mitigation in 2010 (see story here)

    In January 2011, the Washington State Pollution Control Board ruled that Clark County’s “alternative” plan for monitoring stormwater was illegal (story here). Clark County subsequently filed an appeal of the Pollution Board’s ruling, but in December 2011, Judge Leighton ruled that pending their appeal, Clark County must comply with Washington State’s stormwater guidelines (story here).

    Most recently, in May, Judge Leighton found Clark County’s argument for modified stormwater controls “makes no sense,” as the Pollution Control Hearings Board decision was clear that Clark County’s modified Agreed Order with Ecology was “unlawful” and the Permit Modification was “invalid.”

    “We are elated that our efforts to protect the environment have yielded such a positive result,” said John Felton, Chairman, Rosemere Neighborhood Association.

    From the Summary Judgment ruling:

    Even viewed in the light most favorable to Clark County, the evidence supports no
    conclusion other than Clark County is liable for violating the 2007 Phase 1 Permit during this time period. The 2007 Phase 1 Permit required Clark County to adopt the default stormwater flow control standard or an approved alternative by August 16, 2008. Clark County, however, to adopt a flow control ordinance that complied with the Permit. On December 28, 2011, this Court enjoined Clark County from issuing any permit or authorization that fails to meet the Phase 1 Permit’s flow control standards. Prior to the injunction, Clark County authorized numerous development projects that should have been subject to the Permit’s flow control requirements, but were not. Brimmer Decl., Ex. G–H, Dkt. #22. As a matter of law, Clark County is liable for violating the 2007 Phase 1 Permit from August 17, 2008 until December 28, 2011. Rosemere’s Motion on this point is GRANTED.

    “This is a great day for counties and cities in our state that are working hard to clean up polluted waterways,“ said Janette Brimmer, attorney for Earthjustice. “We applaud the ruling for recognizing that everyone needs to do their share to protect our precious streams, rivers and salmon and that Clark County, like everyone else, must follow the law.”

    To read Judge Leighton’s Order in full: Judge_Leighton_Order_RE_Stormwater_Summary_Judgment_6-6-2013

    Earthjustice Press Release: Earthjustice Clark Co Stormwater WIN final press release June 7 2013

    In the Columbian: County violated Clean Water Act for three years, judge says

    In the Oregonian: Clark County violated federal Clean Water Act for 3 years, judge rules

  • Federal Judge Rules County’s Polluted Runoff Standards Illegal

    US District Court Tacoma

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2013

    Contacts:
    Janette Brimmer, Earthjustice, 206-343-7340 ext. 1029
    Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper, 503-348-2436
    Mark Riskedahl, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, 503-768-6673
    John Felton, Rosemere Neighborhood Association, 360- 993-4939

    Federal Judge Rules County’s Polluted Runoff Standards Illegal

    Taxpayer subsidy, fish-killing loopholes scrapped by judge as violations to clean water laws

    Tacoma, WA—In a major decision, a federal judge ruled Clark County’s weak development standards that allow too much polluted runoff, violate clean water laws. The ruling, announced late today (Friday) signals an end to the county’s long-time failure to protect rivers, streams and salmon threatened with extinction.

    “This is a great day for counties and cities in our state that are working hard to clean up polluted waterways, “said Janette Brimmer, attorney for Earthjustice. “We applaud the ruling for recognizing that everyone needs to do their share to protect our precious streams, rivers and salmon and that Clark County, like everyone else, must follow the law.”

    Rosemere Neighborhood Association, Columbia Riverkeeper, and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, represented by Earthjustice, challenged Clark County’s adoption of development standards that were too weak to prevent significant harm to the county’s already-stressed rivers and streams.

    Today’s decision by, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton, concludes Clark County was violating its Phase 1 Permit between August 2008 and December 2011. Judge Leighton had issued an injunction against the county at the end of December 2011, requiring the county to comply with its permit going forward while the case was pending. The county has been operating under that injunction since that time.

    Under the federal Clean Water Act, local governments must operate a stormwater system that complies with a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit and limits runoff of stormwater pollutants from new development and redevelopment. The standards in the permit required Clark County to limit runoff from larger storms so that the stormwater runoff was more like natural conditions

    “We are hopeful that Clark County will now stop fighting and see that controlling pollutants in stormwater, and fixing the damage that was caused by those three years, will be a positive step that is good for Columbia River salmon and good for the community,” said Brett VandenHeuvel , Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper.

    “We are elated that our efforts to protect the environment have yielded such a positive result,” said John Felton, Chairman, Rosemere Neighborhood Association.

    Polluted runoff, or stormwater, is a toxic stew of metals, oil, grease, pesticide, herbicides, bacteria and nutrients. When it rains, the toxic runoff drains off roofs and streets in amounts that seriously degrade water quality and kill marine life.

    The county and an association of developers appealed a January 2011 ruling of the state Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) that the county is out of compliance with federal clean water laws and shifted the burden of protecting clean water from developers to local taxpayers.

    ##

  • WA State Supreme Court Denies Clark County’s Stormwater Appeal

    Washington State Temple of Justice

    In a unanimous decision, the Washington State Supreme Court has declined to review Clark County’s appeal of the WA State Court of Appeals stormwater ruling.

    In September 2012, Washington State Court of Appeals upheld the Pollution Control Hearings Board ruling that Clark County’s weak stormwater plan allowed too much polluted runoff and violates both State and Federal laws to protect clean water. For more on that ruling read here: WA Court of Appeals Rules County’s Plan to Manage Polluted Runoff Illegal

    Clark County subsequently appealed that decision to the Washington State Supreme Court which on March 5, 2013 issued a 2 page decision denying Clark County’s petition.

    View the Washington Supreme Court ruling here: WA Supreme Court Rosemere v Clark County Order

    Related articles:

    From The Columbian:

    “Rosemere Neighborhood Association, an environmental advocacy group that, along with Columbia Riverkeeper and Northwest Environmental Defense Center, have been winning at every level in their attempt to force Clark County to follow state default standards for managing polluted runoff.” ……….Read the full article here: Clark County dealt stormwater setback: State high court refuses to review unfavorable ruling

    From The Oregonian: Washington Supreme Court rejects Clark County’s stormwater appeal

  • EPA Rights Complaint Process Changes Fail To Ease Petitioner Concerns (reprinted w/permission from Inside Washington Publishers)

    This article originally appeared in Inside EPA Weekly Report on February 22, 2013. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Inside Washington Publishers. Copyright 2013. No further distribution is permitted.

    Click here to view article (pdf format): EPA Rights Complaint Process Changes Fail To Ease Petitioner Concerns

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