• Portland City Council Passes Fossil Fuel Ban

    portland-oregonThe Portland City Council has become the first in the nation to pass a zoning ordinance banning fossil fuel storage facilities.

    Portland Mayor Charlie Hales called it “the first stone in a green wall across the West Coast”.

    Portland’s move has been praised by environmental groups, including Rosemere Neighborhood Association, with the hope that Portland be the first of many cities to ban future coal, oil and other fossil fuel facilities.

    You can read more information here from the Oregonian: Portland City Council bans new bulk fossil fuel terminals

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

     

  • 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

  • EFSEC Scoping Hearing for Tesoro Savage Crude Oil Project

    Crude Oil Trains

    As has been reported this week, the Port of Vancouver held a second vote and again unanimously approved the proposed Tesoro/Savage Crude Oil Terminal, the largest such facility in the Pacific Northwest.

    The Tesoro/Savage project now faces a yearlong examination by the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (or EFSEC). EFSEC will make a recommendation to Washington Governor Inslee on the project and, then, the Governor will make the final decision to deny or approve the terminal.

    There are 2 important EFSEC meetings regarding the proposed Crude Oil Terminal coming up this week.

    It is important for everyone to attend these meetings and voice their opposition to the Tesoro Savage Terminal.

    Tuesday, October 29 EFSEC Scoping Hearing for Tesoro Savage Project

    The purpose of this hearing is for the public to ask EFSEC to review and to take into account the total pollution load to the environment from start to finish.
    When: Tuesday, October 29 – 6:00 – 9:00 PM
    Where: Clark College, Gaiser Student Center (1933 Fort Vancouver Way)

    There will also be a rally outside before the meeting at 5:00 PM

    ALSO:

    The night before – Monday, October 28 – EFSEC Public Information Hearing at 6:00 PM.

    What: EFSEC Public Information Hearing
    When: Monday, October 28 – 6:00PM
    Where: Clark College, Gaiser Student Center (1933 Fort Vancouver Way)

    Columbia Riverkeeper has a petition on their website for those who wish to sign and send a message to Governor Inslee and EFSEC to “Deny the Proposed Tesoro Savage Pipeline-on-Wheels Project”. You can find the petition here: Deny the Proposed Tesoro Savage Pipeline-on-Wheels Project

  • 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.

    ##

  • Communities Letter RE Sportsmen’s Act of 2012

    This letter, signed by 35 environmental activists in 16 states and territories, was sent to Senators Tester, Reid, and Boxer:

    Excerpt:

    Dear Senator:
    It has come to our attention that S. 3525, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 – scheduled for a U.S. Senate floor vote immediately after Thanksgiving 2012, contains language that appears to exempt certain munitions constituents, such as lead and propellants, from the Toxic Substances Control Act. [See Section 121 (a).] We are concerned because the releases of such substances, including lead, perchlorate, RDX, DNT, etc., have been widely released into the environment, posing serious risks to both human health and the natural environment.

    To view the full letter, click here Sportsmen’s Act S3525 Communities Letter

  • OPB Announces Results of Its EarthFix Poll: NW Residents Rank Stormwater as Greatest Source of Water Pollution

    OPB EarthfixOPB has published the results of their environmental news segment, EarthFix, water pollution survey.

    Results show respondents ranked stormwater runoff as the greatest source of water pollution.

    From OPB:

    A new poll by Earthfix suggests growing awareness in the Northwest of some of the problems associated with nonpoint source pollution- the diffuse chemicals, bacteria, and sediment carried by rainfall and snowmelt moving downstream through a watershed.

    Urban stormwater runoff beat out a number of other water pollution sources as a top concern in a poll commissioned by EarthFix and conducted by Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall (DHM Research).

    The poll listed a number of sources of water pollution: industrial waste, agricultural chemicals, and sewage, among others.

    When asked what the most significant source of water pollution was in their state, 25 percent of people in the Northwest chose the polluted runoff from roads and paved surfaces.

    To read the full story go to: EarthFix Poll: Do NW Residents Care About Stormwater?

    Survey results can be viewed or downloaded here: EarthFix CWA Survey 2012 PDF

  • Power Past Coal Campaign – RNA letter to Vancouver City Council

    Train unloading coal at Millennium terminal in June 2011

    Train unloading coal at Millennium terminal in June 2011

    On June 19, 2012, Rosemere Neighborhood Association submitted a letter to Vancouver Mayor, City Council and City Managers asking the City of Vancouver to join in the efforts by Governor Kitzhaber and Senator Patty Murray to call for a regional Environmental Impact Statement regarding the doubling of international coal exports through the Pacific Northwest. Seven mega coal terminals are proposed to ship 157 million tons of coal annually to China. The coal trains will flow daily through Vancouver, spewing toxic residue with each train.

    Excerpted from the letter, which was presented at Vancouver City Council meeting, Monday, June 25, 2012:

    Facing the slowing of U.S. coal fired power plants, coal companies like Massey and Arch Coal are looking to harvest and ship an additional 157 million tons of coal per year, sending 30 – 60 trains per day through the Columbia River Gorge via Portland and Vancouver, where it is intended to be shipped to Asia. Each and every car from a coal train can unleash 500 pounds of coal dust. The coal trains proposed to run through Portland and Vancouver will be 75 miles long, each day making the Pacific Northwest the largest coal chute in the nation, originating in Montana’s Powder Ridge Basin. There are various international coal export terminals proposed for Oregon and Washington, and should they proceed unabated, the health and environmental impacts to our region and our way life will be substantial.

    To view the letter in its entirety: Coal to City Council

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