• 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

  • 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.

    ##

  • 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

  • Federal Judge Lifts Stay on Clark County Stormwater Case

    US District Court Tacoma

    U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton has lifted a stay on a federal lawsuit against Clark County regarding their stormwater management plan. The injunction was issued against Clark County in December 2011, ordering it to follow the state’s default stormwater rules while its stormwater plan was under review by the state Court of Appeals. The stay had been put in place pending the outcome of state court appeals of proceedings before the Pollution Control Hearings Board due to concerns the federal and state cases would conflict.

    From Leighton’s decision:

    “The case involves Clark County’s municipal storm sewer system, and the Department of Ecology’s 2007 Phase I Stormwater General Permit for that system. Ecology subsequently issued Clark County a Notice of Violation, alleging that the flow control policy was inadequate.

    In 2010, Clark County and Ecology entered into an Agreed Order. Rosemere successfully challenged that Agreed Order before the PCHB, claiming (among other things) that it was not compliant with the Clean Water Act. The PCHB’s determination that the Agreed Order violated the Phase I permit and the Clean Water Act was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

    While those proceedings were pending, Rosemere brought this federal case. It seeks to enforce the Phase I permit, and penalties. This Court stayed the proceedings pending the resolution of the state court action.”

    In September, the Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board, which said a compromise developed between the county and the state Department of Ecology was not backed by science and was insufficient under federal and state clean water laws.

    Judge Leighton lifted the stay saying,

    “The issues in these cases were never overlapping; they were simply similar. That similarity has been greatly diminished in the aftermath of the Court of Appeals’ decision, and the limitation of the issues the County seeks to litigate further in state court.”

    To read the full decision: Judge Leighton Order Lifting Stay 2-21-13

    Related articles:

    From The Oregonian: Clark County could face tens of thousands of dollars in stormwater fines

    From The Columbian: Lawsuit against county to proceed: Federal courts can hear stormwater dispute, judge rules

  • 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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