Saturday, November 22, 2008
Having JUST blogged about this very issue earlier this week, I thought some follow up was appropriate.
Sound cleanup criticized
Scientists say plan headed for failure
By ROBERT McCLURE
The state's emerging plan to rescue Washington's ecologically troubled inland sea seems headed for failure, a group of leading Puget Sound scientists said Friday.
"Our prediction is that the proposed action agenda, if adopted as is, will not halt nor even slow the decline in the health of the Puget Sound ecosystem by 2020," Gov. Chris Gregoire's stated goal, said a letter written by the scientists.
The agency putting the finishing touches on the "action agenda" to save the Sound disagreed, saying it has heard the scientists' previous criticisms and adjusted the plan accordingly.
The letter was the latest criticism by the scientists, who have accused the Puget Sound Partnership and its predecessor of pushing inadequate rescue plans for the Sound.
The Sound is troubled by historical overfishing and toxic waste disposal, as well as ongoing pollution, mostly from water that runs off hard surfaces like streets and parking lots after rains.
The partnership's plan is to be submitted to state officials Dec. 1. Partnership officials are putting the finishing touches on the document, which seeks to reinvigorate Sound-rescue efforts that have failed to halt the decline of the water body since they were launched in the 1980s.
The three-paragraph letter to the partnership was addressed to Executive Director David Dicks, who expressed frustration Friday, saying the scientists' previous advice had been carefully incorporated into the action blueprint.
Dicks cited parts of the plan that respond to previous criticisms, such as where it calls for developing criteria next year to determine the highest-priority locations to stop the polluted stormwater runoff.
"We literally have said in almost the same verbiage they used that, yeah, we got it," Dicks said. "What about 'yes' do (the scientists) not understand?
"We've done I think almost exactly what they said to do, and in some cases gone further. ... We agree with them. I don't know how much more we can agree."
Fourteen scientists, including engineers and biologists, signed the letter. About half have ties to UW.
P-I reporter Robert McClure can be reached at 206-448-8092 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog on the environment at datelineearth.com.