No doubt many, if not most, people who read this know Cliff Mass - meteorologist and weatherman on Seattle NPR. He is also keeping a close eye on Salish Sea environmental issues - and recently wrote an informative article on his blog titled “With Declining Orcas and Salmon, Why Do We Allow the Shellfish Industry to Poison Our Coastal Waters With Herbicides and Pesticides?” This is a very good question - and posed with authority and eloquence by Mr. Mass. For the eelgrass beds are a nursery for young salmon and herring fry, which are prime food for the resident Salish Sea Orca clan. Permitting the shellfish industry to spray Glyphosate - using a crop duster helicopter! - and killing off eelgrass beds to create a desert - is part of the problem that is reducing the native orca population. And it is not necessary - I have harvested oysters in eelgrass beds and while a bit inconvenient, it’s totally doable. Do we really want to destroy critical habitat for the simple convenience of a profitable industry?
There are, of course, other things contributing to the decline of the Salish Sea Orcas. Notably, increased ship traffic in the Salish Sea, which will increase considerably if oilsands pipelines are completed in Burnaby, BC.
But the solution is political - which is why I’m shamelessly promoting Cliff’s excellent article - and to this point, Juliette Daniels, one of our writers asks: “Saving the Orca and the Salmon - Does [Gov] Inslee Have the Political Will?”
And I would add a further question to Governor Inslee - since he is actively courting federal office using the slogan “Building a just, innovative, and inclusive clean energy economy” - which is fundamentally an environmental platform - how is permitting spraying of herbicides on critical Orca food habitat consistent with any environmental point of view? What will you do, dear reader, to convince Gov. Inslee to revoke any and all permitted herbicide spraying and what will you do, Governor Inslee, in this regard? Is the environment just a campaign slogan or will you actually do something good?
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