It sucks to be you.
This is the phrase the kids today use to express sympathy while at the same time relief that whatever is happening to you isn’t happening to them. In this case, the west coast fishing fleet outside of Washington State can count their blessings. It’s tough to be a fisherman in the Evergreen State.
At press time the US EPA had just released a notice that they were awarding another two weeks to comment on the scheme floated by Washington State’s Department of Ecology to declare all of Puget Sound a No Discharge Zone, which would prohibit the use of USCG-approved types 1 and 2 marine sanitation devices.
EPA’s preliminary determination was published in the Federal Register on November 7, 2016, with a 30-day public comment period. In response to stakeholder requests, additional time to submit comments is being provided, with comments due by December 23, 2016. Merry Christmas.
Many of you will receive this issue prior to the deadline, and we hope you’ll comment on the EPA's determination that you have enough surplus cash in your operations reserves to fit your boat with a waste holding tank, that your hold capacity is such that you don’t mind giving some up to store human waste, and that you’re fine with waiting in line behind the other 677 commercial vessels in Puget Sound that will also want to pump out their newly-installed storage tanks.
We hope you’ll let EPA know how much you’re looking forward to contracting with a naval architect to redesign your hold and run stability tests.
We’re sure you’ll tell EPA Region 10 administrator Dennis McLerran about your appointment with a local shipyard to cut out bulkheads and reconfigure refrigeration systems to make room for your new federally-mandated waste tank.
Finally, don’t forget to tell EPA how those trips back to shore to pump your tanks will cost you time and fuel.
Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov and type in “Puget Sound NDZ”. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. It’s a lot of work, but it’s important, even if you don’t fish in Washington.
Be sure to tell them, because they think they know what they’re doing, just as the Washington State Department of Ecology thinks the biggest problem facing Puget Sound is your MSD, and not the millions of gallons of toxic waste washing into the Sound from shoreside sources.
You Washington fishermen are the low-hanging fruit of the state-sponsored ecology movement. Also, a lot of your legislators already don’t like you, and want you to fail, including Hans Dunshee, Paul Harris, Ed Orcutt, Eric Pettigrew, Liz Pike, Gerry Pollet, Chris Reykdal, Jay Rodne, Elizabeth Scott, Joe Schmick, Derek Stanford, Steve Tharinger, Brandon Vick, Jan Angel, John Braun, Steve Conway, Mike Hewitt, Marko Liias, Linda Evans Parlette, Kevin Ranker, Ann Rivers, Christine Rolfes and Judy Warnick.
Finally, don’t forget that Governor Inslee and his Fish and Wildlife Commission are still pushing for sport priority. The tribes will have their fishery, then the recreational fishery, and you’ll get what’s left.
Those of you in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Alaska don’t have to worry, though, because, to rephrase Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller, “In Washington, they came first for the gillnetters, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Washington gillnetter; and then they came for the seiners, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Seiner; and then they came for the shrimpers, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a shrimper; and then… well, it sucks to be you.”
Chris Philips can be reached at: 206-284-8285 or email: email@example.com