December 10, 2010

- COURT ORDERS DFO TO PROTECT ORCAS 
- YOUNG RETAINS CRD POST (sewage project mention)
- LEONARD QUESTIONS PROVINCIAL COST-SHARE FOR CRD
- CRD DELAYS RECYCLING OF KITCHEN SCRAPS
- SEATTLE: STORMWATER SOLUTIONS: CURBING TOXIC RUNOFF
-------------------------------

ARESST: Excerpt from news below: "She also said there need to be much stricter regulations about dumping sewage into the ocean in areas like Victoria."

COURT ORDERS DFO TO PROTECT ORCAS (Victoria sewage mention)

TIFFANY CRAWFORD,
VANCOUVER SUN
DECEMBER 8, 2010
(sunletters@vancouversun.com)

Environmentalists won a victory in Ottawa Tuesday after the Federal
Court ruled the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not done enough
to protect the critical habitat of killer whales that live off the
west coast of B.C.

In his declaration, Justice James Russell said the federal government
failed to protect at-risk southern and northern resident whales by
inadequately dealing with issues of salmon availability, environmental
contamination and noise pollution from marine traffic.

A coalition of conservation groups, represented by Ecojustice,
launched the lawsuit in 2008 after the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans (DFO) used provincial guidelines to outline a protection
strategy, which environmentalists say did not address key issues such
as food supply or pollution.

http://www.ecojustice.ca/media-centre/press-releases/decisive-killer-whale-court-win-offers-hope-for-at-risk-species

At the heart of the issue was whether federal fisheries officials had
a legal obligation to protect the biological features of critical
habitat.

Russell ruled that the DFO must use binding federal laws as outlined
in the Species At Risk Act, rather than relying on provincial policies
or guidelines, which he concluded do not legally protect habitat.

"We are very pleased that the court has confirmed our interpretation
of what you have to protect and how you have to protect it," said
Margot Venton, a lawyer for Ecojustice. How authorities choose to
protect the critical habitat, for instance, how to ensure there is
enough salmon for the whales, will be up to fisheries officials.

She also said there need to be much stricter regulations about dumping
sewage into the ocean in areas like Victoria.

Ecojustice represented the David Suzuki Foundation, Dogwood
Initiative, Environmental Defence, Greenpeace, Georgia Strait
Alliance, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Raincoast
Conservation, Sierra Club of BC and the Wilderness Committee during
the proceedings.

"This is a victory not just for the resident killer whales, but for
the more than 90 other marine species listed under the federal Species
at Risk Act," said Venton. "The court has confirmed that the
government must legally protect all aspects of critical habitat from
destruction. Now DFO needs to obey its own law."

The department has not yet responded to the decision.

The southern orcas are listed as an endangered species with a
population of about 85, while there are about 220 northern dwellers
considered a threatened species.

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Court+orders+protect+orcas/3943400/story.html

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YOUNG RETAINS CRD POST

Bill Cleverley
Times Colonist
December 09, 2010
(letters@timescolonist.com)

Victoria Coun. Geoff Young survived a challenge Wednesday to remain
chairman of the Capital Regional District board for another year.

Young, chairman for the past two years, was challenged by Saanich
Coun. Judy Brownoff, who was nominated by Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin.

Brownoff chaired the board in 2003.

Young, who previously led the board from 1996 to 1999, told directors
he was pleased with the board's accomplishments over the past year,
including the purchase of the Juan de Fuca lands, advancements on the
E&N Rail Trail and progress in areas such as the core area liquid
waste management plan, solid waste and regional transportation.

"During the past two years I've worked hard to make sure that at our
board table all voices are heard -- the public, our staff and each
director, and that all opinions are respected," Young said.

He said he is optimistic about the future.

Young was elected to the one-year position as chairman by secret
ballot. The position comes with a remuneration package, including an
expense allowance of $19,585 a year.

View Royal Mayor Graham Hill was re-elected board vice-chairman by acclamation.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story.html?id=3d63e4dd-ccac-4c49-be03-286c9aafcd2d

-------------------------------------

LEONARD QUESTIONS PROVINCIAL COST-SHARE PACKAGE FOR CRD

CFAX 1070
Dec 8, 2010

THE MAYOR OF SAANICH SAYS GREATER VICTORIA IS GETTING A RAW DEAL,
COMPARED WITH METRO VANCOUVER...WHEN IT COMES TO COST-SHARING
ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT.

IT'S NOT A DIRECT APPLES TO APPLES COMPARISON, BECAUSE VANCOUVER HAS A
DIFFERENT DEAL THAN VICTORIA DOES. THEY DON'T PAY ANYTHING FOR
HOSPITALS, BUT THEY PAY ALL THE OPERATING COSTS FOR TRANSIT. FRANK
LEONARD SAYS IT WORKS OUT BETTER FOR THE VANCOUVER HOMEOWNER...

"And I've just spent some time going through Metro Vancouver and
Translink's finances. I'm not very good at this, but I'm just working
with a pencil, and I believe that their average cost per home, for
property taxes for Translink is less than the average cost per home
for our Hospital District plus our share of the Victoria region
Transit Commission"

IN GREATER VICTORIA A PORTION OF THE TRANSIT SUBSIDY IS FUNDED THROUGH
PROPERTY TAXES, AND LOCAL RESIDENTS PAY 40 PER CENT OF THE COST OF
HEALTH FACILITIES. THE REGIONAL DISTRICT BOARD HAS VOTED TO REDUCE ITS
HEALTH SHARE FROM 40 PER CENT TO 30 PER CENT.

http://www.cfax1070.com/newsstory.php?newsId=16488

---------------------------------------

CRD DELAYS RECYCLING OF KITCHEN SCRAPS

CFAX 1070
Dec 10, 2010

THE CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT HAS DECIDED TO DELAY INTRODUCTION OF A
KITCHEN ORGANICS RECYCLING PROGRAM.

THE PLAN HAD BEEN TO BEGIN RECYCLING, RATHER THAN LANDFILLING, KITCHEN
SCRAPS IN THE SPRING OF 2012. THE NEW TARGET DATE IS EIGHTEEN MONTHS
LATER...LATE 2013.

THE DECISION WAS MADE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS BECAUSE THE REGION IS
ALREADY ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATIONS CONCERNING THE RENEWAL OF THE BLUE BOX
RECYCLING PROGRAM, AND THIS CHANGE IN DIRECTION AFFECTS THE CONTRACT
REQUIREMENTS.

IN A PREPARED STATEMENT THE CRD SAYS DELAYING IMPLEMENTATION WILL
"HELP TO ENSURE THE PROGRAM IS DELIVERED IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND
MANNER AND THAT IT MEETS THE NEEDS OF ALL MUNICIPALITIES.

http://www.cfax1070.com/newsstory.php?newsId=16517
-------------------------------------

SEATTLE: STORMWATER SOLUTIONS: CURBING TOXIC RUNOFF

Stormwater makes the legislative wish list.

LISA STIFFLER
Sightline Daily (Seattle)
10/12/2010 06:55

'Tis the season for making a list and checking it twice, and no, it's
not Santa who's coming to town but state lawmakers. And Northwest
enviros have made their wish lists in preparation for the 2011
legislative sessions.

Despite losing green-leaning leaders during November's elections,
progressives are still pursuing ambitious environmental agendas, which
can be perused right now for Washington, Idaho, and Montana; Oregon
doesn't get rolling until February and hasn't shared it's official
priorities.

For the third year running, the Washington environmental community
will be pushing to establish a new funding source for stormwater
projects. The issue remains high on their list because of the hugely
damaging role polluted runoff plays in the state. It's the top threat
to the health of Puget Sound and other waterways, including
contaminating Lake Whatcom, the source of drinking water for
Bellingham, and for continuing to dump raw sewage into Port Angeles's
harbor.

Washington legislators have failed for two consecutive years to
approve a new funding source to pay for stormwater cleanup, primarily
through investments in low-impact development. But the effort hasn't
been a total loss; the legislation neared the finish line in 2010 and
Oregon greens were envious of the $50 million "consolation prize" that
lawmakers approved for funding stormwater projects.

And Washington greens have had unqualified wins in stormwater, namely
by becoming the first state to essentially ban the use of copper in
vehicle brake pads, which contributes significantly to water
pollution. California adopted a ban a few months later Oregon
environmentalists say they're thinking of pushing for a ban there as
well during the upcoming session.

Let's take a quick look at these wins and losses in a little more detail.

Copper brake pad bans

In March 2010, Washington lawmakers voted with a huge bipartisan
majority to approve SB 6557, dramatically reducing the amount of
copper, other toxic metals, and asbestos allowed in vehicle brake
pads. California’s legislature followed suit soon after with SB 346.

The ban was an important win for stormwater cleanup because the copper
contamination threatens the survival of salmon, bull trout, and other
fish even at extremely low concentrations. A study by the Brake Pad
Partnership, a coalition of Californian government agencies,
environmentalists, and manufacturers, concluded that brake pads were
the second biggest source of copper in the San Francisco Bay
watershed.

Washington officials estimate that between 70,000 and 320,000 pounds
of copper are being washed into Puget Sound each year. That’s the
weight equivalent of as much as 57.6 million pennies.

The new rules in Washington and California will:

Ban, beginning in 2014, the sale of brake pads containing more than
trace amounts of lead, mercury, asbestos, cadmium, and chromium.

Ban, beginning in 2021, the sale of brake pads containing more than 5
percent copper.

Ban, beginning in 2025, the sale of brake pads containing more than
0.5 percent copper, provided a safe, acceptable substitute is found.

Funding stormwater solutions with the “polluter pays” principle

During the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions, Washington’s
environmental community, together with local governments, sought new
funding sources to pay for projects to control stormwater.

In each year the legislation was based on the “polluter pays”
principle, seeking to levy fees or taxes on the producers of the
dangerous or unhealthy chemicals that foul stormwater. Polluted runoff
flushes at least 14 million pounds of potentially hazardous chemicals
into Puget Sound, 58 percent which is petroleum pollution.

The 2009 legislation (HB 1614/ SB 5518) would have assessed a fee on
petroleum products that contribute to stormwater pollution.
Legislation proposed in 2010 (HB 3181/SB 6851) sought to increase a
tax that is already added to thousands of toxic chemicals, including
petroleum, pesticides, and other products. Both measures failed
against intensive, well-funded lobbying from the petroleum and
chemical industries.

The 2009 legislation would have:

- Put a $1.50 fee on each barrel of petroleum product, including
gasoline, diesel, lubricants, industrial fuels, asphalt feedstock, and
road oils.
- Excluded products such as home heating oil, agricultural diesel, and
aviation fuels.
- Imposed the fee at the refinery or point of entry into Washington,
not the gas pump.
- Distributed fees through a competitive grant process to local
governments statewide to pay for stormwater improvements and
water-quality programs.

The 2010 legislation would have:

- Increased the existing 0.7 percent tax on hazardous chemicals to 1.1
percent. (An earlier version of the bill proposed an increase to 2
percent.) The tax would be levied under the state’s Model Toxics
Control Act, a program that pays for the cleanup of contaminated
sites.

- Covered gasoline, motor oil, and other petroleum products, as well
as pesticides, solvents and other hazardous products.
- Imposed the tax on the first in-state possessor of hazardous substances.

For the first five years, a portion of the tax increase was earmarked
to plug holes in the state’s general fund, but by 2015, the entire
increase was designated for stormwater and water-quality programs.

The environmental coalition hasn't said which strategy it will pursue
this year, or if they'll go in another direction. Regardless, it'll be
a monumental task due to the new requirement for a two-thirds super
majority to get approval for new taxes (and a majority requirement for
new fees). But who knows. Maybe the lawmakers will go Grinch, or maybe
they'll see that getting polluters to pay for their damage will
benefit the environment, jobs, and communities. What a happy ending
that would be!

http://daily.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2010/12/10/using-the-law-to-clean-our-water?utm_source=Sightline&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WeeklyScore