Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Audio Clip: Hutcherson in Latv... | Bridge to Nowhere (But Terror) »

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Closing the Glacier NW Loophole

posted by on March 20 at 15:13 PM

To protect it from strip mining, the state declared Maury Island an aquatic reserve in 2002. Alas, in 2004, Doug Sutherland, Commissioner of Public Lands, created a loophole for Glacier NW—grandfathering in their controversial mining practices.

Soooo, West Seattle Senator Erik Poulsen (D-34) passed a groovy bill out of the senate 26 to 22 earlier this month that would close the Glacier NW loophole.

The bill is getting a hearing in the Select Committee on Puget Sound at 1:30 PM tomorrow in the House. Should be a no-brainer for the Democrats.

We’ll see.

RSS icon Comments



I appreciate that you mention this bill, and I welcome the opportunity to comment on it, but I gotta tell you, there is nothing slam-dunk about it in this committee.

There are eight members on it, 5 Dems and 3 GOP. Two of the Dems, Chairman Dave Upthegrove (33) and Christine Rolfes (23) will vote for this bill,. The votes of Al O'Brien (1), Larry Springer (45), and Bill Eickmeyer (35) are in some doubt.

Glacier Sand and Gravel proposes to stick a pier in the middle of an existing marine reserve and run a barge the size of a football field full of sand and gravel FOUR times a day over an eelgrass bed that provides food for salmon and for the endangered Southern Resident pod of orcas.

As Senator Poulsen told the Glacier attorney, Ryan Durkan (sister of Jenny and Jamie, daighter of Martin Sr.), "Telling me that you can move that amount of sand and gravel four times a day over a 20-year period without spilling it and affecting the Sound, well, that does not pass the straight-face test."

Governor Gregoire has an admirable, ambitious plan for Sound cleanup. It will be meaningless if Glacier is allowed to excavate sand and gravel on this scale and barge it through a marine reserve.

People who care about this should call these three Democratic state representatives and ask that they send this bill to the House floor. If they have substantive objections to the legislation, they can vote no on the House floor.

Rep. Al O’Brien – 1st district – 360-786-7928 or
Rep. Bill Eickmeyer – 35th district – 360-786-7902 or
Rep. Larry Springer – 45th district - 360-786-7822 or

Please tell them that a project of this magnitude certainly deserves a vote of the full House, as it got in the Senate.

Posted by ivan | March 20, 2007 3:30 PM

I don't think it's going to be a slam dunk. I think it should be ... unless, you know, lobbyists get their way.

Posted by Josh Feit | March 20, 2007 3:44 PM

I think the feds can still use the archaic mining laws for prospecting - don't be surprised when that "happens" in the future.

You know, the one that permits me to mine for emeralds and diamonds on Bill G's estate.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 20, 2007 4:51 PM

I like our chances in the full House. Frank Chopp has been just plain terrific on this one -- but we HAVE to get it through this committee.

Posted by ivan | March 20, 2007 5:23 PM

This is a "groovy little bill". Sutherland compromised the State's aquatic reserve program when he created the "Glacier Northwest loophole" in the management plan for the Maury Island Aquatic Reserve. Reserves are supposed to protect, enhance and restore our shorelines.

Yet, Sutherland plans to allow a new massive industrial port to be built on our state lands -- within the State's one and only designated aquatic reserve.

This bill restores the integrity of the reserve program and sends a message to Sutherland to not use an environmental program to help a multinational mining company.

With the Puget Sound Partnership being formed this bill should restore the reserve program so the Partnership can succeed. Kudos to all the Dems and enviros working on this bill. If this can't make it through -- can the Partnership really work???


Posted by Ida van Lone | March 21, 2007 9:04 AM

This sure does sound like a groovy little bill! I've been to Vashon and Maury Islands--paradise! So who are these Durkin people you mention? And what do they have to do with a gravel operation?

And what kind of Democrat (or moderate Republican, for that matter) would vote against an Aquatic Reserve and in favor of an industrial dock and barging operation that can only be bad news for salmon and orca--2 endangered species?

And isn't the Gov spending millions on the Puget Sound Partnership to clean up Puget Sound?

I'm confused as to why this is even a close vote .


Posted by Ethel | March 23, 2007 10:24 AM

So why is this bill stuck in the Select Committee on Puget Sound in the House? Rumor is Larry Springer and Al O'Brien (both Democrats) are with the multinational mining company. I thought we were electing "D's" to make sure corporations didn't run environmental programs in this State -- maybe I was wrong and some of the Democrats in Olympia want to kill our orcas, the polar bear, and aren't really environmental?

That is SO SAD!


Posted by Ida van Lone | March 24, 2007 6:21 PM

I don't think the issue is dead. Rep. Dave Upthegrove is the Chair of the Puget Sound Committee and I heard at a Dems meeting that Upthegrove is a strong enviro-type and he's trying to find a way to push the bill out of his committee. Folks at the meeting said Upthegrove is good at this kind of stuff and they seemed to have confidence in him, but I'm worried because nothing has happened. Upthegrove has sorta become our last best hope!!!! If anyone knows him, tell him to keep trying!

Posted by Jessica9941 | March 28, 2007 1:15 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).