Category Archives: climate

Audubon urges delay in Marbled Murrelet decision

The Washington Board of Natural Resources is scheduled to vote on a Long-Term Conservation Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet on December 2. Scientists have warned that the proposed strategy will not help recover the population in our state.

Vashon Audubon has signed a joint letter from all 25 Audubon chapters in Washington, urging the board to delay the vote and carefully consider a more effective alternative strategy. We encourage our members to also write to the board individually.

Find more information about the issue and actions you can take on Seattle Audubon’s website. The Washington Environmental Council has an online comment tool

Audubon members raise their voices for birds

A number of Vashon Audubon members participated in Environmental Lobby Day on January 29. We joined more than 500 members of the Environmental Priorities Coalition to urge state legislators to enact 100% clean electricity legislation and other policies. Members Rob Briggs, Sarah Driggs, Rayna and Jay Holtz, Virginia Lohr, Sharon Metcalf, Margie Morgan, and Randy Smith were among those who made the trip to Olympia.

Many of the issues we advocated for have been moving through the legislative process since then. As of Feb. 22, the clean electricity legislation had passed out of the final House and Senate committees.

To see where things stand, read Washington Audubon’s weekly update.

Top priorities for Audubon Washington are a transition to 100% clean electricity, cleaner fuels for transportation, enhanced building efficiency standards, full funding of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s budget request, and protection of sagebrush habitat.

Other issues on the Coalition agenda are oil spill prevention, emergency actions to save the southern resident orcas, and reduction of plastic pollution

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Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (near the door) with 34th District constituents.

On the lobby day, 28 constituents of the 34th District—comprising Vashon, West Seattle, and Burien—packed the offices of Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, Rep. Eileen Cody, and Sen. Joe Nguyen to urge their support these issues.

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Sen. Joe Nguyen (kneeling) posed with his constituents after their meeting

It wasn’t a hard sell; each of them strongly backs the policies we advocated for. Rep. Fitzgibbon, in particular, chairs the House Environment & Energy Committee and has been a stalwart leader on climate legislation.

We also heard from Gov. Jay Inslee, who offered stirring words to the Coalition crowd on the Capitol steps. “It is our duty to defeat climate change,” he said, “and we are going to defeat climate change.”

Protecting the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The National Audubon Society has assembled a coalition of more than 500 conservation groups and other organizations to defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has protected North American birds for 100 years. Vashon Audubon is participating in this effort.

In November 2017, Rep. Liz Cheney introduced a measure to gut the MBTA as an amendment to H.R. 4239, a bill written to weaken environmental protections in order to facilitate oil and gas drilling. Soon after, the Office of the Solicitor within the Department of the Interior released an opinion saying it will no longer enforce the MBTA in cases of incidental bird deaths, effectively giving a blank check to industry to avoid gruesome and preventable bird deaths.

Congress passed the MBTA in 1918 in response to public outcry over the mass slaughter of birds. The law prohibits killing or harming America’s birds except under certain conditions, including managed hunting seasons for game species.

Today, this law protects birds from 21st-century threats by bringing together industry, government and conservation organizations to implement best-management practices. Commonsense solutions like covering oil pits and flagging transmission lines protect countless birds each year from otherwise needless deaths.

A top priority for Audubon this year is to make sure that no bills weakening the MBTA become law.

Purple Martins photo by Ray Pfortner