All of us at the Center for Environmental Law & Policy would like to thank the Kalispel Tribe for their generous donation towards our work on the Columbia River Ethics and Treaty Project. The mission of the Ethics & Treaty Project is to modernize the Columbia River Treaty to promote the common good through stewardship and justice, while encouraging respectful dialogue and an international water ethic for the Columbia River. The Ethics & Treaty Project is a joint project of CELP and Sierra Club, working with the 15 Tribes with natural resource authorities in the Columbia River Basin and also First Nations in the Basin.
In this issue, you’ll find articles about Ecology’s Rural Water Supply Workgroup, the success of CELP’s December 3rd CLE event, and our most recent job opening. You will also be introduced to our new Board Chair and Vice Chair, Daryl Williams and John Roskelley, enjoy the poetry of Tina Wynecoop, and more.
Starting in January, all of us at CELP are excited to welcome Daryl Williams and John Roskelley as CELP’s new Board Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Daryl has been a member of our board since 2013, and John joined the board in late 2014.
Outside of his work for CELP, Daryl is currently serving as Executive Director of the Tulalip Energy Corporation and Environmental Liaison for the Natural Resources Division. Heis a member of the Tulalip Tribe, and has been on staff with the Tribe since 1977 in many capacities. Daryl also serves as President of the Adopt A Stream Foundation and Director of Qualco Energy. He was appointed to the Puget Sound Action Team by Governor Locke, and was a member of the National Tribal Environmental Council.
John is a water advocate, legendary mountaineer, author and has a long history of public service. He served on the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Growth Management Hearings Board, and as Spokane County Commissioner. John’s latest book is Paddling the Columbia: A guide to all 1,200 miles of our scenic and historical river. John is especially interested in removing dams, and in restoring health to the Columbia River and its tributaries.
“To understand why I am an enthusiastic supporter of CELP, one only has to look at its mission statement, which reads in part, “to protect, preserve and restore Washington’s waters through education, policy reform, agency advocacy, and public interest litigation.” Almost every day we are reminded that we can no longer expect our elected representatives to protect and preserve the state’s water; that we can no longer depend on state agencies to enforce the Clean Water Act and state laws; and we can no longer look the other way as agriculture and industry continue wasting and abusing the state’s waters.
In a perfect world, CELP would not be necessary. We could depend on those in charge to assure our most precious resource is abundant and clean. But it has become painfully clear to me that common sense and best available science is seldom used by decision makers, as special interests lobby to pollute our waterways just a little bit more or divide dry creeks and rivers into smaller portions we no longer have.
I’m not a newbie to the waterways of Washington. My dad was the outdoor editor for the Chronicle/Spokesman Review and for many of my early years I fished almost every lake and reservoir in eastern Washington, hunted pheasants and ducks along countless streams, and camped and climbed mountains near alpine lakes drinking freely from the glacial creeks. Even as a youngster, it bothered me that behind every outboard engine at the docks was an oily sheen of rainbow-colored water. How could that not affect the fish? How was I supposed to swim in that?
When I was young there seemed to be endless quantities of clean, clear water, and because I spent my outdoor time in remote areas, I didn’t realize the extent and type of pollution that was building in our waterways. That changed with my first climbing expedition to Nepal. Here was centuries of abuse. Nepal’s rivers are their sewers, graveyards, and trash removers. It wasn’t until passing the last village on my way to climb a peak high in the Himalayas that the water looked and, yes, felt clean, although it always had to be boiled or treated. I can’t stand by and let that happen here.
I started looking at our waterways differently after multiple trips to Asia. The creeks and streams I once hunted in eastern Washington over the years changed. Agricultural methods “improved”, so that land once given over to wildlife habitat, is now tilled and farmed; creek beds and wetlands that were avoided are now rechanneled, plowed and destroyed; brush, water cress, and wildlife habitat that cleaned the water flowing through channels is now sprayed with herbicides and burned, leaving a runnel of water lying in a bed of mud. There isn’t a lake or stream in the Columbia Basin, for instance, that isn’t polluted with pesticides and herbicides from decades of farming practices.
There’s no sense in fouling our own nest, but we seem bent on doing so. There are laws to protect our waterways from development practices; industry abuse; agricultural destruction; and the pollution by stock animals. But those sworn to uphold them seldom enforce them. Polluted water, over allocated water rights, refusing to enforce the laws – these actions are unacceptable. CELP follows its mission and that includes litigation. This “hammer”, which is unique to environmental non-profits, forces those who are responsible – legislators, state agencies, local governments – to reevaluate and sometimes do what is right. CELP can turn this pollution train around and that’s why I’m on the CELP board.”