Tribal Rights, Salmon Habitat Tested in Supreme Court Case

A case in U.S. Supreme Court today will test how far Native American treaty rights go to protect salmon habitat. Washington tribes say the state needs to fix its hundreds of culverts – the pipes that carry streams under roads – for impeding salmon migration.

Eric Tegethoff has more:

      Wed April 18 News

Trudeau Assures Pipeline Will Move Ahead

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s starting   talks with Kinder Morgan to “remove the uncertainty” hanging over the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that would nearly triple the flow of oil from Canada’s oil sands to the Pacific Coast.

Trudeau also said Sunday that legislation is coming that will “reassert and reinforce” the fact that the federal government is well within its power to approve the project and ensure it goes ahead.

      Tue April 17 News

Kinder Morgan has suspended all non-essential spending on the project spending pending reassurance from Ottawa that it will be able to go forward.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the Canadian division of Texas-based Kinder Morgan would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers traveling the shared waters between Canada and Washington state, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Trudeau approved the project in late 2016, saying it was in Canada’s best interest.

Rohrer will Seek West End Judgeship

A two-man race has emerged for the West End District Court 2 judge position after Clallam County Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer said Friday he wants to return to the part-time, four-year post he resigned from in 2012.

Attorney John Black of Sequim, who has offices in Port Angeles and Forks, announced March 9 that he will seek the three-days-a-week position.

      Mon April 16 News

Current Judge John Doherty announced last week he will not seek re-election.

To retake the West End judgeship, Rohrer would resign from his Superior Court position with two years left on his four-year term.

Gov. Jay Inslee would name a replacement to fill out the term until the 2020 election.

Filing week for the general election, which includes several countywide seats including sheriff and prosecuting attorney, is May 14-18.

Interior Reverses Tripling Park Fee Increase

The US Department of the Interior is reversing its previous decision to raise entry fees at seventeen National Parks including ONP from $30 to $75 per car this year.

The new fee increase will be just $5 per car this year – from $30 to $35.

      Fri April 13 News

In a statement, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) called it good news.  Kilmer had questioned Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the proposed fee hikes Wednesday.

The increased fees were meant to fund an $11B    maintenance backlog at the national parks.

Kilmer says a better way to maintain the Parks would be passage of a bill he sponsored called the National Park Service Legacy Act that he says would generate dedicated funding for park maintenance over the next 50 years.

 

Zinke: WA Offshore Drilling Unlikely, Increased Park Fees May Stay

Congressman Derek Kilmer seeking answers from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on issues including the Trump Administration’s plan to open up America’s coastal waters to offshore drilling, an update on negotiations between the Park Service and the city of PA over The Elwha River restoration project – as well as the maintenance backlog within the National Parks System that led to Zinke to announce higher entrence fees this year.

Zinke says Washington is not a preferred choice for offshore drilling.

      Thu April 12 News

Zinke said he will personally get involved in the Elwa River restoration negotiation because he wants to see the matter resolved.  And Zinke says he supports efforts by tribes and others to restore fisheries in the state – which he says have deteriorated.

However Zinke did not commit to changing his plan to raise Park entrance fees to pay for maintenance.