Bellingham Polystyrene Ordinance – Ban expanded polystyrene and reduce single use plastics (Victory! Get the story here)
On May 10th, 2021, Bellingham’s city council voted unanimously on a city-wide ordinance to address plastic pollution by banning many single-use plastics and encouraging compostable alternatives. The ordinance will ban Expanded Polystyrene (EPS – commonly known as ‘Styrofoam’), require takeout containers be made of compostable materials, mandate that hotels replace single-use toiletries with refillable dispensers, and will make straws available upon-request only. Most of these rules will go into effect on July 31st of 2022, well ahead of the recently-passed statewide plastics bill SB5022. The Northwest Straits Surfrider Chapter and the Western Washington University Surfrider Club launched a local campaign in 2018 to reduce plastic waste, including a ban on EPS. Working with dedicated partners (RE Sources, Mt. Baker Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Zero Waste Washington), they succeeded in spite of the challenges and delays of the pandemic. This is Surfrider Washington’s third coastal victory this year, and continues the City of Bellingham’s long history of promoting responsible environmental policies (the city was one of the first communities in the state to issue a plastic bag ordinance, a decade before the statewide bag ban).
The Surfrider Foundation Washington Chapters are working towards a statewide policy change that would establish restrictions around certain expanded polystyrene products like food ware, packaging peanuts, and recreational coolers. Expanded polystyrene foam frequently winds up as litter or ends up polluting our marine environment. Foam blows into our waterways and the ocean, clogs the stomachs of wildlife, and breaks down into smaller pieces that do not readily biodegrade, lasting for centuries. For more information, head to our Washington coastal blog post on styrofoam.
Seabed mining, the process of extracting minerals and metals from the seafloor, is a destructive practice that irreversibly damages largely unexplored and fragile deep sea habitat. Mining also creates toxic sediment plumes that can drift far and wide, threatening marine ecosystems and jeopardizing the coastal communities and businesses that depend on them. The technology has been around for decades, but until recently it’s been too costly and complex to make it worthwhile. Now, however, increasing demand, ironically due to an increase in renewable energy, has industry looking to the oceans as the next frontier. For more information, head to our Washington coastal blog post on seabed mining.
Pass a fossil fuel moratorium Interim Regulation for the Tacoma Tideflats. (Victory!!! Get the story here)
As a deep water port, the city of Tacoma and Commencement Bay are under threat from expansion of existing or development of future fossil fuel facilities. The South Sound chapter is part of a coalition of community groups covering a wide array of interests who support a city council passed moratorium on new fossil fuel development or expansion in the Tacoma Tideflats.
Care For The Cove (Victory!!! Get the story here)
In 1998, a settlement agreement, lasting for the life of the project (50 years), was agreed upon by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Surfrider Foundation to ensure sand replenishment both onshore and offshore of Half Moon Bay. Since 2013, sand replenishment has not occurred due to unavailability of the Yaquina, and degradation of the recreational value of this beach is occurring. In conjunction with further risks to the City of Westport due to erosion, we would like to ensure (as required in the settlement agreement) annual sand replenishment is reinstated with long term monitoring of sand replenishment including its effects to the beach profile and bathymetry.
Marine Spatial Planning (Victory!!! Get the story here)
The Surfrider Foundation is actively engaged in Marine Spatial Planning efforts for the Washington Coast. Our goal is to be proactive in protecting the ocean ecosystem and recreational areas along our coast, before they’re threatened. Contact our Washington Policy Manager for more information: email@example.com
Seattle Smoke Free Parks (Victory!!! Get the story here)
The Seattle chapter is working with a variety of partners to support smoke free parks in Seattle. The city currently has a rule that asks those smoking to be twenty-five feet from other park-goers. The proposed rule change sent from the city to the Parks Commissioners will make smoking in all parks unlawful. The chapter is advocating for this rule change as cigarette butts are the number one item found on their beach cleanups in the area with countless amounts making it into our local marine waters.
Save Cherry Point (Victory!!! Get the story here)
At Cherry Point in Bellingham Bay, a company is looking to build a coal export terminal to ship coal to Asia. This project threatens local wetlands, water quality, air quality, and approximately 11 endangered species. For more information please contact the Northwest Straits Chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get more information at nws.surfrider.org.
Oil Export Terminals are Not The Answer in Gray’s Harbor (Victory!!! Get the story here)
There are 3 proposed crude oil export terminals for Gray’s Harbor. Surfrider is part of a group of stakeholders working on this issue and have been successful getting 2 permits delayed. We would like to see all 3 permits not only delayed but removed from consideration.
Shoreline Master Program Updates for Pacific & Grays Harbor Counties
The Surfrider Foundation is actively involved in Shoreline Master Program (SMP) updates in Pacific & Grays Harbor Counties. Our goal is to have updated County Shoreline Master Plans that have robust protections of critical ecosystems and ecosystem services while ensuring shoreline resiliency and human access.