Dear Orca Recovery Task Force Co-Chairs and Members,
Thank you for your work to protect the Southern Resident Orca Whales. It's imperative that we take immediate, bold action to prevent the extinction of this endangered population.
As a Washington resident who values our endangered orcas and clean, safe waterways, I support the Task Force recommending a suite of actions that addresses the many sources of risks to orcas. Together, the draft actions are a step in the right direction for protecting orcas. It will take a comprehensive approach to help the population recover, and for this reason I support passing recommendations as a package, without picking and choosing a few “favorites” based on political popularity or ease. It’s past time to take action on each of these draft recommendations, and only by tackling all threats to the orcas — vessel noise, toxic pollution, and Chinook salmon availability — will we succeed.
In addition, due to the multitude of evidence demonstrating how important it is to address toxic pollution immediately, I strongly support the following recommendations for implementation in year 1:
Contaminant Recommendation #5, to accelerate effectiveness, implementation and enforcement of water quality permits, set more protective water quality standards, and consider stronger standards for municipal and industrial wastewater.
Contaminant Recommendation #6, to ensure that new and existing Clean Water Act permit conditions and water quality standards are met the Department of Ecology to seek funding in the 2019 legislative session to conduct more robust inspections, assistance programs and enforcement. This funding should support field staff and data analysis and should include a clear directive to increase enforcement against entities that exceed limits for pollutants known to cause harm to the Southern Residents and their prey.
Vessel Recommendation #13, to address ongoing vessel safety issues, including oil transport, in the shared waters of the Salish Sea.