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SB 5171: Bad bill threatens Cherry Point, tribal treaty rights

posted Jan 23, 2017, 10:11 AM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities   [ updated Feb 20, 2017, 4:58 PM ]
We need your voice to help stop a bad bill. A very bad bill.

Senate Bill 5171 — sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen — would reverse the recent decision by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to uphold tribal treaty rights and protect Cherry Point, ultimately undermining DNR’s ability to manage our state’s aquatic lands.

It probably isn’t a surprise that the fossil fuel industry wants to undo our successes to protect our environment. It is a direct response to DNR’s leadership work on protecting our aquatic lands and putting the public good ahead of any one company. 

How bad is bad? In addition to reversing DNR's recent decision to incorporate a 45-acre cutout — originally intended for the Gateway Pacific coal terminal — into the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, the bill stops DNR’s ability to designate, establish, and/or enlarge any aquatic reserve. The bill also reduces the amount of state money available for protecting clean land and critical habitat. That is unacceptable.


We can stop this! How you can help:

  1. Attend the public hearing. This Tuesday, January 24th, at 1:30 PM, the Senate Natural Resources Committee will host a public hearing on SB 5171. Tribal leaders from throughout the state are expected to attend and speak against the bill. Will you join us in Olympia to stand with Lummi Nation and show your support for tribal treaty rights? We're not asking you to testify — we just want you to be there and WEARING RED. (Carpool available from Whatcom County.) RSVP on Facebook for carpool info.

    Public hearing details: 1:30 PM, Natural Resources & Parks, Senate Full Committee, Senate Hearing Room 3, J.A. Cherberg Building, 304 15th Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98501. (map)

  2. Contact your legislator. Even if you can't travel to the hearing, your voice counts. Please contact your legislator TODAY and ask them to OPPOSE SB 5171. Find your legislator, then view the talking points below.
We need to raise our voices now more than ever. Please attend the hearing or contact your legislator and ask them to OPPOSE SB 5171.


Talking points for your call to your legislator:

  • Please oppose SB 5171. This is a bad bill that threatens DNR’s ability to protect our public aquatic lands.

  • We must protect Cherry Point and DNR’s ability to manage our public’s aquatic lands for the protection of generations to come.


Public hearing update

The Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing on SB 5171 was held in overflowing chambers with overwhelming opposition — the room was so packed security would not let anyone else in. More than 50 people attended in opposition, and ZERO in support. Members from the Colville, Lummi, Tulalip, Nisqually, Spokane, Cowlitz, and Makah tribes made moving and eloquent testimonies. The bill's sponsor did not attend the hearing.

Watch the hearing: http://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2017011313

The bill — sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen — would reverse the recent decision by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to uphold tribal treaty rights and protect Cherry Point, ultimately undermining DNR’s ability to manage our state’s aquatic lands.

THANK YOU for taking action by making phone calls and attending the hearing, letting our legislators know the public stands with Lummi Nation and supports tribal treaty rights.


RE Sources for Sustainable Communities is part of the Environmental Priorities Coalition, a network of over 20 leading environmental groups in Washington state that influence policy at the state level. Our 2017 legislative priorities include: Water for people, farms, and fish; Oil transportation safety; and Reducing toxic pollution in all communities. Learn more at wecprotects.org/environmental-priorities-coalition.

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