Enviros get quiet while raw sewage dumps into Puget Sound

As the ranking Republican on the House Environment Committee, I’ve sat through hours of testimony from environmental special interest groups.

I’ve heard them say that a carbon tax is needed in order to save the planet.

I’ve heard them say that more restrictions are needed on our jobs creators, despite Washington state accounting for less than three-tenths of one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

I’ve heard them demand impossible environmental outcomes based on technology that doesn’t exist.

I’ve heard them demand that treated water entering a stream, river or watershed be cleaner than the actual water in the stream, river or watershed.

I’ve even heard them say they have a constitutional right to their own definition of a clean and healthy environment.

Strangely enough, I haven’t heard any of them say to stop dumping raw sewage into Puget Sound.

Last month, a valve at the region’s largest wastewater treatment plant in King County malfunctioned, sending several hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated wastewater – including 30 million gallons of raw sewage – streaming into Puget Sound. The plant is still not fixed, with continual outflow less than 30 percent clean for solids as opposed to the 85 percent clean that is required by its state permit.

Around the same time, another Seattle station suffered a similar malfunction, resulting in another 330,000 gallons of wastewater flowing into the sound.

If this were a manufacturer or a private company engaging in some industrial process, the outrage would be predictable. Pitchforks would be gathered, topped with the appropriate slogans, and the enviro masses would be storming the gates of the company responsible and marching through the halls of whatever government entity allowed the travesty to happen.

But in this case, the county and city at fault are known for their collaboration with environmental special interests. Elected and appointed leaders who not only tolerate the fanatics but actually encourage the tar-and-feathering behavior of the radical environmental lobby.

Is it any surprise that nary a peep of protest has been directed at those responsible by those usually outraged? Their sound of silence is deafening.

No town hall meetings. No marching in the streets. No massive PR campaign. No pictures of a child’s day at the beach ruined by brackish floating foam.

Forgive me if those of us who live in rural counties find this two-faced application of environmental injustice just a bit unsettling.

Yes, we all want clean air and water. And our state has that in abundance. We are one of the greenest states in the nation.

But the scenario playing out before us is a poignant example of the old Bible verse: “First remove the plank out of your own eye, and then you can see more clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Those who’ve built massive cities and asphalted their entire region try to assuage their guilt by turning their angst on those of us in Eastern Washington who haven’t.

We’re forced to live under growth management rules most of us don’t want. We’re forced to abide by many environmental restrictions we don’t need. And we’re told to do so by agencies, special interest groups, appointed and elected officials that many of us don’t trust.

It’s a shame that it took such a serious environmental disaster to shine light on the duplicitous nature of the radical environmental agenda. There is no joy when those of us in the know say, “We told you so.”

(Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, is the ranking Republican on the House Environment Committee)

State Representative David Taylor, 15th Legislative District
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
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