APHETI

   
   

Association for the Protection of Hammersley, Eld and Totten Inlets
in South Puget Sound, Washington
 

   

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Status Review & Update on Totten Inlet Mussel Rafts suit

Superior Court Decision - April 2, 2014
Your input is requested

On Friday, March 28, 2014, Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller heard the joint APHETI / Thurston Co. appeal to rescind the decision of State Shoreline Hearing Board (SHB) overturning Thurston County's denial of Taylor's permit application for expanded mussel raft aquaculture in Totten Inlet. Judge Schaller issued her ruling directly from the bench. It was not in favor of the APHETI / Thurston County position.

This is very disappointing to all who care deeply about the preservation of the South Sound Inlets. APHETI members have understood from the beginning this would be an uphill fight against tremendous odds. Regardless, you continued for the past 18 years to do all that could be done within the scope of resources that have come only from your generous individual donations. After the Superior Court proceedings were concluded, an APHETI member summarized her long experience by saying, “I have no regrets, just pride in having done what I know to be right!”

The following is APHETI attorney David Mann's summary of Judge Schaller's ruling:

Judge Schaller's ruling was extremely deferential to the SHB’s legal position – declaring it was a specialized hearings board with far greater experience and expertise than herself. She expressly confirmed her ruling pertained only to the SHB's decision and not Hearing Examiner Bjorgen’s ruling on Taylor's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In other words, because the SHB accepted the expert EIS author's conclusion (as substantial evidence) that there would be no significant impacts - that conclusion prevailed and could not be challenged on appeal. Thus her basis for ruling to uphold the SHB’s decision reversing the Thurston County's denial of Taylor permit application.

In response to Taylor's opposition to the rigorous environmental monitoring plan mandated in the SHB decision, Judge Schaller remanded the monitoring issue back to the SHB to allow Thurston Co. and Taylor to provide additional evidence in support of or in opposition to the SHB’s monitoring condition.

Next Steps: Taylor can not start anything even with a permit from Thurston Co. until the SHB monitoring issue is resolved and also gaining additional permits from various State and Federal Agencies.

The APHETI Board requests your input regarding APHETI's potential involvement in these challenges – especially as to the availability of the scientific and financial resources that will be required to move forward.
Please e-mail your comments to APHETI at apheti@gmail.com or send via US Mail to: APHETI
               PO Box 11523
               Olympia WA  98508-1523.


        Best Regards! -
        APHETI Board of Directors.

 

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March 18, 2014

Greetings APHETI Members and Supporters -

We previously reported that on June 17, 2013 the Shoreline Hearings Board overturned Thurston County's denial of Taylor's permit application for expanded mussel raft aquaculture in Totten Inlet. We also reported that APHETI and Thurston County would partner to jointly appeal the SHB decision to Superior Court.

This appeal will be heard by Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller at 1:30 PM, Friday, March 28, 2014. Location is Bldg #2, Thurston Co. administrative complex, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA 98512. Call Superior Court at (360) 786-5560, Ext. -0-, for any additional information you may wish.

APHETI's position will be argued by longstanding APHETI attorney, Mr. David Mann. Thurston Co. position will be argued by Ms. Elizabeth Petrich, Thurston Co. Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.

We encourage your attendance to support the APHETI/Thurston Co. position. Plan to arrive by 1:00 PM to get parked and walk to Courts Building #2. Upon entry you will have to go through security. Just past security is a scheduling board that will say what specific courtroom to go to. Generally, these matters are taken up in one of the second floor courtrooms. An elevator is available. Do check the scheduling board in the first floor entry to sure about the courtroom location.

APHETI attorney, David Mann, said this of the SHB decision and this upcoming appeal-
“I continue to believe the SHB got it wrong on Benthic impacts, dissolved oxygen, Gallo mussels and cumulative impacts. The only way they (SHB) could get to their answer was to ignore entirely our legal arguments, our cross examination, and the multiple holes in the analysis.”


“Frankly I believe all of the issues the Examiner raised and we defended before the SHB are worthy of appeal. It will be an uphill fight, but it is by no means a slam-dunk against us.”

We THANK YOU! Again for your outstanding response to our request for financial contributions which have made this appeal possible. We are still in the fight, thanks, again, to your generosity!!

As always, please feel welcome to contact APHETI (360/866-8245) with any questions you may have.

APHETI Board of Directors

=============================================

September 4, 2013

Thurston County Joins APHETI in Appealing SHB Decision
(Excerpted from comments by Jules Michaels on Protect Our Shoreline News blog)

Thurston County has announced it will join APHETI in its appeal to Superior Court of the Shoreline Hearings Board (SHB) reversal of the County's denial of Taylor Shellfish's shoreline permit for a 58 raft mussel farm.

Thurston County's Hearing Examiner had denied the permit based on a lack of information addressing cumulative impacts. Taylor Shellfish appealed that decision to the County Commissioners who affirmed the denial. Taylor Shellfish then appealed that affirmation of the denial to the SHB who reversed the denial. Taylor Shellfish then attempted to circumvent the County's authority by petitioning the SHB to consider and accept a "monitoring plan" created by their contract scientist, based in large part on salmon net pens. The SHB denied that petition.

More detailed information on the SHB reversal is found on APHETI's site as is information on how you can help support their goal of protecting Puget Sound's waters and shorelines for the benefit of everyone, as the Shoreline Management Act intended, not just a select few shellfish companies.

This is not good for Puget Sound:  Invasive tunicates growing on Taylor's mussels, dislodged and spread through Puget Sound while harvesting.

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June 28, 2013:

RE: State Shoreline Hearings Board (SHB) decision, June 17, 2013

Greetings APHETI Members and Supporters -

The SHB met on April 22, 2013 to hear Taylor's appeal to overturn Thurston County's denial of Taylor's application to expand aquaculture of non-native mussels in Totten Inlet. The basis of the denial was that Taylor's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) lacked sufficient study on cumulative impacts.

The SHB issued its decision on June 17, 2013 – overturning Thurston County's denial of Taylor's permit application. This is disappointing but not surprising. The SHB has a historical bias of siding with the commercial aquaculture industry. We have learned the future Puget Sound wide plan of the aquaculture industry is to use suspension aquaculture (rafts) to grow not only mussels but all other forms of shellfish - clams, oysters, scallops, sea urchins, etc.

The bottom line:   Unless each one of us does all we can to stop this NOW, Taylor has a green light to put 58 more mussel rafts in Totten Inlet – AND – open the door for the aquaculture industry to put more rafts not only in Totten Inlet but throughout all of South Puget Sound! Hundreds of raft type aquaculture operations could easily develop in Eld, Budd, and Henderson Inlets and the Nisqually Reach areas of Thurston County and Hammersley, Carr, and Case Inlets in Mason and Pierce Counties.

APHETI attorney, David Mann, says this of the SHB decision, "I continue to believe the SHB got it wrong on Benthic impacts, dissolved oxygen, Gallo mussels and cumulative impacts. The only way they could get to their answer was to ignore entirely our legal arguments, our cross examination, and the multiple holes in the analysis.”
“Frankly I believe all of the issues the Examiner raised and we defended before the SHB are worthy of appeal. It will be an uphill fight, but it is by no means a slam-dunk against us.”

APHETI intends to appeal the SHB decision to Superior Court. This will require substantial financial resources. Your help is needed. Previously, we asked for your financial contribution to support this coming appeal and some have responded most generously – THANK YOU! Additional resources are needed though. If you have not yet considered making a contribution please do so now, for without your support, APHETI's appeal may not be possible.

APHETI is an IRS registered non-profit charitable organization. Contributions may be tax deductible and all are acknowledged in writing. The identity of all donors is kept strictly confidential. Please mail your contribution to APHETI, PO Box 11523, Olympia, WA 98508-1523.

As always, please feel welcome to contact APHETI (360/ 866-0218) with any questions you may have.

We, again, Thank You for your continued support!.

.        ... APHETI Board of Directors

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May 23, 2013:

Greetings APHETI Members and Supporters -

Previously we reported to you:

  • Thurston Co. Commissioners denied Taylor's request for a permit to expand mussel aquaculture in Totten Inlet on the basis of the Hearing Examiner's 2012 decision that Taylor's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was lacking in several areas - particularly Cumulative Impacts.

  • Taylor would appeal to the State Shoreline Hearings Board (SHB) to overturn the Commissioner's decision.

The SHB appeal was April 22, 2013.  APHETI attorney (David Mann) and the Thurston Co. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney delivered an excellent defense of the County's denial of Taylor's permit application.
Read:

Both the Thurston Co. attorney and APHETI attorney, David Mann felt the County and APHETI positions were strong and were confident in the objectives of their presentations.

The deadline for the SHB to render its decision is June 17, 2013. The decision will either be that Thurston Co. was correct or was incorrect in denying Taylor's permit:

  • If the SHB decides Thurston Co. was correct, Taylor will likely appeal to Superior Court or Court of Appeals. If so, Thurston Co. / APHETI will need to participate as formal parties in Court to defend the County decision.

  • If the SHB decides that the County was incorrect, Thurston Co. / APHETI have the right to also appeal to Superior Court or the Court of Appeals to overturn the SHB decision.

Because of a huge contribution from our neighboring Case Inlet Shoreline Association, APHETI did not have to ask individual supporters to cover the recent cost of David Mann's work on the April 22, 2013 SHB Hearing. This group is paying enormous costs to fight Taylor's expansions throughout Case and Carr Inlets in Pierce County. Thus it is uncertain if our Pierce Co. friends will again be able to help APHETI pay our costs of our upcoming Superior / Appeals Courts proceedings.

After 17 years we are nearing but are not at the end of this fight. If you share APHETI's concern of preserving the South Sound Inlets and want to see this out to the end, we request your generous financial contribution to cover APHETI's upcoming legal work. APHETI is an IRS registered non-profit charitable organization. Your contributions may be tax deductible. All contributions are acknowledged in writing for tax reporting purposes and donor's identity is kept strictly confidential.
Please mail your contributions to:
                APHETI
                PO Box 11523
                Olympia, WA 98508-1523.

As always, please feel welcome to contact APHETI (360-866-0218) with any questions you may have.

We again, Thank You! for your continued support.

     --APHETI Board of Directors

 _______________________________________________________

  • In 2012, the Thurston Co. Hearing Examiner found that Taylor's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was lacking in several areas (particularly cumulative impacts) which could negatively impact the ecology of Totten Inlet.

  • Taylor appealed to the Thurston Board of County Commissioner (BOCC) to overturn the Hearing Examiner's decision.

  • In November of 2012, the Thurston BOCC upheld the Hearing Examiner's decision and denied Taylor's request for a permit to expand mussel aquaculture operations in Totten Inlet.  Read the BOCC decision.

  • Taylor appealed to the State Shoreline Hearings Board (SHB) to overturn the Thurston Co. Commissioner's decision.  That proceeding will occur:

9 AM – 5PM, April 22 & 23, 2013 ( Mon. & Tues)
State Parks Bldg, 1111 Israel Rd SW, Suite 301, Tumwater, WA 98501.
Directions

Your personal presence to show public support for this issue will be noticed by the SHB and may impact the outcome.

The Thurston Co. Prosecuting Attorney's Office has the primary responsibility to defend the County's decision. APHETI is a formal party in the SHB proceedings and will be represented by our attorney, Mr. David Mann.

Financial support for Mr. Mann's efforts has been generously provided by a private citizens shoreline group located in Pierce County. It is clearly seen that raft type aquaculture will surely expand to the inlets of Pierce County if approved here in Totten Inlet.

We will notify you of the outcome of the SHB proceedings. Either way, the next step in the “due process” available to Taylor or Thurston Co. / APHETI is an appeal to Superior Court.

The battle for Totten Inlet and the broader Puget Sound goes on. Your patient support over all these years has been the key to APHETI's success. Thank you!
________________________________________________

November 19, 2012:  The Thurston County Board of County Commissioners upheld the Hearing Examiner's decision from July, 2012.

On Thursday, July 19, 2012, Thurston County Hearing Examiner, Thomas R. Bjorgen, issued his decision on the proposed expansion of mussel-raft aquaculture operations in Totten Inlet. 

Briefly stated, the Decision concludes that the Taylor Shellfish Company (Taylor) application does not comply with the standards for issuance of a Substantial Shoreline Development Permit.  This being due to Taylor’s failure to adequately analyze three critical cumulative impacts the mussel rafts may have on the marine environment.  Read more of the summary.

The full 95-page decision document is available electronically from Thurston County's Permitting and Land Use web site (click on Hearing Examiner Decision, July 19, 2012) 

To be added to our email list, please contact APHETI at APHETI@GMAIL.COM with your name and e-mail address.


GEODUCKS planted in PVC PIPES in  6/2000,
and left for SIX years! 
  ↓

Geoducks planted in PVC pipes.

 

Aquaculture Expansion

Tunicates

EIS Status

Baseline Study

APHETI video

Map of Shellfish Aquaculture Areas in South Puget Sound
 
(PDF, 1.5 MB)

JOIN US! in the fight to preserve the Puget Sound.

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Totten Inlet  2006> Geoduck tubes, loose oyster bags, sharp metal clips, 
rebar posts, and loose wire netting.

 

Non-native mussels on rafts.....rafts with permit violations!

 

 

©APHETI  2005 - 2013

Please send questions or contact us at apheti@gmail.com