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Old 8th December 2008, 18:41   #1 (permalink)
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Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Hello folks, the removal of the Unical pier in Edmonds city has begun. I believe it can be good fuel for a discussion about the balance point between removing toxins to improve environmental health and destroying wildlife in the process. I have looked into the many reasons behind the removal of this pier and am gradually getting up to speed on the issues surrounding environmental mitigation and in particular the realm of chemicals known as PAH, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the nasties in Creasote, which is used to treat wood to make it resistant to the elements, including bugs.

At first I was concerned that the amazing sea life, some metric tons of it, that has come to call this place home over the last 80, was going un-noticed and would be destroyed unnesscarily. Then I wrote the city with my concerns and got a long list of what appeared to be a sensative line by line response. I was encouraged at first that removing the pier was perhaps the best thing to do after all. Then I began looking further into some of the responses, I began to uncover what could be examples of "green washing", thinly vailing alterior motives under the guise of environmental stewardship.

I have asked many questions of the environmental assessment that was done, to find that it's for the most part not actually of the site in question but data collected from sights "like it". The list of critters they mention are what appears at low tide at best and does not seem to relfect the sub-tidal area, the part in the deep water section.

So who cares? Well, the deep water protion that is in 60 feet of water juts out into an area that gets exposed to heavy tidal currents and since it's creation over 80 years ago, has grown an unusual and diverse reef consisting of a myriad of invertebrates and massive schools of fish. An entire ecosystem seems to have developed around the food source, mainly the critters that get knocked loose and rain down during heavy surf from the shallow portion of the pillings. It's one of the richest ecosystems i've seen in this area.

The Possible Greenwashing:

-The city's point person tells the public the critters are going to be harvested by the local aquariums... sounds good, right? A contact at one of the aquariums tells me there is so much life that they can't deal with it all so they have selected a few of the 900 pillings to harvest... less than 1% of the sea life appears to be on the list while the explanations implies much more.

-No test for PAH has been performed to see if it's a problem at this site... and many of the pillings can be removed without destroying the end "T" section of the pier where most of the life resides.

-the deep water section is in a high current area and this is not typically an area where PAH builds up in the sediment to dangerous levels... until testing is done at this site, there's no real science being applied to this project.

-The long list of nasties that are set for removal are in the above water portion, like the balasts of the old lights, the lagging of the old pipes and the pipes and tanks left over from when the pier was used for delivering oil... all of which can be removed without destroying the reef.

-Removal of the pier has been promoted as necessary to make room for the new ferry slip, though no current plans shows that the current site of the pier is where the ferry slip will be.

-there is a giant condo project being finished that overlooks the beach... rumors are that there is some connection between the commercial enterprise and the removal of the "unsightly mess". I believe the view could be beautified and much of the mess cleaned up without destroying the end part of the pier.

-I have a call into Gregoires office to see if a rumor could be true that the developer of the condo project donated 350K to her campaign and to see if there is some kind of favoritism is going on in return.

-There has been vitually not public notice where the public was likely to see it... there were no public hearings specifically for this site.

-the city of edmonds exempt DOT from the Shoreline Substantial
Development Permit (SDP) that would have required a more fully disclosed process and public hearings with adequate public notice.

I am concerned that science is not actually at the root of this, that perhaps special interests are.

If you are interested in helping to see if there is anything that can be done last minute please contact me.

If you have information pro or con about PAH and just how bad it really is, i'm all ears.

Is removing the end portion of this pier going to do more harm than good?

here are some shots:
Picasa Web Albums - ocean - Edmonds Oil d...

regardless of weather this project can be halted, i'm hoping folks can use this opportunity to discuss the issues surrounding it, as this pier is just one of many potential local dive sites to be removed in the name of Environemental clean up. We stand to loose quite a few dive sites, which is ok if it's really the right thing, but if it turns out to be Greenwashing, i'll be pissed!

g
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Old 8th December 2008, 20:38   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Quote: (Originally Posted by Gill Envy) View Original Post
I am concerned that science is not actually at the root of this, that perhaps special interests are.

g
Much of "science" has become a special interest group.
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Old 8th December 2008, 21:16   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Ya mean like "global warming".

Quote: (Originally Posted by onetime) View Original Post
Much of "science" has become a special interest group.
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Old 8th December 2008, 21:32   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Global Warming may or may not be real.... However if it is and we do nothing...We're F**k*d! If it isn't, the solutions being preposed will do some good anyway....

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Old 8th December 2008, 22:00   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

so what about PAH and pilings in a strong current area? any folks here have an opinion about that? It's excuse number one for many of our dive sites going bye bye, granted shallow water mostly but still, if it does more harm than good, why do it? maybe it's the right thing to do in some areas and not others?

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Old 9th December 2008, 01:37   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Agreed, so long as what we do or don't do is predicated on science rather than political expedience.

Quote: (Originally Posted by diverreb) View Original Post
Global Warming may or may not be real.... However if it is and we do nothing...We're F**k*d! If it isn't, the solutions being preposed will do some good anyway....

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Old 9th December 2008, 14:13   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Quote: (Originally Posted by Joe) View Original Post
Ya mean like "global warming".
Well let's see, there are drug studies here in the US that purport to be science but, in reality, are tested on such a small segment of the population that major side effects aren't learned about until people are killed or damaged in some way. Those signed up for the testing are selected in such ways that they are most likely to get the molecule approved and then the effects seen within the testing are written up so as to minimize the likelihood of FDA denial.

Obviously there is a major industry around global warming, not just the studies but political careers are based on it. Is it real? Is it imagined? Is it really a problem? Many seem to have come to their own conclusions and corporations aren't even trying to fight the beliefs anymore they're just spending money to control it.

Then there's all kinds of research done in colleges. Research grants from pharma, chemical, biotech, consumer product manufacturers etc fuel many major universities. With decreasing government budgets for higher education private industry is becoming, more and more, the de facto financer of university expenditures. When tens or hundreds of millions of dollars are involved does anyone really believe the research is completely unbiased? I have a tough time swallowing it.

Then you can look at expert witness use by many industries and/or private individuals. A lawsuit comes along where an expert testifies that x caused y and, imagine that, another expert can be hired that says the link doesn't exist.

Science, in general, is far from independent nowadays. Sure there are many very reputable studies, institutions, and endeavors but figuring out which is real and which is co-opted? Good luck.
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Old 9th December 2008, 14:30   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Quote: (Originally Posted by Gill Envy) View Original Post
so what about PAH and pilings in a strong current area? any folks here have an opinion about that? It's excuse number one for many of our dive sites going bye bye, granted shallow water mostly but still, if it does more harm than good, why do it? maybe it's the right thing to do in some areas and not others?

g
I think a good portion of the disagreement with regard to "environmentalism" is about where humans fit into the environmental equation. Many people seem to think that we are not a part of the ecosystem but are somehow above or outside of it.

I'm not a huge believer in what's called the "butterfly effect", essentially a butterfly flapping its wings around the world has an impact 1/2 a world away, but to some, less extreme, extent it's true. Everything is tied together since we're in a relatively closed environment. We impact things through our actions. In this case building a pier has enabled an environment to thrive that likely would not have existed in this location. Is that good? Is that bad? No one can truly say since there are thousands if not millions of implications from it. Personally I do not believe that drastic action should be taken without concrete proof that more damage is done than good. We know that there is an ecosystem that exists because of those pilings. We suspect that there are negative aspects to the pilings' placement. But without firm evidence that the negative outweighs the positive people should stand up against these attempts. The reason they don't is that it's too much trouble. Most environmental groups have clout only because they've put in the work to organize. Until those of us that wonder about the nuances of such efforts organize and fight for more logical and clear tests of "good" versus "bad" we'll have to abide by the decisions that organized groups that can leverage political influence make.
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Old 9th December 2008, 15:11   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Science, like numbers, can be made to say anything you want. My problem with all of this is that AFAIK, most of what is being done or not done is not in response to science, but rather to single purpose interest groups in order to collect votes or somehow seperate you from your dollars.

Quote:
Obviously there is a major industry around global warming, not just the studies but political careers are based on it. Is it real? Is it imagined? Is it really a problem? Many seem to have come to their own conclusions and corporations aren't even trying to fight the beliefs anymore they're just spending money to control it.
I have yet to see one (Global Warming) "scientific" study that is not funded by someone with an agenda, as in this thread where somone is possibly using "Environmental Clean Up" as an excuse to ultimately damage the environment to promote a business interest. As far as I know there is no real scientific evidence to support it and refute that we are not just in one of the earths natural cycles.

Now none of this should be construed to say that I oppose good ecological practices and think it is ok to damage or pollute the environment. I just oppose using the environment as an excuse to do that which one would ordinarily be unable to do.

The late comedian and political satirist, George Carlin said it best when he said "How brazen and egotistical of us to think that we as mere mortals could undo in a short 100 years that which took Mother Nature eons to accomplish."

Food for thought.....

Quote: (Originally Posted by onetime) View Original Post
Well let's see, there are drug studies here in the US that purport to be science but, in reality, are tested on such a small segment of the population that major side effects aren't learned about until people are killed or damaged in some way. Those signed up for the testing are selected in such ways that they are most likely to get the molecule approved and then the effects seen within the testing are written up so as to minimize the likelihood of FDA denial.

Obviously there is a major industry around global warming, not just the studies but political careers are based on it. Is it real? Is it imagined? Is it really a problem? Many seem to have come to their own conclusions and corporations aren't even trying to fight the beliefs anymore they're just spending money to control it.

Then there's all kinds of research done in colleges. Research grants from pharma, chemical, biotech, consumer product manufacturers etc fuel many major universities. With decreasing government budgets for higher education private industry is becoming, more and more, the de facto financer of university expenditures. When tens or hundreds of millions of dollars are involved does anyone really believe the research is completely unbiased? I have a tough time swallowing it.

Then you can look at expert witness use by many industries and/or private individuals. A lawsuit comes along where an expert testifies that x caused y and, imagine that, another expert can be hired that says the link doesn't exist.

Science, in general, is far from independent nowadays. Sure there are many very reputable studies, institutions, and endeavors but figuring out which is real and which is co-opted? Good luck.
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Old 9th December 2008, 16:59   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Removal of Edmonds oil dock... an example of Greenwashing?

Quote: (Originally Posted by Joe) View Original Post
The late comedian and political satirist, George Carlin said it best when he said "How brazen and egotistical of us to think that we as mere mortals could undo in a short 100 years that which took Mother Nature eons to accomplish."

Food for thought.....
Chainsaw and tree? Human caused extinctions?

What no one wants to confront is the real reason that we are running out of resources-too may people in the world.
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