Clean Air and Transportation
1. How will you create efficient and safe transportation options that will allow us to maintain our high quality of life?
Shorelines and Clean Water
The citizens of Washington enjoy a high quality of life, but an increasing number of cars on the road and recent cuts in transit funding are contributing to traffic congestion, air pollution, water pollution and urban sprawl. In fact, automobiles are our largest source of air pollution. It's essential that we begin developing a better transportation system and prioritize alternatives to automobiles, such as public transit, bicycling, and walking.
For more information contact www.transportationchoices.org.
2. What will you do to ensure that Washington's 28-year-old shoreline protection rules are improved to protect our shorelines from increasing development pressure?
Clean Water and Salmon
The Shoreline Management Act helps to protect Washington's beaches, rivers and lakes. The Act gives the state the authority to regulate development within the first 200 feet of shorelines of saltwater and most rivers, streams and lakes in the state. These areas are widely used for recreation, are important for water quality, and are critical for salmon and other wildlife. Yet, the Shoreline Management Act has not been updated in nearly 28 years. Some legislators are considering further delays in updating the Act or trying to weaken it. It is important that the Shorelines Management Act be updated to reflect advances in science and to better address shoreline development issues
For more information contact www.pugetsound.org
3. What is your plan to ensure that the Northwest's salmon do not go extinct?
Wild salmon are in decline in much of the Northwest. Historically, up to 16 million salmon returned each year to spawn in the Columbia River Basin, but today only about one million fish return. Most of these fish originate from hatcheries, not from the wild. Due to this steep decline, the National Marine Fisheries Service has extended federal protections to wild salmon in nearly every watershed in the state. The decline of wild salmon can be categorized into four general areas: habitat, hydropower, harvest and hatcheries. The major dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers continue to be one of the most serious problems for salmon. Significant reforms are needed in each area if we are to protect our water and save our wild salmon. Improving our water quality is a complementary objective.
For more information contact www.wecprotects.org or www.wildsalmon.org.
4. How will you ensure that our communities have access to clean and safe water supplies now and in the future?
In Washington, over 600 bodies of water do not meet water quality standards to protect fish, recreation and other uses. More than 40 percent of U.S. waterways are threatened by pollution, much of which can be traced to polluted runoff from farms, ranches, parking lots, city streets and storm water discharge systems. While U.S. waterways have been cleaned up dramatically as a result of the Clean Water Act, pollutants are still being discharged into rivers, lakes and streams and there are still many places where fishing and swimming are not allowed. Serious water pollution problems - such as contaminated drinking water, massive fish kills and large algae blooms - in at least 30 states have been linked to inadequate pollution control and lax enforcement of environmental regulations. How elected officials at all levels of government address this issue, will determine whether America's waterways remain healthy for future generations.
For more information contact www.wecprotects.org.
5. Would you favor or oppose protecting all National Forest roadless areas of 1,000 acres or more from development?
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The Forest Service recently offered a proposal that would prohibit new roads in 43 million acres of roadless areas within the National Forests. This proposal includes nearly 2 million acres in Washington. While this is promising news, several major loopholes remain. The decision on providing protection for an additional 8.5 million acres in Alaska's Tongass National Forest would be deferred until 2004. Roadless areas under 5,000 acres would not be considered for protection until the Forest Plan for the National Forests in which they are located are revised (the typical cycle for Forest Plan revisions is 10-15 years). Logging, recreational development, grazing, off-road vehicle use and some types of mining would not be explicitly prohibited. It is critical that the Forest Service close these loopholes to protect our last remaining wild forests. National Forest lands without roads represent only about 2 percent of the total landbase of the United States, yet they provide clean drinking water, recreation and large open spaces that offer solitude and beauty. These areas often provide important habitat for rare plant and animal species, offer opportunities for monitoring and research, and help stop the spread of invasive species. In addition, the Forest Service would save taxpayers up to $565,000 per year in maintenance costs for new roads, which would not be built. With an $8.4 billion dollar backlog of road maintenance and reconstruction on the current 380,000-mile road system on National Forest lands, we should focus on the current roads rather than building costly new roads into roadless areas.
For more information contact www.wawild.org or www.ecosystem.org.
2000-2021, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund
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