The weather is perfect for petitioning – we love the clouds and cool temperatures. Our June 15th deadline is approaching fast and we still need signatures on both petitions. We are getting close but we have to keep pushing as last week we did not hit our weekly goal – so this week we have to make those signatures up. We need 350 signatures on the green sheet and 500 signatures on the blue one this week. Now is the time to help make a difference and be part of a group of concerned citizens that want to protect our water now and for the future.
I grew up learning to take care of the property my parents owned. I helped to maintain the creek flowing on the boundary of our property on its way to Grays Harbor Bay. I dragged branches and debris out of the creek so that our property would not be flooded. So that set the stage for everything else I would choose to do regarding water. I have read extensively about land and water reclamation and conservation around our country. I have spent a lot of time on and around Commencement Bay. So when I heard the words, “largest methanol plant in the world”, I knew it was the wrong thing for Commencement Bay, and I knew I had to get involved in helping to stop it. I had the knowledge and experience that made me confident to speak up.
When I learned about “Save Tacoma Water”, I was grateful to be able to join a group where I could contribute. This particular set of circumstances regarding NW Innovation Works – the application process, the petition process, and the seeming permissive attitude of our public officials toward NWIW – might set a standard that other companies would follow. It was all going to have a negative effect on Pierce County residents regarding taxes, utility fees, and air and water pollution. Commencement Bay is not the largest bay in the world, and Puget Sound is not the largest inland sea in the world. It narrows considerably on its route toward the south end of the Sound. The enormous container ships that were being planned would overwhelm all other shipping.
Although NWIW had asked for a larger quantity of fresh water per day, Tacoma’s public officials got the company to come down to 10.4 million gallons per day. They declined to consider using recycled water. There was a hint that after the permitting and construction process was over, the company would lobby to get more fresh water per day. Now, American Rivers, a conservation organization, has identified the Green River as “at risk”, and developing temperatures too warm for safety of animal and plant life in its waters. Measures will have to be taken to deal with this problem. The proposed methanol plant would cause warming.
We need to protect our precious fresh water source for the use of businesses, residents, and recreation. And we need to preserve it for future generations. In one way, this is a difficult decision to make, because it will involve hard work in planning, communication among groups, and cooperation. But in another way, it is an easy decision to make. Puget Sound is a very beautiful and precious water resource for our region. Clear, clean water is a gift to us given by us after the cleanup of Asarco, which we have all participated in. It is our duty to keep it that way. I am in for the long run.
I signed with Tacoma Schools 49 years ago to come and work in one of the finest elementary counseling programs in the state. I was aghast when I first visited the community. Back then, the city was dismal, the politics were corrupt and the port smelled. To be honest, I was depressed thinking “What have I done?”
Slowly over time, with new leadership and public commitment, Tacoma has been on a trajectory of renewal. We have invested millions of tax payer’s dollars in cleaning up our city and port. Our city has become beautiful and healthier.
Coming to understand the toxic air pollution effects of the proposed methanol plant and experiencing the effects of global warming last year with our drought, I knew that I had to do something to help protect our beautiful city, Port, and pristine water supply. Knowing that clean water will be the global issue of this century and knowing that Tacoma’s water supply will be effected by global warming, it was a ‘no brainer.’ Save Tacoma Water provided an avenue to make a meaningful contribution. I want to live in a healthy and clean city that has the needed resources for its people.
Ten years ago I moved to Tacoma against my will. To my mind it was a foul smelling, heavy industry, toxic blight on this coast. Since that time I have come to love the new flourishing Tacoma. I love its livable size, sense of community, diversity, robust arts scene, fine museums, historical flavor, great events, Commencement Bay and the Rainiers.
When I learned of the nightmare of the proposed methanol refinery looming over this city, I felt angry, scared, and powerless. I was alarmed that in addition to threatening serious toxins, explosion and fire, it projected using (without any citizen input) fourteen million gallons per day of our fresh water.
In response, the Save Tacoma Water organization has developed Amendment 5 and Initiative 6 which, with enough petition signatures, will appear on the November ballot. We Tacoma citizens will then have the opportunity to vote ourselves into a position of power concerning use of our diminishing water supply, as well as the type of industry entering the city.
I’m grateful to the originators of this movement and to each voter who signs the petitions. It’s a true pleasure to volunteer in support of Save Tacoma Water.
Why I choose to volunteer for the Save Tacoma Water can be summed up in three words, past, present and future.
Past: My mother’s parents and sisters emigrated from Pisa, Italy to Tacoma. They did not know how to speak, read or write English when they arrived. My mother was the first person born on American soil in her family. She spoke, read and wrote Italian as her first language and acted as translator for her parents her entire life. I feel immense gratitude for all of the immigrates that eventually found their way to Tacoma in order to build a city out of dirt and mud. These hardworking individuals that crossed oceans and continents suffered difficulties that we cannot envisage today. I know these stories personally. It is my responsibility to honor their sacrifice and hardships by continuing to enhance our standard of living.
Present: I am volunteering for the present generation that seems to be more addicted to social media than concerned for their resources. The majority of them appear to be brainwashed by the media. When I ask the generations of X,Y and millennials to sign the petitions, they often say “not now” as they are running into the store to shop and spend money, and I think to myself “if not now, when?”
Future: I volunteer for the security of the next generation that will be forced to live in an environment that has an unforeseeable future and standard of living. It is the least that I can do to lend them a helping hand that will secure that they can live and prosper in the city that we will be leaving behind.
Shout out to our volunteers! We have new petition sheets with a new look. Why? Well, we needed to print more. Plus, it will help us in our signature collecting efforts for the next month and they will prepare voters for a yes vote in November.
Volunteers will no longer have to respond to the question, “We stopped the methanol refinery, why do we need these petitions?”
The citizens of Tacoma and all the rest of the loud voices from around the region can all take a bow for getting Northwest Innovation Works to cancel the project, but remember this quote from the Tacoma News Tribune:
“Right now, we no longer have a project in Tacoma,” Godley said by phone.
By STW volunteer, Debby Herbert
As a California native and transplant to Tacoma, I have additional perspective on why our water protection petitions are so important, and is why I am working with this petition campaign, and feel so dedicated to this cause. California is almost always in some state of water conservation and/or drought status, so I have lived in a water scarce environment for a good part of my life. Voluntary and mandatory water cutbacks, I assure you, is not a place we ever want to be and is a primary reason I moved away from California and came to the Northwest. On my four day exploratory trip to the area it rained non-stop for four days, and I said to myself on my return trip home, “I’ll take it…there is water!”
What I remember the most in my four decades in drought-stricken California, and found so untenable, is the constant stress and guilt associated with using water for everyday activities that we all consider to be normal. Before 2014, water rationing was done at the city and district level. But in 2014 the State of California went beyond the voluntary water reduction of 20%, and began enforcement of 25% mandatory water cutbacks in every city in the state. Forget about a green lawn and that lush garden, or having a clean car. The constant denying myself of water, down to the cup…restaurants only served you water if you asked for it. Brown lawns were the norm, no gardens, reduced use of washer/dryer, dishwasher, car washing, washing the dog, that long relaxing shower, the list is long.
Our fresh water is a finite natural resource that we have to protect, as it will continue to be a target by mega-mega water users. We have seen with the methanol refinery, how quickly a handful of elected officials will “sell” a major portion of our water out to the highest bidder, with no regard for how that will impact the citizens. And, at the same time, asking us to reduce water usage by 10%. We can’t let that happen again. It is our water and we are in an age of droughts. The decision to allow any mega-mega water users must be in our hands, the citizens. Please support the water petitions!
Dan Decker is one of Save Tacoma Water’s super volunteers and turned in a huge stack of petitions a few minutes ago – 31 full pages (640 signatures) of blue petitions and 24 full pages (480 signatures) of green petitions. Wow, this is a superfabulous effort. A huge thanks goes out to Dan!
Dan is a dedicated volunteer petitioning daily, going door to door. Tacoma residents are readily signing the petition. Volunteers report that the signers prefer the “blue” petition because they understand that the charter amendment cannot be overturned by the politicians. The clock is ticking, if you haven’t joined with all of us Citizen Lawmakers, now is the time to get out and collect signatures – our deadline, June 15th is quickly approaching.
Check out our ad in this week’s edition of the Tacoma Weekly (available Thursdays) – the paper in town to read if you want to be informed, especially when it came to reporting about the methanol refinery. Support this newspaper as the publisher is one of the visionary people endorsing our Water Protection Petitions.