|(PHOTO: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)
The solution, according to its editorial board, is — guess what? -- more politics. Specifically passing federal legislation elevating Puget Sound to the status of having “national significance,” which would “align federal efforts and coordinate a united recovery strategy with the state.” And presumably bring more federal dollars to Puget Sound protection and recovery.
Strange to put progress towards cleaning up Puget Sound in hoped-for action from a Congress more skilled in deadlock and now in majority-party disarray. Disheartening to have the loudest editorial voice in the Puget Sound region shift focus to the Never-Never Land of Congressional politics and away from scrutiny of the State’s own efforts— that of the Puget Sound Partnership— and progress towards making Puget Sound “swimmable, fishable and diggable.”
Getting results in governance doesn’t come from having good ideas. It comes from having people, lots of people, supporting an idea. That’s called a constituency, something that causes like gay marriage and legal marijuana and $15 minimum wage have. That’s the kind of constituency cleaning up Puget Sound needs.
In the not-so old days we used to ask, “Who speaks for Puget Sound and who holds accountable all those who are responsible for its protection and restoration?” Does Governor Inslee? Does the Puget Sound Partnership? Does the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance?
A lot of money and social capital has been spent by the state on defining what “swimmable, fishable and diggable” means. So I’m sure someone can give a report on progress to that end that maybe folks will listen to. But, as the editorial points out, folks don’t know Puget Sound is ill. And even if they did, how would it make a difference?
An environmental group board member once punctuated a discussion about the need to educate people about Puget Sound by saying, “Is that what you want? A bunch of educated people watching Puget Sound go down the toilet?”
No, what Puget Sound needs is an organized constituency that speaks for the Sound and holds accountable all those responsible for its protection and restoration. It is a constituency that demands action by saying, loudly and clearly, “Clean up Puget Sound— now!”