On some things, compromise is not possible
In his July 7 Letter to the Editor, retired Anacortes Parks Director Gary Robinson states that if Evergreen Islands “would be willing to listen to and compromise for a public trail.” However, the mission of Evergreen Islands requires us to advocate strongly when a governmental or a developer’s project, violates local, state and federal environmental protection regulations.
To fulfill our mission, Evergreen Islands’ activities “shall be to monitor and support the responsible enforcement of local, state, and national laws that protect the environment. Actions may include, but not be limited to, environmental protection contained in municipal and comprehensive plans and policies, municipal and county shoreline programs, the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA), the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.”
For two years, Evergreen Islands, along with members of Skagit Audubon and the Sierra Club, have contributed to the drafting of the Anacortes Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) Update, and during that time we have struggled to hold the City to its SEPA promise. (The City’s response to the SEPA Checklist questions regarding the CAO Update was ”the intent of the update is to provide an overall increase in environmental protections”).
The president of Evergreen Islands correctly stated our position: We support trails that avoid critical areas, sensitive shorelines, wildlife habitat and unstable slopes.
Accordingly, we do not support a waterfront trail that would pose unacceptable environmental impacts and/or public safety risks, which includes shoreline trail locations requiring armoring and trails located below or directly on top of unstable slopes.
When it comes to protecting our ever-diminishing and irreplaceable natural environ, Evergreen Islands doesn’t compromise. Our history establishes that Evergreen Islands was unwilling to compromise on our action to stop the Tethys water bottling plant; the plan by Shell to build a second crude by rail oil terminal at March’s Point; the Tesoro/Andeavor/Marathon xylene export facility; and the million board-feet clearcut of Mount Erie.
Board of Directors
In response to two recent letters about Evergreen Islands/trails, and as a member of that organization, I would like to reiterate the organization’s support of the environment including shorelines, wetlands, preserves and their buffers.
Trails, too, are supported so long as they do not negatively impact these aforementioned environments.
Two City documents contain regulations supporting these same efforts: the Shoreline Master Program and the Critical Areas Ordinance. An equally strong case for advocacy can be seen on the Guemes Channel Trail east of Edward’s Way.
Failed plantings along the trail, excessive clearing of vegetation and trees above the trail, and increased armoring below the trail did nothing to protect the shoreline. Does a similar fate await buffers, wetlands, or preserves, when they are intruded upon, despite statutes protecting them?
One hopes these areas, as well as the habitat within, will be better protected. They are limited as resources and deserve long-term environmental protection for future generations.