News on the Endangered Species Act, & More - from WASHINGTON
FARM BUREAU NEWSWATCH
February 14, 2005 No. 12
WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU HAS BEEN AWARDED ONE OF FOUR AMERICAN Farm
Bureau Federation Traveling Trophies for outstanding grassroots efforts
during the 108th Congress (2003-2004). The award was presented last
at the AFBF National Leadership Conference in New Orleans. The
Traveling Trophy is presented to one state Farm Bureau in each of
regions. Washington Farm Bureau won in the Western region.
IN AN INTERVIEW FOR A TELEVISION PROGRAM, ONPOINT, INTERIOR SECRETARY
Gale Norton defended political appointees becoming involved in finding
"cooperative" solutions that balance the conflicting needs
species, landowners and businesses. (Greenwire, Feb. 14) While Norton
said decisions ought to be based on science, she said that sometimes
officials need to intervene in the process to bring other considerations
to light. "We've seen in the past biologists essentially go into
offices and dream up what they think species ought to have and then
prescribe that, instead of working with people to see how to accommodate
the needs of species, along with the needs of humans and other resource
kinds of concerns," Norton said.
THE HOUSE LAST WEEK PASSED A BILL THAT WOULD REQUIRE THE GOVERNOR
sign off on new state agency rules that would impose fines, affect
licenses or permits, set new policy or create a regulatory program.
Herald-Republic, Feb. 14) The Legislature passed a similar bill last
year, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Gary Locke.
IN AN EDITORIAL SUNDAY, THE TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE CALLS DEMOCRATS'
efforts to cap the amount of refunds an organization can retain to
workers' comp pool, or to restrict how those funds can be spent,
"political payback, pure an simple." In addition, the News
Tribune said, "No
matter how you slice it, it's an unconstitutional restriction on free
GOV. GREGOIRE HAS TOLD LAWMAKERS SHE WOULD SUPPORT THE COLUMBIA River
Initiative, a blueprint for future water withdrawals drawn up by the
Locke administration, if the Legislature goes along. (Tri-City Herald,
Feb. 12) However, the Herald reported that agriculture is "dead
against it." Although proponents argue the plan would provide
water users, John Stuhlmiller, natural resource specialist for the
Washington Farm Bureau, said the only certainty under the plan is
new water will be allocated in this state."
WORKERS AT THE TYSON FOODS INC. BEEF PLANT IN WALLULA HAVE OUSTED
Teamsters Local 556 as their union representative after 28 years.
Herald, Feb. 12) The vote was 690 to 586 to decertify the union.
Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Washington
& Produce acted legally when it disciplined workers, videotaped
and fired a key union leader during a Teamsters organizing drive six
years ago. (Yakima Herald-Republic, Feb. 11) The ruling overturns
an administrative law judge's decisions and means Washington Fruit
not have to hold a new union election. The Teamsters lost in 1998
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FISCAL 2006 INCLUDES
about $571 million for salmon restoration in the Columbia River Basin.
(Columbia Basin Bulletin, Feb. 11) Meanwhile, biologists are projecting
another big year for salmon, with about 650,000 adult chinook returning
the mouth of the river - the fourth largest return since 1964.