Senator Murray promotes trail money for Olympic Discovery Trail; Clallam County's Robin Hill Park may grow by 40 acres

KONP Radio


(Washington, DC.) -- Washington Senator Patty Murray has successfully protected federal funding for three projects in Clallam County. The money is in the final House-Senate compromise on the Omnibus Appropriations bill. The conference report is the final step in the yearlong appropriations process. The measure is expected to pass the House later today and the Senate tomorrow, before going to the President to become law. In the bill is a million dollars for the Olympic Discovery Trail. The city of Port Angeles stands to get one and half million dollars for the Gateway project downtown. The money could be used for finishing parking issues. And there's nearly five and half million dollars for the Makah Tribe to pave the road from the tribal center to Cape Flattery, including bike and pedestrian lanes.
(Dungeness) -- In a worst-case scenario, all of Dungeness Bay could be closed to shellfishing next month due to high bacteria levels in the water. Officials with the state Department of Health, the agency with the power to close the bay to shellfishing, are sorting through data to make that determination in an annual review. The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and the community at large could be affected by possible closure of the entire Bay. The Tribe operates commercial oyster and crab harvesting business in the Bay and there are other commercial and recreational shell fishers in the harbor created by Dungeness Spit. Jamestown S'Klallam Natural Resources planner Lyn Muench says the tribe stands to lose half the business of its commercial farm on the bay if the area is closed.

(Olympia) -- Dioxin discharges from Washington pulp and paper mills have declined, according to a new report from the state Department of Ecology. Beginning 12 years ago, the agency set limits for dioxin in discharges from four Western Washington mills: Weyerhaeuser mills in Everett and Cosmopolis, the Simpson Kraft mill in Tacoma and the Rayonier mill in Port Angeles, which closed in 1997. According to the report, dioxin discharges at all four mills dropped from more than 10 parts per quadrillion to non-detectable levels. Dioxin studies on the Port Angeles mill were completed before it closed. The improvements were achieved by changing additives used in the paper-bleaching process and by using chlorine dioxide in place of elemental chlorine. Dioxins are highly toxic, do not break down in the environment and build up in the bodies of animals and humans, where they may cause long-term health problems. According to Ecology's report, all seven pulp and paper mills currently operating in Washington have shown measurable success in reducing dioxin. Four mills on the Columbia River have had dioxin limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

(Port Angeles) -- Clallam County's Robin Hill Park could grow by 40 acres if commissioners decide to accept a land transfer from the state. The transfer would come at no cost to the county. County Public Works Director Craig Jacobs says commissioners would only have to agree to keep the property as either recreation or open space for 30 years. The state Department of Natural Resources currently manages the 40-acre McCool property as part of the Trust Land Transfer Program. Timber profits from trust lands go to fund public schools in Washington State. State law allows the transfer of trust land to other government agencies. The state has to pay the value of the lost timber revenue to the schools and purchase land of better timber value for the trust. The DNR says the transfer has been tentatively scheduled for the department's April board meeting, pending county approval. Earlier this week, County Commissioner Steve Tharinger said he couldn't find any reason not to do the transfer. Jacobs says the land for the Dungeness Recreation Area and Salt Creek County Park was obtained in a similar manner.

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