Washington State Governor jay Inslee

An open letter to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

An open letter to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee about the salmon farming industry.

From Fabian Dawson


Dear Governor,

I bring to your attention a tale of two bills that went through your legislative process recently.

The first, House Bill 2957, which will phase out marine farming of Atlantic salmon and other non-native fish by 2022, underscores hypocrisy.

The second, SB 6269, to increase Washington state oil transportation safety, underscores sound economic and environmental compromise.

Both have the common goals of sustainability and the protection of shared waters.

However, their passage towards becoming law differ starkly, given your hand in them.

As a climate-change champion, you have urged scientists to speak out so that politicians can base their decisions on data not eco-hype.

“I need you to speak outside of the labs and the halls of academia about what you know, what science tells us and what’s at stake if your work is minimized or ignored,” you told Pacific Northwest scientists.

I am perturbed, as a neighbor, that you don’t heed your own advice.

Let me show you what I mean.

Your own Washington Fish and Wildlife Office states; “Washington State is a high-risk area for oil spills due to oil transport and processing. Oil spills threaten sensitive environments along the Pacific coast, Puget Sound, the Columbia River, and our busy river systems.

More than 15 billion gallons of oil are shipped annually through Washington State waters.  A major spill from any of the vessels that transit here – oil tankers, fuel barges, large cargo vessels, commercial fish-processing vessels and passenger ships – could dump millions of gallons to Washington waters. Unlike the BP Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a major spill in Washington waters would likely reach our shores in hours or minutes instead of days. During the past 30 years, Washington has experienced major spills and related incidents including refinery explosions, liquid fuel pipeline ruptures, oil tanker groundings, fuel transfer mishaps and spills caused when commercial vessels sink or collide.”

Despite this and rightly so, you push for laws to make this industry safer so that your state can benefit from its economic prowess.

On the other hand, the same folks at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, have alerted you to the lies by the anti-fish farming lobby  while other top scientists have given you proof urging you not to make decisions about salmon farming in “a climate fueled by fear and propaganda” .

Both stress that salmon farming in Washington waters is a low risk to native species and the environment.

But you have chosen to ignore their science.

So what gives Guv?

Why would you deal a fatal blow on sustainable salmon farming, because of one incident involving the Cooke Aquaculture net pen collapse, while providing a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry, which spills oil on a regular basis into your waters.

I await your reply.

Yours truly,

Fabian Dawson