Sunday, September 30, 2012

Countdown to CAOmageddon: Flaw #54 - Unconnected Dots

Suppose someone employed the following logic about a potential cause of death. In the following example, we consider knives (stabbing):
  • Knives kill people
  • We know people die
  • We know that nearly everyone owns one or more knives
  • Therefore, all people die from knife wounds
If you buy into that logic, you also buy into the proposal that we can prevent death by controlling knives ... not just some deaths, but all deaths. The secret to eternal life is to stop people from owning knives.

This is not very different from the logic employed by Shireene Hale regarding stormwater toxics and land use controls. Come to think of it, it's not much different from the views of some people at Ecology either, and they should know better. Let's use copper as an example
  • In certain concentrations, copper can affect salmon's sense of smell
  • We know certain salmon populations in certain streams are in trouble
  • We know copper can be found in runoff
  • Runoff in the San Juans is killing salmon and we need new severe land use restrictions to deal with the problem
Make sense? Didn't think so. The dots don't quite connect.

In the email below, we see Hale distribute a toxics report from Ecology that she believes justifies and supports her position on the CAOs. She thinks it connects dots. It doesn't. Even if the dots did connect, the report wouldn't support the need for greater land use controls so much as greater pollutant source controls.

Hale has often dismissed the idea of pollutant source control as being impractical, and she continually wants to "solve" environmental problems with land use controls only. However, the whole point of the Ecology toxics report was to justify state programs for controlling pollutant sources through product reformulation. It was used for exactly the activity Hale dismisses, which also would obviate the need for land use controls as a solution for the same "problem" at the local level (assuming there was such a problem here in the first place).

Using land use controls to solve environmental problems without any regard to source control (or source identification) is bad policy and bad science. It would be like giving a person an antidote without checking to see what poisoned them in the first place, or without investigating whether the poisoning was ongoing.

Even if Hale and the County don't want to engage in source control, the State does it anyway. Every year, the State passes new laws, and the regulatory agencies write and revise their regulations, including new rules about toxics. Our runoff will become "cleaner" regardless of what our County does. Despite that, it doesn't stop Hale from wanting to be stricter at the local level too.

San Juan County ... so many solutions, so few problems.


From: Shireene Hale <>
Date: November 30, 2011 9:33:18 AM PST
To: Rachel Dietzman <>, Scott Rozenbaum <>, ESTO461@ECY.WA.GOV, "Anderson, Paul (ECY NWRO SEA)" <paan461@ECY.WA.GOV>,, Steve Belluomini <>, Janet Alderton <>
Subject: General Stormwater Toxics Report

Good morning,
Attached is a summary of a recently released report on toxic compounds associated with stormwater runoff. I think this just confirms our general understanding of the problems that result when people change the landscape and introduce building materials and chemicals that end up in runoff.
Thanks again for your help,
Shireene Hale, EHS
Planning Coordinator/ Deputy Director
San Juan County Community Development & Planning
PO Box 947
135 Rhone Street
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
The original email contained an attachment which can be downloaded here. Surprise, surprise, it was produced by Herrera, one of the consulting regulars who also is a consultant to San Juan County.


  1. Herrera, a commercial environmental consulting group with strong ties in the islands, received direct EPA funding in 2010 to produce a monitoring plan for waters feeding into the Hood Canal. The plan included long range funding strategy.

    And yet Shirene and the Friends don't want a monitoring program here? They sure don't sound like they do. This doesn't make a great deal of sense.

    And, Hererra now has a new EPA project funneled through Ecology. A 2012 grant of $120,000 to develop a guidance manual and training program. Can I have some? I promise I can make a guidance manual. Really I can.

    Amanda Azous, is Science Director for Herrera Environmental Consultants. Amanda has lived in the islands for quite some time. She been a SJC Land Bank Commissioner since May, 1999. She wanted to give a really big grant to Lovell Pratt's Brickworks a few years ago. Seemed like a find use of Land Bank funds to Amanda Azous.

    Wow. Chinese Politburo members should be lucky to last that long.

    Amanda has also played a critical role helping to bolt together the County's Synthesis of Best Available Science driving this train.

    In some reports of public statements last year, her idea of peer reviewing scientific documents was to pass around papers "internally" to see what other staff members thought of them.

    Yeah pretty much.

  2. You may all beware of this nightmare! The Puget Sound Regional Council, and the Agenda 21 spinoff called "Regional Equity"

    Getting Ready for the Future
    PSRC’s mission is to ensure a thriving central Puget Sound now and into the future through planning for regional transportation, growth management and economic development.

    Working Together
    At PSRC, central Puget Sound counties (King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap), cities and towns, ports, tribes, transit agencies, and the state work together to develop policies and make decisions about regional issues.

    Regional Decisions Informed by Solid Research and Collaboration
    PSRC works with local government, business and citizens to build a common vision for the region’s future, expressed through three connected major activities: VISION 2040, the region’s growth strategy; Transportation 2040, the region’s long-range transportation plan; and Prosperity Partnership, which develops and advances the region’s economic strategy.

    VISION 2040 is the region’s strategy for addressing anticipated growth of population and employment through 2040. VISION 2040 describes how and where we can grow while also supporting the well-being of people and communities, economic prosperity and a healthy environment.

    Transportation 2040 is the region’s long-range transportation plan. The plan outlines the investments and strategies needed to keep the region moving as we grow.

    Prosperity Partnership, via the PSRC’s Economic Development Board, has convened over 300 public and private groups to develop and advance a regional economic strategy to enhance the region’s economic vitality.

    PSRC Data: PSRC is a rich data resource for the entire region – providing the data tools required to plan for the long term and inform decisions made every day. PSRC forecasts anticipate the region will have 1.3 million more residents and 1.2 million more jobs by 2040 (based on year 2009 totals).

    PSRC Funding: PSRC distributes about $160 million in federal transportation funds each year.

    In short, "Seattle needs bike lanes, therefore, San Juan County needs a transit tax. Seattle has poor people, therefore, Orcas Island needs affordable housing. Tacoma's schools suck, therefore, Lopez needs to become more diverse"

    #@>*&^ the Regional Equity zealots. Just another plan to enslave the rural escapees from urban dystopia!

  3. Why is anyone is surprised that Shireene Hale so often gets the science, the law, and the logic wrong? Her education is limited to a degree that is generally used for checking restaurants and drinking fountains. She made herself a "planner" and, apparently, the most radical anti-property use planner seen in a long time in this state, based on sheer force of will--not on education, training or native intelligence. Listen to her on the Council tapes sometimes. She, and her similarly underqualified "Utility Manager" spouse, make quite the living off the taxpayers of San Juan County.

  4. Herrera! What a F-ing joke. I have read many EIR's and most were poorly done and poorly executed, but "Herrera" would mount the top of the garbage heap. Their stuff is total junk and any experienced reader of such reports, would agree that this "work" was truly a "get it done" at a minimum expense to satisfy only the DOE, and walk or run for the hills.

    Message to ALL people in government: "DO NOT hire these people."

  5. Imagine Herrera directly influencing the San Juan County Land Bank, the critical areas ordinance, the shoreline master program, what 'science' our hapless council critters are told to use.