Dear friends and neighbors,
We often enact laws to correct or eliminate activities that are causing harm. What’s even better is when we can address a problem before it can even become a problem.
That’s the case with my legislation to ban seabed mining, a growing industry that ravages natural habitat to extract minerals and deposits from the ocean floor. Simply put, seabed mining sucks up the ocean floor to capture metals, minerals and gemstones. This gouges the seabed, creating plumes of sediment that resettle in surrounding areas and can smother deep sea vents. The threat to marine life is obvious — locally we could see serious disruption to crabbing, fishing and shellfish. But the risks extend as well to scientific progress — some of these species are uniquely adapted to the lack of sunlight and intense pressure of deep water, and might prove critical to the research and development of medicines, protective gear and other applications.
So far, seabed mining has not been practiced in our state — and Senate Bill 5145 will ensure that it never is. The legislation would prohibit our state Department of Natural Resources from issuing permits or leases for mining on state-owned aquatic lands along our coast from Cape Flattery south to our state’s southern border, as well as in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River downstream from the Longview bridge. The bill will be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.
A dream that remains unfulfilled
On Monday, Senate Democrats paid tribute to the lasting leadership, courage and sacrifices of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., both on the Senate floor and in this brief but powerful video. I think you’ll see it speaks for itself and shows why the late Rev. King’s message remains as relevant as ever.