Meeting set in Sequim on net pen bills

SEQUIM — Sen. Kevin Van De Wege and Rep. Mike Chapman are expected to discuss legislation dealing with Atlantic salmon net pens at a meeting in Sequim.

The meeting is set from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19 at the Sequim City Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

“This issue is particularly important to our area,” said Darlene Schanfald, vice chair of the North Olympic Group of the Sierra Club, who organized the meeting in concert with the Olympic Environmental Council, Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Save the Olympic Peninsula.

“The public has been very engaged since this summer— and some people many years longer,” Schanfald said.

“This is an educational chance to understand the legislative bills proposed in Olympia and a chance for our legislators to hear from the citizens.”

Van De Wege of Sequim and Chapman of Port Angeles represent, along with Rep. Steve Tharinger of Sequim, District 24, which covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County. All three are Democrats.

Three bills related to net pens are making their way in the Legislature: Senate Bill 6086, House Bill 2418 and HB 2260.

SB 6086, co-sponsored by Van De Wege, would phase-out the pens as their leases expire.

HB 2418, co-sponsored by Chapman and Tharinger, would delay construction of new nonnative fin fish aquaculture facilities until thorough study, including structural analysis of existing facilities, is complete.

HB 2260 would prohibit Atlantic salmon being used in aquaculture in Washington state.

The Sequim meeting will be “a dialogue,” Schanfald said.

“We want to be up to speed on what’s happening in Olympia.”

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