News clips for May 18, 2007
Coast Guard Seeks Deepwater Refund
Problematic Patrol Boats to Be Scrapped
By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2007; Page D03
The Coast Guard said yesterday that it will seek damages from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman
for eight failed patrol boats that have come to exemplify the problems with its $24 billion modernization
The service is seeking a refund for a project to convert 110-foot patrol boats into 123-foot vessels as part of
its so-called Deepwater program. The Coast Guard initially planned to upgrade 49 patrol boats but stopped
in 2005 after eight had been completed and problems developed in their hulls and decks. At that time, the
eight boats, converted at a cost of about $80 million, were put on restrictive duty that forbade them
operating in waves higher than eight feet. Last year, after finding more problems, the Coast Guard took
those eight boats out of service, and it recently said the boats could not be salvaged and would be scrapped.
The problems were present when the Coast Guard accepted the vessels, but they could not have been
discovered by a reasonable inspection, Pamela Bible, a Coast Guard contracting officer, said in a letter to
the contractors yesterday. "The physical integrity of the 123 [foot] cutters has been compromised to such a
degree the performance specifications under the contract cannot be achieved and sustained," Bible said.
The letter argued that the Coast Guard's own studies attributed the problems to flaws in Lockheed and
Northrop's design and said the companies had not provided their own assessment despite saying months
ago that they would. "Since the Government has not received any analysis that would effectively exculpate
[the contractors] for these hull and alignment problems, the Government must now revoke our prior
acceptance in the interest of timeliness," the letter said. The letter said the Coast Guard had not yet
determined the amount it is due.
Bethesda-based Lockheed and Northrop, which operate the Coast Guard's Deepwater program under a joint
venture known as Integrated Coast Guard Systems, are still evaluating the letter, ICGS spokeswoman
Margaret Mitchell-Jones said in a statement.
The announcement comes as the Coast Guard attempts to revamp Deepwater, a program to modernize and
upgrade the service's ships and boats over the next 25 years. The program has faced criticism for cost
overruns, delays and technical problems with the patrol boats and other vessels, which have attracted the
attention of Congress. Last month, the Coast Guard said it would take over leadership of Deepwater,
attempting to defuse complaints that Lockheed and Northrop had been given too much leeway to run the
"I applaud the Coast Guard for taking this critically important step to recoup millions of dollars wasted by
the contractor," Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the
Coast Guard, said in a statement. "We must continue to hold [the contractors] responsible for these flawed
ships that fall far short of contract requirements. Taxpayers should not get stuck with this bill. We will keep
on this issue until we fix Deepwater."
Commanding officer of Coast Guard cutter reassigned after fight
The Associated Press
BOSTON— The commanding officer of a Boston-based cutter was temporarily reassigned Thursday after
he was arrested for allegedly starting a fight with a bartender in Key West, Fla.
Commander Michael S. Sabellico, 42, was temporarily reassigned from commanding officer of the cutter
Escanaba to the Coast Guard First District staff in Boston while an administrative investigation is
conducted, the Coast Guard said in a statement Thursday.
Sabellico was arrested on a charge of simple battery at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday after he got into a scuffle with a
bartender at Irish Kevin's, a bar and restaurant in Key West.
According to the police report, the bar manager asked Sabellico and some of his crewmates to leave an
alleyway near the bar several times, saying they were trespassing.
The bartender, Jeffrey Parenteau, told police Sabellico and his crewmates left, but returned to the bar about
35 minutes later. Parenteau said Sabellico stood in the doorway and shouted an obscenity. He said when he
walked outside to ask Sabellico to leave, Sabellico grabbed him by his T-shirt and started to fight with him.
Parenteau said he freed himself, and Sabellico fled when security personnel arrived.
Police said Sabellico appeared intoxicated.
Sabellico could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. Lt. Rob Wyman, public affairs officer
for the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area, said he did not know if Sabellico is represented by an attorney.
Sabellico's cutter, which had previously been on patrol in the Caribbean, was making a final port call in
Key West before returning to Boston. The cutter conducts search and rescue missions and fisheries patrols
in the waters off New England and drug patrols in the Caribbean.
Commander Chris Austin, currently the commanding officer of the Portsmouth, Va.-based Coast Guard
cutter Northland, has assumed temporary command of Escanaba.
Coast Guard tows pleasure craft
The Daily Astorian
A U.S. Coast Guard crew from Station Cape Disappointment towed a 19-foot pleasure craft after it "spun a
prop" when a rubber hub on the propeller wore out Wednesday.
Dean Rice was near Tongue Point when the accident happened, and requested assistance at 1:56 p.m.
Wednesday, said Bob Coster, civilian search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Group Astoria.
The agency launched a 25-foot response boat from Cape Disappointment, which towed the pleasure craft to
Astoria's West Mooring Basin.
Bomb on board the ferry? Nope, it's just Charlie
By Brian Alexander
Seattle Times staff reporter
Charlie Young had been given radioactive isotopes.
This is the story of how Charlie Young was mistaken for a nuclear weapon.
It begins during a trip to the cardiologist one afternoon last week. Young, a retired Boeing engineer, was on
a treadmill, an IV in his arm injecting him with radioactive isotopes as part of a test to check a stent that
had been put in his heart a year earlier.
Jump forward a few hours to Young sitting on the Kingston-Edmonds ferry, surrounded by State Patrol
troopers and Coast Guardsmen slowly moving toward his seat.
"It's here," Charlie remembers one of them saying, pointing at him and his backpack.
He noticed one of the men pointing a device in his direction.
Young — yes, literally the man himself — had set off a Coast Guard device used to detect nuclear weapons
and dirty bombs.
Young knew immediately that his treatment was causing a false alarm.
"They asked, 'Do you have any radioactive material?' And I said, 'Yes I do,' " he said.
After showing them his wound from the IV as proof, Young was let go without further attention, except
from some other passengers who continued to stare.
"There were a lot of people around asking them what was going on with me, but that was pretty much the
end of it," Young said. "I was happy to see that they were capable and in charge of the situation and
The Coast Guard says it isn't uncommon for the radiation pagers, commonly known as Geiger counters, to
register a false alarm since the Guard began using them shortly after 9/11.
Some things you wouldn't expect have enough radiation to set off the alarm — various medical treatments,
the porcelain in a toilet, even the potassium in a large shipment of bananas or cocoa.
"We do not take this lightly," said Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Ryan Erickson. "The Coast Guard takes this
mission, securing the ports, very seriously."
Erickson is in charge of a Coast Guard team that boards ships in Puget Sound to check for possible security
threats. Team members wear the counters to alert them to the presence of a possible nuclear weapon or
dirty bomb, even though the gadgets have never gone off because of either of those things.
The pager can pick up radiation from a treatment such as Young's from about 40 feet away, Erickson said.
The Coast Guard works with the State Patrol to provide security for the ferries, but Guard teams are rarely
aboard, Erickson explained. It was only because of a false bomb threat that had been made on the
Edmonds-Kingston run earlier that day that the Coast Guard was on the ferry at all.
The last time the Guard was on board the ferries was in December, and the team registered a false radiation
alarm on a person then, too, Erickson said.
Liquid-gas terminal bad for Columbia
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
By Tom Koenninger, Editor emeritus of The Columbian
Anyone with a glimmer of vision and the barest knowledge of the Lower Columbia River knows it must
not become an industrial estuary.
Yet, that is exactly what will happen if NorthernStar Natural Gas is allowed to build a liquefied natural gas
terminal at Bradwood Landing.
Some places on this planet should remain near to their vestigial state - lightly settled if at all - and the
Lower Columbia is one of them.
A few places remain today as they were in the time of Lewis and Clark. The natural beauty of this area - a
myriad of secondary channels to the river, forested hills and rugged, unbroken landscape - is still dominant.
Bradwood Landing, which appears to be the most active of five proposed sites in Oregon, could be built on
an old sawmill site opposite Cathlamet, near lower Puget Island. It would be 20 miles upstream from
Astoria, Ore. Once operational, it would unload 125 shiploads of liquefied natural gas annually.
NorthernStar, in a presentation to The Columbian's editorial board April 11, stressed a salmon-
enhancement initiative of $46 million to $59 million, and 450 construction jobs in a project that could start
next year, given permit approval. The Houston company's literature pledged millions in construction funds,
healthy tax payments and stated: "we put a high value on the quality of life we enjoy in the lower Columbia
and aim to improve and protect it."
NorthernStar said a poll taken in January favored the project. Steve Forester, publisher of the Astorian and
Matt Winters, editor of its sister newspaper, the Chinook Observer at Long Beach, confirmed the poll. They
said 42 percent supported the project and 40 percent opposed it. Critics scoffed that supporters lacked
Sure, there is a short-term economic gain in building the terminal and pipeline, and a promise of 65
permanent jobs for the facility. Then what? A certainty of long-term agony and regret.
This region will be changed forever, tainted and sullied by the intrusive natural gas operation. Peace and
tranquility that exist now will linger as memories.
"It would vastly disrupt things," said Robert Michael Pyle, author of 14 books and resident of Grays River
since 1979. Pyle holds a doctorate from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Besides books on the natural environment and other studies, he has written hundreds of papers, essays,
stories and poems.
His list of concerns from an LNG site includes pollution of the Columbia; noise pollution, visual pollution,
cultural damage and disruption through digging a 36-mile natural gas pipeline to connect with another
pipeline five miles north of Longview.
He also sees the operation as a terrorist target.
Earlier this month, NorthernStar asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to disregard Oregon
Department of Energy concerns. "NorthernStar clearly cares more about turning a big profit than the safety
of the community," George Exum, director of Wahkiakum Friends of the River, told The Daily Astorian for
a story May 8.
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, whose 3rd District includes this area, has maintained steadfast
Detailing many reasons to oppose the terminal, Baird said the most compelling is not expressed in words:
"It comes when you stand on the western tip of Puget Island, look across and downriver, listen to the quiet
and realize, all this will be changed, gone forever, if this project goes through. The lower Columbia is a
special and all-too-rare place that we can either preserve or sacrifice. If this project goes through as
proposed, it will be the beginning of the sacrifice. This is not the legacy I want to leave our children and
grandchildren. We need natural gas, but this is not the place for a terminal now and never should be."
Baird is correct. As one who has canoed the quiet and wildlife-enriched Grays and Deep rivers, tidal
channels and the lower Columbia, I can state that the price for this industrialization is too high. The LNG
terminal must be rejected, and federal protection similar to the Columbia River Gorge Act considered.
Otherwise, this land of peace and incredible beauty will cease to exist in its present condition.
Tom Koenninger is editor emeritus of The Columbian. His column of personal opinion appears on the
Other Opinions page each Wednesday. Reach him at
Helping the shipping industry cut down on ocean noise
By William T. Hogarth
Special to The Times
Underwater sound is not something most people think about, but they would if they lived in the ocean.
Since the dawn of industrialization, levels of background sound in the ocean, called ambient noise, have
steadily increased. By far the most significant increase is thought to be caused by man's growing use of the
ocean for shipping. The number of commercial vessels plying the world's oceans doubled between 1965
and 2003. Shipping-industry analysts forecast that the amount of cargo shipped will again double or triple
There is still no definitive evidence of exactly how and when increases in background sound may harm
marine species. However, there is general scientific consensus that at some point there are negative
consequences for marine animals that use sound as their primary sense.
One of the possible effects is that some manmade noise interferes with and masks whale songs and other
marine animal communication signals used in feeding, mating and navigating. The low frequencies
associated with ship sounds are very similar to sounds made by whales, some seals and sea lions, and fish
that use low-frequency sound to communicate. Exacerbating the potential problem is the fact that loud,
low-frequency sounds from large ships can travel hundreds of miles and become integrated into the general
din of ambient noise.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is leading an investigation into how best to reduce
chronic sound sources. NOAA's Ocean Acoustics Program recently hosted a dialogue among scientists,
vessel designers, builders, shipowners and operators on vessel-quieting techniques.
U.S. military and NOAA Fisheries research vessels have begun to use an array of quieting devices to try to
cut down on noise. These include modifications to propellers to allow them to more efficiently cut through
the water; mounting engines on cushions to reduce noise; and painting hulls with specially designed
coatings for dampening sound.
In some cases, quieting techniques may have the added bonus of allowing vessels to operate more
efficiently, using less fuel and saving on energy costs.
Given the success of these efforts, there is an interest in applying some of these technologies on large
commercial ships. The business community has shown interest in cooperating with NOAA scientists to
investigate changes that may decrease noise levels from vessels, especially if this effort boosts the
efficiency of ships. Leaders of industry also recognize the positive message that proactive measures could
send to a general public more and more concerned with protecting the environment.
We believe that successful cooperation between the public and private sectors can be a model of how to be
better stewards of the ocean environment and the marine resources that are our common heritage.
State ferry system to stick with old vessels on Port Townsend run
Four diesel electric-class vessels, the oldest used as ferries on salt water in the United States, will remain in
service on the Port Townsend-Keystone run, state officials have decided.
After six years and studies costing $5.5 million, a switch to larger boats had to be ruled out for the
foreseeable future largely because of the difficulty and expense of adapting the two small terminals for
larger vessels, said W. Michael Anderson, executive director of Washington State Ferries.
Parts of the studies will be useful in future planning, he said.
"The moneys that have been spent are not wasted," Anderson said. "It's not money that we're throwing
The Illahee, Klickitat, Nisqually and Quinault, built in 1927 with a capacity of about 60 cars and more than
600 passengers, are the only vessels in the state ferry fleet small enough for the terminals at Port Townsend
on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula and Keystone on the west side of Whidbey Island.
They have had problems with leaks and eventually must be replaced, probably with boats that can carry up
to 100 cars, but the state now has neither the funds nor a time frame for construction, and public opinion
also has to be considered, Anderson said Tuesday at a ferry committee meeting.
The four boats have "80-year-old hulls, and nothing lasts forever," Anderson said. "Eventually we're going
to have to replace them - and if we're going to replace them, let's look at what our communities want."
For motorists, the shortest alternative to the half-hour crossing is a combination of driving and two ferry
runs, Kingston-Edmonds and Clinton-Mukilteo.
If the Coast Guard finds one of the vessels to be unsafe, the other three will be shuffled to maintain service
on the route, Anderson said.
If all four are found to be unsafe, ferry officials will consider several emergency options, including
"scanning the world" for replacements or switching to passenger-only service, he said.
Ferry officials previously were considering the use of 144-car ferries between Keystone and Port
Townsend, but residents on both sides of the run didn't want boats that big.
"This is exactly what we were hoping for," Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard said.
Construction of the 144-car ferries, similar to the Issaquah-class boats with a capacity of about 1,500
passengers and usable on other runs, has been stalled by wrangling among area shipyards.
Legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Chris Gregoire allows Todd Pacific Shipyards of Seattle, J.M.
Martinac Shipbuilding Corp. of Tacoma and Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Whidbey Island to work
together in getting the first boat completed by 2009.
Lawmakers approved construction of the four ferries in 2001 and a contract was awarded to Todd in 2005,
but Martinac claimed it had been knocked out of the competition illegally and a judge agreed. More
litigation has followed.
Company representatives, legislators and state ferry officials met Tuesday in Seattle and agreed that if all
three can't come to terms, competitive bidding will be reopened between Todd Pacific and Martinac, and if
one falls out of the running the state could make a deal with the other, said Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig
Harbor, a former Navy captain.
"They all recognize we need to find a way to get out of the courts and into the ferries," Seaquist said.
By Ron Jackimowicz, Cuisine editor
Tuesday, May 15, 2007 11:22 AM PDT
EASTSIDE - Marie Webb has been in the Bay Area for three years. She knows she's likely to be moving
across country next summer.
Such is the life of a Coast Guard wife.
Webb's husband, Tony, is a Chief Yeoman with the Coast Guard Group/Air Station North Bend. The Coast
Guard Group serves the Oregon Coast from Depoe Bay to the California border.
The Coast Guard Spouses' Association, which has about 40 members and is open to any active duty or
retired spouses, has been active in the Bay Area for a number of years.
Webb said the group puts on a Christmas party for the kids at which Santa Claus comes in by helicopter.
There also are parties at Halloween and on Coast Guard Day. Any time someone transfers in, there's a
The group also provides support in times of need. It has a lending closet, an effort spearheaded by Meghan
Moorehouse, that provides necessities for new transfers while they are waiting for their possessions to
“We're a family within a family,” Webb said. “We're a social organization, but we do a charitable event
This year the spouses' association decided to fund two scholarships in the Bay Area by doing a cookbook,
Coasties Culinary Creations. There's a little bit of everything in the 108-page book, from Chocolate Chip
Bars to Crawfish Etouffee.
The recipes show the diversity of the Coast Guard, with recipes influenced by where people have been
This year's recipients of the $750 scholarships were Carli Bowman and Sara Marroquin of North Bend
High School. The announcement was made Thursday night at the group's annual installation dinner.
Many of Marie Webb's recipes (Sopaipillas and Mexican Cornbread) were influenced by growing up in
Santa Fe, N.M., but she also has plenty of other baking recipes, including the Cappuccino Cake (page 84)
she made for this story.
But it took a little extra work to keep the Cappuccino Cake intact.
“The last time I made it, it didn't make it to daylight,” Webb said. “Tony was saying how good the cake
smelled, so I made some oatmeal cookies at the same time.”
After college, Webb moved to Petaluma, Calif., to teach music. It was there that she came up with her
recipe for Cappuccino Cake. Every month, she'd bake up a cake for the teachers who had a birthday that
month. So Webb would ask the celebrants what type of cake they liked. One month, a lady liked chocolate
and coffee, but didn't like frosting.
This sent Webb scurrying to the Internet. First she found a bundt cake recipe to fill the no-frosting request,
then went about combining several other recipes to get the chocolate and coffee flavors.
The teaching job also is where the Webbs met.
“I worked as a musician in San Francisco for 12 years on
the side and taught private lessons in my spare time,” Marie said. “He was looking for music lessons for
his son. His son doesn't take (drum) lessons any more, but I married his dad.”
And the beat goes on.
About 100 copies of Coasties Culinary Creations were still available at press time. Those who would like to
purchase a copy can e-mail treasurer Robin Witters at: email@example.com
Peninsula tribes to share $10 million of shellfish settlement
By Jim Casey
Peninsula Daily News
Five tribes on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal will share a $10 million slice of a $33 million
settlement with commercial shellfish growers.
The total settlement will be split among 17 Washington treaty tribes in a buyout of their rights to shellfish
farmed on the state's tidelands.
In return, commercial shellfish growers needn't share their harvest with the tribes.
On the North Olympic Peninsula, the Makah, Lower Elwha Klallam and Jamestown S'Klallam tribes will
receive parts of the $10 million, along with the Port Gamble S'Klallam and Skokomish tribes.
Sonya Tetnowski, executive director of the Lower Elwha, said the groups haven't reached an agreement on
dividing the money.
Thus, she said Wednesday, it was premature to speculate on how the tribes would spend it.
Tony Forsman, chief negotiator for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, said the tribes probably
would place the money into a trust "to build some projects in the future."
The commission approved the settlement Tuesday.
A federal judge still must endorse it by June 29.
The settlement stemmed from a 1995 federal court ruling that entitled the tribes to a share of farmed
shellfish on certain state and private beds.
Under the agreement, they will relinquish their harvesting rights - although they could resume harvesting if
the beds are no longer used commercially.
Bill Taylor of Shelton-based Taylor Shellfish Farms, the West Coast's largest shellfish company, said he
was thrilled to have the matter settled.
"This has been a huge anvil hanging over our heads for almost 18 years," Taylor told the Kitsap Sun
Besides the tribes on the Strait and the canal, three tribes south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will share
$15 million, and seven tribes in north Puget Sound will share $8 million.
The Legislature approved $11 million for tribal payments last year.
Congress has approved the first $7 million of its share, with annual payments of $5 million to continue until
An additional $1.5 million was put into a contingency fund for tribes that may receive treaty rights in the
future, such as the Samish tribe in northern Puget Sound.
"This ends more than 20 years of dispute and allows the tribes money to go and buy lands themselves
rather than going on the lands of growers or private individuals," said U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair.
Dicks represents the 6th Congressional District in Washington, which includes the North Olympic
Peninsula's Clallam and Jefferson counties.
State Ferries takes new tack on Port Townsend-Keystone route
Jeff Chew, Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND - Washington State Ferries is now planning smaller vessels for the Port Townsend-
Keystone run and to keep the Keystone terminal on Whidbey Island at its existing location, Mike
Anderson, State Ferries executive director, said Wednesday.
"That will mean we will look at vessels of 100 cars or less," Anderson said in a phone interview after he
announced the change of course to Port Townsend Ferry Advisory Committee members at the Pope Marine
More than a year ago, Ferries officials proposed fewer runs with larger ferries carrying between 124 and
144 cars and a Port Townsend terminal that would extend 180 feet into Port Townsend Bay for 70
additional holding spaces on the dock.
Anderson said Wednesday that the new tack was in great part the result of public comments from both
sides of the ferry run.
The change aims at establishing vessels that will carry between 60 and 100 vehicles, but which are no
smaller than the 80-year-old Steel Electric vessels now in use.
The vessels are the oldest ferries in the world, State Ferries officials say.
The idea is to have more ferry runs, possibly using three vessels in the future, if community members
approve, said Anderson.
This would stem the stream of traffic that flows from ferries at peak periods, backing up on Sims Way, Port
Townsend's main state Highway 20 entrance.
Anderson said the new approach will also consider the ferry route as a whole rather than separately looking
at Port Townsend and Keystone facilities.
The idea has some risks, said Anderson.
"If for any reason that the (Steel Electric) class was not allowed to operate, then we would not have another
boat to operate up there," Anderson said.
"So that is the risk."
This could happen if the Coast Guard declined safety certification for any of the four Steel Electrics.
The ferry system planning and expansion delay could also mean the aging ferries may not be replaced for
years to come.
"The scary thing is, given the planning process, it is unlikely we will see any new vessel for at least 10
years out," said Tim Caldwell, Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce general manager and a Port
Townsend Ferry Advisory Committee member.
Caldwell has long been active in attempts to establish passenger ferry service between Port Townsend, Port
Ludlow and Seattle.
"That means we could run the Steel Electrics until they are 90 years old," he said.
"We will have to come up with new money to replace them with new boats on this route."
The new direction comes after Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday signed legislation, House Bill 2358, which
essentially puts statewide ferry expansion efforts on hold.
The two-year $7.4 billion state transportation budget proposal delays $36 million that was earmarked for
Port Townsend ferry terminal expansion.
HB 2358 states that the Legislature finds from the 2006 Washington State Ferries financing study that the
state has limited information on state ferry users and markets.
Such information is vital for finding ways to maximize the ferry system's current capacity and to make
efficient use of tax dollars, the legislation said.
The delay in funding ferry system expansion is intended to allow the State Ferries system to regroup and
come up with something other than a one-size-fits-all ferry plan that includes the Port Townsend-Keystone
The legislation provides for $1 million to go toward new Port Townsend-Keystone ferry run planning
Anderson said he hoped the new approach would allow the ferry system to go to more maneuverable and
It will certainly allow new vessel analysis before a viable option is placed on the table.
"You gotta make a decision that is flexible enough to go to the long term," said Anderson.
Asked if expansion of Port Townsend's ferry terminal could still happen, Anderson said, "That decision is
not to be made today."
Win for community
Deputy Mayor Michelle Sandoval - a driving City Council force behind the ferry financing legislation
through Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, and Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island - said after
"I think the biggest win for our community is the acknowledgment that a boat for 100 cars or less would be
at the bookends" of the Port Townsend-Keystone runs.
"We feel that we were instrumental in getting that legislation passed," Sandoval said of HB 2358.
She said she was also pleased with the partnership Port Townsend has with Keystone under the new
approach, rather than the two operating as separate entities on either side of Admiralty Inlet.
Sandoval said another state ferries decision is that an environmental impact statement would be done for
"I was not very happy that they determined that Whidbey would have an EIS, but not on this side,"
"Now they are saying it is going to be determined as a significant project, and that we are going to offset
significant impact on this side."
Sandoval also said she hoped the ferry system would "look at operations in general, a systemic look,
including the reservations system."
A pilot ferry reservation system, which Sandoval helped push through state Transportation Commission
approval, is expected to be launched at the Port Townsend terminal in about a year.
Elephant seal moved to Coast Guard base
By Brian Gawley
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES - GT678L, a northern elephant seal that took up residence on City Pier last week, was
moved Thursday morning.
The animal is continuing its annual monthlong molting process on a beach inside the Coast Guard base on
Ediz Hook, where the public is not permitted.
"There was no real stress on the animal," said Bob Steelquist of the Olympic Coast National Marine
"It went very smoothly."
Sanctuary and city employees used a hoop net, which has a semi-rigid entrance and a heavy net that
constricts as the animal moves inside.
"The animal actually looked very peaceful," Steelquist said.
"It went in the net, was covered up and then put into a trailer and moved to Ediz Hook."
The northern elephant seal, a juvenile female estimated to weigh 300 pounds, swam ashore at Hollywood
Beach about 9:30 a.m. May 10.
It made its way to a grassy area outside the Arthur D. Feiro Marine Life Center to begin an annual molt of
A large area in front of the Marine Life Center was taped off to protect both the animal and the public.
Volunteers from the Olympic Coast Discovery Center acted as sentries and information sources for a steady
stream of people who strolled by.
But people did not stay out of that area, said city spokeswoman Teresa Pierce.
The move was "for the protection of the public and her as well," she said.
Viral, bacterial and fungal diseases can be transmitted both from the seal and to the seal from people and
pets, Pierce said.
Steelquist said the decision to move GT678L came at the request of the Northwest Marine Mammal
It was done in the animal's best interests, he said.
"This will keep her safe and ensure people can enjoy City Pier, too. I think it's a very happy ending."
The seal was from the Año Nuevo State Reserve, 55 miles south of San Francisco.
The reserve is the site of the largest mainland breeding colony in the world for the northern elephant seal,
which ranges from Baja California to the Aleutian Islands.
The animal's origin was traced through a tag that was attached to its hind flipper on March 25, 2006.
The animal was tagged by researchers Bernie J. Le Boeuf, Richard Condit and Joanne Reiter at the
University of California, Santa Cruz, as part of a project documenting northern elephant seals' survival and
The seal could return to Hollywood Beach, since elephant seals typically show a great deal of preference
for their chosen molting places, Steelquist said.
Barricades have been erected to prevent the seal from entering the City Pier pavilion area if she does return,
"I would like to emphasis, I think we all are incredibly appreciative of the care the public showed,"
"It was a real educational experience for whole community.
"It really showed people want to do the right thing."
Immigration deal calls for biggest changes since 1965
By Jonathan Weisman
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — A sprawling bipartisan immigration deal announced Thursday is designed to bring an
estimated 12 million illegal immigrants out of society's shadows while cracking down on U.S. border
security and employers.
The compromise — three months in the making and a 380-page product of talks among key Senate
Republicans and Democrats and Bush administration officials — could become the most significant change
to the nation's immigration system in more than 40 years. President Bush hailed the deal as "one that will
help enforce our borders, but equally importantly, it will treat people with respect."
But while immigration proponents and opponents lauded the effort, both sides — including Democratic
leaders in the House and Senate — said they could torpedo the legislation, after the Senate takes up the bill
next week and the House turns to its version in July.
The Senate deal would grant temporary legal status to virtually all illegal immigrants in the country, while
allowing them to apply for residence visas and eventual citizenship.
A temporary-worker program would allow up to 400,000 migrants each year, but they would have to leave
after two years. And the visa system, which stresses family ties, would be augmented by a point system that
would favor skilled, educated workers. Those changes would take effect only after implementation of tough
border controls and a crackdown on the employment of illegal immigrants.
"The question is do you want to solve the problem, or do you want to complain about it?" Homeland
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said. "... This is about solving it."
But compromises needed to win the support of a liberal lion such as Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and a
conservative illegal-immigration foe such as Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., opened it to attacks from all sides.
Democratic leaders were leery of three pivotal concessions to conservatives. The first pegs access to long-
term visas for illegal immigrants and the new guest-worker program on implementation of the border
crackdown — new agents, unmanned aerial vehicles, fencing, vehicle barriers, radar, camera towers, funds
for the detention of illegal immigrants, and new identification tools to detect illegal workers.
Skeptics say that would take years; Chertoff insisted it could be done in 18 months.
Another sticking point came from replacing an immigration system primarily designed to reunify families
with a point system that would give new emphasis to skills and education. Automatic family reunification
visas no longer would apply to adult siblings and children of U.S. citizens, and visas for parents would be
Instead, points would be granted for migrants with work experience in high-demand occupations, who have
worked for a U.S.-based firm. Additional points would be based on education levels, English proficiency
and family ties.
In 1965, an immigration system based on national origins was replaced with a system designed to unite
families. It also shifted the origin of most immigrants, and limited visas.
To Republicans, the proposed point system would make the nation more competitive economically while
opening access to a wider array of migrants. But to immigration groups, it would be a radical break from
existing U.S. law.
"We want to see an immigration-reform debate on the Senate floor. We want to see this move forward. But
we are wildly uncomfortable with a lot of what we're hearing," said Cecilia Munoz, chief lobbyist for the
National Council of La Raza, a national Hispanic civil-rights and advocacy organization.
Finally, immigrants in the temporary-work program would have to leave after their permits expired, with
no chance for permanent residence. Labor unions say such a system would depress wages and create an
underclass; immigration advocates, including Hilary Stern, executive director of CASA Latina, a Seattle-
based organization, said such a program would encourage temporary workers to go underground when
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also expressed serious concerns about the temporary-worker
provision and the family-migration structure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., refused to sign the deal he
had helped negotiate.
In Washington state
Farmers have been pressing for guest-worker provisions for years in a bill called AgJOBS. Several,
including members of the Washington Growers Association and the Washington Apple Commission, were
in Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for support for hiring immigrant workers before harvests starting
with cherries next month.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., co-sponsored House AgJOBS bills the past three years. He has called the
current visa process overly burdensome. A spokeswoman said Larsen is eager to see details of Thursday's
Alicia Mundy, Seattle Times Washington, D.C., bureau
Conservatives were no less skeptical. Immigration legislation passed by the Senate last year identified three
categories of illegal immigrants, based on length of time in the country, and would have granted immediate
legal status only to those in the longest. Others would have had to return home or faced deportation. House
differences scuttled that bill.
This year's legislation would grant any illegal immigrant in the country before last January a permit to stay.
They then could apply for a new, four-year "Z visa," renewable indefinitely, as long as they pay a $5,000
fine and a $1,500 processing fee, show a clean work record and pass a criminal check.
The bill's authors "seem to think that they can dupe the American public into accepting a blanket amnesty if
they just call it 'comprehensive' or 'earned legalization' or 'regularization,' " said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-
Colo., a presidential candidate and strong opponent of illegal immigration. "The president is so desperate
for a legacy and a domestic-policy win that he is willing to sell out the American people and our national
The authors asked both sides to consider the alternative. Democrats and Republicans said the coming
weeks represent the last window of opportunity before the 2008 elections. If the bill fails, a system that
both sides see as hopelessly broken could go unremedied for years.
"Year after year, we've heard talk about reforming our system. We've heard the bumper-sticker solutions,
the campaign ads, and we know how divisive it is," Kennedy said. "Well, now it is time for action. 2007 is
the year we must fix our broken system."
Air-traveler screening is breaking privacy laws, says federal
By JENNIFER C. KERR
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department is breaking the law by not telling the public
exactly how personal information is used to screen international travelers, including Americans, say
One of the screening programs at issue is a computer-based system called the Automated Targeting System
that is used by the Customs and Border Protection agency to rate the risk posed by travelers coming to and
from the United States.
In its report, the Government Accountability Office said the department is not in full compliance with
privacy laws that require agencies to tell the public how the government uses their personal information.
"CBP's current disclosures do not fully inform the public about all of its systems for prescreening aviation
passenger information," the GAO report said Wednesday. "Nor do they explain how CBP combines data in
the prescreening process, as required by law."
The GAO, Congress' auditing agency, also said Customs has not publicly disclosed all the sources of data it
reviews on passengers, including information obtained from commercial sources. It did not explain what
those commercial sources may be and government officials declined to comment.
Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke defended the program.
"The GAO in this case is woefully uninformed and I think that Congress and the public are being poorly
served by this report," Knocke said. This program, he added, "has been the subject of more than 20
speeches or testimonies at hearings."
Except for two footnotes to documents sent to Congress, however, the administration's public references
primarily described the system as a cargo and passenger screening system without details of its operations.
Many officials were only aware of the cargo aspect of the screening system until last fall.
David Sobel, senior counsel at the rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the amount of detailed
public information now available to the government presents more of a concern about privacy today than
when the Privacy Act was first enacted after the Watergate scandal.
"There is a very good historical reason for the Privacy Act and DHS just seems to have a real blind spot
when it comes to compliance," said Sobel.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., also sounded a note of
"While we support rigorous security screening of airline passengers bound for the United States, Customs
and Border Protection must conduct this screening in a manner that protects our citizens' privacy rights,"
Thompson said in a statement.
The other prescreening process about which the GAO expressed disclosure concerns was the Advance
Passenger Information System, APIS, which uses information derived from passports or other government-
issued documents such as visas.
The Associated Press disclosed late last year that the Automated Targeting System used by Customs had
been developing risk assessments of millions of Americans over the last four years without their
knowledge. Those assessments were to be kept for 40 years and could be shared with state, local and
The ATS program compares passenger data, such as a passenger's name, address, credit card information
and data from government databases, such as a terrorist screening database, with a set of rules derived from
the government's knowledge of terrorists and criminals.
Government officials have declined to detail those rules, for security reasons. But the comparison results in
a risk assessment, which can prevent someone for boarding a plane or require additional screening
measures at the airport.
While the GAO found that Customs has disclosed aspects of the program, it said the agency has failed to
publish a "system of records notice or a privacy impact assessment that comprehensively describes the
entire prescreening process."