On May 3, Washington became the second state in the country to prohibit seabed mining, providing permanent protection to the marine environment from this destructive practice.
Senate Bill 5145 was introduced by Senators Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) and Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) on January 12 during Washington’s 2021 Legislative session.
“Seabed mining is bad for sea life, bad for our environmental health, and bad for our future,” said Washington state Senator, Kevin Van De Wege. “This legislative movement will ensure our marine ecosystems, our fisheries and our coastal communities don’t turn into offshore strip-mines.”
Washington Wild supported the bill by signing onto a comment letter sent to Governor Inslee.
Mining the seafloor could cause significant damage to commercial and recreational fisheries, marine wildlife, and the communities and tribal nations that depend on them, according to PEW Charitable Trust.
Coastal communities rely on the ocean to sustain jobs, sense of place, and spiritual practice. Seabed mining would harm these communities, impact tribal sovereign rights including but not limited to treaty fish and shellfish, and disrupt fishing and shellfish opportunities for all. Seabed mining jeapordizes the health of wildlife on and near the seafloor that are critical to our ecosystem as well as commercially important species like groundfish, halibut, and Dungeness crab.
We’re glad to see this preventative protection put in place before it’s too lage.