I applaud King County Executive Dow Constantine’s plan to invest in new stormwater-treatment equipment [“We have the know-how and no time to waste to save Puget Sound,” Jan. 16, Opinion]. This is smart stewardship of the public infrastructure that will no doubt aid in the recovery of aquatic creatures.
But the elephants — or, more accurately, homo sapiens — in the room are the dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and the pending Port of Seattle cruise-ship terminal expansion to Terminal 46. Our government leaders need to go beyond half measures and bold but ultimately empty talk when it comes to saving our resident orcas from extinction, and the urgent need to radically decarbonize our economy.
Although port commissioners give speeches on green cruise ships and environmental mitigation, much of this is speculative and not feasible at present. And none of this can meaningfully offset the increased strain on local neighborhoods and businesses, the millions of tons of carbon emissions annually the Seattle cruise market is already responsible for, or the added stress the engine noise will cause to orcas and marine life between here and Alaska.
We are running out of time for empty words. We need courageous action.
Jordan Van Voast, Seattle