The Great American Outdoors Act: A landmark conservation victory

I was a young man, or so it seemed, when writing first stories on the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the dumping of raw sewage by Victoria into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Seattle P-I’s initial throne speech on Victoria sewage ran in 1991, sharing front page with Gulf War I.

A few weeks into retirement, finally decades-old controversies nearing a happy end.

The Great American Outdoors Act, passed Wednesday by House, assures $900 million annual funding for LWCF.

Finally! This source of conservation/recreation $$$s has been shortchanged for years.

Kudos to Senator Cantwell who has fought years for the program.

Brickbats to doofus Rep. Dan Newhouse, the one Washington lawmaker who voted No.

Doesn’t Newhouse have anything better to do with a seat in Congress than voting against recreation dollars and wanting to make it easier to kill wolves

In meantime, construction of sewage treatment by Capital Regional District nears completion.The CRD put up a Stalingrad-worthy bureaucratic defense, keyed to argument that the Strait functioned as a giant toilet.

Never, however, was story more fun to cover.

It featured “Mr. Floatie”, a Victoria grad student who dressed up in costume as six foot tall turd, with sailor hat and falsetto voice, to bombard tight-lipped officialdom with bad puns. He tried to run for mayor.

And. . . Unforgettable episode of KCTS’ “Seattle Week in Review.”

Tim Egan made joke about one Victoria Clipper passenger looking at water, and saying, “That’s no Baby Ruth bar.”

I said sewage issue urgently needed full attention of the Privy Council.The following Monday, I received outraged call from the Rt. Hon. David Anderson, M.P., Q.C., Canada’s Minister of the Environment and MP from Victoria.

Anderson had been watching from across the water, and loudly insisted: The solution to pollution was dilution.

Our executive editor, J.D. Alexander took exception to such slugs on the story budget as POOP29 and TURD. I was reminded that Hearst overseers received all of our story budgets. Ultimately, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics caused image-conscious B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell to proclaim it was time to get off the pot. The foot dragging would drag on.

Will never again be talking head on KCTS, but am flush with pride that Victoria will finally be treating its waste.

Now, to shield the Strait from expanded oil tanker traffic.