Conservation Report, October 2017
- Last Updated: September 24, 2017
By Tim Manns
On September 13 at Burlington Library, Skagit Audubon joined four other groups in a presentation about restoring grizzlies to the North Cascades and countering local political efforts to undermine the Endangered Species Act and open national public lands to increased resource extraction. This meeting was as well-attended as the similar one at Padilla Bay on July 19. The fact that our county commissioners use public revenues to involve Skagit County with extreme anti-environmental groups has been a revelation for many and not a happy one. The story behind the story continues to unfold as we learn about the commissioners’ paid helper in Washington, D.C.
A Public Records Request to Skagit County for emails, reports, invoices, and anything else related to Washington, D.C., lobbyist Robert K. Weidner released a first batch of files in early September. Since 2001 our county has paid Mr. Weidner a total of at least $137,000 to lobby on various topics, most of them accurately termed anti-environmental. “Bob” Weidner bills his expertise as “Environmental and Natural Resources Work,” and his regular invoices cite meetings with U.S. Senators, Representatives, and their staff. Bob’s plate has been especially full this year since our commissioners tapped him to head off the long-awaited start of grizzly restoration in the wild North Cascades, where people have all but wiped them out after thousands of years. For this Weidner billed you and me an additional $5,000, bringing his 2017 take from Skagit County to $20,000.