Latest News

Pull Together Against Kinder Morgan @ Upcoming Benefit Concerts!

by Friends of the San Juans on March 10, 2017 No comments

Pull Together: First Nations Standing Against Kinder Morgan Benefit Concerts and Talks – Coming to an Island Near You!

Mar. 30, San Juan Island , Brickworks

Mar. 31, Orcas, Westsound Community Center

Apr. 1, Lopez, Woodmen Hall

Apr. 2, Anacortes, Seafarers Memorial Park Bldg.

(all events are from 7-8:30 p.m.)

Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project poses unacceptable risks to our oceans and waterways, our climate, economies, and communities. It must never be built. Canadian First Nations have vowed to stop it in the courts. To support their legal funds, people, businesses, and community groups are hosting community events to raise funds and build community. Join us at one of these benefit concerts in the San Juans as we pull together to save our waters!

Share and RSVP on Facebook at the links below:

San Juan (3/30):

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Friends of the San JuansPull Together Against Kinder Morgan @ Upcoming Benefit Concerts!

Check out our new “Living with the Shoreline” Guide!

by Friends of the San Juans on February 2, 2017 No comments

Click here to view the new “Living with the Shoreline” guide.

Waterfront properties in the San Juan Islands are part of a beautiful, complex, and increasingly fragile marine ecosystem that supports salmon, rockfish, seabirds, whales and human communities. Decisions made by owners of shoreline property can influence more than just their land. As one property owner noted “I wondered what can I, as one small person, do to help all of the animals that live in the water? It turns out that the orca feed on salmon, and salmon feed on the tiny little fish that spawn on my beach. For this reason, I will do all I can to keep our shoreline natural.”

To help provide information about cost effective and natural approaches to protecting waterfront property, Friends of the San Juans recently completed a new “Living with the Shoreline Stewardship Guide.” The colorful and accessible guide provides extensive technical information and resources on key topics of interest including vegetation management, coastal erosion and flooding, and the protection and restoration of habitat. Local landowners and properties are also highlighted throughout.

The shoreline guide will be mailed to all waterfront property owners in February. Everyone, not just waterfront landowners, can learn something new about our island community. Click here to download the guide, or pick up a copy at the Friends of the San Juans office 650 Mullis St. Suite 201 in Friday Harbor.

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Friends of the San JuansCheck out our new “Living with the Shoreline” Guide!

Action Alert: Comment on the Oil Transportation Safety Bill!

by Friends of the San Juans on January 29, 2017 No comments

The 2017 Legislative Session is now in full swing and oil transportation is a hot issue. Despite the critical gains around public disclosure and preparedness measures, significant gaps remain that put our communities and waterways at risk of an oil spill or other such disaster.

In response, Representative Farrell (46th) and Senator Carlyle (36th) introduced the Oil Transportation Safety bill (HB 1611 / SB 5462). Highlights of the bill include:

  • Ensuring the oil industry pays in the case of a spill or other disaster;
  • Updating the funding for prevention, preparedness and response;
  • Protecting Puget Sound and the Salish Sea from increased oil barges and other vessels from the Kinder Morgan Pipeline;
  • Protecting against refineries turning into transshipment terminals; and
  • Strengthening oversight of pipeline safety.

This is a great time to engage and show your support!

Two hearings have been scheduled on the bill – Thursday, February 2nd at 10 a.m. in the Senate and the following Monday, February 6th at 1:30 p.m. in the House.

You can also call the committee members (at the numbers below) and tell them that this is a key piece of legislation they should support. Click here to send an email to your legislators as well.

The Oil Transportation Safety Bill is a key step to holding the oil industry accountable and ensures that Washingtonians are put first.

Given the Trump Administration’s support of the oil industry, it is now more important than ever to make sure that we here in Washington are holding the line against fossil fuels. We can do this!

We will also be talking about the oil transportation safety bill in person at the Salish Sea Stands on Capitol Hill Day on February 13 – join us there too! There will be a shuttle bus for islanders from Anacortes. Click here for more details about the 13th.

Senate Energy, Environment, Telecommunications Committee (for SB5 5462):

Senator Ericksen; (42),

Senator Sheldon: (35),

Senator Carlyle; (36), 360-786 –

Senator Brown; (8),

Senator Hobbs; (44),

Senator Honeyford; (15) 360-786 – 7684,

Senator Ranker; (40) 360-786- 7678,

Senator Wellman; (41) 360-786- 7641,


House Environment Committee (for HB 1611):

Rep. Fitzgibbon (34), (360)

Rep. Peterson (21), (360)

Rep. Shea (4), (360)

Rep. Short (7), (360)

Rep. Dye (9), (360)

Rep. Fey (27), (360)

Rep. Kagi (32), (360)

Rep. McBride (48), (360)

Rep. Taylor (15), (360)

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Friends of the San JuansAction Alert: Comment on the Oil Transportation Safety Bill!

Canada Approved the Kinder Morgan Project – What’s next?

by Friends of the San Juans on December 2, 2016 No comments

Concerned by the national election results and now the Canadian government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Transmountain Pipeline expansion? We are too.

It is clear that our work at Friends is more difficult and more necessary than ever. With both threats and opportunities before us, let’s stand together to protect this place and the communities we love!  Here’s how you can help us defend our waters.

1. Join in on an upcoming community conversation with Friends’ board and staff. Please join us for a discussion about how together we can use local actions in the San Juan Islands to create positive change in 2017 and beyond. There is a lot we can do by using our collective power to create innovative, lasting solutions for our climate, energy, housing, food, wildlife, and communities. We’d love to hear from you and get your ideas as well.

San Juan: Mon., Dec. 12, 10:30 am -12 pm, Friends of San Juans office, 640 Mullis Street

Orcas: Wed., Dec. 14, 12:30-2 pm, 376 Conference room, 596 Main Street

Shaw: Wed., Dec. 14, 4-5 pm, Shaw Community Center

Lopez: Thu., Dec. 15, 10:30-12:00 pm, Lopez Library, 2225 Fisherman Bay Road

If you are unable to join us, feel free to call so we can talk. Or, host a similar conversation of your own and let us know if we can help.

2. Call on Washington’s Governor and federal delegation to communicate our opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the Canadian Federal decision makers and B.C. Provincial officials – click here to keep telling Canada no on the Kinder Morgan Pipeline! Canadian officials have made a decision that threatens the environment and economy of Washington. The massive Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline threatens our shared waters, shared economies, shared climate, and the Southern Resident orcas. The pipeline would result in a nearly seven-fold increase in dangerous tar sands oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea. We need to keep telling Canada that we will not accept the 800% increase in the risk of a 20,000 barrel or larger oil spill over the next ten years in Haro Strait/Boundary Pass. It’s not over yet, and Friends remains steadfastly engaged with the issue with the many organizations and tribes who oppose the project. We will keep you posted on all opportunities that need your involvement and voice.

3. Support Friends’ Safe Shipping program. Sadly, the Kinder Morgan approval wasn’t a surprise. While Friends is dedicated to preventing fossil fuel export from degrading the Salish Sea, we also need to be prepared for increased shipping so we can be proactive about protecting our San Juan Island waterways and Salish Sea from vessel traffic risks. We are currently working to press for oil spill prevention and advocate for a clean energy future; achieve legal protections; improve habitat management; and reduce threats to vulnerable species. Click here to make a gift to the Safe Shipping program and our annual fund—all dollars received before the end of the year will be matched, up to $25,000.

Thank you for your support and your voice! Together, our voices make a difference!

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Friends of the San JuansCanada Approved the Kinder Morgan Project – What’s next?

Plastic Bag Ban Passes in San Juan County!

by Friends of the San Juans on October 26, 2016 No comments

On October 25th, the San Juan County Council passed an ordinance that will ban single use plastic bags in the county as of May 1, 2017! Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen – Friday Harbor and Spring Street International middle schoolers who testified at the hearing (and pictured above), Friends supporters who signed our petition, all three councilmen who voted yes, Mark Herrenkohl (Solid Waste Program Administrator), the Solid Waste Advisory Committee and the many other community members who rallied around this important ordinance that will help protect our marine environment!

Click here to learn more about the ordinance.

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Friends of the San JuansPlastic Bag Ban Passes in San Juan County!

Shell Pulled Its Oil-By-Rail Project in Anacortes!

by Friends of the San Juans on October 19, 2016 No comments

Shell Puget Sound Refinery announced on October 6 that it is dropping its plans to construct a crude oil-by-rail facility at March Point near Anacortes. This proposal will no longer threaten communities across the Northwest by increasing the risk of derailments, devastating explosions, and toxic spills in Padilla Bay and the larger Salish Sea.

This decision follows the stand taken by Friends and our partner organizations to successfully appeal Skagit County’s determination of non-significance in 2014, which then required the project to undergo an environmental impact study. Thousands of citizens showed up to hearings, submitted public comments, and rallied to voice concerns about the dangers of transporting highly volatile Bakken crude in trains.

This win is a testament to the power and the dedication of community members.  Here in the Pacific NW, we have the wind behind us in fighting fossil fuels. When we appealed the inadequate environmental review, many said it was unstoppable. By joining together, we proved we can protect ourselves from Big Oil!

If you’re in Seattle on October 26, join in the “sHell No Celebration” at 6:30 p.m at Peddler Brewing Company.  Click here for details and to RSVP.

Check out this article, West Coast Deals Four Major Blows to Big Oil, for more details on how communities are successfully standing up to the dangers of fossil fuel export.

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Friends of the San JuansShell Pulled Its Oil-By-Rail Project in Anacortes!

Raise your voice: Comment on Millennium’s Coal Export Terminal Today!

by Friends of the San Juans on August 31, 2016 No comments

Let’s get this over the finish line. Together we have resolutely stood up to Big Coal for the past six years.  Now is our moment to say NO to what would be the nation’s largest coal export terminal. Please submit your comment to block the proposed Millennium’s coal export terminal today.  

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released their draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed coal export terminal in Longview, WA. This comment period is critical. With your help, we can block the last remaining coal export terminal in the Pacific Northwest.

Last spring, the Washington Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County issued their draft EIS for the coal port and, with your help, we broke records—filing over a quarter million public comments, and packing hearings across Washington State. Each of these agencies –including the Army Corps of Engineers – are responsible for different permits for the proposed coal port and are looking at the environmental impacts through different lenses.

The Columbia River may be many miles away from our homes in the San Juan Islands, but we are all connected by the endangered Southern Resident orcas. Our islands’ icons swim that distance for sustenance – Columbia Chinook salmon (also listed as endangered). The proposed Millennium coal export project, if approved, would increase the number of vessels navigating the Columbia to and from Asia. Any increase in ships, and their hazardous cargo and fuel, elevates the risk of accidents and spills in the river and surrounding coastal waters — salmon waters — further jeopardizing the orcas’ fragile existence.

In San Juan County, our tourism economy and island way of life are inseparable from the fate of the orcas. For islanders, protecting them is both a federal and personal mandate.

This project will also spread toxic coal dust in dozens of Northwest communities, clog our railroads and ports, risk our families’ health, pollute our air and water, and stoke the climate crisis. These negative repercussions will eventually reach our islands. We have the opportunity now to speak up for the health of our county’s environment and economy by supporting the “no-action alternative” for this project.

You can review the draft EIS here.

Now’s your chance to live up to our region’s reputation for standing up against dirty fossil fuels. Please make a comment and support the health of our communities, climate, salmon and Southern Resident orcas.

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Friends of the San JuansRaise your voice: Comment on Millennium’s Coal Export Terminal Today!

How can Islanders save 77 Million Gallons of Water this Year?

by Friends of the San Juans on August 28, 2016 No comments

With summer underway, some islanders are already feeling the heat-and the drought. Some wells are already being starved of fresh water, which makes the rainy autumn season seem a long way off. As climate change affects our region, including our water tables, adopting climate resilient strategies for a sustainable future is critical. Islanders can do their part by conserving resources from water, to food, to energy. This April many islanders did just that, joining Friends in doing  “Just One” earth friendly activity a day, to see how making simple changes can add up to significant resource conservation.

Over 50 islanders, including students, took on the Earth Month challenge in April to help make the San Juan Islands a healthy, resilient, and thriving community. Citizens tracked their actions, and Friends quantified the results. By doing things like walking instead of driving, taking shorter showers, shopping locally, replacing red meat with vegetables or chicken, and unplugging electrical strips when not in use, participants led the way in making our Island community more sustainable. This exercise revealed that large changes begin with small actions that, when shared across a community can have dramatic effects.

Extrapolating the Results:

  • Islanders shortened their showers to 5 minutes or less 153 times, saving roughly 1,009 gallons of water. If all 16,000 islanders take 5-minute showers instead of the average 11 minutes, the island community would save roughly 77 million gallons of water per year, resulting in fuller aquifers and wells year round.
  • Islanders made 214 trips by foot or bike instead of by car. If 1 out 10 people switched to an alternative form of transportation, CO2 emissions would drop by 25.4 million tons per year.
  • Islanders substituted chicken, fish, and veggies for beef 259 times. If all US citizens chose a vegetarian diet- it is equivalent to removing 46 million cars from the road.
  • Islanders shopped locally 112 times.  If every family in Mount Vernon metro area spent $10 a month at a local store $3,632,261 would feed back into the community.

Several Earth-month participants were randomly selected and awarded prizes for their effort. Chuck and Rita O’Clair of San Juan Island won dinner to Mike’s Café and Wine Bar and to Aiyanna O’Prussack won a youth play pack (featured picture). “We applaud these community heroes for leading the way toward sustainability,” stated Stephanie Buffum, Executive Director of Friends.    

To learn more about Friends of the San Juans, visit or call 360-378-2319.

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Friends of the San JuansHow can Islanders save 77 Million Gallons of Water this Year?

The Salish Sea, a Vessel Highway?

by Friends of the San Juans on August 28, 2016 No comments

If all the new and expanding terminal and refinery projects in the Salish Sea are permitted and developed, including projects that became operational in 2014, Vessel transit mapthere would be a 43% increase in large, commercial marine vessel traffic.

FRIENDS and San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping have released the Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections featuring 18 new or expanded proposed or recently completed projects, which cumulatively would add an additional 5,300 annual vessel transits to and fromports in British Columbia and Washington State.

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Friends of the San JuansThe Salish Sea, a Vessel Highway?