Environmental programs often take on a life of their own, completely separated from any analysis of whether they are working, or whether they are worth the money taxpayers pour into them. A local example of this phenomenon is the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP), which allegedly is “the state agency leading the region’s collective effort to restore and protect Puget Sound.”
Despite that lofty role, the PSP has few achievements since it was launched by then-Governor Christine Gregoire in 2007, despite having spent more than $50 million of Washington State taxpayer dollars in the last 8 years. Some critics have suggested it is of so little worth that it should be abolished.
A leader of the PSP since its inception, Martha Kongsgaard, takes a much different view. Kongsgaard, a very rich Seattle liberal who currently serves as the chair of the PSP’s governing board, took to the editorial pages of Seattle Times to extol the virtues of the PSP, and suggest the time is now to put even more taxpayer money into her pet project: “Making investments now … is money in the bank for coping with future change.”
Fortunately, someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in glossing over the science surrounding cleaning up Puget Sound took a look at both Kongsgaard’s op-ed and the PSP’s own report card – and the findings were not ones that would suggest more “investments” are the right course.
The Washington Policy Center’s Todd Myers reports, “Martha Kongsgaard wrote in the Seattle Times last week that we must ‘Take Action Now for a Healthy Puget Sound.’ Problematically for Kongsgaard, we were supposed to have been acting for the last eight years, but according to the Partnership’s own report, we are behind schedule in most targets.”
That’s right, using the PSP’s own assessments of what needs to be done shows that the PSP is actually getting very little done. Myers concludes, “I will agree that the health of Puget Sound deserves our attention, but the person who has enjoyed the job of working on that issue for the past eight years should be examining why her agency has failed before demanding more from others.”