In many ways, the upcoming 2010 Legislative Session will be even more challenging than what we encountered last year. When lawmakers return to Olympia in January, they will be dealing with a $2.6 billion budget deficit.
Even though it is less than the budget shortfall last year, this year's problem is actually more challenging in many respects. Last year, there was the assistance of federal stimulus money. Not so, this year. Last year, there were opportunities to find more efficient ways to spend money and get similar outcomes. This year, those opportunities are pretty much gone.
No more tweaks available--whole programs are on the chopping block.
Furthermore, we are heading into what promises to be another contentious midterm electoral cycle.
In these challenging economic times, our leaders in Olympia need to stand up and make smart decisions that not only support economic recovery but also protect our environment.
This year, the Environmental Priorities Coalition has chosen three priority proposals to support during Washington State's legislative session that aim to meet this need. Together, they will deliver healthy communities and sustainable green jobs.
Our 2010 Priorities help ensure clean water, create new jobs, reduce the threat of toxic chemicals, and maintain core environmental protections in a time of slashed budgets.
In addition, the coalition is dedicated to maintaining the strength and integrity of the Citizen's Clean Energy Initiative, I-937. We will ensure that the Legislature delivers on the commitment to building a clean energy economy and supporting green jobs. By doing so, we will decrease both our fossil fuel dependence and climate pollution. Click here to check out dates for several ways you can help directly impact the legislative session!
December 3, 2009
10,270 acre site links Mount Si to federal forests
OLYMPIA – At the annual Mountains to Sound Greenway Dinner last night, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark designated the new Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). The river valley was identified as ecologically distinguished, featuring patches of natural-origin forests, important fish and wildlife habitat, and scenic views.
This natural area, with 10,270 acres within its boundary, is nested along Interstate 90, and flanked by the Mount Si NRCA and federal forests. It will offer habitat corridors for many large and small animal species alike, and it will support the vision of the Mountains to Sound Greenway.
The TransAlta coal plant is the largest source of global warming pollution in Washigton State. It is also the largest source of toxic mercury pollution, which is especially dangerous to children and future mothers, and is responsible for haze pollution which destroys the beauty of 12 wilderness areas, including Mt. Rainier.
We can do better! Washington can be a national leader on clean energy.
Click here to learn more about the campaign to make Washington coal-free. We can replace coal with clean, renewable forms of energy like wind, solar and efficiency that will create jobs and reduce global warming.
Click here to volunteer!
Sierra Club members in Washington State care passionately about protecting the Northern Gray Wolf, an endangered species that faces extinction from human predators. Our Fall 2009 edition of the Cascade Crest included a postcard for members to fill out and return for our use in organizing for the public comment period of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding their draft policy on Gray Wolf management for our state. Soon we will deliver your postcards to the WDFW. The postcard response has been extraordinary, send in yours today! We have posted comments from some of the postcards at the end of this article. To acquaint yourself with some background on the Gray Wolf, some important “talking points” for speaking publicly at the public hearings, and other pertinent materials.
High Tension over Big Timber, by Christine MacDonald
Late in 2007, storm-driven rains in southwestern Washington sent floodwater, mud, and tons of logging debris crashing into homes and farmland downstream of the Chehalis River. Numerous landslides destroyed wide swaths of mountain habitat, caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, and downed an estimated 140,000 truckloads of timber — much of it on land owned by the Weyerhaeuser Company, the state's largest private timberland owner.
In the storm's aftermath, the state senate summoned timber industry executives to Seattle and grilled them about their logging practices. And when election season arrived in fall 2008, Doug Sutherland, the state commissioner of public lands, a Republican with campaign finance ties to logging companies, was swept from office. He was replaced by Democrat Peter Goldmark, who railed against Weyerhaeuser for clear-cutting that many believe had exacerbated — if not caused — the disaster.
Click here to read the entire article in Architecture week!
Department of Natural Resources Begins Restoration and Trail Construction in Reiter Foothills ForestPosted by Terri Morgan on October 24, 2009 - 5:38pm
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be giving extra attention to state trust lands in the Reiter Foothills Forest in southeastern Snohomish County this fall, winter, and spring. DNR staff and volunteers will be restoring damaged habitat, beginning construction on new trail systems, and working to improve public safety. To accomplish these goals, DNR will temporarily close the Reiter Foothills area to everything but foot traffic beginning November 2. The closure will allow restoration work to proceed more effectively. At the same time, DNR will be working with volunteers to locate trails that are fun, challenging, and environmentally sustainable, with low maintenance.
Help us to make Washington a coal free state by phasing out the TransAlta coal plant, which is responsible for 20% of our electricity.
The TransAlta coal plant is the largest source of global warming pollution in the state. It's the largest source of toxic mercury pollution, which is especially dangerous to children and future mothers, and is also responsible for haze pollution which destroys the beauty of 12 wilderness areas, including Mt. Rainier. WE CAN DO BETTER. We can replace coal with clean, renewable forms of energy like wind, solar and efficiency that will create jobs and reduce global warming. Washington can be a national leader on clean energy. Over the next several months, we will be turning the heat up on Governor Gregoire, urging her to be a leader in getting us off our dirty coal habit. We can make Washington coal free, but we can't do it without your help. Click here to take action to make Washington a coal-free state.
-- Rachael Paschal Osborn, Spokane River coordinator, Sierra Club
The Spokesman-Review, August 16, 2009 written by Johathan Brunt
The storyline of the near-ban on phosphorus in dish detergent in Spokane County has focused on scofflaws sneaking Cascade across the state line in a dogged attempt to keep their dishes sparkling.
Roadless Forests Win in Court -- Decision Reinstates Most of National Rule Opposed by Bush, Timber LobbyistsPosted by Terri Morgan on August 12, 2009 - 1:23pm
WASHINGTON -- The Wilderness Society and 19 other environmental organizations notched a huge victory today when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco affirmed protection for almost 40 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from new road building, logging, and development. The decision puts an end to the Bush administration's efforts to open these last great natural areas to development. Today's ruling protects the majority of national forest roadless areas in the country.