Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Last Chance Missed for Transit Tax

Posted By Jordan Schrader on March 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Lawmakers have probably missed their last chance to do something to bail out struggling transit agencies.

Pierce Transit and its Snohomish County counterpart, Community Transit, say they need funding to stave off cuts to bus service. They want authority to levy a $20 fee on vehicles in the county without voter approval, or a bigger fee if voters permit.

EPA Gives Bellingham $350,000 Grant for Climate Change Project


BELLINGHAM - The city has received a $350,000 federal grant for a project to reduce carbon emissions by reducing energy use.

The money comes from the Environmental Protection Agency through its new Climate Showcase Communities program. Bellingham is among the first cities in the nation to be awarded such a grant - becoming one out of 25 to receive the money from a pool of 450 applicants, according to a city news release.

In New Post, Dicks Will Keep His Eye On Environment

 As chairman of a key congressional subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks has boosted federal funding to restore Northwest salmon runs, national forests and national parks.

The Belfair congressman has always been keenly interested in Puget Sound and Hood Canal. His position the past three years allowed him to hike spending until Washington’s waterways were on par with Chesapeake Bay — a longtime beneficiary of federal largesse.

From the Desk of Art Kaufman: Send a Message to Governor Gregoire

From the Desk of Art Kaufman    Member, Activist and Donor

Several years ago I attended a luncheon where Governor Gregoire spoke to over 100 national and local members of the Sierra Club.  Without notes and for over 20 minutes, she delivered one of the most inspirational messages about concern for the environment that I had ever heard from a major political figure.  She pledged her commitment to flora, to fauna, to the land, and to water and clean air.  She received a well deserved, rousing ovation. Global warming and resultant climate changes are today’s real and imminent dangers.  The principle cause is the increasing emission of carbon dioxide gas, most of which comes from burning coal to generate electricity.  As a result, the Sierra Club has initiated a ‘Beyond Coal Campaign’.  Nationally, they have been active in preventing over 100 new coal burning electric generating plants from leaving the drawing boards.  Locally, they want Washington to be the first coal-free state:  free of coal burning in our state and free of importing coal generated electricity from out of state.

New Guidance On Climate Change to Improve National Environmental Policy Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010
CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384
Washington, D.C.-- The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) today issued three new draft guidance documents with regards to the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act, which has now been protecting our environment for 40 years.  In addition to the draft guidance on global warming emissions and climate change, CEQ also issued guidance on mitigation and monitoring and establishing and applying categorical exclusions. 
Full details on all three are available at: http://bit.ly/clfwZB

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director 
"The National Environmental Policy Act is one our nation's most important and most successful environmental laws.  It's very encouraging to see that after 40 years of success in protecting our environment, the Obama administration is adapting the law to help it better address the greatest environmental challenge of today--climate change.  Given the impacts of global warming pollution, considering these emissions under NEPA is clearly the right thing to do.

Oil Lobby Descends On Olympia to Oppose Gas Tax

by Sara Kiesler on Mon, Feb 8, 2010

Big Oil dug its hands into Seattle last year, helping defeat the disposable bag fee with an unprecedented dump of cash—and they’re putting similar pressure on the state capitol right now.

In Olympia, two bills (one in the house and senate) introduced last Friday would raise the tax on oil imported into the state. The update is called the Clean Water Act of 2010, but the original 0.7 percent tax on hazardous materials was passed by voter initiative in 1987 as part of Initiative 97.

Your Local Sierra Club: New Places, New Faces

by Trevor Kaul, Cascade Chapter Director

The Cascade Chapter has long been a leading voice for environmental protection in Washington.  With your help, we have won protections for special places like the Reiter Foothills and Wild Sky Wilderness Area. And over the years, we have helped change the way our state’s leaders think about urban issues like transportation and city planning. 

Now your local chapter is making some changes that will help us even better represent the interests of our state’s environment.

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to State's Municipal Water Law

Media Advisory for Monday, January 11, 2010
For additional information:  Rachael Paschal Osborn (director, CELP)
509.954-5641 (mobile), rosborn@celp.org

   Supreme Court to hear challenge to state's municipal water law
Overpumping threatens Washington rivers, drinking-water aquifers

OLYMPIA – On Tuesday, January 12, the Washington State Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a landmark lawsuit challenging municipal water rights.  The plaintiffs include individual water right holders who claim injury to their water rights as a result of the law, conservation groups, and Indian Tribes.

The 2010 Legislative Session

 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.

2010 Environmental Priorities

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!