We are fortunate that Washington state's economy has a diverse array of strengths as we work to continue our recovery from the Great Recession.
We build the world's best airplanes. We design software that's changed the way we work and socialize. We grow some of the country's best fruits and vegetables, producing, in fact, 92 percent of the nation's red raspberries. But to keep our economy growing, we need to recognize all of our strengths and leverage them to our advantage.
On August 16, the public comment period opens on the proposed coal export facility in Longview, WA. This is our official public opportunity to say NO to this coal export facility and to voice our concerns about specific impacts. Please come to a hearing, submit a comment, and testify.
If approved, the Millennium Bulk Terminals proposal in Longview, WA would be the largest permitted coal export terminal in the United States with plans to export 44 million tons of coal annually. Right now, the three agencies involved in issuing permits are trying to decide which impacts to take into account in their decision making process.
The Trans-Pacific 'Partnership' (TPP) is a massive "free trade agreement" that could impact nearly every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat to the air we breathe to the quality of our jobs.
One of the impacts of the TPP would likely be a substantial increase in U.S. natural gas exports to countries in the Pacific Rim, paving the way for more fracking across the United States.
The measure would generate an estimated $66 million per year from 2014 through 2019 through a CPI-indexed property tax levy lid lift of 18.77 cents per $1,000 of assessed value – an estimated $56 per year for the owner of a home valued at $300,000.
June 25, 2013: Seattle, WA – Today President Barack Obama announced his administration's next steps for building a legacy of action to fight the climate crisis. The plan includes new energy efficiency standards for federal buildings and appliances, scales up responsible clean energy production on public lands with an ambitious new commitment to power 6 million homes by 2020, and uses the full authority of the Clean Air Act to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.
Sierra Club director of Washington's Coal-Free PSE campaign, Doug Howell released the following statement in response:
After signaling its disinterest in exporting dirty coal overseas, the Port of Vancouver is poised to take on the shipment of another dirty fossil fuel – crude oil. On Thursday, June 27, the Port will hold an important meeting about the proposed oil terminal. Please join us and other concerned citizens at the meeting.
- WHAT: Port of Vancouver Public Meeting about proposed Tesoro/Savage oil terminal. Public input will be allowed, likely at the beginning of the meeting.
- WHEN: Thursday, June 27 (9:30 AM)
- WHERE: Port of Vancouver Administrative Office (3103 NW Lower River Rd, Vancouver, WA)
See Sightline Institute’s just released report, The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails, about the many plans to ship massive quantities of crude oil to Oregon & Washington ports and refineries. Their report presents the first comprehensive, region-wide review of all oil-by-rail projects planned or currently operating in the Northwest.
On June 17, the Army Corps of Engineers decided not to conduct a full assessment of all the impacts of coal exports. This blind eye to the public will underscores the power of the coal industry in DC, and gives even more reason for our state leaders like Governor Inslee and the agencies he leads to do everything in their power to stop coal exports. Fortunately, through our pressure to the Army Corps demanding this comprehensive review, we have built an unprecedented amount of power in our communities around the region that give our state leadership the backing to act boldly.
Governor Inslee must ensure his state agencies conduct the broadest possible analysis of the cumulative impacts of the coal export proposals through the State Environmental Protection Act process. Communities like Spokane, those along the Columbia River Gorge, and Southwest Washington that would bear the brunt of multiple projects should be especially outraged that the cumulative impacts on them are being left out.
The Washington State Legislature concluded its "regular” legislative session on April 28 with mixed results on environmental issues. Unfortunately, legislators were unable to come to agreement on a state budget, which resulted in Governor Inslee calling a “special” session that will stretch into mid-June. The Sierra Club has been hard at work throughout, defending against a number of bills which would have dismantled state water laws as well as promoting legislation to reduce climate impacts. Here is a brief overview of our work thus far.
The Sierra Club helped lead efforts to defeat a series of bills which would have reduced state and local oversight of water use by developers. Sadly, across the state we are experiencing water shortages that threaten both salmon and water supplies for communities. One of the greatest problems is the proliferation of “permit exempt” wells which developers have increasingly relied on to avoid state review of projects to determine the potential that these projects have to drain streams and reduce water supplies. In a series of recent decisions, the courts have reigned in developers who attempt to avoid state and local review of projects. Several bills introduced this year would have reversed those decisions. Fortunately, those bills were defeated.
Port Angeles Harbor is contaminated with dioxin and is one of Washington State’s priority bay cleanups. The pollution primarily came from the former chlorine-based Rayonier Pulp Mill. The EPA initially designated the site as a Superfund Site in 2000, but deferred the cleanup to WA State Ecology’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) instead, under authority of the Solid Waste Program. Cleanup stalled for seven years but after transfer to Ecology’s Toxic Cleanup Program in 2007, cleanup investigations have moved forward steadily.
Rayonier and Ecology have conducted extensive sampling and analysis of the mill site soils and ground water, Strait sediments, and soils from Port Angeles. Dioxins, PCBs, heavy metals, PAHs, phenols and other contaminants have been found at levels of concern.
On June 21, 2012, Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Norm Dicks introduced historic legislation to establish new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River protections on the Olympic Peninsula. If passed, the bill would protect the first new Wilderness designations (more than 126,000 acres ) on Olympic National Forest in nearly 30 years and the first ever Wild and Scenic River designations (for 19 rivers and their tributaries constituting 464 miles of river) on the Olympic Peninsula.