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King County Residents: Vote YES for Proposition One to Protect Our Parks

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.

President Obama Releases Bold Climate Plan

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:

Crude Oil Terminal, Oil Trains Threaten Columbia River: Attend Important Hearing On June 27

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. ­

Tell the Army Corps of Engineers: We Want a Full Assessment of All the Impacts of Coal Exports

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.

Memorial Day Legislative Update

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.

Water Issues

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.

Moving Forward On Cleaning Up Port Angeles Harbor

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.

Wild Olympics Campaign Update

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.

Keep Unwanted Pharmaceuticals Out of Our Water and Homes

Did you know that medicines such as antibiotics, hormones and antidepressants have been found in many of our streams and waterways?

Right now, the King County Board of Health is considering adoption of a landmark medicine return policy. This policy would hold drug manufacturers responsible for paying for programs that remove unwanted or unused drugs from homes. We need a secure medicine take-back program in King County. The drug companies strongly oppose this policy and it's vital that the Board of Health hear from those of us who support medicine take-back. Please send an email to the Board of Health letting them know that you support a medicine return program.

Create Environment-Themed Art to Represent Our Chapter at the Fremont Solstice Parade

Sunday, May 19th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, May 19th 2013

Please come out and make art with us for our "Procession for Our Future" coal train vs. sustainable energy ensemble in the Fremont Solstice Parade! We'll be at the Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N. from 10-4 on Sunday, May 19th.

Our Chapter's float will feature a coal train driven by skull masked people that transforms into beautiful murals when we implore the audience to help us stop it (note that no words or letters will be allowed in the parade). There will be stilters with windmill headdresses, solar panel costumes, animal masked and otherwise dressed up kids of all ages, beautiful fluttering butterflies, flags and banners, herring and salmon puppets, a band, and more! We need your help to create the best float in the parade!

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: The Biggest Free Trade Pact You May Never Have Heard of

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a massive free trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and ten countries across the Pacific Ocean. Despite the huge impact the agreement would have on the environment, economy, and more, the TPP is being negotiated in near complete secrecy with very little input from the public.

Despite the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, there is a lot we do know about how this pact if completed and approved by Congress would impact our climate and environment.

First, a leaked version of one of the chapters on investment confirms that the TPP will include provisions that give corporations the right to sue a government for unlimited cash compensation, in a private tribunal over nearly any law or regulation that a corporation argues is hurting its expected future profits. While that sounds impossible, to date, corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Dow Chemical have launched more than 518 cases against 95 governments using similar rules in other NAFTA-style agreements. Many of these cases directly attack environmental and climate policies policies, such as efforts to phase-out toxic chemicals, stop dangerous mining practices, or reduce reliance on coal and nuclear energy.