Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Time for Washington State to Move Beyond Coal

While discussions go on about whether to continue to operate Washington's only coal plant in Centralia, guest columnist Ted Nace argues that it is time for the state to move beyond coal.

The recent explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia reminds us that coal remains an American tragedy, but for residents of Washington state that tragedy may seem safely distant. 

Not so. The continuing dominance of Big Coal as a supplier of U.S. electricity affects us all, from the safety of our food to the balance in our checkbooks.

Conservation Challenges 30 Years After the Eruption -- Mount Saint Helens


Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
  Conservation Challenges 30 years after the Eruption       
by Charlie Raines                    

(photo of Mt. St. Helens Spirit Lake by Susan Saul)

The Mt. St. Helens area is a unique and stunning landscape of international importance. It is the site of great geologic events with numerous eruptions, ash deposits and lava flows. It also has ecological treasures such as the old-growth forests of the Green River, the swirling blowdown on Mt. Margaret and newly formed lakes. It provides a unique scientific laboratory to study the response of the ecosystem to a major transforming event in 1980. Those responses vary dramatically in type and speed over the past 30 years, depending on the locale, the surviving plants and animals and the myriad effects of climate, continuing geologic changes and adjacent forest lands. From the smallest bacteria to the largest elk, the changes at Mt. St. Helens continue.

Our efforts to conserve the full expanse of those marvelous landscapes and biologic diversity must also continue.

Oil Spill Disaster Sparks "Deadly Energy" Protest

Group Rallies Against "Dirty Energy Addiction" Over I-5 In Seattle

"On the heels of the Washington Tesoro deadly explosion and the Massey mine tragedy, we have officially hit rock bottom in terms of our dirty energy addiction," said Kathleen Ridihalgh, Sr. Regional Field Manager for the Sierra Club.


Sierra Club's Washington State Legislative Priorities

This year's Legislature was another challenging and dangerous one for the Environment - Continued budget troubles threatened key environmental programs and a Republican Senate pushed policies that would set Environmental protections back decades. At the Sierra Club, we know that the environmental protections we rely on to protect our health and quality of life are also essential to a long-term sustainable economy. Our priorities reflect how vital strong environmental values are, especially in tough economic times.

  Our priorities for the  Legislature are:

Youth Nationwide Get Outside and Celebrate Nature

March 31, 2010
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, Sierra Club, 512.289.8618

Get Outside Day! 2010 encourages hundreds of young leaders to declare their connection to the outdoors.

Washington, D.C. – This week, hundreds of young people across the nation are abandoning the couch, unplugging laptops, silencing cell phones and heading outdoors to celebrate the second annual Get Outside Day! on April 3, 2010. Throughout this week they are declaring themselves "Natural Leaders," youth who enjoy getting out in nature and want to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

Sierra Club Applauds State Senate for Repeal of Coal Plant Subsidy and Is Troubled With Statement From Governor’s Office

March 24, 2010

Tax exemption helps multi-billion dollar TransAlta, not workers.

Washington legislators are in their final days of hashing out responses to the state’s multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.  Still in play is the $5 million-a-year sales tax exemption for TransAlta, the multi-billion-dollar Canadian corporation that owns the coal-fired power plant in Centralia.  Today, the Governor’s office confirmed her opposition to the Senate proposal to remove this tax exemption.

The Sierra Club, Coal-Free Washington Campaign Director Doug Howell responded to the Governor’s comments. "TransAlta’s coal plant is Washington’s single largest stationary source of pollution, including carbon dioxide, toxic mercury and haze. A better use of that public money is investing in a clean energy future. The Sierra Club supports redirecting these funds to investments in clean energy workforce development.

Washington Becomes Fifth State to Ban BPA in Baby Bottles

March 19th, 2010 by Ashley DeForest

Washington State overwhelmingly passed the Safe Baby Bottle Act (SSB 6248) during the 2010 legislative session, which will eliminate the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles, sippy cups, and other children’s dishware, as well as from sports bottles.

"This is a huge victory for children’s health and for parents. Dangerous chemicals like BPA have no place in baby bottles, sippy cups or any product children put in their mouths," said the prime sponsor of the house version of the legislation, State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle), in a recent article. "Parents can soon go to the store with confidence and buy a bottle for their baby that won’t contain BPA."

Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Rivers Bill Passes U.S. House of Representatives

Bipartisan Legislation One Step Closer to Preserving Additions to Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Portions of the Pratt River and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

SEATTLE — March 18, 2010 Supporters of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 1769 / S. 721) celebrated as the legislation moved closer to final passage.

The measure, which passed out of the House of Representatives today, would protect an additional 22,000 acres of wilderness adjoining the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and would add 10 miles of the Pratt River and nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River to the National Wild and Scenic River System. Washington wilderness supporters thanked Representative Dave Reichert for his continuing leadership, advocacy and bipartisan approach to protecting the wilderness and free-flowing rivers in the North Cascades.

Columbia Basin Farmers Rejoice But Some Environmentalists Worry Over Plans For A Key Irrigation Pipeline

By, Craig Welch, The Seattle Times
OTHELLO, Adams County
Orman Johnson's spuds are out of the ground now, piled in sheds longer than football fields, each stuffed with enough tubers to feed Seattle for half a year.

Like most of Washington's 9 billion pounds of potatoes, the farmer's thirsty crop is grown where less rain falls annually than Seattle may get in six weeks. And the well water that supplies Johnson's farm is disappearing.