Explore, enjoy and protect the planet


Updating the Columbia River Treaty: An Opportunity to Restore Ecosystems and Protect Wildlife

On Friday September 20, the United States released its draft recommendations for updating the Columbia River Treaty. Established 50 years ago, the treaty created a framework for establishing and maintaining hydroelectric dams in the Upper Columbia River basin. Now the treaty is being updated to reflect 21st century priorities. In a win for environmental groups, the draft recommends:

  • Restoring the Columbia River ecosystem
  • Improving flood management to mitigate damage to salmon habitat and promote healthy fish populations
  • Making adaptation and flexibility in the face of climate change a key priority
  • Partnering with Canada on a new program to improve fish passage so that salmon and other migrating fish can reach their traditional Canadian spawning grounds.

For the full text of the recommendations, visit: http://www.crt2014-2024review.gov

State Senate Transportation Hearings: Coming This Fall To a Location Near You

Throughout the fall, Senate Transportation Committee co-chairs Sens. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way will be holding public meetings to discuss the transportation budget.

The dates and locations of the public meetings are:

  • Oct. 14 – Seattle 6-9 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, 1013 8th Avenue (between Madison & Spring Streets)
  • Oct. 15 – Bellingham 6-9 p.m. Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225

Care for Nature and It Will Reward Our State

This Op Ed piece by Rep. Suzan DelBene in last Sunday's HeraldNet passionately argues that taking care of Washington State's environment is good for business, generates new jobs, and helps our economy. We could not agree more!

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.

Coal Campaign Update

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.

Don't Let Secret Internatio​nal Trade Deals Undermine Our Environmen​t!

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. 

Stop increased fracking and other environmental calamities by RSVPing for a TPP teach-in near you!

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.

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