Election Day Victory for Environment and Clean Energy - Environmental Champions Elected to Congress, White HousePosted by Becky Stanley on November 5, 2008 - 7:13pm
Environmental groups are praising American voters for electing pro-environment candidates across the country. President-Elect Barack Obama repeatedly said that rebuilding the economy with clean energy would be "priority number one" in his administration. Environmental groups today called on Obama and the new Congress to translate the extraordinary attention paid to energy and environmental issues during the campaigns into action in the coming year.
Last year voters turned down the Roads and Transit ballot measure, a package that included 50 miles of light rail and 182 miles of highways. The Sierra Club opposed that package because the additional highway lanes would swamp all benefits of increased transit and worsen global warming. Today, the Sierra Club supports Sound Transit presenting the best possible transit-only plan to voters in November.
Transit alternatives will help reduce global warming pollution, half of which comes from vehicles in this region. Scientists say we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 to avoid the catastrophic effects of global warming. James Hansen of NASA says carbon in the atmosphere has passed the critical level of 350 parts per million and we must act immediately to reduce it.
Proposition 1, will help tackle three problems at the same time – global warming, gridlock, and gas prices. This ballot measure will build 36 miles of new light rail, increase bus service overall by 17% starting next year, and increase commuter rail service by 65% immediately.
This year, residents of King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties have the chance to vote on a transit-only package – one that the Sierra Club worked hard to influence and bring to the voters. There are many compelling reasons to vote for this package – the near-term increase in bus service will certainly help reduce the pain of filling the gas tank for many, and commuters who switch to transit will reduce traffic congestion for those who choose to drive.
Light rail will help foster compact, walkable communities that will fight sprawl and help accommodate the massive influx of new residents that we’re expecting. It will reduce the inequity of a society where even the poor have to bear the expense of car ownership. Vote Yes for more transit, and let’s start changing our community for the better.
written by Brian Grunkemeyer, for the Cascade Chapter Energy and Forest Committees
We oppose carbon offsets for forest sequestration, due to concerns about the effectiveness of forest sequestration’s net effects on global warming, the time frames involved, as well as considerations about execution of offset projects.
There are many reasons to preserve and even expand existing forests, such as water quality, animal habitat, and preventing erosion. Forest preservation & health are excellent projects to fund with revenue from a carbon market. But forest offsets, like all offsets, may reduce the market price of emitting carbon without providing real solutions to global warming. Additionally, if forest offsets are allowed from a given region, then the timber industry in that region must be subject to the carbon cap. Until these concerns can be suitably resolved, we should exclude forest offsets from any carbon reduction framework.
-- Sound Transit expansion will help reduce our carbon footprint and save commuters money at the pump --
Seattle – The Sierra Club today applauds the decision of the Sound Transit Board to give the public the chance to vote for climate-friendly public transit – with no roads attached anywhere. “This is an excellent first step towards creating a comprehensive, well-integrated transportation system that will get people out of their cars. Over half of our regional emissions come from transportation, so if we’re serious about fighting global warming, we need to give people options,” said Mike O’Brien, Chair of the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club. “We congratulate the Board for moving forward on this plan, and the Governor, in particular, for assuring resources for buses will help with short-term traffic relief more quickly.”
by Mark Lawler, Cascade Chapter National Forests Committee Chair
We've done it! After nine years of planning, organizing, mapping, writing letters, taking photographs, lobbying officials, presenting slideshows, leading tours, and engaging in untold thousands of hours of volunteer and staff effort, the Sierra Club celebrated on May 8, 2008 as the Wild Sky Wilderness Act was signed into law.
This is the first new wilderness to be added to Washington's national forests since 1984. Its 106,000 acres include ancient forests down to low elevations not typically found in other wilderness areas, pristine lakes, soaring rocky peaks, numerous hiking trails, and even areas that were logged early in the 20th century but regrew into beautiful wild forests. With the contiguous Glacier Peak and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas, a protected wild swath now extends from the banks of the Skykomish River all the way over the Cascade Crest to the upper reaches of the Wenatchee River.
Mr. President, I rise to celebrate a tremendous and hard-fought victory. Today, a week after this Congress approved it overwhelmingly, President Bush signed the public lands bill that includes my Wild Sky Wilderness Act. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.
The path to creating the first wilderness in Washington state in more than 20 years has been long and sometimes rocky. But with the President’s signature today, we have finally reached the top. Let me tell you, Mr. President, it feels great!
by Kathleen Ridihalgh, Senior Regional Representative
Governor Gregoire released the recommendations from the Climate Advisory Team, which map the myriad steps Washington needs to take to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The steps outlined in the report will, if acted upon quickly, reduce our state’s climate pollution emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The report can be reviewed at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/CATdocs/122107_1_recommendations.pdf.
Nestled in an out-of-the-way corner of the southern Cascades of Washington is a pristine mountain hideaway long cherished by backcountry skiers, snowshoers, hikers, and backpackers, not to mention a host of native wildlife such as mountain goats, elk, wolverines, bears, and spotted owls. Cross-country skiers find some of the best backcountry skiing in Washington. Hikers of all ages enjoy a walk up the Pacific Crest Trail through this mountain haven and savor views of nearby Mt. Rainier. Lower slopes of the basin are clad in old growth forests of subalpine fir, mountain hemlock, and Douglas-fir.