People outside Seattle probably have an image of software moguls, coffee, grunge and fish flipping through Pike Place Market. At the root of those easy stereotypes is the fact that Seattle is a city of innovation. It's hard to deny that, off in this rain-shrouded corner of the country, Seattle comes up with some pretty cool ideas.
Seattle has now broken into the national consciousness with the boldest idea of all. While national leaders twiddle their thumbs on global warming, Seattle and Mayor Greg Nickels have laid down a challenge: American cities will lead the way on solving global warming by committing to a smart, clean energy future.
It was another fabulous session in Olympia for the environment. While the federal government is working hard to weaken environmental laws, Washington State is working twice as hard to improve protections. This year’s successes make it two straight legislative sessions that the Legislature, and Governor Gregoire, showed extraordinary environmental leadership. The collective efforts will improve our air and water here at home and help make Washington a national leader in environmental protection.
One of the most exciting bills this year makes Washington the first state in the country to effectively ban phosphorus from automatic dishwashing detergent (House bill 2322). The ban takes effect statewide in 2008 in Whatcom, Clark, and Spokane Counties, where the problem is most acute, and in 2010 statewide.
Frank Luntz, best known as the pollster who vetted the language behind Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America", continues to craft language soft-pedaling Bush administration attacks on environmental protections. Usually Luntz’s briefing books are guarded from public scrutiny, but now and then one leaks to the press. In a memo titled “The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America”, Luntz recommends a strategy for convincing Americans that the radical right is a friend of the environment.
You can find the entire Luntz memorandum at http://www.ewg.org/briefings/luntzmemo/.
For Immediate Release: April 11, 2006
Contact: Craig Engelking, 360.561.7701
Report Shows Asarco Could Shed Up to $1Billion in Pollution Liabilities, Including $45 Million in Tacoma, by Declaring Chapter 11
TACOMA—The Sierra Club today commended Senator Cantwell for her efforts to close a loophole in the nation's bankruptcy laws that allow companies with significant pollution liabilities to evade cleanup costs. A special investigative report by the Sierra Club contends that one company, the American Smelting and Refining Company (Asarco), could legally shift $500 million to $1 billion in cleanup responsibilities to taxpayers by reorganizing under the federal Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Code.
"We can have clean dishes and healthy fishes"
OLYMPIA – Yesterday the state House of Representatives took a key step forward in cleaning up rivers and lakes around Washington state. The House passed HB 2322 that will eliminate phosphates in automatic dishwashing detergents to 0.5 percent or less.
“It’s a great day for the Spokane River,” said Rachael Paschal Osborn, a public interest water lawyer who heads the Sierra Club’s Spokane River Project. “Phosphorus is the culprit for dissolved oxygen. Dish soap phosphates are one of the sources that can and should be controlled.”
Uh-oh, here we go again!
Even with the extinction clock ticking loudly, the Bush Administration and some Northwest Members of Congress once again ignore years of sound science with regard to the implementation of measures that we know are still needed to save threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead of the Columbia and Snake River Basins.
Based on our successful lawsuit with allies to force the federal government to draft a scientifically credible salmon plan, which our region and the fish have been waiting many years for now, a federal judge has given the Bush Administration until October 2006 to come up with a new plan.
Healthy Fishes and Clean Dishes (Clean Water)
House Bill 2322: This bill limits the phosphorus content of automatic dish detergent. This is precedent-setting legislation and is up for a vote in the House of Representatives in the next 24-48 hours. We need calls of support to legislators. Please call or email your legislator now. Tell them you support HB2322 for Clean Dishes and Clean Water.
Contact your legislator at 1.800.562.6000 to leave a message, or visit http://www.leg.wa.gov/ and click on "find my legislator" to email all the state legislators in your district.
NEW STUDY: ONE IN FIVE WOMEN TESTED NATIONWIDE HAS UNSAFE MERCURY LEVELS
Final Results of Largest Mercury Testing Project Puts Spotlight on Proposed Coal-fired Power Plant in Kalama, WA
Washington – The results of the nation’s largest mercury hair-sampling project were released today by the Environmental Quality Institute (EQI) at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. The survey found mercury levels exceeding the EPA’s recommended limit of one microgram of mercury per gram of hair in one in five women of childbearing age tested.
The environmental community is working with Governor Gregoire to pass legislation for a Renewable Fuels Standard (House Bill SHB2738 and Senate Bill SSB6508). This bill calls for replacing 2% of our diesel with biodiesel and 2% of our gasoline with ethanol, with increases for both as in-state production capacity expands.
Legislators will be voting on this bill this week, so now is the moment when your voice makes the most difference! Please email your legislators today to support the Renewable Fuels Standard. For a quick and easy way to email your legislator, visit http://actionstudio.org/?go=1975.
In 2005, the Sierra Club of Washington State promoted several key environmental bills. When it came time for these important votes, did your legislator make the grade? Find out by visiting the Cascade Chapter's first annual online Legislative Report Card.
By publishing the Report Card mid-term in the two-year legislative cycle, we offer our representatives and senators the opportunity to make changes in their policy making and voting behavior. The Report Card examines how lawmakers voted to protect our state's environment. We encourage you to use it to praise and thank your representatives and senators for their positive actions. If your lawmakers have failed to measure up to your expectations, let them know. They'll have a second year to do better ... if we let them know we're watching!