Friends, it is with great sadness that we report our beloved Washington State Sierra Club Chapter Chair, Andrew Lewis, passed away suddenly on February 23, 2013. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife of 21 years, Maaike Bakker, and their 18-year-old son, Peter. Please visit our page devoted to Andy to read about his extraordinary legacy of service to environmental causes in Washington State, leave your memories, and learn how to make a donation to the Sierra Club in his name.
(Seattle, WA) - Today, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray released her FY2014 budget plan.
"At a time when too many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet while the climate crisis is raging around us, the last thing any budget should be doing is making things harder for our families and our planet. Budgets are statements about our priorities as a nation -- and Senator Murray's proposal has those priorities right.
Big oil and coal billionaires got their budget yesterday from Paul Ryan. But, today, Patty Murray and her Democratic colleagues in the Senate introduced a plan that reflects the needs of everyone else. This proposal demonstrates a strong commitment to the American clean energy economy, recognizing that investments in clean energy support three times as many jobs as oil and coal. At a time when extreme weather is rapidly becoming the new normal, this budget provides much-needed funding to help the Environmental Protection Agency mitigate climate disruption and keep our air and water clean. And - unlike the Ryan budget - Senator Murray's plan doesn't sacrifice our wild places to do it, providing for no new drilling while fully-funding programs to protect our lands and wildlife.
Governor-request and Environmental Priority legislation would convene state leaders to address climate change
OLYMPIA, Wash., March 13, 2013 - Governor Inslee's Climate Action bill (SB 5802) passed the State Senate today on a bipartisan 37 to 12 vote. The bill now heads to the State House, where a companion bill is also in play (HB 1915). The Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Kevin Ranker, the House bill by Representative Dave Upthegrove.
"The Governor's climate action bill is a critical first step towards growing our clean energy economy and reducing our climate pollution," said Joan Crooks, executive director of Washington Environmental Council and co-chair of the Environmental Priorities Coalition. "The environmental community will work with Governor Inslee and legislators to ensure a strong version of this bill gets to the Governor's desk to be signed." SB 5802 would evaluate the climate pollution reduction programs of other states and Canadian provinces, and analyze opportunities for new job-producing investments in Washington relating to cleaner energy and greater energy efficiency. It would convene the Governor and legislative leaders to develop policies to ensure we achieve our climate pollution limits for 2020 and beyond (set in statute in 2008 by Environmental Priority legislation).
PSE and co-owners face hundreds of millions in potential fines and upgrades
SEATTLE, March 6, 2013 - Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington's largest utility, and its coal plant partners landed in federal court today for what the Sierra Club and the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) call egregious violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
The Sierra Club and MEIC are seeking a court order requiring PSE and the other owners to install long-overdue modern pollution controls for its Colstrip coal plant in Montana and pay as much as $37,500 per day for their violations. The pollution control upgrades to meet modern standards can potentially cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Even with large investments in modern controls for traditional pollutants, the coal plant would still emit millions of tons of climate pollution, equivalent to three million cars a year.
First the good news: Shell Oil finally admitted that its drill ships are not up to the task of safely operating in the Polar Bear Seas this year, and they will be sending them to be repaired in Asia. This will make it very difficult (though not impossible) for Shell to drill this summer.
Now for the bad news: this is not the end of Shell's efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic.With your hundreds of thousands of voices, we've been able to hold them off for the last year. But we need your support to permanently put a stop to Shell's attempts to drill for oil in America's Arctic.
The climate crisis dominated much of Governor Jay Inslee's first press conference since taking office, leading him to call coal exports, "the largest decision we will be making as a state from a carbon pollution standpoint certainly during my lifetime and nothing comes even close to it."
And boy is he right! As proposed, coal exports terminals in the Pacific Northwest would burn 145 million tons of coal-- producing as much carbon pollution for 52 million cars every single year.
If built, these coal terminals will exacerbate climate disruption that already fuels massive wildfires, causes our oceans to be more acidic damaging our local shellfish industry and makes winters shorter and milder harming our local winter sports economy. But strong leadership against coal exports can curb climate disruption and protect our Northwestern way of life.
As thousands march in Washington, D.C. for the 350 Presidents Day Weekend Keystone XL March on the White House, show your support here in Seattle and join in on our first ever "Walking Train Against Coal Trains" march.
When: Sunday February 17th, Rally at 11:30, Picture at 12 and then the march begins
Today President Obama delivered a powerful and visionary inaugural address that made fighting climate change a key focus of his next term: "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations." We applaud the President for his bold words.
Last week, the Sierra Club launched our Obama Climate Legacy and Clean Energy Project. Only the president of the United States can lead a response to climate disruption on the scale we need. The president must fire up our clean-energy economy, challenge Big Oil, and stand up to the political and PR bullies who promote the industry and oil profits above all other American interests. 2013 must be the year of climate solutions, and the first step President Obama must take is to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
For those of us who are lucky enough to know Don Parks, this year's annual meeting of Chapter Delegates and the Sierra Club's Board of Directors in San Francisco in August was special. The meetings concluded with the annual awards banquet where we saw Don get the Sierra Club's highest volunteer honor, the John Muir award, presented by Club President Allison Chin and Executive Director Michael Brune.
Don has been an instrumental volunteer leader within the National Sierra Club and the Washington Chapter across a span of almost 40 years. Don's accomplishments as a volunteer leader extend deep into many critical elements of the Sierra Club both locally and nationally. His commitment and service to the Club's organizing efforts as well as his wise volunteer leadership within the conservation arena were justly recognized with the John Muir Award.
Throughout the world, marine species from whales to the smallest organisms are being harmed by the ingestion of or entanglement in marine plastic debris, Billions of bits, chunks and pieces of plastic have traveled climate powered ocean paths and having escaped that circuit, amassed into loose confederations or gyres corralled by the surrounding currents. Every day additional human generated trash joins to become part of the North Pacific Gyre or another gyre in a different sea. Some of the plastic kills the animal that mistakes it for food. Much smaller particles dangerously become part of the food chain. Researchers and volunteers around the world are also finding all sorts and ages of plastics washed ashore, “plastic sand” beaches and evidence that metabolized plastics threaten the ultimate consumer. Similarly, staggering amounts of plastic are now affecting the wild species we love to see in Puget Sound as was evidenced by the recent dead whale that washed up near Seattle.