We have survived Trump. Now to fix the environmental damage done.

The direct destruction brought about by ex-President Donald Trump has gratefully ended. We sit huddled in our homes and businesses, waiting out vaccines he promised but barely delivered, as a pandemic he brashly claimed would “just vanish” continues to wreak havoc with out economy and lives. Now, at least, we can begin the work of creating a better set of environmental protections than before. Rebuilding allows one to redesign and improve from the original, if needed. We clearly now see we need improvement in the laws that Trump and his band of thieves created or demolished in their four long years of infamy. It’s not just the Capital that lays smashed, but our sense that government might protect us from the worse parts of Capitalism. A terrorist from a foreign country could not have done a better job of kicking out so many of the pillars of this democracy. But we endured and now there is work to be done.

He left us granting pardons to some of his notorious henchmen (i.e. Steve Bannon, charged with pillaging a non-profit that raised funds for Trump’s border wall) and a raft of Executive Orders to finally overturn the people’s will and allow the drilling of oil in the Alaska wildlife refuge, among many others. This action, unneeded in a world awash in oil due to depressed economic activity was only done out of spite and to enrich the very companies who claim in their green-washing advertising to be working towards a new business model of “alternative fuels”.

With vast landscapes having been burned to the ground in fires that stunned even the most grizzled fire fighting veterans; thousands of our fellow countrymen and women left homeless from them, and global heat rising year after year to unprecedented levels, the challenges that we face seem overwhelming. We need to work together now more than ever, or face a total collapse into something far worse than destroyed ancient Rome. Democracies and Republics are fragile, there wasn’t one between ancient Greece & Rome and the 1700s. That’s a long time to go under the thumb of corrupt rulers. Trump took our democracy to the brink. Given what he unleashed in his last days, another four years of his Presidency would have altered us forever for the worse.

So I wish all of us to lay aside the anger and threats. There is a ton of work to be done building a new green economy, which is already underway right in front of our eyes. Electric cars, reusable packaging, solar electricity, recycling of existing trash, and lots more has been done and is being refined with every turn of the creative wheel of our industries here and around the world. We need immigrants from everywhere to help us build it. My great grandparents arrived here with nothing. Zero. My father, grandfather, grandmother and grand uncles pulled themselves out of poverty to go on to great careers that helped their communities. Immigrants are who we are, along with the descendants of slaves and native peoples we pushed to the brink in our creation of this country.

So there are things you can do, small and large things, depending on your ability and your financial position. But there are things you can do.

I wish President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris all the best. I leave you with the words of a superb artist out of the British Isles, Charlie MacKesy. His book “The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse” is a new best seller and an instant classic.

“This is getting harder”, said the boy.

“Then every step you take is a bigger victory” said the horse.

Inaugural people’s assembly invites 80 Washingtonians to discuss climate pollution

An interesting experiment in public discourse starts tonight to bring together a truly random group of Washingtonians to discuss Climate Change and what can be done to bridge the gap between beliefs to find a solution that might be acceptable to all. It’s being supported by some of our legislature. Can this work? As one of the people involved told me, “It’s an experiment being done with a rigorous framework.” Could it fail? Yes. Is it worth doing ? You bet. You can watch the assembly tonight (1/12/21) at 6PM at this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q1_0VI71Aw\

The WA Climate Assembly will focus on answering the following question:

How can Washington State equitably design and implement climate mitigation strategies while strengthening communities disproportionately impacted by climate change across the State?

People’s Voice on Climate is the initiator and sponsor of the Washington Climate Assembly, the nation’s first climate assembly. Supported by five key State House Committee chairs, this event will gather “our state in miniature” to deliberate and ultimately answer this question: How can Washington State equitably design and implement climate mitigation strategies while strengthening communities disproportionately impacted by climate change across the State?

The Assembly itself is conducted by an independent team hired by a diverse panel of Washingtonians. People’s Voice On Climate will publicize this event and promote the Assembly’s recommendations in the Legislature and elsewhere.\\

A People’s (or Citizens’) Assembly is a democratic process that seeks to answer a question or solve a problem facing a community in a way that fairly represents the interests of people from all walks of life.

An Assembly can center around any topic; a Climate Assembly is one that centers around the problem of climate pollution.

Assemblies have been used worldwide to help shape the work of governments.  At the WA Climate Assembly, members will learn about the issue of climate pollution, take time to discuss the issue and potential solutions with one another, and then make recommendations about what should happen legislatively.​

The Assembly is an exciting event in which 80 Washington residents will come together remotely in Winter 2021 to learn about, discuss, deliberate, and recommend climate change solutions for consideration by the State Legislature. Participants will be chosen through a lottery so as to accurately represent the state in terms of demographics such as age, race/ethnicity, geographic distribution, and views on climate change. 

Assembly Meeting Schedule

Inaugural Meeting  •  Watch Live on Youtube

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, January 12
 

Learning Session 1: 

Introduction to climate change and climate mitigation

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, January 16

Learning Session 2: 

Social issues & climate mitigation

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, January 19

Learning Session 3: 

Environment & climate mitigation

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, January 23

Learning Session 4: 

Economic issues & climate mitigation

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, January 26

Learning Session 5: 

Technology issues & climate mitigation

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, January 30

Learning Session 6: 

Political issues & climate mitigation

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, February 2

Learning Session 7: 

Climate action and just transitions / Bringing it all together

10:00am – 1:00pm

Saturday, February 6

Hotly debated national permit for shellfish farms could be passed to Biden Administration – Puget Sound Institute

This is an important article to help one understand the forces at play over this issue. The Army Corp of Engineers current proposal, described in this article, would lead to more destruction of the remaining virgin bays it wants for commercial activities and likely lead to ever more lawsuits. The Corps and the industry are in this mess because a group challenged the Corps and unearthed the fraud behind the science they have been putting out for decades. Now we hold our breath and see if we get a push into the next administration for update to the process, but will they send it back for changes or approve it to get the industry back working?

But as they leave, the wrecking crew of the Trump administration is doing it’s best to destroy any and all environmental protections.

Legal protections for marine shorelines, streams and wetlands could be revised just before President Trump leaves office, as the Army Corps of Engineers updates 52 “nationwide permits” that allow for a variety of water-related projects. …”Another growing concern is the effect of shellfish operations on spawning habitat for so-called forage fish, considered critical to salmon and other important species”, said Laura Hendricks, executive director of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. Two key species, surf smelt and sand lance, spawn in the intertidal area where shellfish grow and where activities can affect their populations, she said.

Hotly debated national permit for shellfish farms could be passed to Biden administration | Puget Sound Institute

Puget Sound Partnership proposing “Desired Outcomes” for ongoing ecosystem recovery – PSI

New from the Partnership, which is tasked with recovery of Puget Sound. Recovery is not going well. So they are tuning their goal setting. Probably a good thing. But reading the following from the article I worry about the words, “reduce the ongoing costs of recovery”. This comes across as another change of direction that is more worried about costs than results. But I hope I’m wrong.

The Partnership has been a mixed bag over the years. It has mainly been an organization helping large scale projects find the funding and political support they need, narrowing the group attending to what seems to be project managers and government officials. They have always lacked a serious budget to educate the population about the issues that need to change to fix the Sound. It has been underfunded to achieve the goals that it was created to solve. Many of its’ most useful pieces oddly are the monitoring it does to help identify baselines which illustrate it’s lack of progress. Certainly an agency like this is needed, but many of us wonder just how useful this particular version is to the people spending vast amounts of volunteer time attending it’s meetings. So many people have shown up with good intentions only to fade away because of what’s perceived as a lack of progress and inability to really help them achieve their goals. Could there be a better way to achieve the goals of Puget Sound Recovery? As someone who has attended many of their meetings and closely monitored their efforts since they day they were formed, I’m not being critical so much as asking the question, “when will we see real progress at saving the species at risk, and making the Sound more “swimmable, fishable and healthy?” When will we see real efforts at educating the public about this, rather than just assume that everyone is on board for making the hard choices to fix the Sound? The sad reality seems to have been that the deeper we dig into the science, the more monumental are the problems. A good case in point is the finding that road runoff may be a major contributor to the decline of salmon in the Sound. That is not an easy thing to fix quickly. . The declining populations of salmon won’t wait on a bunch of meetings to survive or not. When the Partnership set goals in 2007 to 2010, (and reset them and reset them) they were simple. Do we really need to take time to re-calibrate when the answers have been pretty clear from the beginning? Educate the public for buy in. Identify the projects needed, fund them, measure the results. Recalibrate. The goal should not be to reduce the cost of ongoing recovery. That may be impossible. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to reverse the decline. If we saw runs of salmon returning in ever increasing numbers, we would be cheering the Partnership on. But we aren’t seeing the fish after 13 years of concentrated efforts. In fact, a recent report I reported on just in the last month discussed that we are losing the battle. What is the Partnership going to do to solve that issue?

If planners can agree on these general directions, the next step will be to develop individual strategies to improve the ecosystem in ways that improve the efficiency and reduce the ongoing costs of recovery. The final step is to identify individual actions in line with the strategies.



Puget Sound Action Agenda, often referred to as Puget Sound Partnership’s blueprint for ecological recovery, continues to evolve. The next Action Agenda — scheduled to go into effect a year from now — will incorporate an expanded long-range vision for Puget Sound, complete with broad-based strategies, not just near-term actions. “Desired Outcomes,” the first major component of the next Action Agenda, will be unveiled…(Thursday) before the Ecosystem Coordination Board, the wide-ranging, 27-member committee that advises the Leadership Council in its recovery oversight and strategic planning. A live video of the discussion can been viewed online, as described in the meeting agenda. “Desired Outcomes are statements that describe what we intend to accomplish — the positive change we want to see in Puget Sound,” states a fact sheet describing the next Action Agenda update. The idea is that near-term actions proposed over four years should fit into a larger vision leading to “transformational change and bold progress toward Puget Sound recovery.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Puget Sound Partnership proposing ‘Desired Outcomes’ for ongoing ecosystem recovery

State Senator Van de Wege introduces bill to ban seabed mining.

This idea is a good start to protect the seabed from mining efforts and I’m glad to see Senator Van de Wege getting ahead of this issue before it becomes a problem.Too often in the past we have allowed bad environmental practices to go on until science shows us the error of our ways. This bill is working off the science done elsewhere so we don’t have to repeat the same mistakes.

It’s unclear at this point as to who will be opposing this bill. But it will be worth following to see who shows up to testify against it. It’s slated to go to a public committee meeting on 26 January.

Press Release from State Senator Van de Wege.


Dear friends and neighbors,

It’s great when we enact laws to correct or eliminate activities that are causing harm. What’s even better is when we can address a problem before it even becomes a problem.

That’s the goal of my legislation to ban seabed mining, a growing industry that ravages natural habitat to extract minerals and deposits from the ocean floor. Simply put, seabed mining sucks up the ocean floor to capture metals, minerals and gemstones. This gouges the seabed, creating plumes of sediment that resettle in surrounding areas and can smother deep sea vents. The threat to marine life is obvious — locally we could see serious disruption to crabbing, fishing and shellfish. But the risks extend as well to scientific progress — some of these species are uniquely adapted to the lack of sunlight and intense pressure of deep water, and might prove critical to the research and development of medicines, protective gear and other applications.

So far, seabed mining has not been practiced in our state — and Senate Bill 5145 will ensure that it never is. The legislation would prohibit our state Department of Natural Resources from issuing permits or leases for mining on state-owned aquatic lands along our coast from Cape Flattery south to our state’s southern border, as well as in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River downstream from the Longview bridge. The bill will be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.

President Biden’s first day. Environmental recovery begins.

On his first day in office, President Biden immediately sought to place a firm stake in the ground that the environment would be a lead issue. He issued an executive order stating his goal to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement. The process will take 30 days. He also issued orders for his agencies to review and as appropriate reverse the 100+ Trump actions that were hampering environmental quality around the country. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, which will be a significant blow to the struggling economy of Alberta, while protecting water resources for native tribes and hopefully lowering the emissions that this terribly polluting fuel source would have on air quality and climate change. Alberta needs to wake up to the reality that banking it’s future on tar sands is a losing proposition.

There are over 100 environmental regulations that Trump’s cronies implemented while he was in office. I say that they implemented them, because there was no indication that Trump himself knew anything about any of these issues, and they were simply brought to him by the hand picked hatchet men from industry that were put in offices by a variety of right wing industrial donors. Whatever they brought him, he signed. He was clear that whatever they wanted, he would do for them. But really help the voters that put him in office? That was a joke.

Biden brings an intelligence to the office that Trump never showed. Trump could have offset his anti-environmental moves with a massive infusion of government money into American industries and infrastructure rebuilding, creating millions of jobs across the country fixing roads and bridges. He failed to take advantage of his position. He squandered his time in office on petty issues and infighting.

Biden’s first steps are not just window dressing, but real substance that will have financial consequences for places like Alberta and many companies profiting from the XL pipeline in North and South Dakota. But fixing the environment will undoubtably bring financial consequences both good and bad. Some people will win, some will lose. There is no way to handhold everyone as we move towards a new era that may slow climate change, or keep us from not being swept away by it. To those people who are unhappy about possibly losing their jobs in the oil fields of Alberta and North Dakota, my answer to you is that tens of thousands of your fellow Canadians and those in California, Oregon and Washington State, among millions more around the world, in the Amazon, in Australia that have been displaced and made homeless by the massive climate induced fires that have spread everywhere as the consequences of burning fossil fuel come home to roost. Your few jobs are vastly offset by those casualties, and the industries that replace those jobs will be much larger and more dispersed to local communities. Installation of solar panels is one such industry as is the nascent production of electric vehicles.

We’ll continue to explore the ramifications to us here on the peninsula on Biden’s first 100 days.

NW Salmon “Teetering on the brink of extinction” – KNKX

More evidence that we are not doing enough, and perhaps we are doing the wrong things. More science is needed, and more enforcement of rules protecting habitat and species. Time is about up. We have gone in one generation from vast schools of the finest protein source imaginable to zero.


Washington’s salmon are “teetering on the brink of extinction,” according to a new report. It says the state must change how it’s responding to climate change and the growing number of people in Washington. Washington’s State of Salmon in Watersheds report says time is running out for the Northwest’s iconic fish. The report, which is issued every two years, shows a trend of warming waters and habitat degradation is causing trouble for its salmon runs. Ten of the 14 threatened or endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the state are not getting any better. Of those, five are “in crisis.” Courtney Flatt and Bellamy Pailthorp report. (KNKX)

Report lays out bleak picture of Northwest salmon ‘teetering on the brink of extinction’

Sea charts and satellites: Mapping critical kelp beds along the Pacific Coast – National Observer

More good news on the kelp monitoring project. This is a key indicator species that the Northwest Straits Foundation, the State of Washington and the Marine Resource Committees have been helping monitor, and now it looks like we will get better satellite data on the whole coast.


An ambitious project to map and monitor sea kelp forests along the entire B.C. coast is afoot, and scientists are using seemly disparate tools — both ancient and modern — to do it. Researchers are using centuries-old British sea charts and advanced technology, such as camera drones and satellite images, to trace shifts in the abundance and distribution of kelp beds over time, said geographer Maycira Costa. Rochelle Baker reports. (National Observer)

Sea charts and satellites: Mapping critical kelp beds along the Pacific coast

Two forest parcels taken off bidding sheet – PDN

Good news this week from the DNR and the NW Watershed Institute.

Eighty acres of Jefferson County forest land will not be sold to the highest bidder, said Peter Bahls of the Northwest Watershed Institute.

That had been the state Department of Natural Resources plan.

REPAIRS OF BULKHEADS, DOCKS AND OTHER STRUCTURES NOW INVOLVE HABITAT ASSESSMENT – PSI

This is a huge change to the proposal, hopefully for the good. However, in reading this article I find that it may cause more problems than it solves. While I applaud the idea, the implementation seems problematic. I urge those of you interested in seeing this implemented or those seeing issues with the implementation to attend this meeting. Now is the time to tweak the process so that it helps people do the right thing.

NOAA Fisheries will hold online public workshops on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28 to explain the conservation calculator that the agency developed to assess the value of nearshore habitat. Both workshops will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Details will be posted on the webpage Puget Sound Nearshore Habitat Conservation Calculator.

Conservation common thread for new members of Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission -PDN

Michael Carmen writes of his interview with new Fish and Wildlife’s Commissioners, Lorna Smith and Fred Koontz. These two long time environmental conservationists bring years of experience to the job. These folks will help make things better if possible. They are up against giant bureaucracies that have been very resistant to change in the past.

Read the whole story at the Peninsula Daily News and subscribe while you are there. Support local journalism on the Olympic Peninsula.

Cooke’s Washington steelhead switch approved – The Fish Site

As long time readers of this blog will note, I am highly critical of the state granting permission to this company, which did such a horrible job of managing it’s facilities in the past. They showed by their previous actions to be incapable of being trusted in their maintenance and operational quality. The State also has fault, in that the legislature allowed, in years gone by, to have the over-site of the pens split between two different state agencies. The hope is that the over-site has been significantly strengthened, and that given the fiasco they brought to themselves that they have learned something. The article sited here only mentions that they passed the State’s scientific muster. No mention of tighter rules and regs on the farms.

They have also been working with some tribes locally in a type of partnership, which was to be expected as the tribes supported shutting down the raising of Atlantic salmon but did not want to back removing the pens. I predicted then that the tribes would be looking to get into the net pen business as Cooke was evicted, and here we are. The “science” that found that there is no ‘harm’ to the environment likely downplayed the destruction to the benthic layer under the farms, which is total and for all practical purposes, permanent, as long as the farm is there. We’ve seen NOAA downplay this risk, in order to promote aquaculture.

Cooke Aquaculture has been granted permission to start growing steelhead at four of its former salmon sites in Washington State.

https://thefishsite.com/articles/cookes-washington-steelhead-switch-approved

Sea otter reintroduction to more of the Pacific Coast gets a nudge from Congress – KNKX

Some good environmental news! Tom Banse writes about the successful efforts to get money inserted into the newly passed budget to help continue the reintroduction of sea otters to the west coast. Info on Washington counts of sea otters also in this story.

“I’m very pleased. This is very timely,” Bailey said in an interview. “It will definitely help U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develop a strategic approach for how best to conserve and protect sea otters on the Pacific Coast.”

https://www.knkx.org/post/sea-otter-reintroduction-more-pacific-coast-gets-nudge-congress

How Trump tried, but largely failed, to derail America’s top climate report – NY Times

More fallout of the destructive force of Hurricane Trump. In this instance, scientists managed to hold off his flunkies from essentially gutting the report. As he leaves we can only look forward to rebuilding this nation’s science credibility world wide. Why is this important? Because the output of this report guides decision making for years to come.

North Pacific fishing crews on edge about what they’ll find this month, after a tough 2020 of small fish and COVID-19 – Seattle Times

This is a very good roundup of what happened to the Pollack fishing last year in the Bering Sea, and what the fishermen and scientists are doing to try and predict this year. Short story: Global warming is appearing to significantly affect the stocks of one of the basic fish we North Pacific fishing crews on edge about what they’ll find this month, after a tough 2020 of small fish and COVID-19eat in large quantities.

Though the weather often is rough, these winter harvests typically offer prime fishing as the pollock come together in the southern Bering Sea before spawning. But the disappointing fishing in the last half of 2020 has put Ganley on edge about what he and his four crew members will find when they drop their nets.


https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/skinny-small-fish-and-covid-19-made-2020-a-difficult-year-for-north-pacific-pollock-fleet/

EPA Finalizes rule to limit science behind public health standards – WA Post

As the Trump Administration burns all it’s bridges behind them in a scorched earth environmental policy, the latest outrage is the long anticipated culling of real science behind future decisions to protect our food, water or air. Or perhaps you would rather ignore the findings of scientists that don’t agree with your company’s toxic product. Wonder how they will do it? Read the article referenced below. The Biden administration will have it’s work cut out for it reversing these disastrous acts.


The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to limit what research it can use to craft public health protections, a move opponents argue is aimed at crippling the agency’s ability to more aggressively regulate the nation’s air and water. The “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule, which the administration began pursuing early in President Trump’s term, would require researchers to disclose the raw data involved in their public health studies before the agency could rely upon their conclusions. It will apply this new set of standards to “dose-response studies,” which evaluate how much a person’s exposure to a substance increases the risk of harm. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

EPA finalizes rule to limit science behind public health safeguards

Puget Sound Partnership Legislative Agenda

A good way to follow and perhaps participate in the upcoming legislative session.

  leg-update

January 4, 2021
Greetings, friends of Puget Sound!   The 2021 State Legislative session will begin January 11, 2021 and run 105 consecutive days. This email contains helpful resources to navigate this unique session and opportunities to engage with the Partnership during session.    
A COVID-19 Session Here are a few helpful resources prepared by the legislature to help you navigate this unique session due to COVID-19 restrictions. Click here to download a fact sheet that describes remote access for this session. Click here to download the House COVID-19 Sessions Operation Plan. Click here for the Senate session guidelines. As always, the legislature’s website is rich with additional information to help you navigate session.    
Opportunities to engage with the Partnership During the 2021 Legislative Session, the Partnership will offer multiple opportunities to help you (and us!) stay informed about legislative activities that affect Puget Sound protection and recovery efforts.
Legislative Updates. Sent via email and posted to our website periodically during session, the Update summarizes the priority topics we’re following.
Legislative Calendar. Sent via email and posted to our website every Thursday, the Calendar lists upcoming committee meetings involving legislation and information about issues that affect Puget Sound protection and recovery. Calendars will include public hearings where testimony may be offered. Legislative Information Call-In. Jeff Parsons, our Legislative Policy Director, will conduct a call-in meeting on Fridays, from 11:30 a.m. to no later than 12:30 p.m., to review the most important legislative issues we’re following, answer questions, and discuss partner perspectives. The first call will take place this Friday, January 8, 2021. Attendees will receive an agenda each week in advance of the call, usually on Friday mornings. If you are receiving this email, you are already signed up to receive updates by email on one or more of the above topics. If you would like to verify/update your subscriptions (each of the above opportunities has a separate subscription), please click here and follow the prompts. To participate and receive agendas for the weekly calls, please send an email to Don Gourlie at don.gourlie@psp.wa.gov. (If you signed up for this last year, you are already on the list and will receive the call-in instructions and agenda before our first call). If you have questions or concerns about the legislative priorities for the Puget Sound Partnership, please contact: Jeff Parsons, Legislative Policy Director, 360.999.3803. jeff.parsons@psp.wa.gov

Thank you for your contributions to help recover and protect Puget Sound. Connect with the Puget Sound Partnership for breaking news and other events affecting Puget Sound on Twitter and Facebook.  

Puget Sound Partnership Legislative Agenda The Partnership’s Legislative Agenda supports implementation of the 2018-2022 Action Agenda for Puget Sound and reflects priorities that were established in collaboration with our partners, as well as aligning with the Governor’s operating and capital budget requests and the findings and recommendations of the Southern Resident Orca Task Force.      

Quinault Tribe recall 29 tons of Dungeness crab – AP

If you bought crab between Dec. 23-28th, you must read this. I would suggest not eating it.


Nearly 29 tons of Dungeness crab is being voluntarily recalled by the Quinault Tribe. The recall affects live and uneviscerated Dungeness crab.  The crabs are being recalled due to possible elevated marine toxin levels. The toxin is called domoic acid, which can be harmful to people if the contaminated shellfish are consumed. The crab was caught by the tribe from Dec. 23-28 and sold to food processors in Washington. (Associated Press)

Quinault Tribe recall 29 tons of Dungeness crab due to toxin

Climate Action for Christmas? Omnibus bill includes biggest policy shift in years.

Good news being reported by NPR. This blog will check into the details and come back with a more comprehensive overview later.

“The massive spending package just passed by Congress includes the most significant climate legislation in more than a decade, along with significant changes in energy policy. It was easy to miss, nestled among pandemic relief payments, the annual spending bill, new Smithsonian museums and protection from surprise medical billing. But pull out the energy provisions alone, and the bill is remarkable: It includes $35 billion in funding for basic research, extensions of tax credits for renewable energy companies, and a long-delayed mandate to reduce the use of a particularly damaging greenhouse gas. The fact that Congress managed to pass climate legislation at all is noteworthy in and of itself. For years, thanks to gridlock and an administration actively hostile to climate action, legislators have struggled to set new climate policy, even on measures that enjoy widespread bipartisan support. Camila Domonoske & Jeff Brady report. (NPR)”


Climate Action For Christmas? Omnibus Bill Includes Biggest Policy Shift In Years

The Nestucca: How a devastating event shaped today

The Nestucca disaster changed the way that Washington State and BC handles oil spill prevention. Can it protect us from another failure? It’s sometimes hard to know. With more Bakken Crude planning to be shipped by the hundreds of tankers through our Strait, it’s at least good to know that we have some minimal standards that have carried us through to today. Also worth remembering is that the Dalco Passage spill near Tacoma that was as bad as it was because the Coast Guard couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed in the middle of the night when oil was observed. This is article is a good reminder that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

“In 1988, an oil spill from the barge Nestucca resulted in one of the largest, most damaging environmental incidents in the history of Washington. But the knowledge gained from the spill also led to dramatic change in oil spill regulations, prevention methods, and response tactics that have maximized environmental protection. (WA Dept of Ecology)”

The Nestucca: How a devastating event shaped today

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