Fossil fuel industry invests in deceiving Washingtonians -Sierra Club

If there was one thing that I learned in lobbying for environmental causes in Olympia, it’s that my legislators often talked about the impact of the oil industry lobby. Here’s an interesting and from my perspective accurate discussion on the latest efforts to derail moves away from fossil fuels.

“…Since February of last year, the oil industry has spent over $1.5 million dollars operating a front group, “Affordable Fuel Washington”, which is running ads claiming that climate policies are to blame for high gas prices. So, don’t be surprised if/when a paid canvasser asks you to sign their petition.”

Overview of Achievements by Olympic Peninsula Legislators – PDN

A good starting place to see what our elected officials actually accomplished, and what they didn’t.  You can go to the state website and find the details of all these bills, by looking at the links to the left on the page.

Peninsula legislators savor wins, swallow losses; 24th District delegation satisfied with 2015 session


Great overview of the budget proposals and the actual numbers. This seems to be a bi-partisan effort. Glad that the Conservation Districts are getting a boost, which is something I’ve argued for over the last six months. The Puget Sound Partnership is loosing some of it’s funding, which is unfortunate.

Washington environmental agencies are set to receive at least a modest budget boost the next two years despite earlier concerns that court-mandated education spending would require cuts to environmental priorities. Among the major environmental agencies, only the Puget Sound Partnership is set to lose operational dollars, largely due to a federal funding reduction, while several agencies will see substantial increases in operational funding to make up for past years’ cutbacks.

Forage fish study gets state’s full backing – Kitsap Sun


Beachwatchers photo

Glad to hear that the legislature was able to fund this much needed study.

The largest study of Puget Sound’s smallest fish received full funding in the new state budget….the study will take a close look at the sound’s populations of herring, smelt, sand lance and other forage fish that serve as prey for larger predators, including salmon, sea birds and marine mammals. The final budget put $1.9 million toward the study, allowing for both a nearshore survey of spawning grounds and a trawl survey in open water to gauge the survival rate of adult forage fish. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun) Subscription required to read this article. Support your local newspaper, subscribe to the Kitsap Sun.

Legislature starts and new enviro bills kick off

And so it begins. I’ll do my best to keep up on this as it goes along.

Ericksen, Ranker introduce dueling oil transportation safety bills
Two legislators who represent parts of Whatcom County have introduced dueling oil transportation safety bills in the Senate. Wasting no time, Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, introduced his bill the first day of the session. As chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, he will host a public hearing on the bill tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 15 at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, along with Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, introduced oil legislation requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. That bill has also been referred to Ericksen’s committee. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Veteran Puget Sound Activist Joins Sound Action



I’ve worked with Naki Stevens in the past, and can attest that she is a great asset to add to any team. This shows that Sound Action is really serious about becoming a major player in doing the hard work to advocate for the Sound. Hard changes have never been accomplished without someone at the table that is not beholden to one or the other political parties. This adds a lobbyist for the Salish Sea, close to the action in the Capital, where it’s needed. 


Veteran Puget Sound activist Naki Stevens will join the environmental watchdog group Sound Action as a lobbyist this upcoming Washington state legislative session.

Stevens, former policy director of the original People For Puget Sound organization, will begin her legislative work on January 17 after leaving her position as Executive Policy Advisor on Puget Sound at the Washington Department of Natural Resources Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands.

“After four years of helping Peter Goldmark make good progress on Puget Sound recovery at DNR, I am very excited to get back to the grassroots level and work with Sound Action to push even harder to protect and restore the Sound,” said Stevens. “People in Washington want a clean and healthy Puget Sound, and I am grateful to Sound Action for giving me the chance to work closely once again with people fighting hard every day to save the Sound.”

Sound Action, formerly Preserve Our Islands, is an environmental advocacy watchdog group launched in 2013 dedicated to protecting the health of Puget Sound’s nearshore habitats and species by using sound science, ensuring fair and wise application of the law, and by engaging people in nearshore protection and advocacy.

The organization is currently focused on making sure the state hydraulic code provides appropriate protection for nearshore habitats and that important environmental regulations are applied by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife during the permitting process.

Naki Stevens has also served as Executive Director of Restore America’s Estuaries and as Director of the National Wetlands Campaign for the National Audubon Society. She also worked for the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority in developing the first Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan.

Shhh…Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership At Work – Salish Sea Communications

Mike Sato hits it right on the head. It’s time for Govenor Inslee to show us what this bureaucracy is doing, and if he’s really behind it or not. Getting it a leader that can actually lead would be a great start. No one would likely cry for it if they kill it and reconstitute it anew. It’s become a behind the scenes player in Olympia and virtually unknown outside of the Capital. A real shame, frankly. We had high hopes for it, but environmentalism appears to be joke and a pawn in the power politics in Olympia. Use it to garner votes, then ignore it for 2 to 4 years. Maybe when we are down to one Orca they’ll actually get serious.

Washington State Legislature Approves Ultrafine Particle Study for Jefferson and Clallam Counties

This is extremely good news to a start on finding out what kinds of pollution we are breathing and if the new biomass plants are actually doing something that needs cleaning up. That is, if they are built, which seems not a sure thing at this point in time, due to economics, not environmental concerns, unfortunately.


The Olympic Clean Air Agency and the University of Washington propose to jointly study air quality in Jefferson and Clallam Counties. This project will evaluate possible air quality changes associated with new biomass co-generation facilities in Port Townsend and Port Angeles and changes in ultra-fine particle concentrations associated with both facilities. The project will support state of the art measurements of ultra-fine particles and will respond directly to concerns of the two communities around health effects and industrial development.


Concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and climate change have encouraged the development of biomass fueled power stations, i.e. biomass cogeneration plants. The biomass fuel varies for each region and can include sugar-cane stalk, corn and rice straw, and palm and woody debris to name a few. This form of power generation is controversial within the “green” community. Proponents claim that burning biomass contributes a net zero addition to atmospheric carbon dioxide compared to fossil fuel combustion [Taylor, 2010]. The carbon released during biomass combustion will be re-used in plant material for the next cycle of energy generation, while fossil fuels represent carbon that has been stored for millennia. Since new co-generation plants are required to use Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to prevent degradation of air quality, supporters further argue that burning biomatter in the plant is cleaner than slash burning outdoors and actually helps improve air quality. Furthermore, industry has been burning biomass waste for years without converting it to usable power, and therefore claim a net gain in power produced vs. carbon released [Taylor, 2010]. The US Department of Energy recognizes biomass co-generation plants as a renewable energy source and has awarded grants to finance their design and operation. (

Opponents of biomass fueled co-generation are primarily concerned about subsequent environmental damage and the cleanliness of the technology. They claim that burning biomass will endanger forest land by increasing logging operations and argue that slash should be left to decompose on the forest floor. The primary concern regarding biomass fueled power centers on the release of harmful toxins and fine particulate that can negatively impact the health of residents living near the co-generation plants. Specifically, activists are concerned about ultrafine particles –diameters less than 100 nm – that are not detected by standard air monitoring instruments [Keywooda et al., 1999] and to which recent research ascribes significant health impacts [Keywooda et al., 1999; Morawska et al., 2004].

Recently two new biomass cogeneration plants were approved for installation on the Olympic Peninsula, one at Nippon Paper Industries in Port Angeles and the other at Port Townsend Paper Company in Port Townsend. Both mills have been burning woody biomass as waste for several decades. Construction of these co-generation plants requires installation of emission control technology predicted to decrease the total PM2.5 emitted, despite increasing the mass of fuel burned by a factor of three. PM2.5 is the mass concentration of atmospheric particles with diameters less than 2.5 microns. Other gaseous emissions such as Volatile Organic Compounds and NOx will roughly increase by 35 and 18 tons per year respectively. Despite these pollution controls, and maybe because of them, there is concern that although PM2.5 will decrease, the number of ultrafine particles, which may be more hazardous to respiratory and cardio health, will increase. Research has shown that when PM2.5 decreases, co-emitted gases like SO2 and NOx have less surface area on which to condense and are thus more likely to homogeneously nucleate ultrafine particles downwind of the emission site [Weber et al., 1997]. Despite these concerns, there is very little data that show the impact of biomass cogeneration plants on local and regional air quality, including PM2.5 and ultrafine particulate.

Proposed Study

Port Angeles and Port Townsend are ideal locations to conduct a study focusing on the impacts of biomass fueled cogeneration facilities on air quality downwind of the cogeneration plants. Both towns have similar meteorology and environmental conditions. There are no other large industrial sources or major freeways to obscure ultrafine and fine particulate emissions from the biomass cogeneration plants, although emissions from residential burning in the winter constitute a large fraction of the observed PM2.5 in bothcities. Currently the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) maintains a permanent air monitoring site for PM2.5 in both Port Angeles and Port Townsend. Data on background concentrations of PM2.5, SO2, NOx, CO, and ozone are also available from Cheeka Peak, an NCore site located west of Port Angeles on the northwestern tip of the peninsula and measuring some of the cleanest air in the country. In addition to the permanent monitors, ORCAA will also install four optical particle counters (OPC) that provide data on the number concentration of particles larger than 0.3 microns at three locations in Port Angeles and at one location in Sequim. The OPCs will operate between January 2013 and December 2013. These monitors will move to Port Townsend in 2014. In both Port Angeles and Port Townsend, one of the OPCs will be collocated with the permanent air monitor, a nephelometer. ORCAA also has two aethalometers that measure black carbon concentration and can be used to differentiate between wood combustion and diesel combustion. One aethalometer will be installed at the permanent monitoring location and the other will be installed along with an OPC at one of the other temporary sites. The existence of these monitoring locations creates an infrastructure that will facilitate a study of ultrafine particles and source types of air pollution in the region.

In addition to ambient monitoring that already occurs in Clallam and Jefferson Counties the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, in collaboration with the University of Washington, proposes to conduct an additional study to examine the concentration, sources, and lifetimes of ultrafine particulate in Port Angeles and Port Townsend.

The scientific questions to be addressed are:

1) 2) 3)

4) 5) 6) 7)


For this project we will establish two master research sites on the Olympic Peninsula. One will be located near residential areas of Port Townsend and the Port Townsend Paper Corp. The second site will be in Port Angeles near to the Nippon Paper Industries facility. At each site we will ideally conduct a series of pre/post-expansion intensive measurements that can complement the existing measurements using nephelometers, optical particle counters, and aethalometers. The Nippon co-generation plant, located in Port Angeles, expects to begin operating in September or October, 2013 and therefore baseline, winter measurements of ultrafine particles before operations commence may not be possible. To work around this issue, meteorology and plume dispersion modeling will allow data to be segregated to times when emissions from Nippon could affect measurements at the site and those times when they would not.

How will air quality respond to the change in emissions from the facility?

What is the distribution of PM2.5 in residential areas of both communities?

Is there evidence of an increase in ultrafine particulate matter from the expanded facilities?

What is the cause of the odors in the Port Townsend area and what can be done about these?

What are the source contributions to fine and ultrafine particulate in these two areas?

How does this change between winter and summer?

Which neighborhoods are most impacted by these facilities? Are the concentrations

reasonably modeled by a Gaussian plume distribution?

How do ultrafine particulate emissions from the facilities change in the winter relative to the summer?

Measurements of PM2.5, number concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles (diameter < 100 nanometers), particle chemical speciation, and carbon monoxide will be made at both the Port Angeles and the Port Townsend sites. Continuous stack emission measurements at the facilities will complement the ambient measurements to determine their potential influence on the ambient air quality.

A proposed schedule for this work is as follows:
Summer 2013: 6-week experiment prior to facility modifications and expansion
Winter 2013: 6-week experiment prior to facility modifications and expansion (Port Townsend) Summer 2014: 6-week experiment after facility modifications and expansion
Winter 2014: 6-week experiment after facility modifications and expansion

Instruments and measurements that will be made in addition to those already made by ORCAA:


What it measures

Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), TSI 3936

Ultrafine particle size distribution

Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS)

Aerosol chemical composition

Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (CIMS)

Aerosol chemical composition


Carbon Monoxide

Dusttrak DRX 8543

Particulate matter

New bill takes aim at derelict marine vessels – Whidbey News Times

While little of consequence for the environment has happened in Olympia, at least this very important bill found bipartisan support. More analysis to come, but thanks to everyone in Olympia who carried this over the line. Derelict boats have been an outstanding issue for many years. Maybe now we can look to the counties to be able to do something.

Environmental disasters such as the 2012 sinking of the F/V Deep Sea in Penn Cove may soon be a little more avoidable. The state Legislature approved a bill last week that preserves funding for the state’s derelict vessel program and sharpens the effectiveness of existing laws. The legislation sailed through the House and Senate with hefty majority votes and has been forwarded to Gov. Jay Inslee to sign into law. Justin Burnett reports.

An environmental scorecard from Olympia

5/9 Crosscut
An environmental scorecard from Olympia
By Daniel Jack Chasan

A major bill to allow more transfers of development rights to dense areas fares well, as does the phase-out of coal plants. But the effort to impose a tax on oil products for helping with stormwater projects around Puget Sound got little traction.

More at


Fishing enthusiasts testify against merging outdoor agencies

So in a rush to save money, anywhere, State Senator Ranker and others in Olympia are racing to merge agencies. Is this merging without clear understanding of the consequences? It would seem so. I don’t really get what’s wrong with the current setup, other than the Governor and Ranker seems to think it can be streamlined without consequences. A fight seems pending… Hard to imagine this is all coming from a Democratic regime. It couldn’t be any worse coming from a Republican one it seems! What’s the difference? I certainly am having a hard time telling.

From the Kitsap Sun
OLYMPIA — Washington’s fishermen really like the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.

They really, really like it.

A crowd of mostly fishermen and fishing interests on Thursday overwhelmingly opposed Gov. Chris Gregoire’s plan to merge the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the law enforcement and heritage functions of the Department of Natural Resources, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Recreation and Conservation Office into a new Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Their main objection: They don’t want the state Fish and Wildlife Commission to be changed from a body with legal clout to an advisory group. The commission, made up of nine members appointed by the governor, establishes policy for fish and wildlife species in the state and oversees the implementation of policies by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“I don’t think the Fish and Wildlife Commission situation is broken, and it doesn’t need to be fixed,” said Jim Tuggle of Tumwater.

Many of the more than 100 people at a hearing Thursday in front of the Senate Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee argued that turning the Fish and Wildlife Commission into an advisory group would create the danger of the governor’s politics — not science — making decisions.

Almost all of the roughly 30 people testifying — including representatives from numerous fishing and outdoors groups — opposed the merger.

“Do not allow this merger. … Merging giant bureaucracies with different mission will be difficult,” said Norman Reinhardt, president of the Kitsap Poggie Club.

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island and chairman of the Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee, introduced the Senate bill. Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, is one of six co-sponsors.

Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, is the sole sponsor of the House bill.

Read more:

Two views on future of biomass

The battle over biomass promise vs. reality continued last week, moving to Olympia … in my opinion, it seems better for the environment to be burning natural gas than wood waste..And then there’s that pesky bill that would put the decision to approve biomass sites into the hands of an unelected state commission. A recipe for manipulation by the biomass industry, it seems to me.

2/3 Olympian
Two views on future of biomass
JOHN DODGE; Staff writer

The Thurston County moratorium on new biomass-energy projects drew both criticism and praise Wednesday, from the county courthouse to the state Capitol.

Officials from The Evergreen State College met with the county commissioners in the morning, calling for an exemption from the moratorium so the college can use wood waste rather than natural gas to heat the campus.

More at

Lawmakers consider $30 fee for parks, forests

Well, the poor are the losers in this proposal. Those who can’t afford to pay to come to our parks, can just stay home, apparently. This is the sad outcome of a combination of voters who think they are paying too much in taxes, so aren’t willing to pay more, and a terrible recession. Lawmakers are left with having to charge you for everything. Wonder if we will ever see a free park system again? Ideas like this usually never goes back, just continues to go up in price. Perhaps there should be a sliding scale for those who are unemployed?

2/2 Tacoma News Tribune
Lawmakers consider $30 fee for parks, forests

Washington’s state forests and parks may be priceless, but that isn’t keeping policymakers from floating an admission charge: $30.

That’s the cost of an annual parking pass for public lands in a proposal receiving its first hearing in the Legislature today. Those who don’t buy the “Discover Pass” would pay $10 for a single day’s visit or face a ticket.

It’s a bargain, supporters say, considering the alternative is closing off lands to the public to help the state close a $4.6 billion budget shortfall.

More at

Wash. enviros pushing fee on stormwater pollution

Washington state environmentalists are backing a legislative proposal that would charge a fee on stormwater pollutants, including petroleum, fertilizers and herbicides.

The Associated Press


Washington state environmentalists are backing a legislative proposal that would charge a fee on stormwater pollutants, including petroleum, fertilizers and herbicides.

Senator Sharon Nelson of Vashon Island and Representative Timm Ormsby of Spokane unveiled the measure Monday. The so-called 2011 Clean Water Jobs Act would raise $100 million a year by charging a fee equal to 1 percent of a product’s wholesale value.

Read the rest of the article at:

Oil Spill Responders Face Budget Cuts

Ed: Let’s hope there’s one thing we can get through this year-after-the-Gulf-Spill

1/14/11 Kitsap Sun -Oil Spill Responders Face Budget Cuts
By John Stang

A major oil spill from a tanker ship in Puget Sound has the potential to be a bigger disaster than the one last year in the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Washington Department of Ecology section in charge of dealing with oil spills faces major budget cuts.

The Environment Committee of the state House of Representatives was briefed Friday about the state’s ability to deal with a massive oil spill in Puget Sound. Friday’s session was homework for when the committee will discuss — at a yet-to-be-scheduled date — a bill from state Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, to improve the state’ capabilities to deal with a huge spill.

More at

Money battles ahead for Wash. environmentalists

*1/15/11 Associated Press
Money battles ahead for Wash. environmentalists
By GEORGE TIBBITS – Associated Press

Along with every other interest group, environmentalists hope the programs they’ve fought for won’t be gutted as the Legislature again tries to fix a huge deficit.

Still, lobbyists and legislators say there might be a few modest victories and if nothing else, the chance to keep issues in the public eye during the session that opened Monday.

… One tactic environmental groups will use, said Bruce Wishart, policy director for People for Puget Sound, will be to promote user fees on industries that cause environmental problems as a way to take pressure off taxpayers.

“We will be coming in proactively with a number of polluter fees,” he said.

More at

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