The findings of issues with shipping pollution are sort of an expected outcome. The good news is that things are already changing for the better with new regs due to take affect soon.
Huge news! BC to freeze all new net pen licenses.
VANCOUVER — A B.C. government announcement Friday that no new tenure agreements would be issued for net-pen salmon farms in the Discovery Islands until 2020 was immediately welcomed by one of the strongest critics of salmon farming.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/agriculture/government+freeze+salmon+farms+Discovery+Islands/8138579/story.html#ixzz2OIbEFoOf
Booth Gardner, Washington state’s 19th governor, has died from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Booth was the Governor who helped push through and sign the Growth Management Act (GMA), a still somewhat controversial bill, that has had wide ranging impact on development across the State. Locally, beyond the planning required for implementation of the GMA, there have also been the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) and Shoreline Master Programs (SMP) to deal with. Thousands of hours of work and millions of dollars of State money have gone into the implementation of GMA, and yet, growth continues to seriously impact our waters, land and air. As someone who has been involved with GMA issues closely, I can say that I can see positive things that have come out of GMA planning, and I believe we are better off for having done it than not, but I cannot say that the results have been in line with the money and time spent. The greatest shortcoming to the GMA seems to be real enforcement of growth management. It appears that big money projects always can work around the GMA while smaller projects by less wealthy and well connected individuals get shot down. Should this be reversed? I don’t really know. As an example in Jefferson County, much discussion has been made of whether or not the Black Point development is inline with the GMA statutes. How about the proposed huge development at Port Gamble? It appears that the benefit is that the developers trade off pristine land and shoreline for the ability to put in hundreds of units of housing. Certainly, we still see clogged roads that are not forced to be upgraded in anticipation for the growth. To this day, over in King County, developers east of Lake Sammamish were not forced to update roads when they built on the plateau, and it’s still faster to drive to a location like Microsoft from Seattle than the Plateau.
In Clallam County, GMA has been weakened at the demands of the city, and our Democratic representatives, both of whom say they are for environmental protections, have shown no desire to fight Port Angeles on this, in fact they both want to see the GMA weakened to support the demands of PA. The claim is that it’s too inflexible for a town the size of Port Angeles.
When I tried finding reasoned debate on the effectiveness of the GMA, the only comprehensive discussion seems to come out of the opponents of the Act. It would be a worthwhile study, as to whether the GMA actually has accomplished it’s goals, and where it falls short. Have comprehensive planning really brought measureable improvements? I would guess yes, but really, I can’t enumerate them. Someone with knowledge of this issue want to help out?
Locally, I can point to one small improvement brought about by GMA planning. Here in Port Townsend, the west end of Fort Worden, between the Chinese Gardens and the Straits, was slated for development into condos or apartments. The GMA group in PT, with considerable public debate, apparently decided to trade the development of that land for development of Tree House properties, across from the Fort cemetery. I think that those of us in the neighborhood would agree that decision worked out for the best. It led to the State annexing the Chinese Gardens for the Park. We ended up with more open space attached to an already existing Park, and a small bunch of lots sandwiched into a residential neighborhood were infilled with dense housing. Most people would say that it was a good trade.
So it *can* work. And overall, most people would thank Governor Booth Gardner, for taking a hard principled stance on an environmental issue of such importance.
Former Gov. Booth Gardner dies at 76
A very insiteful article showing that this bill, moving through the Senate, and according to Democrats in the House is DOA, is actually about taking any local control away from Jefferson County on Pit To Pier, and moving this project forward. Please call your Senator or Representatives and let them know that this bill should die.
February 27th, 2013 9 AM PST by john - The Bellingham Herald
By John Stark
A Washington State Senate bill calling for expedited processing of permits for–among other things–”basic commodity transportation” is getting a lot of attention from opponents of the Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export pier proposed for Cherry Point.
The Environmental Priorities Coalition: WEEK of February 25, 2013 Environmental Community 2013 Legislative Session Hot List
From The Environmental Priorities Coalition: WEEK of February 25, 2013 Environmental Community 2013 Legislative Session Hot List for the STATE SENATE As we believe you are aware, the environmental community’s “Environmental Priorities Coalition” prepares a weekly “Hot List” detailing its positions on up to ten of the highest priority issues for the upcoming week. These Hot Lists are the best way for you to get a clear view of the issues that are most important to ensuring environmental protection in Washington State. Separate Hot Lists are prepared for the House and Senate and distributed each Monday. If the bill is related to one of the THREE environmental community Priorities for 2013, it is designated by the Priorities “button” on the right.
Please feel free to contact email@example.com or 206-369-2235 if you have any questions and we hope you find this communication helpful! Respectfully, Clifford R. Traisman, State Lobbyist, Washington Conservation Voters & Washington Environmental Council —
POSSIBLE SENATE FLOOR ACTION CRITICAL – THIS IS THE PIT TO PIER BILL – SB 5805: Concerning projects of statewide significance for economic development and transportation. POSITION: OPPOSE . SB 5805 undermines existing law which provides for the designation of projects of statewide significance provided there is a net environmental benefit and the local legislative authorities support the project. The bill removes the requirement for local support and changes the environmental benefit to be for any region of the state. . This bill could fast-track the permitting and environmental review process for mega-projects like the Pit-to-Pier gravel mine on Hood Canal or the coal export terminals despite major environmental impacts provided they have off-site mitigation in another region of the state.
SB 5636: Providing a process for county legislative authorities to withdraw from voluntary planning under the growth management act. POSITION: OPPOSE . The GMA is the primary law systematically preventing the proliferation of 1-acre residential lots served by exempt wells in areas without available water, harming senior water rights holders and fish and wildlife. . We are working on a compromise to provide the state with more certainty but oppose the current version of the bill.
SB 5658: Concerning mercury-containing lights. POSITION: OPPOSE . This bill would dismantle the existing lighting recycling law and create an inadequate and underfunded program that won’t get the job done. . Shifts responsibilities from manufacturers and leaves state and local governments, utilities, schools and taxpayers with the balance of the costs.
SB 5836: Relating to providing certainty to local governments on water resources decisions. POSITION: OPPOSE . Weakens the requirement that local governments ensure a reliable and safe water supply when evaluating land use development applications. . This approach fails to protect consumers purchasing land for development purposes when those lands do not have a reliable water supply and may cause harm to existing water rights and salmon.
Clean Energy Solutions Button SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 5802: Developing recommendations to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emissions targets. Senate Ways and Means: Companion Bill: HB 1915 POSITION: SUPPORT . This Governor’s-request legislation would evaluate the climate pollution reduction programs of other states and Canadian provinces and convene the Governor and legislative leaders to develop policies to ensure we achieve our climate pollution limits for 2020 and beyond (set in statute through a 2008 environmental Priority bill). . Right now, Washington sends approximately $15 billion each year to out of state oil and gas companies. With a booming clean energy economy, those dollars could be invested with Washington companies to create Washington jobs. States and regions with climate policies in place have seen strong growth in their clean energy economies, including California and New England.
SB 5219: Retaining water resources to assure the vitality of local economies. Senate Ways and Means: Possible Executive Session POSITION: OPPOSE . Forces the state to “use” water rights that are connected to public lands for out-of-stream purposes. If a water right is not used, the state must decide every four years if the water should be put into an account that will allow others to use the water for commercial purposes or risk relinquishment. . Even though water law recognizes keeping water instream as a “beneficial use”, this bill would not allow water rights connected to public lands to be used for instream flow purposes and adds a new cost to managing public lands.
SB 5296: Relating to the model toxics control act. Senate Ways and Means: Possible Executive Session POSITION: OPPOSE . Passed by the voters in 1988, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) is a critical “polluter pays” program that funds toxic clean up projects, implements prevention strategies, and protects public health. The law expedites clean ups in cases of hardship, redevelopment of abandoned sites, etc. . This bill rewrites large portions of MTCA and prioritizes cleanups for redevelopment – including projects that should be funded by private landowners and developers – and creates tremendous uncertainty for prevention, solid and hazardous waste management, and other activities.
Hot List for the STATE HOUSE POSSIBLE HOUSE FLOOR ACTION HB 1106: Regarding net metering of electricity. POSITION: SUPPORT Clean Energy Solutions Button . All too often, the upfront costs of purchasing solar panels prevents families and small businesses from taking advantage of generating their own energy. This bill permits third-party ownership of customers’ renewable energy systems, allowing customers to lease rather than buy rooftop solar panels or another distributed generation system. In Oregon and California, this program has significantly expanded their solar markets creating new jobs and building the states’ economies. . This bill also increases both the net-metering utilities can offer their customers and increases net metering to 199kW. This allows schools, farms, businesses and other customers with multiple systems to take full advantage of distributed generation, producing more renewable energy and lowering their electricity bill.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 1915: Developing recommendations to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emissions limits. Environment Committee: Companion
Bill: SB 5802 POSITION: SUPPORT Clean Energy Solutions Button . This Governor’s-request legislation would evaluate the climate pollution reduction programs of other states and Canadian provinces and convene the Governor and legislative leaders to develop policies to ensure we achieve our climate pollution limits for 2020 and beyond (set in statute through a 2008 environmental Priority bill). . Right now, Washington sends approximately $15 billion each year to out of state oil and gas companies. With a booming clean energy economy, those dollars could be invested with Washington companies to create Washington jobs. States and regions with climate policies in place have seen strong growth in their clean energy economies, including California and New England.
HB 1350: Relating to providing options for local communities to balance growth with water resources goals. Appropriations Subcommittee on Government Operations: Possible Public Hearing POSITION: OPPOSE . Allows certain large developments to rely on unpermitted wells and avoid Ecology review of water availability under a state water rights permit. . Will result in harm to junior water right holders, including instream flows necessary for salmon, navigation, and recreation.
HB 1910: Concerning the sales and use tax exemption expiration date for machinery and equipment used in generating electricity. House Finance: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session POSITION: SUPPORT . The development of clean, new renewable resources in Washington has brought $8 billion worth of capital investment into this state, stimulating economic development and creating jobs, as well as generating revenue for rural counties in particular. . The Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewables has been leveling the playing field between Washington and other states that have no sales and use tax; namely our neighbors Oregon and Montana and should be renewed.
HB 1953: Concerning local option transportation revenue. Transportation Committee: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session POSITION: SUPPORT . This bill preserves jobs, reduces congestion, and protects the environment by providing Community Transit with local funding options to address critical transit service. It’s supported by local businesses, cities, workers, and social service organizations. . Community Transit has already cut more than 35% of its bus service, raised fares multiple times, and delayed capital investments. Currently they provide no bus service on Sundays, leaving thousands of Snohomish County residents stranded and unable to get to work, shops, and everywhere in between.
HB 1959: Concerning local transportation revenue. Transportation Committee: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session POSITION: SUPPORT . This bill preserves jobs, reduces congestion, and protects the environment by providing local governments with additional local funding options to address local transportation needs, including critical transit service and road repair. . Without this bill, for example, King County Metro will have to cut 17% of their bus service next year despite increased ridership.
Contributing Organizations American Rivers . Cascade Bicycle Club . Climate Solutions . Conservation Northwest . Earth Ministry . Environment Washington . Faith Action Network . Fuse . Futurewise . Heart of America Northwest . The Lands Council . League of Women Voters of Washington . National Wildlife Federation . The Nature Conservancy . NW Energy Coalition . The Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club . Surfrider Foundation . Transportation Choices Coalition . Washington Conservation Voters . Washington Environmental Council . Washington State Audubon . Washington Toxics Coalition . Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition . Zero Waste Washington
These are this week’s key pieces of legislation, sponsored or co-sponsored by our district (24th) that need to have you call or email your support or lack of it. Best if you do one piece of email on each one, with the bill number in the subject and a Oppose or Support following it.
Click here to search for a bill and comment on it:
To get the whole hotlist that includes issues beyond those directly sponsored by our district legislators, see http://wecprotects.org/legislation/hot-list/legistlative-hot-list
HB 1237 – Relating to the creation of a stormwater compliance pilot project
Co-sponsored by Representative Van de Wege
Environmental Coalition stand: OPPOSE
This bill is unnecessary because Ecology already can appprove alternative compliance approaches so long as those approaches meet federal and state clean water laws. It is unclear as to what problem this bill is trying to solve.
HB 1350 – Relating to providing options for local communities to balance growth with water resources goals
Co-sponsored by Representatve Tharinger
Environmental Coalition stand: OPPOSE
Will result in harm to junior water rights holders, including instream flow necessary for salmon, navigation and recreation.
HB- 1444 – Concerning stewardship of household mercury-containing lights.
Co-sponsored by Representative Tharinger
Environmental Coalition stand: OPPOSE
The bill delays the start of the recycling program and terminates the program well before the problem is solved.
HB 1599 -Concerning shoreline master program provisions for marine aquaculture net pen facilities.
Sponsored by Representative Van de Wege
Environmental Coalition Stand : SUPPORT
HB1599 is all about allowing counties to choose to prohibit net pen aquaculture as part of their Shoreline Master Program (SMP). Currently only the Department of Ecology can choose to prohibit net pen aquaculture. This bill would not effect currently sited net pens.
HB 1245 – Regarding derelict and abandoned vessels in state waters.
Co-sponsored by Representatives Van De Wege and Tharinger
Environmental Coalition Stand – SUPPORT
This is probably the most important bill before the Senate as it relates to our county directly. As stated, this is not about banning net pens that exist, but allowing the counties to decide if they want them or not. As to the DOE statement that the SMP does not allow counties to ban water dependent businesses, they need to reread their own documents. Jefferson County has the right to prohibit mining on the shoreline, for example, and to determine whether a business is ‘water dependent’. Ecology has been squarely in the pocket of the Net Pen industry in this state, despite a growing body of evidence, just to the north of us in BC, that this industry is creating more problems than it solves. Anyone wishing to hear another side of this story, should watch or listen to the Dr. Lawrence Dill presentation that I documented a few months ago. The links to it are on the left side of the Blog, look left, and find Dr. Lawrence Dill in the Links catagories. Help make up your own mind with facts.
A bill that would allow coastal counties to ban marine aquaculture net pen facilities has an “uphill battle” ahead of it after a hearing in a state House of Representative committee in Olympia last week, said the North Olympic Legislator who is sponsoring it. State Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, is sponsoring HB 1599, which would allow county governments to include outright bans of net pen fish-farming facilities proposed for shoreline areas in their state-required shoreline management plan updates. Jeremy Schwartz reports.
This is a bill we should see unanimous support for, as it has been a major problem for our counties along the Sound for many decades now.
State officials would be encouraged to deal with derelict boats sooner — preferably before they sink — under a proposed law moving through the Legislature. …The legislation was approved unanimously last week by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and now moves to a vote by the full House. Chris Dunagan reports.
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.
President Barack Obama
Hope to see you at Environmental Lobby Day on February 19th. More info at
While this came in as a comment to yesterday’s post, I am creating it’s own post so that readers don’t miss it. We thank Ms. Kongsgaard for taking the time to write. -Editor
To our partners on the Peninsula:
We are all very sorry that Col. Wright isn’t able to remain in the crucial position of Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership because, as was said, his tenure brought heft and passion and vision to this enormous effort. What was not said and may not be widely known is that he came out of the private sector at the request of Governor Gregoire whom he greatly admires and promised to stay with her through her term.
On the other end of that pledge, he promised his business partner and war comrade that he would be back at his firm by winter, and here we are. He has helped reenergize the effort with great skill and vitality. Puget Sound recovery has long been his passion. What he perhaps did not count on is that the job of ED would become a formidable vehicle for the pursuit of same. And so here we are in an imperfect place – he is very torn, but he has an obligation, is loyal, and will be true to his word. It is his intent to stay a couple of months into Gov. Inslee’s term to enable a smooth transition, especially during the legislative session.
The job of ED at the Partnership is an enormously important one and of course the churn of ED traffic is at best distracting to the public and the remarkable staff. But make no mistake, there is more to the PSP than the Director. The 40+ staff members continue to carry out the serious central core work of our mission with great technical savvy and passionate inspiration and will continue to do so regardless of Gubernatorial transitions or appointments. And as we all recognize, this work does not have an end date – it will require all of us, out generations, with many more ED’s, to work vigilantly together.
So we invite the region, our Partners, to help Gov. Inslee fill this important post and to join us as we continue to work on what can only be called the great privilege of safe guarding this remarkable place on earth we are lucky enough to call home.
Chair, Leadership Council
Puget Sound Partnership
In a letter to his partners, Tony Wright, the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership, announced his resignation and intent to leave in the near future. He is staying until a new ED is found.
This is quite shocking news. Mr. Wright only took the helm of the Partnership last summer, after the resignation of Gerry O”Keefe, who himself had not been in the ED role for very long.
In meeting with members of the Marine Resource Committees at their annual conference last winter, Mr. Wright was all a bundle of fire, an excellent motivational speaker. He left the distinct taste that this was a man who was going to get things done. About the only thing he appears to have done, is reorganized the Partnership.
It is easy to assume that this is very bad news for the Partnership, and that Governor Inslee has been behind this latest change. Mr. Wright had the experience and background to help coordinate big, government based projects, having come from the Army Corp of Engineers. -UPDATE AS OF 1/21/2013- In a letter to “Partners” which is published elsewhere on this blog, it’s made clear to the public that Tony’s short term nature was known all along to the insiders, and that, in order to not seem like a lame duck from day one, he kept it closely guarded. While it is understandable, it doesn’t stop those of us looking for direction and guidance from the Partnership wanting to see some longer term stability than 6 months. It’s still unexplained as to why a change needed to happen to bring in Tony in the first place, as it was not made clear as to why Gerry had to leave. Couldn’t he have been kept on six more months? To those on the outside looking in, it just seems like churn.
It gives some possible clarity as to why Billie Frank Jr. in an interview in the Seattle Times on January 17th, was quoted as saying, “
“The state of Washington, all they know is process,” Frank said. “It’s ‘we gotta have a blue-ribbon panel, another meeting.’ You get processed out. God almighty, you never see anything coming back. What the hell?
“The directors retire and move away to Arizona and Florida and play golf, and they haven’t done a … thing for the natural resources.”
UPDATE AS OF 1/21/2013 – While I have no idea if Billie was referring to Tony’s leaving, the timing of the article and statement seemed very suspect. It hits awfully close to the issue at hand.
As to Mr. Wright’s saying that he is ‘returning to his company”. A standard procedure of exiting EDs is to jump to a consultancy, until the next major opportunity comes along.
UPDATE AS OF 1/21/2013 – Apparently this may have been misinterpreted by some readers. This was not meant as anything more than an explanation that this kind of behavior is very normal. I would not be surprised if Tony is in another ED role (or higher as Obama has a lot of roles to fill in the environmental world) by the end of the year.
We wish Mr. Wright well, but can’t help but wonder whether the Partnership is as “on the right path” as Mr. Wright claims. David Dicks got the Partnership up and running quickly, but left under a cloud. Gerry O’Keefe had just seemed to get his feet under him when he left, with no real explanation from the Governor. Now Mr. Wright exits. Having been in a large bureaucratic for profit company for many years, this kind of reorganization and executive churn is rarely good for staff morale. It often leads to even less getting done than usual.
UPDATE AS OF 1/21/2013 – Some readers seem to have taken issue with this statement. Bureaucracies by their nature are slow moving. Nothing exceptional about the PSP in that regard. While the staff of any agency can get along and keep moving it forward without an Executive, the lack of leadership at the top often stifles new initiatives, and decision-making. New leadership that comes in takes time to figure out the organization and it’s issues, as well as it’s external partners and customers. Often that takes 6 to 12 months to happen. Re-organizing isn’t an end in itself, but a means to one. I’ve seen bureaucracies that do it sometimes twice a year, with little to show for the effort, which takes time away from staff doing the work that makes a difference. We hope that the next leader of the PSP will be as dynamic and able to launch new efforts as Tony was.
And so, we, who are out in the watersheds doing the work, whether educational, protecting habitat, helping write rules for the counties, enforcing those rules, or otherwise ‘getting dirty’ and sometimes volunteering hundreds of hours a year without pay, will continue to do that, as we have been, while the Partnership leadership comes and goes, and has to relearn who we are and what we are doing. We hope that the Partnership, under Governor Inslee, finally gets itself on a firm footing, and pitches in, in a larger way, to help.
This year, join 24 of the state’s leading conservation groups and hundreds of citizen advocates to push for the passage of the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s 2013 legislative agenda. We need you in Olympia on February 19, 2013, to garner the support of all three of your state legislators by using your power of persuasion as you meet face-to-face with them. Feb 19, 2013 08:30 AM to Feb 19, 2013 08:30 AM to
February 19th 8:30 to 4:00 PM
WHERE: United Churches of Olympia
110 11th Ave SE Olympia
Contact for answers to questions: Rein Attemann – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted Sturdevant has been named Governor Elect Inslee’s Policy and Legislative Aide. No news yet on his replacement at Ecology. This has been seen as a bad move by some I’ve talked to in the environmental community, as a number of people were not impressed by Sturdevant’s stance on issues such as the Jefferson County Commissioners wanting to ban net pens in the county. Putting him in a policy role seems to be just reinforcing behavior that was not well received by Democratic loyalists in the trenches. Sturdevant not only was not interested in hearing that there could be any problem with net pens but that there was no justification that his scientists could find with the industry. Given that, it will be very interesting to see whom Inslee nominates to this critical post.
Washington State Representative Kevin Van De Wege of the 24th Legislative District has threatened legislation revoking federal control of Dungeness Spit. This in response to a proposed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation plan that would ban all jogging and horseback riding on the Dungeness Spit and nearby upland trails, Rep. Van De Wege (D-Sequim) is looking into legislation allowing the state to retake control of part of the spit.
While we understand that jogging and horseback riding are not normally thought as being incompatible with a ‘park’, a gentle reminder is that this refuge was not set up as a standard ‘park’, such as Fort Worden, but as a wildlife refuge’, to protect specific birds that were nesting there. It was established in 1915 for the specific purpose of protecting nesting shorebirds. The refuge was not created to help people jog or horseback ride. To repeat, it is not a “park” it is a refuge.
There apparently was an incident last year between a horse and a pedestrian that has led to this current situation. The person had serious injuries. Whether this refuge is suitable for horse riding is certainly a separate and debatable issue.
We believe that Representative Van De Wege, who was elected with great help from the environmental community, should sit down and work with Olympic Audubon to forge a plan to help the horse community and the refuge come to a solution. It may be that jogging may have to be rerouted around a more workable situation, and an educational program for the community be mounted to help people understand the purpose of this ’wildlife refuge.”
Let’s remember that these bad rules were put out on election day, under the waning days of Governor Christine Gregoire. It allows local communities to drive a truck through the state protections, and greatly expands the ability of local officials to set aside hard won environmental protections.
If we have our reservations about Gregoire being the head of EPA, this is one of the reasons for it.
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has adopted a new rule that increases the flexible thresholds local governments may adopt to exempt certain minor new construction projects from review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
Enacted in 1971, SEPA helps state and local agencies in Washington identify possible environmental impacts that could result from governmental decisions such as issuing permits for private projects, constructing public facilities, or adopting regulations, policies or plans.
SEPA applies to all state and local agency decisions including state agencies, cities, counties, ports and special districts such as school and water districts.
Every year, state and local agencies in Washington use SEPA to evaluate about 6,000 proposed decisions. Information learned through the review process can be used to change a proposal to reduce likely impacts, apply conditions to or deny a proposal when adverse environmental impacts are identified.
SEPA also gives local governments the option to allow some minor construction projects, depending on their size and scale, to be exempt from review.
To comply with a law passed by the 2012 Washington Legislature and approved by Gov. Chris Gregoire, Ecology’s new rule increases the size and scale thresholds for building projects local governments can choose to be exempt from SEPA review, including:
* Small-scale residential housing developments.
* Office, school and commercial buildings with adjoining parking lots under a certain size.
* Agricultural structures within a specific square footage.
* Minor landfill and excavation activities.
The exemption levels will vary depending whether a proposed project would be located in a city, unincorporated areas inside an urban growth area, or in a county that is or is not planning under the state Growth Management Act.
Besides increasing the flexible thresholds for minor construction projects, the new rule also:
* Makes the SEPA checklist more efficient by allowing checklists to be submitted electronically to lead state and local agencies and give agencies the ability to skip irrelevant checklist questions when considering changes to plans, programs or policies.
* Expands the exemption threshold for electrical utilities from 55,000 to 115,000 volts in existing rights-of-way and developed utility corridors.
Ecology will conduct a second, broader round of SEPA rule revisions later this year.
Media contact: Curt Hart, 360-407-6990; cell, 360-480-7908 (email@example.com)
SEPA rulemaking: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sepa/rulemaking2012.html
More about SEPA: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sepa/e-review.html
Ecology’s website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/
Ecology’s social media: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html
Department of Ecology’s Home Page: http://www.ecy.wa.gov
To unsubscribe to Ecology-news, point your browser to http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=ecology-news&A=1 or send a "SIGNOFF Ecology-news" command to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.WA.GOV.
Various news sources are reporting that Christine Gregoire is going to be named head of the EPA after she leaves office. The good news in this is that Gregoire has been a strong advocate for the environment here in Washington State. She also will bring the inevitable funding for State needs that an EPA head is able to direct. Her ability to relate to the projects that are requesting funds is a natural fit. A good win for Ecotopia, ah…I mean the Pacific Northwest (G). Will help backfill the loss of Norm Dicks seniority in doling out funds for our projects. While we have had our criticisms of the Governor, as all politicians deal in tradeoffs and as such will never satisfy everyone (which is why blogs and the Press are important to remain politically neutral in order to offer constructive criticism), the overall positive side of this equation far outweighs the negatives. Ironically, one of the last acts Gregoire did as Governor, in her proposed budget for 2013-15, was to ask to slash headcount to the Department of Ecology, and cut back on grants to local watershed planning (read WIRA?), as well as calling for expanded logging.
40th Legislative District State Senator Kevin Ranker writes an oveview of his point of view of the Republican take over of the State Senate, dispite the voters electing a Democratic majority. This assures a dismal legislative year of partisan bickering in Olympia and no improvement to the overall issues voters care about. A very important overview in Crosscut.
Heres where Washington Environmental Coalition will be focusing their efforts in the upcoming legislative session. Lobby Day will be held in Olympia on February 19th.
Check out the 2013 Environmental Priorities (Toxic-Free Kids and Families, Clean Energy Solutions, and Conservation Works) and register for the Jan 12 legislative workshop in Bellevue and Feb 19 Lobby Day in Olympia. Right here, http://environmentalpriorities.org/
A legislative initiative similar to a ballot measure defeated in California in November calls for foods that have genetically modified content to be labeled.. This has been promoted by the Port Townsend Food Coop, among others.
Melissa Allison reports. http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020044923_gmo03m.html