Bill to ban toxic flame retardants could fizzle for fifth time  – Investigate West

Good analysis. The bill needs your support. Contact Senator Hargrove on the Peninsula.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers want to ban flame retardants linked to cancer, learning disabilities and other health problems from being used in children’s products and furniture. But legislation to do that could fail for the fifth year running if legislators cannot agree on how to ban new chemicals down the road. The bill, the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act (HB 2545), would ban five common flame retardants from upholstered furniture and children’s toys, safety seats and clothing. It also would authorize the Washington State Department of Health to ban additional flame retardants found to be of high concern for children’s health. The House Health Care & Wellness Committee passed an amended bill 8-7 on Tuesday. In past years, versions of the legislation have passed the full House overwhelmingly only to die in the Senate. Allegra Abramo reports. (Investigate West)

 

Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton and Climate Change Law

Interesting article in Mother Jones from last May on Bernie’s record. While certainly a ‘climate hawk’, his efforts have mostly been for naught, except for one passed in 2007 (when Dems held the control of the Senate) and was co-authored with Hilary Clinton (!).  As this points out, the real challenge is to take back Congress, which is not likely to happen this year, unless Democrats come out in huge numbers like they did for Obama the first time. Clinton’s on again off again support of TPP (the trade pact with Pacific rim countries that threatens to undermine American environmental law) is another difference between the candidates. Blind belief in trade has made for some extraordinary gains for third world countries as well as the US (the US benefitted economically on the whole from NAFTA, while certain segments of the economy lost huge numbers of jobs, and Mexico also saw huge losses and huge gains).

  • In 2007, he (Sanders) cowrote with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) the Green Jobs Act, which allocated funding for clean energy and energy efficiency research and job training. This did pass, as part of a big 2007 energy bill.

Additionally, for a view of Hilary’s record, check out the League of Women Voters. While there are some on the left that are attempting to demonize her, I would suggest that both candidates would do their best to help protect the environment, even with a Republican led Congress.

http://www.lcv.org/elections/endorsements/hrc-environmental-record.pdf

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/05/bernie-sanders-greenest-presidential-candidate

 

Understanding State Environmental Bills

If you are interested in what is happening in Olympia regarding environmental related bills, check out my upper tab, on Legislative Roundups, 2016. I’ve posted the weekly updates to from the Environmental Priorities Coalition. Separate Hot Lists are prepared for the House and Senate and distributed each Monday (and online here). Please feel free to contact  clifford@ctassociates.org or 206.369.2235 if you have any questions.

Ship noise extends to frequencies used by endangered killer whales – Phys.org

Study underway to quantify the issue of noise pollution and Orcas. From this, could come regulations that force shipping to alter course if Orcas are within certain distances from ships.

When an endangered orca is in hot pursuit of an endangered salmon, sending out clicks and listening for their echoes in the murky ocean near Seattle, does the noise from the nearby shipping lane interfere with them catching dinner? To find out scientists measured underwater noise as ships passed their study site 3,000 times. This unprecedented characterization of ship noise will aid in the understanding of the potential effects on marine life, and help with possible mitigation strategies. One of the threats faced by today’s oceans is underwater noise pollution from ships. Amazingly, the growth in commercial shipping has raised the intensity of low-frequency noise almost 10-fold since the 1960s. Because this noise occurs at the low frequencies used by baleen whales there is growing evidence it may impact their ability to communicate, and therefore their survival. But could ship noise extend to the higher frequencies used by toothed whales and therefore pose similar threats to them? To answer this question and understand the nature of ship noise, particularly in coastal areas where ships access ports, scientists measured approximately 1,600 unique ships as they passed through Haro Strait, in Washington State. This area is the core critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident killer whales—salmon-eating orcas which are iconic in the Pacific Northwest and which support a multi-million dollar ecotourism industry in the U.S. and Canada. (Phys.Org)

http://phys.org/news/2016-02-ship-noise-frequencies-endangered-killer.html

State regulators recommend costs of closing Colstrip 1 and 2 be included in rate case – Seattle PI

We all want to see a move to an oil and coal free future. Here’s an article calling out the costs. If you are in favor of the move, you will need to pay more. But in the long run, this will force people to either move to tidal or solar/wind on their homes, or in community electricity farms, and continue the move to more energy efficiency. We are facing a very uncertain future, and it’s the cost of getting there.

State utility regulators issued an investigation report Monday recommending Puget Sound Energy include the costs of closing its two older coal-fired electric generating plants in Colstrip, Mont. in the company’s next rate case. Colstrip plume 2_1The staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission found that, based on information provided by PSE, current rates aren’t enough to recover the costs of retiring the plant and conducting environmental remediation. PSE has estimated that costs of closure for Colstrip 1 and 2 will range from about $65 to $100 million. The costs are expected to increase the longer the plants continue to operate. Including these costs in a rate case will allow commission staff and interested parties to evaluate the estimates and make recommendations to the commission in order to mitigate the impact on PSE’s ratepayers, the commission said. The company is required to file a general rate case by April 1. Rita Robison reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

http://blog.seattlepi.com/boomerconsumer/2016/02/01/state-regulators-recommend-costs-of-closing-colstrip-1-and-2-be-included-in-rate-case/

Photo of the Day – Fried Egg Jellyfish Swimming – Bruce Kerwin

Successive photos of a fried egg jellyfish while swimming. Taken at Sund Rock in Hoodsport, WA

Successive photos of a fried egg jellyfish while swimming. Taken at Sund Rock in Hoodsport, WA

Another great photo from Bruce Kerwin.

 

Sequim scientists work to restore eelgrass in Puget Sound – PDN

Many of us on the Peninsula are helping to protect and better understand eel grass. In Port Townsend, the local Marine Resources Committee (of which I currently am chair) has been managing the Eelgrass Protection Buoys, helping boaters understand the right spot to anchor to protect the remaining eel grass, which is home to all sorts of underwater life. There’s a lot left to know about restoring it.

Local scientists are lending their expertise to offset the global decline of seagrass by studying and restoring eelgrass throughout Puget Sound. To help address this decline, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine Sciences Lab in Sequim are working with the state on restoring eelgrass throughout the Puget Sound…. Eelgrass is recognized by the Puget Sound Partnership as both critical habitat and a vital sign of Puget Sound because changes in its abundance or distribution reflect changes in environmental conditions. Alana Lineroth reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20160201/NEWS/302019992/sequim-scientists-work-to-restore-eelgrass-in-puget-sound

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