Posted on July 27, 2015 by Al B.
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
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: james hargrove, Kevin Van De Wege, legislature, steve tharinger | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 8, 2015 by Al B.
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.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: budget, legislature | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 8, 2015 by Al B.
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.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: forage fish, legislature | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 15, 2015 by Al B.
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 http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2015/01/14/4078637_ericksen-ranker-introduce-dueling.html
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)
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: Doug Ericksen, Kevin Ranker, legislature, oil spill prevention | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 8, 2014 by Al B.
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.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: legislature, lobby, Naki Stevens, Sound Action | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 9, 2013 by Al B.
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.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: legislation, legislature, orcas, Puget Sound Partnership | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 5, 2013 by Al B.
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. (http://www.srs.gov/general/news/releases/nr12_doe-biomass-startup.pdf)
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.
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:
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
Filed under: Air Pollution, Biomass Cogeneration, Clallam County, Government, Jefferson County, legislation, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Projects | Tagged: air pollution, biomass, legislature, Port Angeles | 4 Comments »