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Category Archives: Climate Change

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Environmental Groups Serve 60 Day Notice on BNSF, Coal Companies, Alleging Ongoing Violations of the Clean Water Act

Posted in Clean Water Act, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Uncategorized, Water Quality

Yesterday, a group of environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper, Columbia Riverkeeper and others, sent a 60-day notice letter to Burlington Northern, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Ambre Energy, Cloud Peak Energy, Global Mining Holding Co., FirstEnergy Corporation, and TransAlta USA,  alleging violations of the Clean Water Act related to alleged discharges of coal… Continue Reading

Washington Introduces First Legislation to Address Ocean Acidification

Posted in Clean Water Act, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Ocean Acidification, Shellfish Industry, Water Quality

Yesterday, Senators Rankin, Litzow, Shin and Kline introduced SB 5547 a bill acting on the recommendations of Governor Gregoire’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. The bill was referred to the Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. We’ll see if it makes it out of that committee and comes up for a vote. In a nutshell,… Continue Reading

Coal Train Opposition in Seattle: Killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Project Permitting, Sustainability

We’re a week away from a public meeting for the scoping process of the Gateway Pacific Terminal EIS, one of the proposed coal export terminals undergoing NEPA/SEPA review right now in Washington. As I’ve described earlier, these proposals may be the perfect storm of environmental issues: greenhouse gas emissions, transboundary pollution, vessel traffic in Puget… Continue Reading

Coal Exports from Washington: NEPA/SEPA Scoping Begins for the Millennium Coal Export Terminal

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, NEPA, Project Permitting, SEPA, Uncategorized

On Tuesday, the Washington Department of Ecology announced an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to jointly oversee the preparation of an environmental impact statement (“EIS”) for Millenium Coal’s proposal to develop a coal export terminal at the site of a former aluminum smelter in Longview, Washington. This MOU comes on the heels… Continue Reading

Quick hits from the Pacific Northwest: Dams as Greenhouse Gas Sources, Cross-Border Torts, Transboundary CERCLA Trial Coming Up

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Uncategorized

I’ll admit to taking a bit of time to travel with my family the last couple of weeks, so I have a few items that have accumulated in my notes. More to come when I’m back from a weekend of fishing in Canada: First, there is an interesting study out of Washington State University that… Continue Reading

What Does Data Show About the Economics of Regional Cap-and-Trade?

Posted in Alternative Fuels, Climate Change, Entrepreneurs, Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business

Back before the recession, there was a major push in Washington State to adopt a state carbon cap-and-trade program as part of Washington’s membership in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).  The argument was heated, and like most things these days tended to split on party lines with a gulf between the two.  Democrats generally argued… Continue Reading

Civil Rights Watch: Is California’s Cap and Trade Program Discriminatory?

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Climate Change, Emerging Policy

Last week, the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment and other environmental groups filed a complaint with EPA’s Office of Civil Rights alleging that California’s cap and trade program is discriminatory because it allows for the purchase of emission credits, essentially allowing emitters of greenhouse gases to avoid emission reductions in low-income areas. The… Continue Reading

Hot environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest: Coal exports, Pebble Mine, derelict vessels

Posted in Clean Water Act, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Shellfish Industry, Water Quality

For those of you that are not up on the hot-button issues in Washington and the Pacific Northwest: Coal exports: Craig Welch at the Seattle Times wrote a good summary on coal export plans in Washington. This is shaping up to be the biggest environmental issue in Washington, and presents many interesting legal and policy… Continue Reading

Ocean Acidification Update: New Study on Impacts to Shellfish Industry and Washington’s Regulatory Response

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Ocean Acidification, Shellfish Industry

The latest from the group of researchers studying ocean acidification is out–Craig Welch wrote a good article for the Seattle Times on this subject the other day. I’ve previously discussed work done in Hood Canal by this same group of researchers, but this current paper is the first work to directly link oyster larval mortality… Continue Reading

Happy 41st Earth Day!

Posted in Climate Change, Legislation

I no more wrote that title than I “heard” voices shouting, “What’s happy about it?” “Why would you even be pointing out that it’s Earth Day?” “Isn’t the earth going to the dogs and how can it be happy?” Or something like that. But for me this is a particularly reflective Earth Day. The first… Continue Reading

Fukushima and the Future of US Energy Policy

Posted in Climate Change, Energy Policy

Like most of the world, I’ve been watching intently as the events unfold in Japan. As the nuclear crisis develops there, I cannot help but think about the implications for energy policy here in the United States. Most people are familiar with the trajectory of nuclear power in the United States. Hailed as a new,… Continue Reading

Ecology Amends State Air Permit Rules to Mirror Federal Rule for Greenhouse Gases

Posted in Climate Change, Legislation

If comprehensive climate legislation is not likely to have much to do with greenhouse gases any time soon, regulation keeps inching forward under existing regulatory authority. Most recently in Washington State, Washington’s Department of Ecology (DOE) published notice of intent to adopt, and has requested comment on a rule establishing the thresholds for greenhouse gas… Continue Reading

Western Climate Initiative Steps Back Into the Federal Vacuum on Cap-and-Trade

Posted in Climate Change, Entrepreneurs, Legislation, Regulatory

The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is a collaboration of seven Western states (Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington) and four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec), dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Two years ago there was a major push in each… Continue Reading


Posted in Alternative Fuels, Climate Change, Entrepreneurs, Natural Resources and Environment, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business

Washington’s Department of Ecology recently issued a report entitled “Washington Western Climate Initiative Economic Impact Analysis,” which predicts that if the cap-and-trade program advocated by the Western Climate Initiative were adopted, the result would be an additional 19,300 jobs by 2020 and $3.3 billion increased economic output in the state product by 2020.  Presumably those… Continue Reading

Ocean Acidification and Puget Sound

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Ocean Acidification, Shellfish Industry, Water Quality

I just finished reading an article published in Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science by Richard Feely from the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory here in Seattle and his co-authors from the University of Washington and the Washington Department of Ecology. These researchers sampled waters in Puget Sound on two cruises in February and August 2008, and… Continue Reading

Must “Bi-Partisan Climate Legislation” Be an Oxymoron?

Posted in Climate Change, Legislation

  oxymoron: a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly” Rarely has there been such anticipatory buzz as existed for the unveiling of the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman climate bill.  In December of last year, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and… Continue Reading