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Category Archives: Legislation

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The View From The Pacific Northwest: What to Watch in Environmental Law and Policy Post-Inauguration, Part 1

Posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Energy, Cleanup & Superfund, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory

On Friday morning, I boarded a plane in Chicago and by the time I touched down in Seattle, Trump had been sworn into office. We’ve received a number of questions from clients and friends asking us how the regime change will impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. The quick answer is one… Continue Reading

Ecology Files Fish Consumption Rule: What has Changed from Draft Language, and How has it Been Received?

Posted in Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Legislation, Public Health Policy

On Monday, right at the start of this year’s legislative session, Ecology filed its proposed rule that will–if adopted–result in adoption of new Water Quality Standards in Washington that account for high rates of fish consumption in this state. What has changed as compared to the preliminary draft rule? Not much, and nothing of substance…. Continue Reading

Five Environmental Issues to Track as Washington’s 64th Legislature Begins Session

Posted in Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Legislation, Tax, Water Quality

Governor Inslee has been busy since the end of the last legislative session laying out his environmental agenda, announcing his intent to pursue an aggressive climate change agenda back in April, and coupling the controversial fish consumption issue to an overall toxics reduction strategy. Today marks the start of the legislative session. Here are five… Continue Reading

Executive Orders & Carbon Emissions: Can Governor Inslee Establish A Low Carbon Fuel Standard Without Legislation?

Posted in Alternative Fuels, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Legislation

The authority of a governmental executive to issue an executive order has recently been a hot topic in the politico-legal world. President Obama’s issuance of Executive Order 13682 sparked a national debate over the Executive’s power to establish and enforce his own laws on controversial issues. The validity of executive orders may very soon become… Continue Reading

Cap and Trade to Reduce Carbon Emissions in Washington Is SO 1990s

Posted in Clean Energy, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Legislation, Renewable Energy, Tax

Lots of big ideas – think the minimum wage, women’s suffrage, abolition, fair labor standards – take years or decades from when they are first proposed to their final adoption. The fact that it takes a while to bring enough of society around to actually adopt a new idea doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good… Continue Reading

Governor Inslee Issues His Policy Brief on Updating Washington’s Water Quality Standards

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Legislation

Governor Inslee held a press conference yesterday morning, where he presented his policy brief on Washington’s ongoing efforts to update its water quality standards to account for higher fish consumption rates. This has been a long time coming, and is a significant development on what is arguably the most important environmental rulemaking effort Washington has… Continue Reading

WRRDA Signed by President Obama

Posted in Capital and Funding, Legislation, Tax, Water Quality

To close the loop on our previous stories regarding the WRRDA (here and here), President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 on Tuesday. Now it is on to the appropriation process, although there are some immediate changes to how projects are approved, etc., that we could see the benefit of sooner. During the signing,… Continue Reading

Mexico Joins Maritime Redevelopment Fun

Posted in Capital and Funding, Legislation, Water Quality

As we have previously detailed (here and here), Congress just passed, and the President is expected to sign, the first water resource development bill since 2007. This will make ports on both coasts more competitive internationally. For those ports here in the Pacific Northwest, it will make them more competitive with Canadian ports in British Columbia…. Continue Reading

Water Resource Reform, Port Channels and Flood Control, Oh My!

Posted in Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Project Permitting, Water Quality

At long last, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) is expected to be passed by the Senate today and signed by President Obama soon. The first water resources development bill was enacted in 1974 and was intended to be reauthorized every two years. It was consistently updated (except for a hiatus between 1976 and… 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

In Defense(?) of the Initiative

Posted in Legislation, Renewable Energy

A few years ago I adopted a personal policy that I always vote “no” on any initiative.  It is satisfying, and it saves me a fair amount of time with the voters pamphlet.  I’m part of the demographic that always votes in every election – and thus gets the maximum amount of pre-election mail.  (If… Continue Reading

Can a New Political Consensus be Found to Keep a 75-Year Supply of Natural Gas from Dooming Renewable Energy?

Posted in Capital and Funding, Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Technology

In an April 12, 2012 article in the New York Times, Jad Mouwad wrote about the transformation in United States’ energy fortunes that is fundamentally changing much of what we thought we knew about domestic and international realities.  After decades of viewing ourselves as energy depleted, he writes, the United States now finds itself cutting… Continue Reading

Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission Tackles the Conundrum of Distributed Energy, Part 2

Posted in Entrepreneurs, Legislation, Regulatory, Renewable Energy

As I tried to describe in part one of this article, Washington has some structural challenges that impair its ability to develop distributed energy as a significant alternative to fossil fuel-powered electrical power generation. The regulatory system that has been built up over the last 100 years has powerful constituencies that it must protect. Those are… Continue Reading

Seattle Resolves to Achieve Zero Net Green House Gas Emissions by 2050

Posted in Electric Vehicles, Energy Conservation, Legislation, Renewable Energy

Do you believe in magic? There is a certain sense that is what it takes for the Seattle City Council to do what it did on October 3, 2011, when it passed Resolution 31312, which puts the City on the path towards reducing Seattle’s net green house gas emissions level to zero by 2050. The… Continue Reading

The City of Seattle is a Microcosm of Why You Should and Why You May Not Build a LEED Building

Posted in Energy Conservation, Green Building, LEED, Legislation

In 2000 the City of Seattle became the first city in the country to require that all city buildings over 5,000 square feet achieve LEED silver rating. The City’s goal in doing that was to spur development of LEED buildings by demonstrating their value and increasing the familiarity of the local design professions and contractors… Continue Reading

EPA Gives Itself Three More Years To Figure Out A Tailoring Rule For Biomass Energy

Posted in Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory, Renewable Energy

The Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq was adopted in the early 1960s to insure that business and industry does not spew pollutants into the air, causing harm to humans, plants and animals. Congress found that “the growth in the amount and complexity of air pollution brought about by urbanization, industrial development,… 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

Hearing on HB 1268 Presents a Microcosm of Why Adopting and Implementing an Energy Policy that Moves Away from the Status Quo Is So Hard

Posted in Alternative Fuels, Legislation, Renewable Energy

The Washington State Green Energy Leadership Plan Report, released October 21, 2010, identified four areas where it found Washington State might be able to achieve leadership in emerging segments of the future green economy. As we discussed in an earlier post, for two of those areas – combined energy efficiency, green building and smart grid… Continue Reading

Food Fight! Greenhouse Gas Regulation in 2011

Posted in Legislation, Regulatory, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business

For most of the last two years it has been easy to write about climate change legislation. Two years ago, Washington State seemed poised to adopt its own version of a cap-and-trade program as part of the Western Climate Initiative. But that legislation faltered, because it was not well developed and state legislators were bombarded… Continue Reading