washington state

A Witness to the Disappearing Wonder of Wild Orcas

Read time: 4 mins
A pod of orcas at sunset

I never thought I’d live to see an orca in the wild, a sobering prospect for someone in her 30s living in the Pacific Northwest. Or rather, I never thought the orcas would live long enough for me to see them in the wild.

I’m not talking about meeting just any orcas; I wanted to meet my orcas, the 74 remaining endangered Southern Residents who call the busy, steely blue waters of the Salish Sea their home.

In this corner of the cold Pacific Ocean spanning Washington and British Columbia, the Southern Resident orcas face more challenges than most, faring worse even than their nearby neighbors, the Northern Resident community, similar orcas who live similar salmon-eating lives farther north along the Pacific Coast.

Backed by Big Oil, Opponents of Washington’s Proposed Carbon Fee Claim Latino Businesses Support Them—Except They Don’t

Read time: 5 mins
Washington I-1631

With Washington State voters poised to put a price on carbon pollution, the oil and gas industry has made history to keep the ballot measure, Initiative 1631, from passing. The opposition campaign, funded with more than $30 million primarily from out-of-state oil and gas companies, also distributed bilingual flyers listing Latino businesses that recommended voting “no” on I-1631.

The only problem, however, is that a dozen Latino businesses say they never agreed to this, according to the Yes on 1631 campaign.

The Environment Is on the November Ballot — Here’s Where and What’s at Stake

Read time: 8 mins
Nevada solar array at Nellis Air Force Base

By Tara Lohan, The Revelator. Originally published on The Revelator.

Environmental issues such as polluted drinking water in Michigan and harmful algal blooms in Florida could influence which candidates voters will support in this November’s midterm election, says Holly Burke, communications coordinator of the League of Conservation Voters.

Water issues really resonate with voters in states where clean water has been a dramatic problem,” says Burke.

These issues may affect certain political candidates, but in some states ballot measures will be a more direct way for residents to weigh in on environmental issues. For those hoping that statewide initiatives will help to combat environmental rollbacks at the federal level by the Trump administration, this election will be a crucial test.

This Small Branch of Trans Mountain Could Derail Canada’s Pipeline Purchase

Read time: 9 mins
Protester holding sign stating No Pipeline, No Consent, during a Kinder Morgan Pipeline Rally on September 9th, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada.

By , The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

The vast majority of oilsands crude moving to the West Coast passes through the little regarded Puget Sound Pipeline, which is now heavily entangled in troubled Canada-U.S. relations.

Politicians and industry have long boasted of the ability for an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline to get oil to lucrative Asian markets from Burnaby’s Westridge terminal.

But experts in Washington State are increasingly concerned that the twinning of the Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline may in fact lead to an expansion of the Puget Sound Pipeline, a 111-kilometer “spur line” from Trans Mountain that branches southward at Abbotsford to carry oil to four large refineries in the Puget Sound region.

Another Washington State Natural Gas Project Must Account for Its Total Climate Impacts

Read time: 5 mins
Protesters carrying signs against the Tacoma LNG plant

By Stephen Quirke

For the fourth time since July 2013, Washington state is requiring an analysis of the full climate impacts of a major fossil fuel project proposed within its borders.

Most recently, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency announced on January 24 it would hire a consultant to undertake a full life-cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions associated with Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at the Port of Tacoma.

Port of Vancouver Votes to End Lease for West Coast Oil-by-Rail Terminal

Read time: 5 mins

This week, three port commissioners in Vancouver, Washington, put another nail in the coffin for Vancouver Energy's proposed crude-by-rail facility when the commission voted to not renew the company's lease if the project did not have all required permits and licenses by March 31. This move is expected to effectively end the project.

Momentum for this vote began in November when Don Orange joined the port commission after a resounding victory against a challenger who was heavily funded by the oil industry. Orange, on the other hand, promised to oppose Vancouver Energy's planned construction of the largest oil-by-rail facility in the country.

Oil Money Pours into Washington State Port Election Ahead of Major Decision on Crude-by-Rail Terminal

Read time: 6 mins
Vancouver, Washington railroad

By Stephen Quirke

An election in southern Washington could decide the fate of the country's largest proposed crude-by-rail terminal, and has recently come under heavy scrutiny as a rush of oil money has flowed into the campaign treasury of Port of Vancouver candidate Kris Greene. Greene’s campaign has ties to a GOP lobbying and PR firm that did crisis communications for the Dakota Access pipeline and created fake grassroots groups supporting the tobacco industry.

Fossil Fuel Dollars Flow into Local Elections Threatening Development in the West

Read time: 5 mins
A child holds a hand-drawn sign protesting fracking near his school in Colorado

This election season, cities in Colorado and Washington are proving to be battlegrounds for community groups pushing to locally restrict oil, gas, and coal development. And in both places, the fossil fuel industry has been pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into making sure that doesn’t happen.

World's Largest Fracked-Gas-to-Methanol Refinery Forced to Calculate Climate Impact

Read time: 5 mins
CO2 to methanol plant in Iceland

By Stephen Quirke

Last month one of the largest fracked gas projects in the Pacific Northwest was dealt a legal blow when its development permit was canceled for failing to fully account for the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The project, backed by Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW), would refine fracked gas into methanol, an industrial feedstock used in chemical production, that would be shipped in bulk from Kalama, Washington, to China, where backers say it will produce plastics.

Open Letter About WA Governor Inslee's Appeal of Youth Climate Victory

Read time: 7 mins

This is a guest post by Andrea Rogers and Julia Olson 

We are the attorneys who represent the eight courageous youths who presented [Washington Governor Jay] Inslee with an unprecedented climate protection opportunity to issue rules to protect their future from carbon pollution.  We write not just as their advocates, but as mothers of young children as well. We do not now, nor have we ever, questioned Gov. Inslee’s professed commitment to addressing climate change. 

But as kids know too well, actions speak louder than words and action based on solid science is sorely lacking at all levels of government, including within Gov. Inslee’s administration. What we have asked Gov. Inslee for is a Climate Recovery Rule for the state of Washington, detailing and describing how Washington will use its existing authority to cap and draw down GHG emissions in a manner consistent with the best current scientific understanding of what it will take to protect not just these eight brave youths, but all of us, present and future generations alike.

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