State Requires You to Comply with CO2 Regulations, But Won't Say How

April 15, 2011 in Blog

A major part of Governor Gregoire's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risk from climate change is the requirement to calculate the potential increase in CO2 emissions from major projects. This is part of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), which requires certain projects to identify all potential environmental impacts.

Prioritizing for Salmon Using Science

April 13, 2011 in Blog

The recently passed House Budget includes a proviso requiring the Department of Fish and Wildlife to prioritize spending on hatcheries using science. Now, the Senate Democrats' budget, released last night, echoes that same sentiment.

The proviso, found on page 89 of the Senate bill, reads:

Budget Language on Salmon Echoes WPC's Environmental Priorities Act

April 7, 2011 in Blog

For the past two years, the Washington Policy Center has included the Environmental Priorities Act in our annual environmental recommendations to the legislature. In this year's "Fresh Start on the Environment" agenda, we again proposed the legislation that would use sound science and economics to prioritize those efforts providing the greatest environmental benefit for the available funding.

Does Earth Hour Increase Energy Use?

March 25, 2011 in Blog

For the fifth year in a row, WWF will sponsor Earth Hour, an effort to get people around the world to turn off their lights to symbolically demonstrate the need to use less energy to fight climate change. While the effort is considered symbolic, there are numerous claims that the effort actually saves significant amounts of energy.

Environmental News: Forests Expanding, Access to Water Is Not

March 21, 2011 in Blog

UN Says Forests in Northern Hemisphere Steadily Growing

Despite concerns about worldwide deforestation, the United Nations announced today that forest area in the Northern Hemisphere expanded steadily during the past two decades. They noted "Forested areas in Europe, North America, the Caucasus and Central Asia have been increasing steadily, growing by 25 million hectares over the past two decades."

Climate Change: Where the Rhetoric Defines the Science, Part 2

March 18, 2011 in Blog

Two weeks ago, the Seattle Times ran a story discussing the impact of climate change on the Costa Rican coffee crop. This line in the story stood out:

Global warming — more accurately called climate change — poses "a direct business threat to our company," Starbucks executive Jim Hanna told an Environmental Protection Agency panel in 2009 in Seattle.

The Ugly Tone of Environmental Debate in Olympia

March 10, 2011 in Blog

For the emblematic example of the ugly tone of discussion about environmental policy in Olympia this year, one need look no further than this March 8 tweet from the Washington Toxics Coalition.

Climate Change: Where the Rhetoric Defines the Science

March 8, 2011 in Blog

Yesterday, the Seattle Times published a story about the impact rising temperatures are having on the Costa Rican coffee crop. This phrase stood out:

Global warming — more accurately called climate change — poses "a direct business threat to our company," Starbucks executive Jim Hanna told an Environmental Protection Agency panel in 2009 in Seattle.

Well Sure...If You Ignore the Other 99.9 Percent

February 25, 2011 in Blog

If someone told you it only costs $25 in taxes every five years to drive on Washington's roads and highways, what would you say? After all, that's how much it costs to renew your driver's license.

That is the logic being used by the environmental community to justify a big increase in permit costs for forestry companies.

Environmental activists are pushing for higher fees on forestry companies, sending an e-mail to supporters this week claiming:

The Symbolic Fight over Centralia's Coal Plant

February 23, 2011 in Blog

One of the bills in Olympia receiving the most publicity this year is the push by the environmental community to shut down the Centralia coal plant, the only coal plant in the state, which supplies about ten percent of Washington's electric power. We believe that carbon creates risk and that putting a reasonable price on carbon makes sense -- and this would impact coal more than other forms of energy.

Advocates of this legislation, however, have made a number of unsupportable claims. Such claims indicate that a key part of this effort is about looking good rather than doing good.

Greens vs. Science: Duff Badgley's Unscientific Biomass Diatribe

February 10, 2011 in Blog

The award for the most science-free editorial of the year goes to Duff Badgley, for his diatribe in the Seattle Times earlier this week, attacking Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark's support of biomass as a renewable source of energy.

Here is a sample of the rhetorical flourish that is substituted liberally in the place of science and data:

Water Quality is Too Important for the Puget Sound Partnership, Says People for Puget Sound

February 8, 2011 in Blog

When the Puget Sound Partnership was created, it was sold as a way to ensure the money we spend on water quality efforts in the Sound are scientifically grounded, coordinated among agencies and prioritized. This is an excellent approach, and the WPC has praised the creation of the PSP in our report card on the state's environmental policies.

Greens vs. Science: Imposing Politics on Science in the State Senate

February 6, 2011 in Blog

One of the most common phrases in environmental policy is "the science says..." Scientific knowledge is held in high regard as a justification for public policy, so claiming the science is on your side is a powerful argument. When science enters the political arena, however, it gets distorted by the political perspective of that arena.

Greens vs. Science: Groundhog Day for Mercury Scares that Harm Our Health

February 2, 2011 in Blog

On Monday, the Washington Toxics Coaltion sent out this Tweet:

RT @: "There is really no place 4 mercury in children." Ped neuro Dr. Suresh Kotagal 2 FDA panel re:mercury fillings @

Green Waste: Where We Spent the Money - Part 7

February 2, 2011 in Blog

This year, the environmental community is making protection of the environmental budget one of its top "priorities." The lobbyist for the Washington Environmental Council told the Associated Press, "Many of these programs are close to being decimated."

Unfortunately, they haven't always been so careful about setting priorities, supporting budget expenditures in the past that were more about politics than environmental benefit.