King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) has a problem. People are flushing things they shouldn't, costing King County taxpayers $120,000 a year to fish out (yuk) and transfer the trash to a landfill.
This week Governor Inslee announced the much anticipated fish consumption rules and allowable cancer rate used to set clean water standards. By estimating how much fish people eat and the cancer risk from eating fish exposed to water pollution, the state determines how clean the water in the Puget Sound and elsewhere must be.
The rule itself won’t be available until the end of September, so it is impossible to make a specific critique, but there are a number of considerations after listening to his press conference. Here they are, in no particular order.
Famed physicist Neils Bohr once noted, "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." If you compound that difficulty by betting major public policy on your ability to predict correctly, the result is likely to be a costly failure.
Take, for example, Governor Inslee's predictions about low-carbon fuel, which he now wants to make the basis of his policy to reduce carbon emissions. At issue is the emergence of a new, purportedly less-costly and more efficient, type of biofuel called "cellulosic" ethanol.
Would you consider a change of 0.083 percent "unparalleled" and "significant"? Apparently, Governor Jay Inslee does.
Two weeks ago, Governor Inslee visited the Vancouver Columbian editorial board and defended his proposal to require an unprecedented level of analysis regarding proposed export terminals. His process, known as "expanded SEPA," has never been done before and would attempt to analyze the environmental impact not only of the terminal but of all the products being exported.
Last week, for National Pollinator Week, the President released a fact sheet announcing new efforts to save honeybees.
As a beekeeper, I can certainly attest to the value of bees for a whole range of reasons. I was speaking last week in Bellingham and one farmer/beekeeper in the audience noted that bees increase yields at his orchard by 40-50 percent. Others, like me, like the honey and simply enjoy keeping bees.
Last week, as part of his push for his climate policy in Washington state, Governor Inslee warned of the upcoming fire season, citing what he called "the three horses of the fire Apocalypse" - drought, heat and beetles.
As the Spokesman-Review noted, the Governor claimed "The number of wildfires in Washington could quadruple by 2030 if steps aren’t taken to reduce carbon pollution and slow climate change."
There has been a great deal of debate about the potential cost of Governor Inslee's proposed low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS). In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the Governor wants to require gasoline sold in Washington to be mixed with a certain percentage of biofuel, although he has not yet provided details.
TODD MYERS: As a child growing up in California, my dad sat me down and gave me insight on drought that rings true to this day. He said, “Son, California is the land of surf and sun. We don’t flush for number 1.” Those words still echo in my ears.
In early April, we noted a story in the Seattle Times insinuating a link between a nine-year-old timber harvest and the Oso landslide. One of the sources quoted regarding the inadequacy of the analysis of the timber harvest and the underlying watershed analysis was geologist Paul Kennard.
During the last week, there has been a great deal of attention to a study claiming pesticides are responsible for an increase in honeybee hive death. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), beekeepers and scientists have been working to find out what is to blame for the trend.
Three things stand out about the Executive Order Governor Inslee issued today.
First, the Executive Order contradicts itself. Governor Inslee calls for an emphasis on the environmental effectiveness of various strategies, then he orders the expansion of two strategies the Governor’s own analysis shows are the least effective: solar panels and so-called “coal by wire.”
"Already, according to the Global Footprint Network, if everyone were to suddenly consume as Americans do, we would need four more planets to provide the resources and absorb the wastes. Technological improvements alone will not change this; we need to consume less." - John de Graaf, Bellingham Herald.