Last week the House Environment Committee in Olympia considered HB 1294 which would ban a certain type of flame-retardant compound and create a process for identifying alternatives. Supporters of the legislation argue this will get us off the "toxic treadmill" of moving from one risky compound to the next.
Tomorrow, the House Environment Committee will consider HB 1294, the latest ban on flame-retardant compounds. The bill would ban a compound called Tris and would give the Department of Ecology the authority to ban future flame-retardants "unless a manufacturer demonstrates that there is not a technically feasible safer alternative to the flame retardant."
The Department of Health explains that Washington state law limits the amount of thimerosal "as a precaution." In other words, the state is ignoring the science in favor of an amorphous standard of "precaution." What is the result of that precaution? Selecky’s agency goes on to explain:
We don't have much natural gas in Washington state, but the impacts of the boom in natural gas production are certainly being felt here with lower prices. The low cost has also caused natural gas to replace coal in many parts of the country, causing a steep decline in nationwide carbon emissions.
In his inaugural address today, Governor Inslee highlighted the need to reduce the risk of climate change from carbon emissions. He specifically emphasized the need to "replace rhetoric with quantifiable results." This is critical. Washington politicians have been heavy on rhetoric the past several years and the results have been poor.
As activists opposing biotechnology crops and genetically modified foods, known as GMOs, were turning in signatures for their new labeling initiative, another anti-GMO activist was giving a speech about his past activism. The speech, however, doesn't begin as you might predict:
As the governor and legislature debate various environmental proposals for 2013, here is one fact they should keep in mind: many of the State of Washington's climate policies waste about 99 percent of the money spent to cut carbon emissions. Even those policies that perform better than that standard are only slightly better, missing huge opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.
Pointing to a recent television news story, the House Democrats yesterday touted the Washington state law requiring that school buildings meet "green" building standards, claiming "taxpayers pay less for electricity every month." There are several problems with this claim, however, and stubborn support for this failed law despite the evidence has resulted in less money for schools, an actual increase in energy use and more environmental damage.
The Seattle Times recently featured a story on climate change with a sub-headline that declared "Scientists analyzing the effects of climate change say they are surprised to see how much winter has already changed and the cascade of effects that unleashes, from outbreaks of pests and diseases to fewer days of skiing."
A report in the USA Today found that "green" schools in other states don't actually perform as promised. The report, "Green Schools: Long on promise, short on delivery," gave this example from the Houston Independent School District:
A couple weeks ago, solar energy company SunPower announced a new agreement to provide the U.S. Navy with solar power, claiming it would save the military branch $13 million. One solar energy blog wrote this about the announcement:
Today is World Food Day, a day designed to focus on reducing worldwide hunger and poverty. According to the United Nations, more than 800 million people worldwide are undernourished. While that number is tragically large, it is a dramatic improvement on where we might have been.
There are still three months left in the year, but the chances of anyone saying something more anti-science than today’s nominee is pretty small. And that includes those who cite the Mayan calendar as evidence the world is coming to an end this Dec. 21.
The 2012 Award for Most Thoughtless, Anti-Science Comment goes to Trudy Bialic of Seattle-based PCC Markets. Congratulations!
With any luck, Seattle's urban forests will soon be certified dolphin safe. That may seem strange, but it would be just about as meaningful as the city recently receiving a forest certification it promises it will never use.