Environment

While Supreme Court Considers a Challenge, Lucrative Cleanup Tax Becomes Cash Cow for State

Tax for Polluted Sites Becomes $300 Million Catch-All Fund, Pays for Unrelated Environmental Programs, Bails Out Budget – Lawsuit Would Divert Most Spending to Highways

A 24-year-old environmental “cleanup” tax that has become a catch-all fund for the Department of Ecology and cash-strapped lawmakers is under attack in the state Supreme Court. Tim Hamilton’s service-station operators say it’s a gas tax in all but name — but they wouldn’t have sued if people hadn’t gotten piggy.

‘Green Jobs’ Take a Pummeling in Recession – Mainly Those on the Public Payroll

New Report Released by Employment Security Department

A new report from the Employment Security Department shows that so-called “green jobs” took a pummeling in the recession – just like they did everywhere else in the economy. Researchers say they are stumped for an explanation. Though perhaps one clue is provided by the fact that 60 percent of the decline occurred in the public sector, at a time when plummeting tax revenues have forced government to retrench.

Americans Still Prioritize Economic Growth Over Environment

Americans continue to prioritize economic growth over environmental protection, by a 49% to 41% margin, as they have since 2009. This eight-percentage point gap in favor of economic growth is smaller than last year’s record 18-point gap. For most of the last three decades, Americans have prioritized the environment over economic growth.

When Is Shoreline Water District Going to Get Its Books in Order?

The State Auditor’s Office released its weekly audits and cited three organizations, Shoreline Water District, Benton County Fire Protection District No. 4, and Hoquiam School District No. 28. The Shoreline audit was particularly disappointing.

Panel Begins Work on Recommendations to Respond to Ocean Acidification

The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification held its second meeting on Wednesday. Ryan Kelley from the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University noted that, “Washington is the undisputed leader on state action to address ocean acidification.”

A Modest Proposal to End State’s Closed-Door Standoff

We’re all waiting for that “puff of smoke” from the governor’s office that lets us know that the Legislature’s big dogs, now meeting behind closed doors, have finally reached a deal on the budget and all those other issues that stand in the way of adjournment. And it leads John Barnes of the Washington Policy Center to offer a delightful suggestion about a way to resolve the standoff. Though maybe the players might not appreciate it.

State Audits Identify Another Repeat Offender

Last wee’s State Auditor report revealed still one more public entity that just can’t seem to get its act together, Public Utility District No. 1 of Wahkiakum County.