Environment

Inslee Should Stick to Transportation Deal Made with GOP

With the ink on his transportation bills signatures barely dry, Gov. Jay Inslee is reportedly close to signing an order that would wipe out more than $700 million in bicycle, pedestrian and other non-vehicular projects the bill funds. He must also, by Aug. 3, tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency whether he will stick by draft clean water standards he announced a year ago, or defer to the agency, which hankers to impose unattainable requirements that will jeopardize Washington businesses.

State Regulators Look at Cost of Retiring Coal Plants

Washington utility regulators say they are looking into how much it would cost to retire Puget Sound Energy’s two older coal-fired electric generating plants in Colstrip, Montana. The Utilities and Transportation Commission is seeking comments and questions on the idea by Sept. 15.

State Trades Council Endorses Oil Terminal

The Washington Building and Construction Trades Council announced Tuesday it has endorsed the proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. to build the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The council, based in Olympia and representing more than 70,000 members in dozens of crafts, said it supports efforts to seek timely regulatory approval so construction may begin.

Reshape Existing Law for Carbon Reduction Win

[This Op-Ed was first published June 19 but was just released for non-subscribers] While the cost effective conservation requirement in I-937 has been very successful at conserving electric power, the full environmental benefits of that conservation go unrealized when we do not leverage the freed up and clean energy into investments targeted on carbon reduction.

Inslee, the ‘Greenest’ Governor — Not So Much

Gov. Jay Inslee has long advocated reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. But the state Legislature adjourned this month without taking the kind of major climate action desired by Inslee and his environmentalist allies. Late in the game, Inslee himself made a choice drawing criticism from some environmentalists. Signing the transportation package in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Inslee noted his opposition to the clean-fuels language, but said he was opting to sign the bills “for the greater good of our state.”

2015’s Most & Least Energy-Expensive States

WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. We constructed the ranking using eight key metrics that examine the consumption rates and prices of four energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil. Overall Washington State ranked as the third most inexpensive state.

Obama Unveils New Coal Mining Rules

The Obama administration Thursday unveiled new standards meant to better protect streams in Appalachia from the controversial mountaintop removal coal mining process. The proposed rule, from the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining (OSM), would update three-decade-old standards that create a buffer zone around streams, prohibiting mining activities and waste from getting near them and harming the ecosystem.

What’s Going On in Germany?

So one aspect of the effort has been the construction of eight new coal plants. And they’re not just any kind of coal plant. Germany has been relying more heavily on its abundant lignite coal resources, which just happens to be the dirtiest coal on the planet. As a result, Germany’s carbon emissions have actually climbed since it first undertook the Energiewende in 2011.