Environment

Audio: What’s the deal with well water in Washington?

Drilling a “permit-exempt” well in Washington became a lot more complicated last October after a state Supreme Court ruled that under the Growth Management Act, it’s the county and not the state department of ecology, that determines whether there’s enough water to issue a permit. Erin Fenner: erin@washingtonstatewire.com, @erinfenner...Read More

Another plan to reduce lead contamination gets a hearing in House committee

A bill that could mandate installing lead-removing water filters in public schools was heard in the House Environment committee Monday afternoon Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, said he sponsored the bill to ensure children got safe drinking water at school. “This bill proposes that we use the American Academy of Pediatricians recommended action level of one...Read More

Exempt wells and senior water rights considered at senate hearing

Two very different bills were heard in the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development committee Tuesday, both written to address the same problems created after the Hirst Decision. The Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision in October that puts the onus on counties to determine whether there’s enough water available for developers or...Read More

What’s the solution for residents on exempt wells after the Hirst case?

Exempt well permitting in Washington manages to sound dry, even if it’s about water. But Republican lawmakers are urging their colleagues to pay attention since many consider it one of the heavier-hitting issues this session. “This then gets down to, from my perspective, what are the people’s rights,” said Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, in an...Read More

Lawmakers consider bill that would prohibit drones from flying near orcas

Two bills that would restrict where drone pilots can fly unmanned aircrafts faced hearings this session. The first bill, heard last week, would prohibit pilots from flying drones with operating cameras over private property. The second bill, which had a hearing at the House Technology and Economic Development committee Tuesday, would make it illegal to...Read More

How would Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed carbon tax work?

A presentation of Gov. Jay Inslee’s carbon tax proposal was met with a mix of skepticism and praise at the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications committee work session Thursday. The tax would amount to $25 per ton of fossil fuels (which could add about 25 cents per gallon of gas at the pump) and increase...Read More

This bill would prohibit drone pilots from flying over private property

A bill that would make it illegal for drone pilots to capture images or information on private property got its first hearing Tuesday at the House Technology and Economic committee. The Federal Aviation Administration announced regulations for drones in June 2016 that are now in effect. In response, the state House underwent a briefing that informed the proposed...Read More

What do Washington voters want state lawmakers to focus on in 2017?

Education is top of the list on Washington voter’s priorities for state lawmakers this year, according to a release from The Elway Poll, a nonpartisan polling organization based in the Northwest. Forty-five percent of respondents said education was the “most important” issue for lawmakers. That makes it the third year in a row it ranked as...Read More

Washington’s Mass Timber Opportunity

Coal Dust Threatens Cascadia’s Water and Wildlife

When it comes to coal in the water, what we don’t know might hurt us. Although there’s not much published scientific research on the impacts of coal and coal dust in the environment, the potential for harm to wildlife is serious....Read More