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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

State on team to cut greenhouse gases
Seattle Times, September 24
The Western Climate Initiative finally unveiled its plan to “cap and trade” carbon emissions among member states and provinces, which account for most of the western United States and most of Canada.
  See also the Seattle P-I article and the proposed WCI plan itself.  At the same time, our state senators worked hard to remove oil exploration subsidies and add in renewable energy credits to our tax code.  Now the House and President must approve.  See the Seattle P-I article and The Olympian article.

Snohomish facility gets first loads of canola seed to make biodiesel
Everett Daily Herald, September 24
While our federal representatives work on biofuel incentives, entrepreneurs have their canola to biodiesel plant ready to go. See also
the Seattle Times article.  And then there’s the people in Pend Orielle County who want to burn the aquatic invasive weed “milfoil” into biofuel.  See the Yakima Herald article.

Eyman plans 'Freedom Drive' to claim HOV lanes
The News Tribune, September 24
Tim Eyman is up to is obnoxious self.
  Already believing without-a-doubt that his Initiative 985 will pass this fall, Eyman is telling the state Department of Transportation to start changing signage and is planning a “Freedom Drive” this December to claim the HOV lanes for single occupancy vehicles. See also the Seattle Times article.  Despite his claims to the contrary, opening the HOB lanes during off-peak hours is not going to reduce congestion.  First, Seattle HOV lanes are used by HOVs almost all day any ways.  Second, opening the lanes will just encourage more single occupancy drivers, increasing congestion.  Frustrated with Eyman? Throw Pie.

City of Sammamish endorses regional affordable housing strategies
Sammamish Review, September 23
Sammamish wants to be the most affordable, progressive city in the state.
  Or so it seems by their flurry of activity lately.  First the City Council endorsed the strategies developed by “A Regional Coalition for Housing,” a group of fourteen East King County cities to address affordable housing.  Then it gave $100,000 to the coalition.  And a deal that shifted development from flanks of Tiger Mountain State Park to Issaquah Highlands will include 80 affordable homes out of the total 550.  See also the Seattle P-I’s editorial on September 23.

Ecology plans cleanup at old mill site near Seafarers’ park
Anacortes American, September 24
The state Department of Ecology is planning to start its cleanup of contaminated shore- and tide-lands in Anacortes next summer as part of its Puget Sound Initiative.
  The project includes remediating the old Scott Paper and Custom Plywood mills, cleaning up the Whitmarsh Landfill, rerouting storm drains, replacing creosote pilings, and marine habitat restoration.  Meanwhile, Tacoma weighs taking on the $3.7 million remediation of the Foss Waterway and the Washington River Protection Solutions began its $7.1 billion cleanup of nuclear and hazardous waste at the tank farms Hanford tank farms.

Scoring mistake: Vancouver loses $12.5 million
The Olympian, September 25
A scoring error by the state Community Economic Revitalization Board for the LIFT grant program was corrected and
Vancouver and Whitman County are both out of luck.  Vancouver was set to receive $500,000 per year for 25 years for rail and road improvements as part of a $1 billion waterfront community development that included restaurants, offices, two hotels, 2,700 condominiums and apartments, and ten acres of park and open space.  Whitman County was set to receive $362,000 per year for 25 years to create a retail center near the Idaho border to create 1,400 new jobs.  Instead, Mount Vernon and Puyallup will be the beneficiaries.  Mount Vernon will use its $500,000 per year to build a waterfront promenade, urban trail, park facilities, parking garage, and other downtown improvements.  See the Skagit Valley Herald article.  The City of Yakima, although it received a good panic, kept their LIFT grant money and can proceed to redevelop the 200 acres of a former Boise Cascade mill site into a mixed-use urban oasis so the city can correctly claim itself to be the “Palm Springs of Washington.”  See the Yakima Herald article.

Olympia extends building moratorium
The Olympian, September 24
The City of
Olympia extended its building moratorium in the Chambers Basin area so it can consider downzoning 275 acres to 4 density units per acre.  Considering even this new density would be near that characteristic of sprawl, one must wonder whether the area should be downzoned further to help prevent potential flooding (and more than even the 2du/ac, as was suggested).  Or maybe the city council should consider leaving the existing zoning but creating a TDR program for the area specific and limiting development to only 10% of the area.  If all else fails, the state can provide grants to flood victims.  The City of Olympia also addressed 6 other zoning proposals at its public hearing.  And the City of Tumwater has a 10-building mixed-use complex coming its way.

Tribal family's land a treasure
Everett Daily Herald, September 22
Another tribal land development is set to occur near Marysville, just north of the existing Quil Ceda Village (home to the Tulalip Casino and Seattle Premium Outlets).
  Katrina Jum and the four other board of directors who manage the land for 35 owners (all Tulalips), is ready to develop 60 acres into a luxury movie theater, big box stores, and a theme park.

Whatcom County OKs ending watershed logging rules lawsuit
Bellingham Herald, September 24
Lake Whatcom appears to nearing protection at least from one side of the lake. If finalized, 8,000 acres currently managed by the state Department of Natural Resources along Lake Whatcom would be purchased by Whatcom County.  Timber harvesting would cease and runoff lessened, helping to protect the 91,000 Bellingham residents that rely on the lake as a drinking source.  However, runoff from homes on the lake would continue to be a substantial source of contamination.  See also this other Bellingham Herald article.


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