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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Category: Environment
October 8, 2014 at 5:59 AM

Coal exports: Economic benefits don’t outweigh environmental impact

Shoichi Itoh’s guest column in The Seattle Times was interesting, but only lightly touched, if that, on some very important points ["The importance of Asia in the coal-export debate," Opinion, Oct. 6]. First, U.S. investment firms are recommending against investing in companies that export coal. China is moving much more aggressively than the U.S….

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: climate change, coal, environment

July 29, 2014 at 7:03 AM

Victoria sewage: The city is being a bad neighbor

The people of Victoria, B.C., apparently are special ["Victoria’s sewage does not pollute Washington shores," Opinion, July 25]. They get to do what most First World cities do not — discharge raw sewage, in this case into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It never ceases to amaze me that when somebody just doesn’t…

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: B.C., environment, Paul Gutowski

July 11, 2014 at 7:04 AM

Water-quality standards: Public has important duty to stay informed

Lynda Mapes gives a thorough assessment of proposed new water-quality thresholds [“Getting tougher on water pollution standards ... but will the water really be cleaner?” Local News, July 7]. Contamination measured in the fish we eat turns out to be the canary in this political coal mine. More fish in our diet contributes unhealthful…

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Art James, environment, pollution

July 5, 2014 at 4:15 PM

EPA regulations: Cathy McMorris Rodgers has voted lockstep against environmental legislation

A recent Seattle Times editorial stated that U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers does not represent the opinions and wishes of the people of Washington state [“Cathy McMorris Rodgers needs to take a stand for Ex-Im Bank,” Opinion, June 24], and this has surely been verified by her guest column in The Seattle Times…

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Cheryl Edelman, environment

June 24, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Water quality and fish consumption: Include other affected groups

Little has been said about the other people who are directly affected because they consume the fish and shellfish harvested from the state’s waters. Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans (AAPI) account for 10 percent of the state’s population and projections to 2030 predict that percentage will not decrease. This is the only state with AAPI…

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Asian Americans, fish consumption, Native Americans

June 19, 2014 at 6:02 AM

Obama’s ocean preserve: Crucial Bering Sea habitat excluded

Our oceans are incredible sources of food and wonderment, and connect us all worldwide. I’m writing in response to the article “Obama Announces Plan for Oceans,” [Nation & World, June 17] which is about the creation of the world’s largest ocean reserve. The article states the Obama administration is carrying out steps to protect…

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Bering Sea, Cheyenne Kallinen-Camelio, Gov. Jay Inslee

June 12, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Victoria Sewage: Big response from B.C. residents taking issue with Seattle Times editorial

Victoria’s unofficial mascot, Mr. Floatie, speaks to the media at a 2006 press conference on Victoria sewage. Though James Skwarok hung up his suit when it appeared Vancouver Island would build a sewage treatment plant, he has since come out of retirement for a “second movement.” (Photo by Bruce Stotesbury/ Victoria Times Colonist)

A decades-long effort to build a plant to treat Greater Victoria’s sewage  is now blocked by a local-government zoning squabble. On Sunday, The Seattle Times editorial board published an editorial, “Victoria sewage creates new stink,” that has created quite a stink of its own among our friendly neighbors to the north. The Times’ editorial was picked up by Victoria’s Times Colonist, and the issue was covered Wednesday on KING5 news. Gov. Jay Inslee has also sent a letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark stating “concern by the lack of progress,” stressing the effect of untreated wastewater on Washington state.

Since publication of the editorial, I’ve received more than a dozen letters in response from B.C. residents, all taking issue with the editorial. They write, among other points, that current waste dumping in the Strait of Juan de Fuca has negligible impact, and the reason for opposition to the proposed plant is more due to a different type of waste: wasteful spending.

Read the best responses below, and send your opinions on the issue to letters@seattletimes.com.

Sewage treatment coming

Washington State residents can rest assured that Greater Victoria will have sewage treatment in the near future [”Victoria sewage creates new stink,” Opinion, June 8].

The governments of Canada and British Columbia have requirements in place that must be met. The province has approved a liquid-waste management plan for the region, which includes the construction of a sewage-treatment plant for Greater Victoria, and federal regulations mandate there must be sewage treatment by 2020.

I fully expect the region to meet both their provincial and federal obligations — and that proper sewage treatment will be in place.

Mary Polak, minister of environment, province of British Columbia

Seattle in no place to discuss Victoria’s issues

For a Seattle newspaper to call the Strait of Juan de Fuca “our waters” seems arrogant — let’s hear from places close to it, such as Friday Harbor and Port Angeles. And what does King Country have to do with the subject? Last I heard, Skagit and Whatcom counties were close to the strait, not King nor Snohomish counties.

The Times’ editorial is ignorant of technical factors and of a real debate about how to organize treatment of sewage, including environmental costs of moving sludge around, distributed treatment versus centralized, advancing technology, removal of heavy metals, and (mis-) management of the project.

Yes, the NIMBY factor is also a big factor, as it probably often is in Seattle. So, no surprise that Esquimalt didn’t want the plant.

Speaking of managing overblown inappropriate projects, how’s Seattle’s Big Dig going?

Keith Sketchley, Saanich B.C.

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: British Columbia, Christy Clark, Janet Riddell

June 12, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Victoria sewage: Discharge into strait is a natural process

The Victoria Times Colonist reprinted The Seattle Times’ editorial concerning Victoria’s alleged sewage problem ["Victoria sewage creates new stink," Opinion, June 8].  However, we presently  have a very effective disposal system: discharge of finely screened sewage into deep, cold, fast-flowing, well-oxygenated, saline tidal waters — a natural treatment system. The 2006 report by the Society…

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: M.R. Barr, Royal Roads Military College, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America

May 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

A high fish-consumption rate would result in unattainable goals

With regard to increasing the fish-consumption rate in this state, one critical fact is never mentioned: There is no way that reducing the discharge of certain pollutants would reduce their concentrations in fish to acceptable levels [“Protect water and health by updating state’s fish-consumption rate,” Opinion, May 16]. Virtually no fish in the world…

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: fish-consumption rate, Lawrence McCrone, PCBs

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