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December 10, 2013 at 6:28 AM
President Obama has initiated the push, now the Senate and House must come together
On Thursday, the president ordered the federal government to almost triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020 [“Obama to feds: Boost renewable power 20 percent,” Online, Dec. 5].
This push by the executive toward a more eco-friendly federal government is one that should be commended and mirrored by Congress. It may seem far-fetched, but if the parties could come together in the U.S. Senate and House and resolve to make key decisions in the fight against global warming we might start to see some progress in Washington, D.C., again. It is the purpose of this article to pose the question: Why can’t an “eco-fed” be a bridge issue between not only the president and Congress but within Congress as well?
September 20, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Bravo for your excellent series on the causes and costs of ocean acidification. [“Sea Change,” page one, Sept. 15-17.]
It is a tragedy of unimaginable scope. The carbon dioxide responsible for this disaster is created by transportation and power plants that use fossil fuels. Coal is the dirtiest of those fuels.
Why then is Puget Sound Energy (PSE) proposing to continue generating 30 percent of its electricity from coal? The majority of this coal power comes from an aging plant in Colstrip, Mont. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers this plant one of the single largest sources of greenhouse gas west of the Mississippi.
To justify continued coal use, PSE argues that coal will be the cheapest fuel source in the coming years. This cost estimate does not reflect the true cost of coal. It does not include costs for plant repairs, new EPA standards for coal or possible lawsuits for fouling surrounding land and water. It does not include public-health costs. Nor does it include acidification of the oceans or destruction of habitat and multimillion-dollar seafood industries.
It is time for PSE to do the right thing and shift funding from coal to building more renewable sources of energy that will grow a clean-energy economy in Washington state.
Ellen Lockert, Bainbridge Island
August 16, 2013 at 7:26 AM
Clotheslines are energy-efficient, quiet
My clean clothes hanging in the sunshine in the privacy of my backyard are not “litter, trash and junk.” [“Clothesline crusaders call laundry flap overblown,” page one, Aug. 14.]
But look around at all the garage-sale signs that hang on poles for weeks after the event.
You don’t need to look in my backyard, but I have no escape from your signs posted all over town.
Clotheslines are a quiet, energy-efficient way to dry clothes. They aren’t in anyone’s way.
More people should enjoy this stress-free way of drying their clothes. I only wish I could do it year-round.
Anne Barker, Sammamish
Smelling fresh and saving energy
I am so glad someone is finally addressing this energy-saving issue.
I live in a community governed by a homeowners association. Though I am happy I am living there, they too ban clotheslines. I ignore that and still hang my wash out (weather permitting). There’s nothing like fresh-smelling sheets to sleep on.
So far, I have been lucky and have not been cited.
Renate Nelson, Maple Valley
August 2, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Utilities need to move with the times
My advice for power companies worried about solar power: get over it, get a new business model, or get out. [“Solar customers costing us, utilities say,” Business, July 31.]
Buggy manufacturers had a similar response when automobiles first hit the scene. It is time to join the 21st century.
New energy technologies are not just novel, they are necessary for the survival of the planet and her inhabitants.
Bob Barnes, Seattle
July 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM
Dam would be costly, damaging
The impending July 19 deadline for comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about a proposed dam on the South Fork of the Skykomish River takes on new urgency in light of the recent expensive disaster — the loss of nearly 200,000 juvenile coho salmon and 2,000 steelhead — associated with the Elwha River dam removal project. [“Hatchery pump gives way, killing thousands of coho,” NW Sunday, July 14.]
Why has the Public Utility District (PUD) determined that building a dam that is predicted to cost $150 million on the protected, pristine Skykomish River is a good idea, and why is FERC taking the proposal seriously?
Snohomish PUD states that the dam, titled “The Sunset Fish Passage Energy Project,” would ultimately increase fish populations. However, in its recent comment filed with FERC, the Snoqualmie Tribe stated that characterizing this hydroelectric project as a fish-passage project is “disingenuous and a misrepresentation.”
Like the Elwha of the 1920s, the Skykomish project includes untested innovations that could have unforeseen consequences.
Foreseen hazards include the loss of crucial habitat for endangered fish, the loss of one of the state’s last wild and scenic rivers, the potential release of heavy metals into the environment, and the irreparable loss of Native American archaeological resources.
To learn more and post a comment with FERC about the proposed Skykomish dam, visit http://www.savetheskyriver.org/
Rebecca Davis, Lynnwood
July 15, 2013 at 6:52 AM
It’s the energy wave of the future
It’s time for Washington to step up in the U.S. and be an example. In a country depending on oil and coal for energy, we are literally trashing the world to live with electricity.
Global-warming increases, polluted waters and smog aren’t worth it, especially when there is a better alternative. It’s time for Washington to go solar.
Many still think solar isn’t the way to go: “the Pacific Northwest gets no sun — why would we go solar?”
Actually, Western Washington gets 30 percent more sun than Germany, the world’s leader in solar energy. Across the Cascades, it’s even more.
Other opponents of solar energy argue it’s too spendy. But compared to all the costs involved with coal and gas, is it really?
If we were to place 650,000 solar rooftops in Washington by 2025, we could prevent the pollution from 460,000 cars. We could create thousands of jobs, and bring capital back to our economy. We could endorse a form of energy that is — literally — in our backyard. We could start a movement.
If you agree with the future of solar energy in Washington, call your state representative and tell them to go solar.
Diana Lloyd-Jones, Environment Washington, Seattle
July 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Natural gas could be a solution
There can be no denying that human-caused global warming is taking place. The scientific evidence is incontrovertible. [“Methane risk,” Business, July 7.]
The question remains: What is the best way to ameliorate this problem?
Obviously, the warming threat should motivate countries throughout the world to adopt sustainable forms of power generation from solar and wind sources.
Unfortunately, these sources are not ideal for all of civilization’s energy needs. This is particularly true with regard to the transportation of people and goods, where the sun and wind cannot produce an intense enough burst of power.
The current answer for these transportation needs lies with natural gas. Natural gas is an extremely clean-burning fossil fuel that emits much less global-warming-causing carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels. As the article points out, however, natural gas has its own risks.
Natural gas or methane, in its unburned state, is a much worse pollutant than carbon dioxide. Unchecked leakage of unburned natural gas can neutralize any benefits achieved from using this fuel.
This quandary really can be reduced to one essential question: Are we willing to take the necessary steps to ensure that gas production, transmission and use become essentially leak-free? While that may seem tough, it is by no means unachievable. It requires the necessary regulations and investment in infrastructure.
I certainly hope the cynics and critics, who declare defeat at the first problem that surfaces, are not allowed to torpedo the use of a very promising answer to our short-term energy needs.
Tom Krebsbach, Brier
June 22, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Coal is bad for families
The indifference of the Army Corps of Engineers to the continued destructive global and regional effects resulting form the mining, shipping and burning of coal is also gross indifference to the health of children everywhere. [“Corps review won’t weigh impact of coal beyond NW,” NW Wednesday, June 19.]
As they grow, these children increasingly bear the negative results. To promote coal as a means of creating family-wage jobs is to license the deterioration of family health.
Guy Burneko, Seattle
Coal is harmful
Who is responsible for stopping global warming? The Army Corps of Engineers seems to be saying, ”not us!”
This is wrong. American policy should require every government decision to include the climate consequences, and officials should choose the low-carbon alternative.
Corporate investment in producing and installing solar and other clean-energy technologies instead of shipping coal would provide more employment, increased exports and higher profits.
Coal burned anywhere in the world kills baby oysters, shrivels crops, floods riverbanks and torches forests. For the Army Corps to ignore the emissions of burning coal relieves the coal industry of responsibility for its pollution, and we, the citizens, bear the consequences.
Louise Stonington, Seattle
June 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Army Corps decision irresponsible
I am writing to express my deep concern and outrage that the Army Corps of Engineers has chosen to ignore the multitude of individuals and state agencies that have requested a cumulative analysis of the coal-export proposal. [“Corps review won’t weigh impact of coal beyond NW,” NW Wednesday, June 19.]
A broad, comprehensive review of the true impacts on communities is the only way for our state to gather the information necessary before determining the future of these proposals.
It was quite illuminating that some congressional Republicans view the push to examine the greenhouse-gas emissions of exports as “a troubling trend.” It must seem “troubling” to them that some people are willing to weigh the consequences of decisions made now against the future impacts on our environment and our children.
Colleen Rowe, Edmonds
Coal is widely used in the U.S.
Instead of all the time and expense of going to Washington, D.C., to testify before a subcommittee of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, perhaps Mayor Mike McGinn should order that the city of Seattle do without 42 percent of electricity it uses everyday, the amount of total U.S. electricity demand provided by burning coal.
Eric Tronsen, Seattle
May 10, 2013 at 11:43 AM
Seattle should be carbon neutral by 2020
I applaud city leaders for promoting a carbon-neutral plan for Seattle by 2050 [“Seattle plan would make city carbon neutral by 2050,” NWMonday, May 6]. Nevertheless, 2050 is far too distant a target. Most of the council will be dead by then, so it’s really an empty promise to make.Much more important is how much we cut our carbon emissions in the next decade. Dutch government scientific advisers estimate the rich countries must reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2020 if we are to have an even chance of limiting global temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius. Two degrees is the widely agreed upon limit for dangerous climate change. We have already raised temperatures by 0.8 degrees and we have lost most of the Arctic ice. Two degrees by midcentury will be playing with fire.
The Center for American Progress estimates we spent $188 billion on climate-related disasters in the last three years alone. That’s $400 per household. If people think converting to a low-carbon economy will be expensive, they ought to try to imagine how much we would have to spend in a 2 (or more) degree future, or how we will feed ourselves with growing populations, more extreme weather and lower crop yields.
The City Council should go back to the drawing board and offer us a responsible plan for significant carbon abatement by 2020 that is more in line with our intelligence and conscience.
Colin Wright, Seattle
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