Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
February 19, 2014 at 6:30 AM
The state House of Representatives took a big step early Tuesday morning with approval of an amended version of House Bill 2347, which seeks to reduce the risk of catastrophic oil spills from ships and trains. Now it falls to the state Senate, and its Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, to keep this important legislation moving.
Tracking the growing volumes of oil shipped through the state is necessary for local first-responders to be ready in the case of spills and resulting emergencies. Recent tragedies in North Dakota, Alabama, Alberta and Quebec reinforce the importance of being prepared for the worst.
State Rep. Jessyn Farrell’s legislation directs the state to gather and refineries to provide information about volumes of oil, types of oil, and the routes of vessels and trains. As the Democrat from Lake Forest Park notes, this will fill in gaps of knowledge about current routes and traffic on the Columbia River, around Grays Harbor and in Puget Sound.
The legislation empowers the state Department of Ecology to begin a study in 2014. A last-minute amendment would postpone any rule making inquiries until there is a permitted facility.
Communities need to be fully informed of the risks that go with the transport of vast quantities of oil. Local public-safety agencies need to know the nature of the hazards they might face. The legislation would gather basic information in response to the known risks that have claimed lives and destroyed property.
October 22, 2013 at 7:16 AM
The picture on the left illustrates best the lure of the Issaquah Highlands, a master-planned community featured in the Seattle Times Sunday. Dwellers want the retail amenities found in urban centers like Seattle but they also want to be close by trails for their mountain bikes.
The Times article called it one of King County’s largest urban villages. And likely its last. The story notes: “With large tracts of close-in land a thing of the past, and with local governments attempting to direct growth into existing city centers, there won’t be any replicas of the Issaquah Highlands in King County.”
Home sales in master-planned communities plummeted along with homes in general housing stocks. This New York Times article in 2011 found that mortgage crisis hit hard those communities far outside city centers, places demographers and sociologists refer to as exurbs. But many master-planned communities held steady because they tended to offer more to the few who were buying, including a broad range of housing types – including smaller, affordable homes. As this Builder magazine piece noted, planned communities were more likely to include ”lifestyle anchors that buyers consider vital, such as good schools, parks, walking trails, community pools, town centers, playgrounds, sports, and other organized activities.”
Washington state’s population in 2030 is projected to be 8.3 million, a 29 percent increase in three decades, according to the state Department of Transportation. Three counties, King, Pierce and Snohomish will have the largest population increases and the largest total number of residents. Many of these residents will be families looking to grow and stretch out. For various reasons, including cost, Seattle will not be their choice. Communities like the Highlands will be waiting.
September 17, 2013 at 6:51 AM
The announcement by Anglo American plc, London, that it is walking away from the Pebble Mine project is great news. The giant open-pit mine would be dug on the edge of the richest group of salmon rivers in the world, which host the Bristol Bay salmon run. This June and July, fishermen—many from Washington—harvested more than 15 million fish there, and that was a disappointing year.
Bristol Bay is America’s mother lode of salmon. (more…)
July 2, 2013 at 6:30 AM
We’re all learning more about the Hotshots, the courageous firefighting crew that lost 19 of its members Sunday fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire near Phoenix, Ariz. The Associated Press compiled bios of the young men, some of whom were fathers and dads-to-be. Most were still in their twenties.
The Hotshots are like the military’s Special Forces. There are 110 around the country. Candidates for the Granite Mountain Hotshots had to show that they could pass the arduous Pack Test and complete a series of physical activities, ranging from 40 sit-ups in 60 seconds to 7 pull-ups to a 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) run in just under 11 minutes, according to National Geographic Daily News.
There have been 43 firefighter fatalities reported so far in 2013, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. A total of 83 firefighters died last year while on duty. So many firefighters have not died in a single incident since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
As wildfires grow more destructive and deadly, the question will be how to fight them, and at what cost.
April 22, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Happy Earth Day!
The Bullitt Center officially opens in Seattle’s Capitol Hill on Monday. The building, which sets a high standard for sustainable design, will house the nonprofit Bullitt Foundation. The organization’s executive director, Denis Hayes, is the founder of Earth Day.
The center will host tours starting at noon. For Monday’s grand opening, the center will also provide free bike repair and bike valets. (There is no parking for cars at the new building.) For more information about Monday’s festivities, check the foundation’s website.
Check out this Instagram slideshow our multimedia editorial writer Thanh Tan made of the Bullitt Center:
In March, we ran an editorial notebook about the building back. Here is an excerpt:
April 1, 2013 at 6:45 AM
The San Juan Islands National Monument, among the newest of the nation’s more than one hundred national monuments, will be celebrated Monday morning with a gathering of dignitaries at the Anacortes Senior Center.
The notables include Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Principal Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze and Rep. Rick Larsen, from Washington 2nd District. As noted in a Times editorial Saturday, these members of the Washington congressional delegation, and Rep. Suzan DelBene, worked with the local community to make the national monument designation a reality.
President Obama’s signature last week on the executive order creating the San Juan Islands National Monument put another name on the state’s honor roll. (more…)
March 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM
The Bullitt Center, set to become the world’s greenest commercial building, is getting ready to open in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
This weekend, the editorial board is publishing a ‘notebook’ based on my visit to the site last week. What more can I add? It’s a visually stunning, self-sufficient building that I’d like to see become a symbol of Seattle’s ability to embrace and redefine what it means to be environmentally conscious.
I enjoyed snapping some photos during the tour. Here’s one that I took from the lobby. As I peered up, all I could see was a beautiful staircase made of sustainable wood from nearby forests.
Scroll down to see 16 more photos from my Instagram feed that showcase the Bullitt Center’s cutting-edge green design features.
February 21, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Gov. Jay Inslee received a hearty welcome Wednesday when he arrived to testify before the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who chairs the committee, noted the rarity of both a gubernatorial appearance and applause.
The governor’s climate action legislation, Senate Bill 5802, and companion measure House Bill 1915, would evaluate the climate pollution reduction programs in other states and Canadian provinces. An outside, independent review would be done. In 2008, Washington adopted climate pollution limits for 2020. A goal with no action plan.
The intended approach is for the governor’s office and the Legislature’s four corners – the partisan caucuses of both chambers – to meet and move ahead on the goals.
Becky Kelley, deputy director of the Washington Environmental Council, was struck by the down-to-earth tone of the governor’s remarks. She heard a theme repeated on Tuesday during Environmental Lobby Day 2013: a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand. The two are not in competition, Kelley said.
The annual gathering drew nearly 500 citizen lobbyists to Olympia from around the state. They convene at the United Churches of Olympia for presentations, legislative updates and to organize for visits to their local lawmakers. Then they walk across the street to the state Capitol campus and legislative offices.
Inslee welcomed everyone Tuesday with a brief noon speech in the Capitol Rotunda. More applause and rousing good cheer. The spirit of the crowd reflected the values and outlook he used to describe Washington in his Senate testimony: optimistic, confident and resolute.
Washington has lots of environmental issues, but conservation groups and citizen advocates believe there are workable answers. Beneficial solutions for the environment and the economy.