New administration, no Harry Reid: Time to make progress on nuke waste storage

Our state is justifiably proud of the contributions made to victory in World War II, notably Boeing’s massive airplane production and the important work done at Hanford. Unfortunately, we continue to pay a price for the latter. Great minds labored in secrecy at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford, driven by the need to develop […]

Let’s not be glib about dams – they help power Washington’s economy

Washington state’s dams, power-producing and not, have been much in the news lately. A WSU study suggests that dams are not as carbon-neutral as we might assume, because reservoirs produce methane – at least initially. A judge says the federal government must consider breaching dams on the lower Snake River as one of the options […]

EPA may be trying to avoid pointing out the downsides of corn ethanol

One of the problems with the regulatory state – one of the myriad reasons so many are worried about its growth – is the many opportunities for chicanery. An executive branch, or just agency employees with their own agenda, can tip the scales in favor of a preferred outcome, with little debate or accountability. To many, […]

Emotion, not analysis: “10% solar” would cost $58 billion in WA

It’s a fault of humankind that we’re always expecting to be lauded for our good intentions. It’s as true in the world of politics and policy as anywhere else. Judge not if my idea can actually work or not, but on whether or not it’s on the “right side of history” (careful with that phrase, […]

Anti-carbon but anti-nuclear is anti-realistic

Following a one-sided public process with little debate, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution recently calling on Seattle City Light to move away from sourcing any of its power from nuclear plants. While the resolution doesn’t call for the shutdown of Washington’s only nuclear plant, anti-nuclear activists and councilmember Kshama Sawant say it will […]

Purposely raising energy prices hurts low-income families the most

Real life is about trade-offs, but you wouldn’t guess it from listening to many politicians. They speak of their policies as all-upside, no-downside. Best to keep the “narrative” simple than to muck it up with complications and negative consequences. We see that tendency in Gov. Jay Inslee, who touts his environmental regulations as not just […]

The hypocrisy of attacking good refinery jobs

Oil is bad. Just ask the “kayaktivists” who steered their oil-based kayaks into Elliott Bay last year to protest a visiting Shell oil rig. Or the “Break Free” protestors who left their garbage behind in Anacortes two weeks ago. To some, anything that strikes back at the oil industry, refineries, gasoline-powered cars, etc., is justified. […]

Inslee supports renewables, as long his friends own them

In Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration, their top issue is carbon reduction and renewable energy. No need to take my word for it, just look at the governor’s legislative agendas, his policy announcements and his out-of-state trips. No single issue sustains the governor’s attention quite like the fight against carbon. So you’d think that just about […]

McGinn, Left want a winner-picking economy where they pick

Former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn penned a column in Crosscut last week on how Gov. Inslee can “change the script” on climate issues. It included a few headscratchers, as Shift WA pointed out. Notably, McGinn is anxious to blame Senate Republicans for stalling Inslee’s agenda but won’t acknowledge that Inslee’s cap-and-trade plans clearly didn’t have […]

Carbon regs will hit some communities hard

Alcoa announced this week that it is shuttering aluminum smelting operations in Ferndale and Wenatchee. Those communities are about to take an economic hit. The worst part is, no one knows how long the stoppage will last – or if those plants will ever re-open. The closures are due to depressed global aluminum prices, not […]