Help on the way for rural areas? Fix to water ruling is critical

Last fall, a state Supreme Court ruling in a water case severely curtailed economic development in rural Washington and hurt families who were just following the rules. Known as the Hirst decision, it was a major hit to areas that aren’t a part of the Seattle-area tech boom. The case, which originated in Whatcom County, […]

Typical EPA overreach will mean higher water bills for you

The Environmental Protection Agency has decreed that Washington’s new stringent water quality standards aren’t stringent enough. The federal agency rejected significant portions of our state’s rule, calling instead for levels of water purity that can’t be achieved currently. It’s yet another example of federal regulatory overreach into the states. The EPA is rejecting valid state-driven […]

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 […]

Billions added to Washington water bills, but what did we buy for it?

The state Dept. of Ecology is moving ahead with new water quality standards, based in part on the convoluted “fish consumption rate” that we’ve discussed on SGW before. It’s a complicated topic, so first, a compliment. The Skagit Valley Herald’s recent coverage of this issue was highly readable, organized, and fact-based. It’s the opposite of […]

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. […]

What we need in our next Commissioner of Public Lands

The political action in Washington this year is in our state races. Five of the nine state executive offices are open, with no incumbent running: Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Auditor, Commissioner of Public Lands, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. We’re going to have a very different executive lineup next year. One of those positions, the Commissioner […]