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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Saving the Land that Saved Canada’s Trumpeter Swans

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The Edwards clan, who saved the Trumpeter swans from extinction, is long gone from Lonesome Lake, its farm buildings destroyed by a long-ago forest fire. A “re-wilding” has taken place at the lake, surrounded by the wilderness of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. What a wild place it is!

Olympia Influence Watch: “Clean Fuel Washington” is actually Big Biofuel

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Because we’re fans of both transparency and of getting to the bottom of things, we were happy to see this pop up at the Public Disclosure Commission a few days after the story ran, in which Clean Fuel Washington reveals that it is neither particularly Washington nor particularly clean.

This Year’s Snowpack is WAY Above Normal (But our Glaciers…)

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“The Northwest snowpack went CRAZY in February, going from nearly normal to way above normal,” the Cliff Mass Weather Blog reported.

Two lessons on the Complicated Politics of Climate Change Legislation

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Understanding Democrats who voted against a stricter clean fuels standard, and an alternative to Carlyle’s cap-and-trade plan gets a hearing in his committee

Whodunit: How a Key Part of Gov. Inslee’s Climate Agenda Died This Week

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Opponents of the bill had the usual allies, but they also had opponents in the Democratic camp, fearful of crossing unions. Another factor was Covid, which slowed negotiations, so opponents were able to run out the clock.

Biden and Trudeau Agree to Rescue Porcupine Caribou Herd

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The coastal plain has been subject to a 40-year struggle. It is vital to existence of the 100,000-plus animals of the Porcupine herd, but Alaska politicians have long sought to drill in the Refuge.

“Building Homes for Salmon”: Nature Conservancy works to Restore an Old-Growth Forest

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The Olympic Peninsula has become a living laboratory of efforts to restore and reestablish fish runs.

Can a Conservative Idaho Republican Bring Sockeyes Back to the Salmon River?

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Timothy Egan, in his book The Good Rain, put it best: “The Northwest is anywhere a salmon can get to.” But few can get to Idaho's Salmon River.

Shock and Awe: The Greening of Joe Biden

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Biden is off to a fast start, and Team Biden has a common theme: carbon transition means lots of jobs. But industry and GOP allies in Congress are armed and ready for the assault.

Inslee’s Bold Carbon Legislation Draws Opposition from Industry and Greens

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Cracks have started appearing in Inslee's ambitious proposals. To bond or not to bond? Fuels tax or cap-and-trade? Old bargains or the new imperative of environmental justice?

That Was Fast: Biden Voids Giveaway of Arctic Wildlife Leases

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Biden is not stopping with the Arctic Refuge. Initial executive orders include canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline, stopped by President Obama in 2015 but revived by Trump in 2017. He is immediately rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, three years after Trump took the United States out of the agreement to begin curbing climate change.

Sen. Cantwell’s To-Do List: Silencing Trump’s Chainsaws

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Snohomish County, once known for its timber mills, is now part of a major technology corridor. Its inhabitants have turned to the out-of-doors, witness hundreds of cars parked at the Maple Pass trailhead off the North Cascades Highway, or lineups on the Teanaway Road during the “golden week” when needles on larch trees change color.

Parting Gift: Trumpers Whack the Northern Spotted Owl

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It’s puzzling why people who know it’s a bad idea to cut the carbon-sequestering forests of the Amazon don’t seem to realize the significance of the great coniferous forests close to home.

A “Light in the Darkness”: COVID Relief Bill Includes Major Green Energy Funding

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The World Resources Institute, on Monday, called the bill “one of the most significant pieces of climate legislation that Congress has passed in its history.”

The Strait Poop: ‘Victoria Flush’ is No Longer

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The Strait of Juan de Fuca is no longer a toilet. In his phone call to Gov. Inslee, Premier Horgan joked that the “Victoria flush” should have stopped in 1894.

Last Days of Trump: Warp-Speed Attacks on the Environment

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The Trump Administration has developed a second Operation Warp Speed to lock in place far-reaching changes in environmental policy and air quality rules before January 20, 2021.

Are Biden’s Plans for Clean-Energy Too Ambitious?

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Based on my experience analyzing the U.S. energy industry, I see three factors that will influence what his administration can achieve.

The Army Corps Tosses a Big Rock at Alaska’s Pebble Mine

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The mining project had foes in high places. Donald Trump, Jr., and his brother are clients of luxury fishing resorts in the area. Eric Trump’s bachelor party was held there. Unbelievably, strident Fox News host Tucker Carlson began to talk about damage to salmon.

Our Bromance with Bernie

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With our limited patience with the lockdown, Bernie became if not an obsession, certainly a distraction from my oppressive jail time. Morning and evening I would hover about our window awaiting the arrival of our feathered guest.

Clayoquot Sound’s Rain Forests get help from Jeff Bezos

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The Amazon CEO has committed $10 billion to a Bezos Earth Fund, which has just let out $791 million to 16 groups. The Nature Conservancy has received $100 million, with plans to target a chunk of the money to gorgeous Clayoquot Sound.

Trump’s Fire Sale in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge

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The timing may be good for a spiteful Trump and Alaska politicians. But oil prices are down, fracking has enhanced domestic production, and Refuge drilling has come to carry political as well as economic risk.

A West Coast Agenda for Biden’s Environmental Goals

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Quite an agenda! But consider the time lost due to four years of Trump all along the West Coast from Alaska to the Southwest.

Setback to Protect Endangered North Cascades Wolverines

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Wolverines are the largest members of the weasel family. Your basic weasel is considered a fierce predator. It weighs less than a pound. A wolverine can weigh up to 44 pounds. They are clearly badass.

Alaska’s Magnificent Tongass National Forest Threatened by new “Chainsaw Rule”

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With publication of an Environmental Impact Statement late last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set in motion removal of 9.37 million acres from a ban on construction of new logging roads, enacted in 2001 during the waning days of the Clinton Administration.

The Environmental Stakes for a New Supreme Court

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Justice Ginsburg won legal fame, and icon status as the “Notorious RBG,” for her advocacy of women’s rights and equality before the law. What’s less known, is that the Brooklyn-born Ginsburg was most sympathetic and took a more expansive view of environmental justice than any other member of The Brethren.

Sting: Pebble Mine Exec Caught Boasting About Political Influence

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The open boasting by Pebble Mine executives has put the controversial project in a deep pit.

Big Deal: New Protections For BC’s Old Growth Forests

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An estimated 140,000 hectares of old growth have been logged each year. British Columbia estimates that 23 percent of its forests are old growth, defined as trees 250 years or older on the Coast, and 150-plus years in the interior.

The Olympic Peninsula’s Hidden State Park Gem that’s Largely Unused

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Eventually, this gem on Discovery Bay is destined to be discovered. Miller is at the top of the state’s list for development. More than a decade ago, State Parks convened public meetings to discuss longterm plans with hopes of opening as early as 2013. But those plans got pushed to a back burner with the recession, and Covid economics are likely to keep it there indefinitely.

A Major New Canadian Container Port Looms To Threaten Puget Sound

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A proposal to build Roberts Bank Terminal 2 would enable Canada to move another 2.4 million shipping containers per year through its southernmost terminal about 1 mile from the Washington state border.

An Ancient Clam Garden Resurfaces on a Puget Sound Beach

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Overnight the rare, ephemeral deposits left by ancient people underground are replaced by visible sturdy stone structures. It is as though we woke up to find Anasazi pueblo ruins in our back yard. The lithic has been put back in Neolithic.