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Sunday, January 17, 2021

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.

Ah yes, the Process: Trump Slows Alaska Pebble Mine, Pushes Ahead on Wilderness Drilling

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The administration punted on Monday, giving Pebble Mine developers 90 days to come up with additional measures to protect “aquatic life” in the area. A moment for celebration, especially with all the fishing boats that go north to Alaska? No!!!!  The administration has other major projects to drill, mine, and log in the 49th state.

Trump Gives Dams On The Lower Snake River a Few More Expensive Decades to...

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"You would think it was time for the government to chart a new course," says Earthjustice senior attorney Todd True. Instead, he says, "it's surprising how much time the government took to do nothing.'''

Trump Revives Alaska’s Pebble Mine, Igniting The Mother of All Mining Fights

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“The science is clear: You can’t put a gold and copper mine on top of the most productive salmon run in the world and not have substantial and permanent damage,” Sen. Cantwell said last week. “Salmon and mining simply don’t mix.”

Reading Signs Of Climate Change In The Pacific Northwest

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The Quinault Nation is “geographically classified now as living below sea level” as stated in testimony to Congress by President Fawn Sharp . The tribe’s forced relocation due to rising sea level is eerily parallel with the legend of the Flood Tide Woman, who lead the First Nations Haida people to higher, safer ground.

The Cloud-Capped Myths of Mt. Rainier

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The clouds recall the volcanic beheading. The cap cloud rising thousands of feet above the summit recalls Rainier's earlier elevation, estimated by the angles of high lava flows to have been around 16,000 feet. As the clouds divide and slip to the Mountain’s lee, her monstrous head is severed and thrown, as if in aggregate motion.

Puget Sound’s Life Beyond Aquaculture

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The environmental group Wild Fish Conservancy has applied for permits to lease state tidelands in Puget Sound now leased by Cooke Aquaculture for Atlantic salmon net pens.

The Ancient Roadway That Became Seattle’s Meridian

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Meridian Avenue traces a long route from Green Lake north to Edmonds, and it likely traces an Indian path connecting key food sites and a military highway begun when America feared a war with the British. Imaginary mastodons can be "seen."

More Bad News For North Cascades Grizzlies

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There may be 20 bears in the Cascades. There may be two. At times, if you assume that they wander back and forth across the Canadian border, there may be none. But the habitat remains. The recovery plan calls for restoring a population in a place where bears can obviously live.

New Book: The Plundering of the Duwamish River

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Step by step, author Cummings leads us to the sad ending, and the belated efforts at salvaging the river. In place of a pristine watershed, the Duwamish became an impoverished drain.

Millions of Birds in Trump’s Crosshairs

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If this new legal opinion and its proposed rule are adopted, you can expect to see fewer birds.

Wild Side: The Animal World Revealed when we Sheltered in Place.

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Everything from house finches and hydrangea to cavorting rabbits is putting on a show—flashing colors and trilling arpeggios. Our lockdown is their liberation.

COVID Debate on Lives Versus Jobs: Tacoma Remembers this One

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Bill Ruckelshaus made the nearby residents of Tacoma's ASARCO smelter face the choice: kill a few people a year from arsenic, or gamble to save 575 jobs?