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Category: Environment


U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks get front page attention in Washington Post (though not the kind he might want)

Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington state is getting front-page attention from the Washington Post today for steering federal money to an agency that was headed by his son.

In a special investigation, the newspaper cited Dicks as one of 16 members of Congress who had taken actions to aid entities connected to their immediate families.

The Post said Dicks helped send millions of dollars to the restoration of Puget Sound, including a $1.82 million earmark and more than $14 million in grants and other funds that went to an agency, the Puget
Sound Partnership, headed by his son.

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U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell helps kill latest Arctic drilling plan

Sen. Maria Cantwell, a longtime opponent of oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, has helped defeat the latest Republican plan to open up the refuge for new energy exploration.

The Washington Democrat and member of the Senate Finance Committee raised objections Tuesday when Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch offered a plan that would have allowed drilling rigs into the refuge and protected waters off the coast of Florida and southern California

“We all know that gas prices going up are a very big challenge to us and we need to find alternatives to foreign oil,” Cantwell said. “But

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Plan for compromise on green energy takes hits from all sides, might ‘implode’ again

This month, utilities are having to meet mandates voters imposed in 2006 to either produce green energy or buy credits from those who do.

The Initiative 937 regulations have drawn complaints for years, especially as the economic downturn has depressed demand for electricity and power companies have found themselves having to buy power they don’t need.

Now the chairmen of the House and Senate committees that deal with energy, Rep. Dave Upthegrove and Sen. Kevin Ranker, have crafted what they hope will be a step toward compromise.

But at the bill‘s first hearing today, the measure took criticism from all sides. The question of

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Puget Sound cleanup grants announced

Federal grants worth more than $6 million are going out to agencies trying to protect the Puget Sound from pollution.

Among them is $480,000 for testing of greener development techniques at Washington State University’s Research and Extension Center in Puyallup. Researchers will examine ways of reducing polluted storm-water runoff, including permeable pavement. Read more »


U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings ready to tackle Endangered Species Act

Saying it’s time for a “thoughtful analysis” of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Rep. Doc Hastings said today he will head a hearing that will begin tackling the law next week.

The hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee is set for Dec. 6.

Hastings, a Republican representing the 4th Congressional District in central Washington and the committee’s chairman, said the hearing will focus on how litigation involving theEndangered Species Act is costing jobs and hurting the economy.

Environmental groups have long considered Hastings a top foe of the Endangered Species Act.

“This hearing is the first of many that

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Environment Washington launches mobile billboard to pressure U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to use Super Committee to end oil company subsidies

Environment Washington used a mobile billboard this week to bring attention to its effort to urge U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to help close $44 billion in tax advantages by oil companies.

The Washington Democrat was targeted because she is co-chairman of the so-called Super Committee which is charged with finding $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts or new revenues over the next decade.

“Big Oil gets tax breaks,” read the billboard, “We get the pollution.”

“Washington’s Congressional delegation has the opportunity to lead on ending oil subsidies,” said Katrina Rosen, the group’s field director in a press release. “Representative (Jim)

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Congress votes to open up ski areas on federal land for more uses, including eight in Washington

WASHINGTON — If you’ve ever dreamed of a summer wedding at a ski area on federal lands, then today is your lucky day.

Following the lead of the House, the Senate voted late Tuesday night to approve the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, which will allow ski areas in national forests to be used for much more than skiing.

According to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D- Washington, one of the bill’s cosponsors, new activities could include mountain biking, “expanded scenic opportunities,” summit hiking, and “expanded hospitality opportunities” such as restaurants and summer weddings.

She said eight ski areas in

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Hastings takes aim at ‘ocean zoning’

U.S. Rep. Richard “Doc” Hastings has found a new target: ocean zoning.

The Pasco Republican and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, intends to have a hearing on the topic next Tuesday.

It comes after President Barack Obama last year signed an executive order creating a task force to examine new ocean policies, including a requirement known as marine special planning, commonly called ocean zoning, in U.S. waters.

Hastings called it a “heavily bureaucratic initiative” that requires strong oversight by Congress.

“The president’s new national ocean policy is one more example of this administration imposing burdensome federal regulations and

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