Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hearings Board Finds Problems with Kitsap County CAO By ChristopherDunagan
"Kitsap County commissioners have been ordered to revisit the county's Critical Areas Ordinance to address shortcomings in shoreline protection rules.

Environmental groups were successful in convincing the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board that the county should have taken a closer look at shorelines during the critical areas review last year.

The board also said the county cannot exempt small, isolated wetlands from regulations, as the county had proposed."

Wave Energy Meets the Regulators

Oregon Public Broadcasting
"PORTLAND, OR 2006-08-29 The burgeoning interest in alternative energy is pushing ocean wave power closer to reality along the Northwest coast. Federal regulators are now considering three different applications to generate electricity from waves. New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies wants to anchor an array of electric generating buoys just off Reedsport, Oregon. It calls its plan the first 'utility scale' wave project in the U.S. Just to the north, Lincoln County, Oregon has claimed all of its off shore waters for a public wave energy development. And off the northwest tip of Washington, AquaEnergy Ltd. continues to pursue a pilot wave power project."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Report on Terms of Graving Yard Settlement

Today the reports:
"THE SETTLEMENT signed Aug. 14 by Gov. Chris Gregoire, Lower Elwha Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles, Port Angeles Mayor Karen Rogers and Port Commissioner Bill Hannan includes these provisions:

* The tribe receives the central 11 acres of the 22.5-acre site that overlie Tse-whit-zen, an ancestral village and cemetery; $2.5 million to rebury ancestors, preserve artifacts and construct a museum.[snip]

* The Port gets $7.5 million -- 126 percent of its 2006 regular revenue -- and the shoreline slice of the graving yard that links Port properties on both sides of Tse-whit-zen. [snip]

* The city likewise receives $7.5 million for economic development, $480,000 to hire an archaeologist who will survey the harborfront for Native American remains, and up to $500,000 to attract businesses to town or to keep them here.[snip]"

The Peninsula Daily News of Port Angeles has been the go-to source on this strange and troubling story. If a final chapter is to be written, I expect them to write it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Complete the Eastern Portion of the Columbia Basin Project and Water the Odessa Region?

Oregon Public Broadcasting, By Austin Jenkins
"The federal government is dusting off a plan from the 1940s. It calls for continuing construction of the Columbia Basin Project. The CBP -- as it's known -- brought Columbia River water to sagebrush country through a series of canals. Now the idea is to extend the system to the Odessa Aquifer area -- something that was always part of the plan. This would allow farmers to switch from well water to river water. Ellen Berggren with the federal Bureau of Reclamation is heading a five-year feasibility study. Ellen Berggren: 'The Columbia Basin Project was authorized by Congress to irrigate 1,029,000 acres and it's currently irrigating about 671,000 acres.' The question is whether it makes economic and environmental sense to bring river water to another 100,000 plus acres of farmland. Ellen Berggren: 'One of the very important considerations in our study is looking at ways of getting water -- which would ultimately have to come from the Columbia River -- in a manner that will not affect Columbia River flow targets for fish.' That's a key concern for Rob Masonis with the environmental group American Rivers. After all the Columbia Basin Project was crafted more than sixty years ago. Long before water had to be set aside for endangered salmon. Rob Masonis: 'It may be that you could move water around within the Columbia Basin project to serve those farms in question without further depleting the Columbia River. Where it will get more difficult from the perspective of the environmental community is where we're talking about further degrading resources that are already seriously degraded.' Masonis says it's too early to know if this has the potential of turning into a protracted legal battle."

"Court rules for government in channel deepening lawsuit"

The Portland Business Journal:
"The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a lawsuit brought by Northwest Environmental Advocates. The environmental group had argued that the ongoing channel deepening project will lead to erosion of Oregon and Washington coasts as a result of sand from the Columbia River being dumped at nearby deep-water ocean sites. "

Friday, August 18, 2006

Oregon & Umatillas Join Hanford Natural Resource Damage Lawsuit

Tri-City Herald - By Annette Cary
"Published July 20, 2006

The state of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation are joining a lawsuit over natural resource damage at the Hanford nuclear reservation. All members of the Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council, except those representing the federal government, now are plaintiffs in the lawsuit or have filed to become plaintiffs. The council is made up of governments with authority under the Superfund law to seek legal damages for injury to natural resources at Hanford."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ignore This Crazy Talk

Yakima Herald Republic Online, By LEAH BETH WARD
"Collaboration among ordinary people, not conflict between lawyers in the courts, is the way to restore salmon to the Yakima River and keep the crops watered, a variety of speakers said Tuesday at a roundtable that drew tribal leaders from Portland and Olympia. 'We've got to find the center line. We've got to understand one another. We've got to understand our farmers,' said Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually Tribe member who has received national recognition for leadership on salmon restoration and water management. While the interests of farmers and fish have historically collided, speaker after speaker called for a new model based on mutual self-interest. "

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Yakama nation, Grant County PUD reach salmon agreement "

Yakima Herald Republic Online
"Yakama nation, Grant County PUD reach salmon agreement

In a move reflecting two decades of discussions, the Yakama nation and Grant County Public Utility District signed a long-term agreement today intended to protect salmon on the Columbia River. PUD officials said the agreement resolves all salmon and steelhead issues between it and tribal, state and federal agencies in connection with the utility's license. Among other points, the agreement covers water flows below the PUD's Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams and calls for habitat funding, turbine replacement at Wanapum Dam and other measures to protect fish populations. The agreement now goes before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of the relicensing process for the Priest Rapids Dam. -- Yakima Herald-Republic staff"

Friday, August 11, 2006

Columbia River Policy Advisory Group

Notice of meeting from the Department of Ecology:
"Columbia River Policy Advisory Group Formed

The Columbia River Policy Advisory Group will help Ecology identify policy issues associated with implementing a new water resource management program for the Columbia River, provide Ecology with a range of perspectives on policy choices and priorities, and assist Ecology in setting criteria for funding of storage and conservation projects. The Group is currently being formed and will meet approximately monthly. The first meeting will be Friday, August 18, 2006 from 9:00 - 4:00 in Ellensburg, Washington. Meetings are open to the public. Additional details about the composition of the Policy Advisory Group and its first meeting will be posted soon."

"Drillings support Black Rock reservoir"

Yakima Herald Republic Online - By DAVID LESTER
"One fundamental question about the proposed Black Rock reservoir, east of Yakima, has now been answered - and it's good news for backers of the huge storage reservoir. Bureau of Reclamation officials said Thursday that bedrock on the south side of the Black Rock Valley can support a high dam. The conclusion, based on a review of core drillings, is the first definitive word from the agency about the geology of the site, east of the intersection of State Route 24 and Highway 241. Yet to be determined is how groundwater flows beneath the site and whether the reservoir will leak too much water. Also unknown is what impact extensive seepage from Black Rock would have on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. "

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Regulation of Air Pollutants

Govexec; by Jenny Mandel (8/7/06)
"A federal judge reprimanded the Environmental Protection Agency last week for devoting resources to discretionary activities while it remains years behind schedule in meeting its statutory obligations to regulate hazardous air pollutants as required by the 1990 Clean Air Act. In an opinion issued last Wednesday, Judge Paul Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia laid out the reasoning behind an order, issued in March, that EPA promulgate regulations according to an accelerated schedule that he said would reflect Congress's original intent in setting a timeline for completion of the work. "

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Bonneville Power moving ahead with plan to dividing up system"

"KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The Bonneville Power Administration is pressing forward with its plan to divide up the federal Columbia River Power System in hopes of approving it in January. If public and private electric utilities, environmental interests, aluminum companies and other interested parties don't reach agreement on key details, BPA is pledging to do it for them in time to ship a final plan to Washington, D.C., early next year. The agency is gathering public comment through the end of September and will hold the second of five regional public hearings on Monday at the Franklin Public Utility District in Pasco."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Senior TriParty Managers Meet, Decide an "Holistic" Approach Would Be Nice; Plan on Involving "Public" in the Future

Received Tuesday, August 01, 2006 09:23 am
"This is a joint statement from the Tri Party Agreement Agencies

In June and July, 2006 two meetings were held involving senior management from the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) agencies: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Representatives from the DOE Headquarters’ Office of Environmental Management also attended and participated in the meetings. The purpose of the agency meetings was to launch a collaborative process to understand cleanup challenges and their relationship to TPA commitments, and to begin to chart a process whereby the agencies can mutually understand and agree on the scope of the challenges and develop key assumptions, logic ties, and end states related to the schedule and cost for key cleanup activities. A major objective of this effort will be to develop a common understanding of the master planning schedule for cleanup work, the associated planning assumptions, as well as insight into the uncertainties associated with cleanup challenges and yet to be completed regulatory agreements. Technical staff are working together to understand the scope of the current challenges and lay the groundwork for a collaboratively-developed, holistic approach to cleanup. Their work will include clarifying assumptions in existing cleanup schedules, resolving outstanding technical challenges, and developing recommendations on the planning and prioritization of cleanup activities. It is anticipated that the results of the work and technical discussions may be used by DOE in refining existing baselines and in the development of revised baselines for key projects at Hanford. The subsequent holistic approach to Hanford cleanup and baselines for key activities may ultimately become the basis of negotiation of critical TPA milestones. When that occurs, the prescribed process for public involvement mandated by the TPA will be followed and there will be additional opportunity for broader involvement. The agencies will continue to solicit and consider input from the Tribes, stakeholders, Hanford Advisory Board, the public and others regarding values and priorities for completing the cleanup of Hanford."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Makah Canoe: End of One Journey, Beginning of Another - by EVAN CAEL
"PORT TOWNSEND -- An old tribal canoe that's been on display outdoors on Point Hudson since John F. Kennedy was president has been given to a Makah elder. Timed with the Inter-Tribal Canoe Journey passing through Port Townsend Bay late last week, inspired Port of Port Townsend commissioners granted the request Mary McQuillen has made for decades and returned the canoe to the tribe."

Decision Awaited in Lawsuit Concerning Forest Service Roads

SAMANTHA YOUNG, for The Oregonian
"SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge said Tuesday that the Bush administration had the right to overturn a ban on road construction in untouched parts of the national forests, but questioned whether it could do so without weighing the possible environmental effects. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte said the Forest Service appeared to be 'on solid ground' last year when it reversed a Clinton administration rule banning new roads on nearly a third of federal forests. But she questioned whether the agency violated federal law by skipping environmental studies -- the heart of two lawsuits brought by 20 environmental groups and the states of Oregon, California, New Mexico and Washington. The cases have since been consolidated, and all parties presented arguments Tuesday in Laporte's courtroom. "