Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary written by OCA & others

Clallam County considers climate action

At their work session on 2/12/18, the Board of Clallam County Commissioners discussed a resolution proposed by Commissioner Mark Ozias for Clallam County to take further steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Clallam County residents are urged to communicate with their Commissioners about this resolution. Public comment of a general nature is taken at the end of Tuesday weekly Commissioner meetings, which usually end in the late morning; or you can write to them at commissioners@co.clallam.wa.us.

Michael Clemens, who facilitates OCA’s Climate Action Planning committee, made this comment in support of the resolution at the regular Commissioners meeting on 2/13/18. If you’d like to join Michael’s committee, contact us.

BackgroundOCA presented these recommendations to the Clallam Commissioners on 5/1/17:

Clallam County should renew its commitment to climate action in several ways:

  1. Take steps to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, as the Board of Commissioners committed to in Resolution 27 of 2016.
  2. Take steps to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases, as described in the Board of Commissioners’ adopted Climate Action Plan of 2009, and broaden the approach to address the carbon footprint of the county as a whole, not simply County government.
  3. Include means for priority-setting, evaluation and adaptive management.
  4. Encourage cooperation among multiple players in the county, including cities, Port, PUD, College, tribes, as well as Jefferson County, perhaps using the North Olympic Development Council as a vehicle.
  5. Move forward via a combined effort of County government, other entities, and committed citizens.
  6. Look for innovative and integrated approaches to addressing climate change, by addressing community resiliency, public safety, energy, transportation, future infrastructure needs, economic development and other challenges together.

“Natural” gas…”the dirtiest of all”…

Opinion: Monetized foreign policy leads to climate change

From OCA member Bob Vreeland:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/letters/letter-monetized-foreign-policy-leads-to-climate-change/

Block the Gates – “No LNG in 253″

OCA members participate in the Lock-Down demonstration at the Port of Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas terminal construction site on December 18, 2017.

By OCA member Michael Clemens

On Sunday the 17th and Monday the 18th, the Puyallup Tribe sponsored a protest of the unpermitted LNG terminal in the Port of Tacoma. 350.org and many other groups were present to support the demonstration. Three activists from the North Olympic Peninsula car-pooled to Tacoma in support: Ed Chadd, Debra Ellers and myself, all three of us clad in orca suits and representing the North Olympic Orca Pod that Debra organizes. (They are still recruiting more pod members—see the NOOP Facebook page for more information.)

Arriving at the Tribal Youth Center Sunday evening, we were welcomed and fed, then briefed on the next day’s action. Accommodation was made for sleeping and we all got as much rest as you can before a big action! Monday morning we arrived at the LNG terminal before dawn to find every gate into the fenced construction site blocked, and the street leading to the main entrance made impassable by the demonstrators. Because it was a work day, some folks had to leave early. However, other arrivals filled the ranks and there was a continuous presence of at least 200 demonstrators. All sides in this action–demonstrators, police and workers–were civil with each other. As one tribal member put it, “We kicked butt today!”

On a personal level, I found a new appreciation for the spirit, commitment and bravery of our indigenous brothers and sisters in arms. Their straight talk about sustainability and care for the Earth is heartening. I am especially impressed with the spirit that comes through their songs, and I would recommend participation in future events to anyone who wants to do some good for the planet and for their own souls as well.

Columbia Generation Station

Columbia Generating Station

Columbia Generating Station

At the last OCA meeting, Phil Lusk gave a talk about the costly electricity we buy from the Columbia Generating Station (CGS), a nuclear power plant located near Richland WA. Phil’s analysis indicates that this nuclear-energy facility, owned and operated by Energy Northwest, is subsidized heavily, to the tune of $1.64 billion by 2028. Phil stated that we are paying too much because of this power plant’s high production costs.

He stated that U.S. wastes as much as 30% of the energy it buys, and improving energy efficiency by using LEDs and ductless-heat pumps could be a more cost-effective solution than buying this costly electricity. He also stated that our local share of CGS’ subsidy is enough to buy every local resident a ductless heat pump by 2025—a far more efficient way to “produce” the energy, and a way that keeps the money in the local community.

The Bonneville Power Administration, which buys the power from the CGS, pledged to assess its economic competitiveness in 1998 but has never done so. It is time for BPA to honor its pledge, and conduct the CGS market test using a public process.

Check out Philip’s slide show here.

https://www.northwestenvironmentaladvocates.org/newblog/northwest-nuclear-plant-costing-ratepayers-billions/

Will Humanity Survive the Next 50 Years Of Climate Change?

Dr. Veerabhaadran Ramanathan (Distinguished Professor-Scripps Institution Of Oceanography, UC San Diego & UNESCO Professor Of Climate & Policy, TERI University, New Delhi, India) discusses the possibility that climate change could lead to human extinction in the next 50 years. What can we do to fight global climate change before it gets too late?

50 inches of Harvey

The home of a former City of Sequim staffer near Houston. A Mustang Shelby in the garage is just over 50" high...

The home of a former City of Sequim staffer near Houston. A Mustang Shelby in the garage is just over 50″ high…

This Harvey was no six-foot invisible rabbit.  This Harvey dropped four-feet-two-inches of rain on millions of Texans in less than a week.

When that many inches of rain land in your community in one storm, you can bet on a flood of tragic proportions.

In Texas, 1 million people evacuated and hundreds of thousands are without power, water, and/or have significantly damaged homes.  (Commentary: Although the Gulf Coast is prone to hurricanes, only 20% of Texans have flood insurance.)

You don’t need to be told that we’re very lucky in this regard here in Sequim.

50 inches is three times the average rainfall for Sequim per year—and thirty times larger than our typical large storms.

When Sequim gets 1.5-2 inches of rain in 24 hours, we see flooding.*  The infiltration systems can’t absorb that much water that quickly and what isn’t absorbed either ponds where it lands or flows into irrigation ditches and creek channels.  But within a few days, our porous soils have soaked up flood waters.

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