• Aberdeen Reducing Flouride Numbers

    The City of Aberdeen will be reducing the amount of fluoride in their water system. Public Works Director Larry Bledsoe explained to the Aberdeen City Council at yesterday’s meeting that the City received an email from the State Department of Health nearly endorsing a recent statement by the Environmental Protection Agency recommending the reductions. Aberdeen currently runs at 1.0 parts per million Bledsoe said the drop to 0.8 ppm should take effect today.

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  • Developer Pleads Guilty to Illegally Filling Wetlands in Southwest Washington

    OLYMPIA, Wash. – Philip A. Smith, 53, of Chehalis, Washington, pleaded guilty Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to damaging approximately 98 acres of wetlands in southwest Washington by using mechanized land clearing equipment in an effort to prepare the site for future commercial development.   The admitted conduct violated the Clean Water Act prohibition on discharging pollutants into waters of the United States without first obtaining a permit.  SMITH is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin H. Settle on January 10, 2011.  The maximum criminal penalties for the felony violation include up to three years in prison and a fine of not more than $50,000 per day of violation.


                “We will not allow developers to violate environmental laws to line their pockets,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “These vital wetlands were damaged in a failed bid to make a substantial profit.  We will work with local, state and federal regulatory agencies to prosecute those who damage our treasured public resources for their personal gain.”

                            “Washington’s wetlands deserve vigilant protection,” said Tyler Amon, Special Agent-in-Charge for EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement in Seattle.  “A collaborative enforcement effort between EPA and the Washington Department of Ecology lead to today’s conviction.  We will continue to vigorously pursue and prosecute criminals that destroy these invaluable northwest resources.”

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  • Health of sediments in Commencement Bay improving

    OLYMPIA – Sediment samples the state Department of Ecology has collected from the bottom of Puget Sound’s Commencement Bay show signs of improved environmental health compared to samples from identical locations nearly 10 years ago.


    The findings come from a just-released Ecology study, "Urban Waters Initiative, 2008: Sediment Quality in Commencement Bay." The Commencement Bay sediment data collection is a follow-up to a previous Ecology sediment study at the same locations in 1999.

    The new study found reduced levels of toxic metals in the sediments such as arsenic, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, tin and zinc. It found reductions in cancer-causing chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. The study also found healthier populations of tiny sediment-dwelling life known as benthic invertebrates.

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  • Will the government shutdown affect disaster response in Grays Harbor?

    MONTESANO, Wash. – Since the federal government has shutdown for an unspecified amount of time, Deputy Director of the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency Chuck Wallace answers the question “what are the impacts to local communities should a disaster occur during the shutdown?”


    The Good


    •   The Department of Homeland Security will continue to operate as 80% of the staff is deemed essential. The agencies under Homeland Security are the TSA, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Coast Guard, FEMA and immigration Customs Enforcement. Many personnel are considered essential who work on intelligence and cyber security. Still a 20% reduction in staffing will cause delays to response.


    •  According to the National Weather Service, the government shutdown will not cause any changes to the way they operate on a daily basis. The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center will change its name today, to the National Tsunami Warning Center and will continue to deliver all information it normally does. The only changes that will occur will be that National Weather Service and NOAA off site training and visitations will be halted until a resolution is made by congress.


    • Washington State Emergency Management Division will continue to operate as usual with no changes in service.


    • All local, tribal and county emergency preparedness services will continue without interruption.
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  • EPA will continue to recognize biomass as renewable

    OLYMPIA – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its plan to defer, for three years, greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources of emissions.


    This action responds to Washington State, congressional leaders’ and scientists’ concerns that biomass would be treated the same as fossil fuel-based energy sources in EPA GHG regulations that took effect this month. Governor Chris Gregoire and Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark encouraged EPA to take a different approach in a letter to Administrator Lisa Jackson in September 2010.


    EPA’s decision insures that the carbon-sequestering benefits of trees will be duly recognized, and provides more certainty for companies seeking to create jobs and make investments in biomass technologies.


    “EPA is to be commended for committing to a science-driven process that can credibly distinguish renewable forest biomass from other sources,” said Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. “Washington State’s has been well served by the efforts of Governor Gregoire and our federal congressional delegation in advocating for forestry and renewable energy jobs.”

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  • Coast Guard, other agencies monitor barge in tow off Washington Coast

    SEATTLE — The Coast Guard continues to monitor the towboat MIKI HANA as it tows a 330-foot barge approximately 20 miles off the coast of Grays Harbor, Wash., Thursday.

    The Coast Guard closely monitored the efforts of a tugboat crew as it regained control of a barge that was lost in tow Wednesday, May 19, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Josh Hollingshead, an Aviation Electrical Technician from Air Station Astoria. The Coast Guard coordinated with the owners, the states of Washington and Oregon and the member agencies of the Regional Response Team before the Miki Hana crew was able to remedy the situation. The barge, containing approximately 700,000 pounds of construction material and 400 gallons of diesel fuel, remains offshore under the control of the Miki Hana.

    The MIKI HANA temporarily lost control of the barge on Wednesday when the towing cable parted during heavy seas. The crew of the MIKI HANA was able to recover the barge and reestablish the tow several hours later. The crew is currently working to secure and retrieve the 1700 feet of broken tow cable that is presently trailing behind the barge.


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