• 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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  • 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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  • Washington Crab Producers, Inc.

    EPA settles with Washington Crab Producers, Inc., for “Community- Right-to-Know” violations at Westport, WA Processing Facility

    Washington Crab Producers, Inc., owner and operator of a seafood processing facility in Westport, Washington, will pay a $16,551 penalty and provide a high-tech thermal imaging camera to the Westport Fire Department to settle alleged violations of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, known as EPCRA. EPA documents allege that Washington Crab Producers, Inc., stored […]

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  • Changes proposed to statewide air plan; comments wanted

    OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) invites the public to comment on the state’s proposed update to portions of the State Implementation Plan (SIP). That is a statewide plan for meeting air quality standards.


    In recent years, the state has revised parts of its general air pollution regulation, Chapter 173-400 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). Ecology proposes to submit the adopted changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for inclusion in the plan. EPA will review the state’s submittal and decide whether to approve the changes to the plan.

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  • Ocean Shores Developers Ordered to Restore Wetlands

    OCEAN SHORES, Wash. – Ralph Burgess and John Kilcup have been ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency to remove fill material and restore damaged wetlands on their property in Ocean Shores, Washington.

    EPA alleges that Burgess and Kilcup violated the Clean Water Act in 2007 when they placed fill material into nearly an acre of dune wetlands at their condominium development site without the required permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Contractors for Burgess and Kilcup placed fiberboard plywood and sand over wetland vegetation prior to constructing two driveways at the site.

    Wetlands need protection in part because they are essential for water quality, groundwater recharge, and aquatic life, according to Michael Szerlog, EPA’s Aquatic Resources Unit Manager in Seattle.

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