Department of Natural Resources LiDAR hazard mapping receives unanimous approval from House

A catalog of detailed LiDAR maps of Washington’s geologic hazards is one step closer to reality after the state House voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a bill requested by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.

Senate Bill 5088 requires the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to expand LiDAR mapping of geologic hazards like landslides and fault lines and work with counties, cities and the public to disseminate that information. The measure is the first of three “critical first steps” identified by the Joint SR 530 Landslide Commission convened by Gov. Jay Inslee and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick to study emergency response to the disaster.

“The tragedy of last year’s unprecedented natural disasters should have guided all of our focus on the vital government role of ensuring public safety,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “By creating and maintaining a centralized database of precise locations of hazards like deep-seated landslides and fault lines, we can give planners, developers and the public information they need to be protected against the next disaster.”

The bill was introduced by Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe and was unanimously passed by the Senate in February. House members voted 97-0 to approve the bill Wednesday. It now goes to Gov. Inslee’s desk for final approval.

“I’m very pleased that the House took action on this important bill. It has the potential to help save lives by mapping possible disaster areas,” said Pearson.

Home of the Washington Geological Survey, DNR is responsible for surveying and mapping Washington’s geologic hazards. The department is currently staffed with three hazards geologists and two mapping geologists. LiDAR mapping is one of the agency’s top priorities for this legislative session.

A budget appropriation must be made in order for DNR to implement the program in a meaningful way, according to Commissioner Goldmark. The program is estimated to cost $6.6 million. The operating budget proposed by the House dedicated $4,645,000. The Senate’s proposed operating budget left the program unfunded.

DNR hopes to hire additional geologists and technical experts in order to interpret new LiDAR surveys and prepare maps of hazards that will be accessible to land use planners, emergency managers and the public.

Lidar 4Lidar 3

“Unanimous passage of this legislation indicates public safety is a top priority; one I know legislators take seriously. I’m optimistic they will come through and dedicate funding for this important initiative,” Commissioner Goldmark said.

Lidar 2LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) uses lasers mounted on aircraft to scope topography by measuring reflected light. Those beams of light penetrate forest canopy, ground cover and human development to allow mappers and scientists to see the landforms below with pinpoint accuracy.

A little more than one-fourth of Washington has already been mapped with LiDAR, though much of that was done with lower-quality imaging. DNR will initially target LiDAR mapping efforts at population centers and infrastructure most at risk from landslides and other hazards.

DNR’s Natural Resource Mission on Behalf of Washingtonians

Under the elected leadership of Commissioner Goldmark, DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. More than half of these lands are held in trust and produce income to support public schools and other state institutions. Lands managed by DNR also provide outdoor recreation, native fish and wildlife habitat, and clean and abundant water.

Public invited to comment on oil transportation study

The public is invited to provide feedback on a preliminary study assessing risks associated with increased transportation of oil through Washington state. Public meetings are scheduled next week in Spokane and Olympia to accept comments regarding the study and recommendations.

 

The Marine & Rail Oil Transport Study: Preliminary Findings & Recommendations, released Oct. 1, was developed at the direction of Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature. The study team is led by the Washington Department of Ecology, in collaboration with the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and several other agencies. The purpose of the study is to assess risks associated with oil transportation and outline recommendations to protect the health and safety of the people and the environment of Washington state.

 

Millions of gallons of oil move across Washington’s lands and waters each day. The state saw approximately 17 million barrels shipped in 2013 with a projection of 55 million barrels in 2014. The amount of Bakken crude oil transported from North Dakota by rail is expected to increase by more than 220 percent, depending on refinery expansion.

 

The public meetings are scheduled for:

                                   

5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30
Double Tree Hotel Red Lion Inn
322 N. Spokane Falls Ct. 2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW
Spokane Olympia

 

From 5 to 6 p.m., there will be information booths with marine, rail, and spill response experts available to answer questions. The study team will make a presentation at 6 p.m. and public comments will be heard starting at 6:30 p.m.

 

Comments may also be submitted electronically or by mail. Address comments to Ecology Spills Program, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA  98504-7600.

Mason County Superior Court seeks candidates for Third judicial position

The Legislature has statutorily authorized a third Superior Court position as provided for by RCW 2.08.063. Governor Jay Inslee is now seeking interested and qualified members of the Washington State Bar Association to submit applications to fill this position. The Governor’s application for judicial appointment, the Uniform Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire, is accepted by several minority bar associations for evaluation purposes. It can be downloaded below.

Nicholas W. Brown, General Counsel
Office of the Governor
Legislative Building
P.O. Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504

http://www.governor.wa.gov/office/judicial/default.aspx

 

To be considered for this vacancy, applicants are strongly encouraged to promptly submit complete applications, along with a short resume and the Waiver and Authorization to Release Information, and schedule judicial evaluations with the statewide minority bar associations. All applications must be completed and submitted to the Governor’s Office by September 5, 2014, with all judicial evaluation ratings submitted to the Governor’s Office of General Counsel by October 3, 2014.

Superior Court Judge Gordon Godfrey stepping down, local attorney stepping up

On August 4, 2014, Hon. Gordon L. Godfrey announced his resignation from the bench effective October 1, 2014. Governor Jay Inslee is now seeking interested and qualified members of the Washington State Bar Association to submit applications to fill this position. The Governor’s application for judicial appointment, the Uniform Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire, is accepted by several minority bar associations for evaluation purposes. It can be downloaded below.

Nicholas W. Brown, General Counsel
Office of the Governor
Legislative Building
P.O. Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504

http://www.governor.wa.gov/office/judicial/default.aspx
To be considered for this vacancy, applicants are strongly encouraged to promptly submit complete applications, along with a short resume and the Waiver and Authorization to Release Information, and schedule judicial evaluations with the statewide minority bar associations. All applications must be completed and submitted to the Governor’s Office by August 25, 2014, with all judicial evaluation ratings submitted to the Governor’s Office of General Counsel as soon as possible.

 

Jean Cotton

Local attorney and Elma native, Jean Cotton, has announced that she is seeking appointment to the vacancy. A press release from Cotton Wednesday said it will require closing her private practice in Elma to pursue full-time the work she has come to love since she began working in the Superior Courts as a Commissioner Pro Tem and Judge Pro Tem more than 15 years ago. Ms. Cotton has taken her judicial service seriously as she is cognizant that decisions made by Superior Court judges affect the very fabric of our lives. She appreciates being from a family with a long history of judicial service in Grays Harbor.
According to Ms. Cotton, our county has been well served by Superior Court Judges who have held their elected positions for extended periods of time and who have been actively involved in their community and judicial stewardship.
Judge Gordon Godfrey announced his resignation after serving as a Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge since 1992. The vacancy created by the announced resignation of Hon. Gordon L. Godfrey will be filled with an appointment made by Governor Jay Inslee. Jean has submitted her application to the Governor for the appointment and looks forward to the opportunity to serve the citizens of Grays Harbor County as its next Superior Court Judge.
Jean is a solo practitioner and owner of Cotton Law Offices, in Elma, Washington. She obtained her JD from the University of Puget Sound School of Law, now Seattle University School of Law.
Jean has been a member of the Washington State bar Association Family Law Section Executive Committee since 2001 having served as Chair in 2007-2008. She has on many occasions acted as a faculty member training and informing practicing attorneys at the Family Law Midyear Section and/or the Skills Training programs as well as for the Solo and Small Practitioner Midyear, various Court Facilitator training, and other programs for Continuing Legal Education requirements for attorneys in Washington. She is currently a member of the WSBA Local Court Rules Task Force and has also served on the Washington Supreme Court Dissolution Task Force and as a Washington Delegate to the Family Law Council of Community Property States. Jean was the recipient of the WSBA Family Law Section Attorney of the Year award in 2008.

State Update: Fires hold steady as victims get help

The state’s lead fire fighting agencies—the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)andthe State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Washington State Patrol (WSP)—continued to lead state government’s response today to multiple wildfires  in central and eastern Washington today.

 

Okanogan County: Fires were cooler this morning on the Carlton Complex, but were bad yesterday as 41 homes were destroyed near Alta Lake. County emergency management estimates a total of 150-200 homes have now been destroyed in Okanogan County. The Carlton Complex has burned 299,897 acres. Brewster, Pateros, Twisp, Winthrop and other communities in the county are temporarily powering water systems and sewer services on generator. Two of the four gas stations in Winthrop have power now, making it less of a problem to gasoline and diesel fuel.

 

While Okanogan County has been the hardest hit due to the sprawling Carlton Complex, wildfires are also burning in Chelan, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Spokane and Yakima counties.

  • The Chiwaukum Complex has burned 11,051 acres and continues to grow.

o   The Mills Canyon Fire, branch of the Chiwaukum, has burned 22,571 acres

  • The Saddle Mountain Fire in Kittitas County has burned 20,200 acres but will demobilize at midnight.
  • The Watermelon Hill Fire in Spokane County has burned 8,000 acres.

 

Other state activities

 

The Washington State Department of Transportation is working to keep roads open. The latest on road closures and openings is at http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/default.aspx.

The Department of Commerce’s Energy Office says approximately 7,000 customers of the Okanogan PUD and Okanogan Electric Cooperative are without power. Power for feeders along Interstate and state highways and from there into Pateros and Winthrop is estimated to be restored by the end of week. It is estimated that full restoration along county roads and to individual homes and businesses in Okanogan will take several weeks.

 

The Washington National Guard has four Blackhawk helicopters, two fuel trucks and 21 personnel deployed to Carlton Complex. There are two Chinook helicopters, two fuel trucks and 17 personnel on the Mills Canyon Complex. An incident communications package staffed by five personnel is setting up at Omak. Having completed pre-mobilization preparations, 100 National Guard soldiers are standing by in Yakima to support Department of Natural Resources fire fighters. Through July 19, Guard helicopters dropped 400,440 gallons of water on fires.

 

Personnel from the Department of Health’s (DOH) Environment Public Health Division are consulting with wildfire-impacted counties about air quality and water quality issues. DOH and the Department of Ecology are partnering to analyze and monitor how smoke and ash are affecting air quality.

 

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) deployed two trained crews with a total of 20 youths to support DNR firefighting efforts.DSHS and the American Red Cross are co-leading state-level mass care and emergency assistance efforts with support from FEMA Region 10.

 

The Department of Enterprise Services is assisting Okanogan County with a liaison to manage donations, and another liaison to support operations in the county’s emergency operations center in Omak.

 

Gov. Jay Inslee and Maj. Gen, Bret Daugherty from the Washington Military Department toured the Paschal-Sherman Indian Boarding School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs facility on the Colville Indian Reservation. The school is being considered for housing displaced individuals from the Carlton Complex fire, or National Guard and emergency services personnel supporting fire-fighting efforts.

                                                                                                                    

Non-government agencies—The American Red Cross is operating shelters in Chelan, Omak and Winthrop and opening a shelter in Brewster tonight. The Red Cross and Southern Baptist Disaster Services began providing meals in Okanogan County today. The Red Cross is establishing a shelter in Brewster so residents from there will be closer to home. Many Brewster residents are currently using the shelter in the town of Chelan. The Chelan shelter will not close until people are no longer staying there. In coordination with the Red Cross, Okanogan County Health is contacting medical suppliers to ensure that Winthrop residents are able to get replacement oxygen bottles.

 

State agencies coordinate their support to the wildfire response through the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Camp Murray. The Logistics Section of the State EOC is processing requests for generators from Pateros, Twisp and Winthrop. The three communities are already using back-up generators to power utility services and need more. A liaison from the State EOC’s Operations Section worked with utility officials in Okanogan County today as they assessed power requirements in Twisp and Winthrop.

Washington Energy Department seeks businesses for energy-efficiency program

OLYMPIA – Fifty-four Washington businesses saved millions by reducing the amount of electricity and natural gas they use. These businesses increased their bottom lines by collaborating with Department of Ecology engineers in the Technical Resources for Engineering Efficiency (TREE) program.

 

Since 2008, Ecology has offered energy-efficiency consulting and is now seeking new projects for late 2014 through the first half of 2015. Participating businesses have collectively saved $2.78 million in annual energy savings from reducing electricity usage by 25 million kilowatt-hours and cutting natural gas consumption by 141 billion BTU. Taken together, those projects prevent 22,500 metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year.

 

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a toxics reduction plan to help the state eliminate hazardous chemicals from our air and water by reducing impacts from unregulated sources, such as consumer products. Part of that proposal expands partnerships with industry to increase efficiency, save money, and reduce emissions and the use of toxic chemicals.

 

Gov. Inslee’s proposal builds on Ecology’s technical assistance services like the energy-efficiency program. Ecology also teams with businesses to prevent pollution, reduce toxic waste and emissions, and offer Lean and Green consulting. These programs work with a range of industries, such as metal finishing, production painting and coating operations, chemical blending, food processing, and most manufacturers.

 

Redhook Brewery in Woodinville recently partnered with Ecology. “We strive to make our beers in a manner that minimizes our environmental impact,” said Julia Pearson, sustainability manager. “We are continually searching for efficiency opportunities around our energy usage, and Ecology’s assistance was key this last year. The team helped us uncover some simple, quick fixes that translated into big dollar savings.”

 

Ecology also works with the Washington State University Extension Energy Program, Impact Washington, and local utilities to ensure businesses receive the services they need.

 

If your business could benefit from a professional energy audit, contact Tony Cooper at tony.cooper@ecy.wa.gov or (360) 407-6338, or your local electric utility.

Cantwell, Murray & Inslee: Keep Export-Import Bank Open, Protect 85,000 WA Jobs

Over the weekend U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Gov. Jay Inslee and local business leaders to call for Congressional reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, the nation’s official export credit agency and a key export tool that helps Washington companies sell their products overseas.

 

The Ex-Im Bank is a financing tool that helps American companies sell their products or services to foreign customers. It has supported more than 180 exporters in Washington state, two-thirds of which are small businesses. About 85,000 jobs in Washington state are supported by sales involving Ex-Im Bank financing.  Nationally, it has supported $189 billion in exports over the last five years.

 

But the Ex-Im Bank’s charter is set to expire in 100 days, and unless Congress acts, it will be forced to end its assistance to American companies. Inslee, Cantwell and Murray joined Lawrence Stone, CEO and President of SCAFCO, a Spokane company that exports grain storage systems and steel framing products to 82 countries, to highlight how failing to extend the Ex-Im Bank would hurt businesses in the Spokane area and around the state.

 

“Ex-Im is a critical source of capital for businesses all across Washington state. As the most trade-dependent state in the nation, those businesses and our economy could lose billions of dollars in export sales if it expires,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This has helped Washington wineries, growers, food processors and manufacturers create thousands of jobs. Without Ex-Im financing, many of these companies risk losing sales to foreign competitors.”

 

The Governor and two Senators toured SCAFCO, which employs 245 workers in Spokane, and has successfully used Ex-Im financing to expand exports. SCAFCO is one of 14 businesses in Eastern Washington that have used Ex-Im services since 2007. Ex-Im financing has supported $63 million in sales from Eastern Washington companies.

 

“This is about how the United States of America grows jobs by exporting our products overseas,” Cantwell said. “As chairwoman of the Senate Small Business Committee, my top priority is to make sure we have more growth from small businesses and help them become exporters. By expanding to new markets, companies like SCAFCO get new customers and we get jobs here at home. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders. We want people to have this tool so they can buy grain silos or airplanes that proudly say ‘Made in the USA.’”

 

“Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank isn’t about politics, or Republicans and Democrats. It’s about creating jobs here in the United States and keeping our businesses competitive in the global marketplace. That’s it,” Senator Murray said.  “Of the more than 200,000 American jobs supported by the Export-Import Bank last year, more than half were in Washington state, so while this is national priority, it’s particularly critical for jobs and the economy in our home state.”

 

The entire Washington state delegation – in both the House and the Senate — voted for the bank’s reauthorization in 2012. Ex-Im’s reauthorization has been backed by business groups around the country, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable. Historically, the bank has received strong bipartisan support.

 

The Ex-Im Bank, which is self-supported through interest payment and fees, turns a profit for U.S. taxpayers, and transferred $1 billion in revenue to the U.S. Treasury in 2013. It has been reauthorized about two-dozen times since it was created in 1934.

 

“I know that I am speaking for hundreds of small- and medium-sized manufacturers across the country when I say to our Congress: Please reauthorize Ex-Im Bank without delay,” Stone, of SCAFCO, said. “The future of America’s exports and a significant amount of American manufacturers depend on your action on this important issue.”

 

In the past year alone, Ex-Im financing assisted 84 Washington companies, including 64 small businesses, and close to $21 billion worth of sales to foreign customers.

 

In FY 2013, nearly 90 percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s transactions—a record-high 3,413—involved American small businesses.  In FY 2011, more than 700 first-time small businesses and nearly 500 minority- and women-owned businesses used the bank’s services. Ex-Im opened a new branch in Seattle in August 2012, with the goal of helping small businesses get more access to the bank’s financing.

 

If private banks are unwilling or unable, the Export-Import Bank steps in and finances or insures the purchase of U.S. goods by foreign customers. It also helps U.S. companies stay competitive against their counterparts overseas that are financed by foreign governments.

David Banner of Cosmopolis receives 2014 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award

Cosmopolis resident David Banner was recently selected as recipients of the 2014 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for in recognition of his work with the Senior Companion Programs in Grays Harbor, Pacific and Thurston Counties. The awards were presented by Washington Governor Jay Inslee and his wife at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia on April 21, 2014.

The award given Banner read as follows:  “David Banner has been a tireless volunteer for the Senior Companion Program since November 2000. Using his computer expertise and creative skills, he develops and upgrades the Senior Companion Program’s public relations materials and recently created a website to enhance visibility. In addition to the innumerable hours he donates to the program, he also volunteers for several other non-profit organizations including Child Evangelism Fellowship, Christian Women’s Connection, South Aberdeen Baptist Church, and the Aquanotes, a local music group who visits residential care facilities to bring the gift of song. David is generous and devoted to his community and brings an altruistic spirit throughout his volunteer service.”

Pacific Northwest Offshore Wind Energy Project to receive DOE support

As a part of the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced the selection of three pioneering offshore wind demonstrations to receive up to $47 million each over the next four years to deploy innovative, grid-connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017. These projects – including one spearheaded by Washington-based Principle Power and located off the coast of Oregon– will help speed the deployment of more efficient offshore wind power technologies. Building on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to launch a competitive and sustainable offshore wind industry in the United States, these demonstration projects will help further lower costs, drive greater performance and clear hurdles to installing more utility-scale turbines in U.S. waters.

“Offshore wind offers a large, untapped energy resource for the United States that can create thousands of manufacturing, construction and supply chain jobs across the country and drive billions of dollars in local economic investment,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Energy Department is working with public and private partners to harness this untapped resource in a sustainable and economic manner. The offshore wind projects announced today further this commitment — bringing more clean, renewable energy to our homes and businesses, diversifying our energy portfolio, and reducing costs through innovation.”

“This project presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of deep-water wind technology, accelerate economic activity in our region and position the Pacific Northwest to be a leader in these projects,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “I commend the Department of Energy for its support. With ongoing support and careful development, WindFloat Pacific can represent a world-leading advancement in wind energy – demonstrating technologies and methodologies that not only open huge new areas to the prospect of renewable energy development but also bring jobs and opportunity.”

“Climate change is already here, and that means the federal government must support the development of innovative technologies that could make major contributions to increasing clean, renewable power,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “Oregon has tremendous offshore wind resources, so it is appropriate that this technology will have the opportunity to be tested off of Oregon’s South Coast.”

“This is a great step forward to test a new clean energy resource in Oregon,” said Senator Jeff Merkley.

“Today’s announcement is a win-win for Coos Bay. Not only will this federal grant support good-paying jobs on the Oregon coast, it also promotes the renewable energy industry,” said Representative Peter DeFazio. “With this grant, we are making a strong statement about our commitment to cutting carbon emissions and given this week’s U.S. National Climate Assessment, this commitment could not come at a better time.”

In December 2012, the Energy Department announced seven offshore wind demonstration projects, which have focused on design, engineering, and permitting work. The three projects selected today, including the project led by Principle Power, are aimed at deploying offshore wind installations in U.S. waters by 2017. Principle Power will install five 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon. The U.S.-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating foundation will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep, demonstrating an innovative solution for deep water wind turbine projects and  lowering costs by simplifying installation and eliminating the need for highly specialized ships. More than 60 percent of U.S. offshore wind resources are found in deep waters, including the entirety of the West Coast. Deploying offshore wind technologies for deeper water can help capture resources that are found in waters too deep for traditional bottom-mounted foundations.

Broadly, the Energy Department’s efforts to advance innovative offshore wind technologies support the Obama Administration’s comprehensive National Offshore Wind Strategy to develop a sustainable, world-class offshore wind industry. As part of that strategy, the Energy Department continues to work with partners across the government, including the Department of the Interior, to conduct resource assessments, streamline siting and permitting and overcome technical and market challenges to installation, operations and grid connection. Learn more at the Wind Program’s Offshore Wind Web page.

7-year reign: Washington retains its title as nation’s most ‘Bicycle-Friendly State’

For the seventh consecutive year, Washington has been named the nation’s No. 1 “Bicycle-Friendly State” by the League of American Bicyclists.

Meanwhile, Washington state will officially celebrate Bike Month in May with a signed proclamation (pdf 182 kb) by Governor Jay Inslee describing the many benefits of bicycling.

“As a bike rider I get to see firsthand all that Washington has done to make bicycling part of a sustainable transportation system,” said Gov. Inslee. “Bicycling helps make healthy communities, healthy people and a rich quality of life. There’s always more to do, but being named the most bike friendly state shows we are moving on the right path.”
Strong partnerships among the state’s cities, counties, advocacy organizations, state agencies and transportation providers form the foundation of Washington’s success in improving conditions for bicycling and walking.

“Being an avid bicyclist, I’ve had an opportunity to explore Washington’s urban and rural roadways this past year,” said Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. “We’ll continue to work with our local partners to identify and fund bicycle needs in their areas, especially on highways that also function as main streets in our communities.”

The Washington State Department of Transportation supports bicycling through its Bicycle and Pedestrian programs and provides transportation design guidance, grant programs and technical support.

“We’re pleased and proud that Washington has remained the number one bicycle-friendly state,” said Barb Chamberlain, Washington Bikes executive director. “The work that goes into growing bicycling statewide every year is important for everyday people bicycling to work, school or errands. It’s equally important for Washington’s reputation as an incredible place to experience the great outdoors through bike travel and tourism. What a great way to kick off Bike Month!”

The League of American Bicyclists annually ranks all 50 states on how “bikeable” they are. The League evaluates each state’s cycling success in several categories: legislation and enforcement; policies and programs; infrastructure and funding; education and encouragement; and evaluation and planning.