• Cantwell Introduces Bill to Jumpstart Oil Spill Response Capability

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) recently introduced legislation to kick start investments in research and development to upgrade the nation’s oil spill response technology. The Oil Spill Technology and Development Act of 2013 (S. 1483), introduced on August 2, would encourage innovative approaches for responding to oil spills in the 21st century.  


    The legislation would establish small, targeted grants to further the development of new technologies to effectively contain and clean up oil spills. Additionally, the bill would require the United States Coast Guard to maintain a program for evaluating and implementing ‘best available technology’ to ensure access to the most effective tools to respond to oil spill threats.


    Cantwell’s bill would also require research into methods of cleaning up oil spills in icy conditions and addressing the unique challenges of tar sands oil. Oil from tar sands is uniquely difficult to remove after a spill, because it’s more corrosive than other types of oil and contains heavy metals. Types of tar sands oil are also known to sink, which make it harder to contain and remove oil from the water’s surface. 


    Canadian companies are poised to increase traffic of supertankers carrying tar sands oil through the waters around the San Juan Islands and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Barges with tar sands oil are already crossing the Puget Sound and according to some reports, tanker traffic could increase by 300 percent in the future.

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  • Cantwell Applauds Ocean Shores Tsunami Debris Meeting

    OCEAN SHORES, Wash. – Yesterday U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement regarding the ongoing effort to monitor and address the threat approaching tsunami debris poses to Washington’s coastal communities. Wednesday in Ocean Shores, federal and local agencies, tribes, and community organizations held a workshop to continue forging strategies for responding to tsunami debris.

    I applaud regional stakeholders for coming together today to forge ahead on local tsunami debris cleanup strategies, this coordinated initiative is a step in the right direction in protecting Washington state’s coastal communities and economy. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

    “Just last month, we marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan that killed thousands and sent an enormous amount of debris out to sea,” Cantwell continued in the letter. “One year later, our local agencies need additional tools and resources in order to protect Washington state’s $10.8 billion dollar coastal economy. I will continue working to ensure we have an aggressive plan in place to protect Washington coastal communities and jobs.”

    On March 30th in Seattle, Cantwell and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) called on President Obama to allocate emergency resources to mobilize National Science Foundation research to help track and respond to tsunami debris. Expediting NSF grants would help Washington coastal communities get more specific estimates of what might hit shores – and when.

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  • ARRA funds help expand, improve Aberdeen Transit Station

    OLYMPIA–WSDOT, Grays Harbor Transit and project partners celebrated today at a community ribbon-cutting at a bigger and better Aberdeen Transit Station. The station expansion and upgrade was funded in part by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant.

    With the ARRA grant and additional Federal Transit Administration funding, crews began work on the Aberdeen Transit Station last summer and opened the new facility to the public on January 20, 2010. The ARRA funds created 49 jobs in the area bringing $270,000 (associated payroll) into Grays Harbor community and filled a $500,000 shortfall for the $1.75 million project.


    “Congratulations to Grays Harbor County for successfully completing this expansion project,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “This project allows Grays Harbor Transit to accommodate future travel demand, improve access to regional business and job centers, keep communities connected and help revitalize the local economy” she said.

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  • WSDOT Completes 50th Project Funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

    WSDOT and local governments have now completed 50 highway projects receiving American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. A ribbon cutting ceremony will celebrate the completion of two Recovery Act projects and one state-funded project in Moses Lake on October 22. Nationwide, over 8,000 highway projects are now approved for federal stimulus funding and nearly 4,700 are under way.

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  • Senator Merkley and Governor Gregoire Call for Swift Action on Federal Clean Energy Jobs Bill

    Following the introduction in the US Senate today of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, Climate Solutions hosted a telephone conference to emphasize the need for urgent action on comprehensive clean energy legislation this year. 
    Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon applauded Chairmen Kerry and Boxer for their leadership on comprehensive climate and clean energy reform. “The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act will put our country on the right path to ending our dependence on foreign oil and transforming our energy economy.  Today marks the beginning of an extremely important debate in the Senate that will determine the nation’s economic future and the quality of life for our children and grandchildren.  This legislation will make our air cleaner, strengthen our national security, and put millions of people to work creating clean, renewable energy in Oregon and across America.” 
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  • Cantwell to Attend First Senate Hearing on Tsunami Debris Response

    Washington D.C. – On Thursday, May 17th at 10:30 A.M., U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will attend the first Senate oversight hearing on tsunami debris response. Cantwell will urge more action to protect Washington state’s coastal economy, during a Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard hearing entitled “Stemming the Tide: the U.S. Response to Tsunami-Generated Marine Debris.”

    After a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, 2011, an enormous amount of debris was washed out to sea. One year later, very little is known about the composition of the debris and there is currently no federal plan in place to address a large-scale marine debris event such as the approaching tsunami debris. Cantwell has been a leading advocate of getting an aggressive plan in place to address the threat tsunami debris poses to Washington state’s coastal economy and communities. The state’s coastal economy supports 165,000 jobs and produces $10.8 billion in economic activity each year.

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  • Report Says Washington is in Store For More Rain, Floods, and Fires

    SEATTLE, Wash. – August was the second hottest month in 30 years for planet Earth, and will now be drenched, according to researchers, who also advise Washingtonians to look for a soggier-than-normal fall. A new report blames these extremes, at least in part, on the warming climate.

    From the floods in Pakistan to the wildfires in Russia, severe weather events have made news headlines worldwide this year, notes Anastasia Schemkes with the Sierra Club. Her organization sees these events as reasons to move more quickly to curb global warming pollution, she says.

    “These events are all sort of sounding this alarm and providing us with warnings – the same warnings that scientists are really trying to tell us so we can prevent the worst impacts in our state.”

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  • Cable Barriers Coming to State Route 8

    ELMA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Transportation awarded Bellingham-based Pederson Bros. the contract for a safety project on State Route 8 in Grays Harbor and Thurston counties.
    The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds the $1.7 million project which installs high-tension cable barrier on the entire 20-mile stretch from Elma to US 101, increase safety for the 17,000 motorists who drive it daily.
    Sixty one collisions – including two fatalities and five serious injury incidents – have occurred on SR 8 since 2005.
    “Cable barrier helps save lives.” said Olympic Region Administrator, Kevin Dayton. “There is no barrier that can prevent all collisions from occurring, but high-tension cable median barrier stops vehicles from crossing the median 95 percent of the time.”
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  • Federal funds bring sidewalks and jobs to Grays Harbor

    HOQUIAM, Wash. – Sidewalk-improvement work begins this week on US 101 from Myrtle Street to Endresen Avenue and on SR 109 from Emerson Avenue to West Emerson Avenue. New concrete sidewalks, ADA ramps, lighting and pavement improvements will be added during a $1.8 million project.

     The over three miles of new-and-improved sidewalks increases safety and mobility for pedestrians within Hoquiam.
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