Mount Baker: Whatcom • Skagit • SanJuan

Contact the Group
email:

MtBaker@washington.sierraclub.org

Group Events Calendar
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OFFICERS

Chair: Judith Akins

Vice-Chair: Stan Parker

Secretary: Nora Weaver

Treasurer: Natalie McClendon

Mentor for Committees: Bob Aegerter

NEXT BUSINESS MEETING

Tuesday, April 7th, 6:30-8:30 pm, 4682 Wynn Road, Bellingham 98226. All members are welcome to attend and participate in the meeting. Call Chair Judith Akins at 360-982-8599 with questions.

Write a letter to the editor  **  Write to an elected official

NEWS FROM THE CHAIR
A minor victory this month in our effort to persuade Puget Sound Energy to stop buying coal energy from one of the oldest and dirtiest plants in the US; Legislation in Olympia has taken us one step further to shutting down the Colstrip Coal plant in Montana. HB 2002 -sponsored by Democratic Reps. Jeff Morris, Joe Fitzgibbon and Republican Rep. Chad Magendanz, and companion bill SB 5874 sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen, and Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker are a step in the right direction although they need lots of work. In particular we need to see actual retirement dates for Colstrip and a plan for replacement of energy with clean renewable sources other than hydro-power related.

There will be a lobby day on March 25 in Olympia, please join me and other SC members to get this important piece of Legislation passed. See details below.

To get up to speed on the Coal-Free PSE campaign to retire the Colstrip Plant, join the Sierra CLub and RE-Sources for a Community Briefing (& free appetizers), Tuesday, March 17th 6 pm—8 pm, Aslan Brewing 1330 N Forest St, Bellingham-- We will be upstairs in the mezzanine. Please RSVP to Robin Everett robin.everett@sierraclub.org or 206-378-0114x308

Judith Akins - Chair

COMMITTEE HIGHLIGHT: March Fundraising for the Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club’s Fundraising Committee.
Members for this committee work with a part-time chapter fundraising staff person. They plan and implement various fund raising activities such as a Hike-A-Thon and Give BIG Seattle. March is our big fund raising month and lots of help is needed. If you are able to help out please contact Morgan Ahouse, Chapter Development Associate, WA State Chapter, at 206-378-0114x300 or morgan.ahouse@washington.sierraclub.org.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE IN OLYMPIA
As I listen to comments from those standing in the Lobbies outside the doors to the legislative meeting rooms it seems there is a consensus that this will be a long session - likely lasting until the last day in June. The legislature has now passed two deadlines. Friday March 20th: bills have to have passed out of a committee of origin to remain alive for the remaining session. And Friday, March 27th: the financial implications of bills must be reported out of committee. The process of building the budget now progress with urgency.  Policy bills must be pasted out of their house of origin by Wednesday, March 11th. The always present exception is those bills marked “NTIP.” (Needed to implement the budget.)

CLIMATE The chapter is following a full list of bills. Climate Change legislation is of highest concern. Bills we are following are Governor Inslee’s Cap and Trade proposal, HB 1447 and companion bill SB 5283. Senator Doug Ericksen (R - 42) has a proposed a competing bill, SB 5057, and The Energy Independence Act, SSB 5430.

COAL FREE PSE House and Senate Bills HB 2002 and SB 5874 require that Puget Sound Energy, Avista Utilities, and Pacific Power, all of which own the Colstrip Generating Facility in Montana transition from Colstrip’s coal-fired electricity to clean energy. See more info above in Chair's news. Contact your lawmakers - take action here. Lobby Day March 25  SIGN UP HERE.

WATER There have been a number of bills introduced concerning water rights and water use. Many were in response to court decisions in Kittitas and Skagit Counties.  Representative Kris Lytton ( D - 40 ) has done a remarkable job in crafting House Bill (HB) 1793 into something that can pass and can lead to productive compromises on water issues.  Other bills need further work:  HB 2046 Definition of Streams in SMA; SB 5014 Water banking best practices; SB 5016 Water resources - agency lands; SSB 5018 Underground storage of water standards; SSB 5129 Management of waters of the state; SB 5136 New insert flow rule.

TRANSPORTATION Transportation funding has attracted a great deal of attention.  The Senate just passed The Transportation Revenue Bill (SB 5987) - a large bill with several controversial projects. A portion of the Senate has given notice they will not consider a transportation package until the legislature has passed several transportation reform bills. Some of these exempt highway construction from SEPA review or water quality standards that are a concern.

The most important environmental bills can be found HERE. You can subscribe an get it weekly via email.
Track the status of an individual bills, by number HERE. Get bill numbers on the Hot List.
Write a letter to a paper OR a letter to your legislator

I serve on the chapter legislative committee. Feel free to contact me at boba@openaccess.org --Bob Aegerter

TAKE ACTION! NORTH CASCADES GRIZZLY BEAR RESTORATION
Grizzly’s are a key species in the health of this ecosystem and only a small number of these magnificent animals remain in the transboundary region of the North Cascades. National Park Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) are conducting a public planning process (Environmental Impact Study or EIS) for restoring a healthy grizzly bear population in Washington’s North Cascades Ecosystem. They need to hear from us as they scope the direction of their study for this project.

Public open houses on the Grizzly Bear Restoration EIS will also be held around the state, including Bellingham: Wednesday, March 11th from 5-7:30 p.m. in the Bellingham Central Library Lecture Rm. You may submit a comment HERE. More information HERE

COAL FREE WASHINGTON. JOIN US FOR WASHINGTON COAL TO CLEAN ENERGY LOBBY DAY – MARCH 25
Citizen lobbyists make your voice heard! Meet your legislators face to face and let them know your concerns that Washington transition to clean renewable energy, green economy jobs, and a healthy quality of life. Join us at the Capital in Olympia March 25, 2015 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (carpools can be arranged) for the Coal to Clean Energy Lobby Day Meet at United Churches of Olympia at 10am, (110 11th Ave. SE Olympia, WA 98501) SIGN UP HERE If you have questions or need more information, email Seth.Ballhorn@sierraclub.org or call 206-378-0114 X319