Mount Baker: Whatcom • Skagit • SanJuan

Contact the Group
email:

MtBaker@washington.sierraclub.org

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OFFICERS

Chair: Judith Akins

Vice-Chair: Stan Parker

Secretary: Nora Weaver

Treasurer: Natalie McClendon

Mentor for Committees: Bob Aegerter

NEXT BUSINESS MEETING

Monday, February 9, 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.

LEGISLATIVE WORKSHOP FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

JANUARY 21ST AT 6:30 PM TO ADDRESS SUPPORT FOR THE GOVERNOR'S CLIMATE and POLLUTION ACTION PLAN (see details below)
We will discuss effective Letters To the Editor, Letters to Legislators, written and oral testimony for Legislative Committees and effective oral testimony before Legislative Committees.

WHERE: 4682 Wynn Road, Bellingham (near I-5 and Slater Road)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 21, 6:30 pm
Click for directions and RSVP

WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY AND REWARDING NEW YEAR!
The Mt Baker Committee members would like to give special thanks all who contributed precious time and effort in 2014 to help us achieve our goals. Those who manned our tables, signed petitions and wrote letters, attended meetings and donated time, talent and treasure...we thank you!

NEWS FROM THE CHAIR
2015 is here and we are excited to be working on our newly set priorities with our very active board. Our focus for 2015 - Clean Energy, Environmental Justice, Wildlife Conservation. Additionally, we plan to have quarterly general meetings for our large membership... and stay tuned for our line up of guest speakers in collaboration with WWU. For our committee highlight this month I would like to explain "Tabling" so look further in this issue to see exactly what we mean and how you can help. Looking forward to meeting some or all of you this year at an event or on the trails and wishing you all a very happy and environmentally prosperous New Year. --Judith Akins

GOVERNOR INSLEE'S CLIMATE AND POLLUTION ACTION PLAN FOR 2015
In December of 2014 Governor Inslee laid out his plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Its centerpiece is a carbon cap for major emitters and a system of allowances they would purchase to stay within the cap, he said. Revenue from the system would go toward education, transportation and support for vulnerable communities. Along with the carbon fee, the budget also proposes new incentives for zero- and low-carbon vehicles, a clean energy fund, and incentives for solar power. Read More and Cascadian Weekly

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

GPT VESSEL TRAFFIC RISK ASSESSMENT STUDY RELEASED
In mid December the Department of Ecology released the EIS marine vessel traffic study for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal project. Marine vessel traffic is a significant issue because the GPT project, if permitted, would add 450+ more cargo vessels to the already crowded shipping lanes in the Salish Sea. These vessels are the largest on the planet (nearly 3 times the size of the oil tankers we currently see), are single hulled, old and outdated, and require 6 miles to come to a stop. There are many significant environmental impacts involved. Find the official website for the EIS where you may view the Vessel Traffic and Risk Assessment Study under the Resources tab HERE

CITY OF BELLINGHAM CONSIDERS QUIET ZONES FOR TRAINS
If the Gateway Pacific (coal) Terminal project is permitted there will be an increase of train traffic through-out the region. Bellingham would see an additional 18+ trains per day. Train noise poses a significant health threat during nighttime as it disrupts sleep. Many communities through-out the nation have adopted "quiet zones" for night time rail traffic. The city of Bellingham is considering this. Read More

INSLEE EYEING TAX ON OIL SHIPPMENT ARRIVING BY RAIL
The Inslee administration's leaders expect to introduce a bill to extend Washington's 5-cents-a-barrel oil tax to pipelines and railroad oil cars. Currently, the tax on the 42-gallon barrels applies only to oil arriving in Washington by ship. Dale Jensen, director of the Washington Department of Ecology's oil spill program, briefed the House Environment Committee on the matter Friday.Officials are also considering the possibility of increasing the current 5-cents-a-barrel tax on oil arriving in the state. Read More

CLEAN ENERGY AND CLIMATE PROTECTION

BIG GROWTH FOR SOLAR IN WASHINGTON STATE AND THE US/2014
36% of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S. through the first three quarters of 2014 came from solar. 15% came from coal. That's right...you heard it here! Solar beat out coal.

  • The U.S. installed 1,354 MWdc of solar PV in Q3 2014, up 41% over Q3 2013, making it the second-largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market.
  • For the first time ever, more than 300 MWdc of residential PV came on-line in a single quarter and more than 50% residential PV came on-line without any state incentive.
  • Here in Washington State solar installations have grown exponentially. More and more people realize that solar can and does work in northern and wet climates. Germany has been a world leader in solar growth and yet has less daylight hours than Washington State. What's more, the cooler temperatures here (compared to the desert SW) generates better PV efficiency. For information on Federal, state, and local financial incentives, grants, and programs please visit Clean Energy Authority.

For more info information on US solar growth please visit SEIA.org.

COAL FREE PSE: MEETING WITH KRISTINE LYTTON
In December Mt. Baker Group members met with Rep. Lytton to inform her about widespread discontent on the continued reliance of energy from PSE's Colstrip Coal Power Plant, in Montana. We informed her that the S.C. has signatures from hundreds of PSE customers and business owners urging them to discontinue the use of coal for power generation and to actively transition to clean renewable energy. Rep. Lytton was very receptive. We need to continue to let her and other legislators know of our concerns with PSE and encourage them to support legislation to that end.

WHITEHOUSE UNVEILS DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR CLIMATE IMPACTS FROM PROJECTS -- WOULD IMPACT GPT PROPOSAL
      December 18, 2014 The White House unveiled draft plans Thursday to ensure that federal agencies evaluate how certain energy, mining, construction, and other projects and policies will affect climate change before they move forward.
      The plan is meant to guide federal agencies such as the US army Corps of Engineers, as they review projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a 44-year-old law that demands analyses of the environmental footprint of various decisions and projects that require federal approval. NEPA reviews are applied to projects and actions such as federal offshore drilling lease sales, highways, construction projects, pipelines, and others.
      "Federal agencies, to remain consistent with NEPA, should consider the extent to which a proposed action and its reasonable alternatives contribute to climate change through [greenhouse-gas] emissions and take into account the ways in which a changing climate over the life of the proposed project may alter the overall environmental implications of such actions," the draft plan states. Read more

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
     If you have read through this newsletter you will notice that there are many issues that need member involvement. In 2015 we will be forming groups and organizing grassroots actions and events. One way to get involved with a small amount of time but with huge effect is to "table" at one of our events.
     "Tabling" at events is a significant part of our work. It helps us to inform the public on issues affecting the community, state, and region. It is a great medium with which to personally inform the public about our club and about specific issues such as the proposed GPT coal Terminal, increase of dangerous oil trains through our towns and cities, clean energy alternatives, etc.. We provide informative materials to set out on the table and engage people in conversations about specific issues. We also let people know that there is always a way for them to participate: sign a petition, write their legislators, write a letter to the newspaper, and inform friends and neighbors. Volunteering as a tabler is usually a two hour shift, with at least one other volunteer. Table and materials will be provided. It is a great way to be involved and to engage the public in important issues. We hope that you will consider volunteering as a tabler when the call goes out!
     Further, if you have a passion for protecting the environment such as working to get us off of fossil fuels, promote renewable energy, changing legislative policies, or wildlife conservation please let us know!