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  • Consequences of breaching the Snake River dams

    Jason Mercier|Updated May 14, 2024

    The Snake River dams are critical to the infrastructure of our region, providing not only reliable power but also many other economic benefits. Removing these dams would have many negative impacts. You don’t have to take my word for it. Here are some of the findings from the multi-year public process in 2020 conducted by The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration:: “[Breaching] would not meet the objective to Provide a Rel...

  • Family caregivers won't benefit

    Elizbeth New|Updated May 14, 2024

    The May 1 meeting of a WA Cares oversight commission should be must-see-TV, as it made one thing super clear: There is going to be a lot of disappointment if WA Cares remains a mandatory program funded by 58 cents (or more) of every $100 a worker earns. Not only will some workers not qualify for the money they're being told should give them peace of mind about possible long-term-care needs, Washingtonians who do qualify for a WA Cares benefit won't be able to fully choose how...

  • Senator Padden deserving of award

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated May 7, 2024

    You might recall that a few weeks ago, I wrote about my colleague, 4th District Senator Mike Padden of Spokane Valley, who announced he is retiring when his current term ends, rather than seeking reelection in November. Although he cares about several legislative issues, Mike especially has been focused on crime and public safety, which is why he has served as either the chair or ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee for many years. During our years...

  • State benefits from Alaska oil

    Don C. Brunell|Updated May 7, 2024

    Recently, President Biden launched the second phase of his attack on domestic oil and gas production by effectively blocking leases in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. That follows last year’s reimposed ban on exploration in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. Both actions are ill-advised. In the Wall Street Journal, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, quipped: “the Biden Administration has imposed more sanctions on Alaska than it has on Iran.” The Interior Departm...

  • Gov. Inslee's EV program is like spending $1,125 on latte

    Todd Myers|Updated Apr 30, 2024

    Gov. Jay Inslee wants to buy 8,767 people a $1,125 latte. Metaphorically, at least. Inslee’s new program to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles is so wasteful at reducing CO2 emissions, it is the equivalent of paying that absurd amount for a 16-ounce latte. On Earth Day, Inslee announced a $45 million program to subsidize the purchase or lease of electric vehicles. The program is targeted at those making 300% of the federal poverty level or less, which amounts to $...

  • Representatives to be missed

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Apr 30, 2024

    Too many pragmatic Democrats and Republicans in Congress are retiring at a time when we need them most. Two are from Washington: Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Olympic Peninsula, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers R-Spokane. McMorris Rodgers and Kilmer cut their political teeth in the state Legislature. While they faithfully followed their parties, they found ways to come together on issues vital to our state. McMorris Rodgers was elected to Congress in 2004 and Kilmer in 2012. Recently,...

  • Tax funds being used to market tax policy

    Todd Myers|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    As Washington’s CO2 tax, known as the Climate Commitment Act, heads to the ballot this fall, this logo highlighting projects that received funding from that tax will become more prevalent. And you are paying for it. The use of taxpayer-resources to promote the CO2 tax follows the decision by the Legislature to send one-time checks of $200 to utility customers funded by the Climate Commitment Act just two-months before the November election. It is part of a pattern we are l...

  • Defending Western civilization

    Aaron Klein|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    On July 13, 2012, President Obama was giving a speech in Roanoke, Va., and said this: “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Those three sentences sparked a brush fire in that year’s presidential election that he spent the next few weeks trying to walk back. But while the third sentence tried to take credit away from entr...

  • Study: capping rent costs won't help

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Apr 16, 2024

    In a backwards approach to helping tenants, the Federal Government is capping rent increases on subsidized housing at 10% in a bid to reduce the cost of rental properties. The result, should the measures be adopted, will be exactly the opposite and rents will go up. When you place caps on rent, instead of letting the market drive the pricing, the supply of rental property declines and the result is higher demand and higher prices for rent. There is a short-term impact to...

  • Take time to thank our dispatchers this week

    Dale Wagner|Updated Apr 16, 2024

    This week, from April 14-20, we join the nation in celebrating National Telecommunications Week. This important occasion gives us the opportunity to recognize and appreciate the vital contributions of our dedicated dispatchers in law enforcement. Our dispatchers play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of our operations. They are often the first point of contact during emergencies, handling calls with professionalism, empathy and efficiency. Their ability...

  • Elect Conroy to represent Eastern Washington

    Updated Apr 16, 2024

    Carmela Conroy gives Eastern Washington voters the unusual, important opportunity to elect a foreign policy expert as their U.S. Representative. As a foreign service officer for 24 years, she served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Norway, New Zealand and Tom Foley’s Japan office. Voters must weigh foreign policy experience much more than usual in their 2024 voting decisions. Foreign policy expertise is also prerequisite for ending the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Trump has accepted uncaringly. Like retiring Rep. Cathy M...

  • Solar, wind parts fill up dumps

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Apr 9, 2024

    While wind and solar farms generate “greenhouse gas free” electricity, there are ongoing concerns over their impacts on our environment especially as a rapidly growing number of worn-out blades and panels are landing in landfills. Those blades, housed on giant wind towers reaching over 250-feet in the sky, are starting to reach the end of their useful lives (15 to 20 years) and are being taken down, cut up and hauled to burial sites. Even though over 90 percent of the dec...

  • Lawmakers failed on WA Cares changes

    Elizabeth Hovde|Updated Apr 9, 2024

    A state public-relations campaign is underway suggesting that because the state Legislature passed a bill allowing people to use a WA Cares Fund benefit to receive long-term care outside of the state, it’s a sure thing you’ll benefit. That’s not a sure thing. I received an email from the state about the legislation Friday. It read, “Planning to leave Washington in the future? Now you can take your WA Cares benefit with you, thanks to a new law passed last month and signed...

  • Two bad bills signed into law

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    Each year, for a session lasting either 105 days (in odd-numbered years) or 60 days (in even-numbered years), legislators gather in Olympia to introduce, debate and vote on bills. While many people focus their attention on what the Legislature does each year, there is one final and crucial step in the legislative process that happens – the governor decides whether to veto part or all of a bill, or let it become law. Since this year’s legislative session ended March 7, Gov...

  • Dams save environment while making power

    Updated Apr 2, 2024

    Let’s have a look at the benefits of dams to human life with a special focus on Grand Coulee Dam. It is the largest hydroelectric producing facility in the U.S. and provides enough electricity to power about 2 million households every year, 68% of all Washington state households. Please keep in mind too, that it is just one of 145 hydroelectric dams in the state. Grand Coulee dam prompted the creation of the “U.S. Bureau of Reclamations Columbia Basin Project” which converted 670,000 acres (over 1,000 square-miles) of forme...

  • Small farms declining

    Madilynne Clark|Updated Mar 26, 2024

    Farm numbers across the U.S. are dwindling and the mountain states are no exception. Our country lost 7% of farms from 2017-2022, and all of the mountain states were above the national average. As a farmer in the region, I understand the stress of this profession, and if our country continues on its current trajectory our region's agricultural future looks bleak – more consolidation and less food security. From 2017-2022, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming all experienced...

  • Why no Easter lily tours?

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Mar 26, 2024

    Easter is when potted Easter Lily plants start showing up in nurseries and supermarkets like poinsettias during the Christmas season. They adorn the altars and pulpits of most churches on Easter Sunday, but why don’t sightseers flock to fields to enjoy the spectacular sea of white blooms? The answer is a small group of family lily farmers who are bulb producers. They need to clip the flowers to concentrate the plant’s nutrients on bulb development. Fields of white flowers on...

  • Polluters should pay for carbon

    Updated Mar 26, 2024

    “Polluters pay. People get a carbon cashback” sums up the impact that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would have. The EICDA was re-introduced in the House of Representatives last September and is currently languishing in committees. Briefly, the EICDA puts a price on carbon at the source of the fossil fuels – the well, mine, or imported tanker – therefore making it simple to administer and uniform across sources of greenhouse gases. It would take the revenue from the price on carbon and distribute it to every i...

  • Session a mix of success, disappointment

    Mark Schoesler and Joe Schmick and Mary Dye|Updated Mar 19, 2024

    The 2024 legislative session is now in the history books. After 60 days, in which 201 House bills and 180 Senate bills passed the Legislature, we can report a mix of great successes and disappointments. We fought hard for public hearings on all six citizens' initiatives to the Legislature. Closer to the end of the session, Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate reluctantly agreed to hear three of the measures but sent the other three initiatives to the November...

  • Lawmakers miss salmon opportunity

    Todd Myers|Updated Mar 19, 2024

    The legislative session is over, and it had the potential to be very positive for salmon recovery. There was bipartisan support for habitat restoration. Legislators also had a huge amount of money to allocate because the tax on CO2 emissions generated far more money than anticipated. Despite that, the Legislature failed to make significant progress on salmon. It is one more wasted opportunity to protect an iconic state species. The most glaring example of the failure is in...

  • Tree farms are part of climate solution

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Mar 12, 2024

    As climate change concerns grow, researchers are turning to family tree farmers for assistance. They have been helping for a century, but their efforts have gone unrecognized. The American Tree Farm program has emphasized sustainability and managing lands for water quality, wildlife, wood, and recreation. In recent years, it has included climate change. According to the American Forest Foundation, families and individuals collectively care for the largest portion of forests...

  • Letters to the Editor

    Updated Mar 12, 2024

    Congresswoman can try to influence Speaker Johnson Among Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s negative legacies she leaves, her most impactful may be on immigration. However, she still has time to improve that. Donald Trump cares nothing about our country, just his election. Accordingly, he recently ordered all Republicans to scuttle the bipartisan, long-negotiated Senate deal supporting Ukraine and limiting immigration that would be a victory for President Joe Biden. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, an e...

  • 'Climate agenda' to cost you $20,000

    Shelly Short|Updated Mar 5, 2024

    Eleven years ago, when we started debating the climate agenda in Olympia, I sat on a study committee we called the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup and asked an unpopular question: How much good will these policies do and how much will they cost? How dare I ask a question like that? The fate of Mother Earth was at stake. No expense was too great. Today, we are starting to get an idea of the cost. How would you like to pay $20,000? How about $50,000 or more? This is how...

  • Beef cow type, then and now, Part 2

    Don Llewellyn|Updated Mar 5, 2024

    Welcome to 2024! Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday that I was thinking that graduating from high school in 1977 would be an eternity in the future. Now I appreciate what they meant when my elders used to say they wish they could go back to days gone by. Oh well, with a little optimism, the future can be pretty good too. Last month I started the discussion of 70 years of change in beef cow type. Now, let’s continue but from the perspective of how the evolution o...

  • Public records must remain open and accessible

    Updated Mar 5, 2024

    A special report urges the mobilization of civic leaders, organizations, businesses and all residents to work together to save the state’s Public Records Act. The report is available online for viewing and downloading at washcog.org. State lawmakers and the courts continue to whittle away at the landmark public records law, which was adopted overwhelmingly with a citizens’ initiative in 1972. Since then, state legislators have passed more than 650 exceptions and have tried repeatedly to exempt themselves. Residents argued in...

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