Monday, November 29, 2010

FOUR OPEN HOUSE MEETINGS


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis

ATTENTION MASON COUNTY!

A recent flyer sponsored by the Mason County Department of Public Works and sent out to all Mason County residents, invites public input into storm water run off problems that are polluting our “water bodies”. According to the flyer, 66 bodies of water within Mason County do not, currently, meet state water quality standards, and another 90 exhibit some evidence of problems.

The flyer goes on to beat the drum about how tourism and a shellfish industry that supports some 500 jobs depend on clean water.

Four public Open House Meetings are scheduled as follows:

1. Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM; Mason County Public Works Training Room B, 100 W. Public Works Drive, Shelton.

2. Thursday, December 2, 2010, 4:00 - 7:00 PM; Hoodsport Fire Hall, 331 North Finch Creek Rd., Hoodsport.

3. Monday, December 6, 2010, 6:00 - 9:00 PM; North Mason School District Administrative Office, 71 East Campus Drive, Belfair.

4. Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 4:00 - 6:30 PM; Little Skookum Community hall, 3480 SE Lynch Rd., Shelton.

The Open House Forum presents an excellent opportunity for the public to question the wisdom of introducing two more major sources of pollution into our waterways: The Adage and Simpson biomass fueled incinerators. In both instances, the run off from increased truck traffic and the incineration of hundreds or thousands of tons of biomass per year CANNOT BE CONTAINED!

DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO BRING SOME SANITY INTO THE DISCUSSION OF HOW HARMFUL THESE FACILITIES WILL BE TO OUR COMMUNITY. BRING YOUR CONCERNS, YOUR PASSION AND YOUR FRUSTRATION. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Are Not Going Away Jack K.

More anti-ADAGE fanatics?

Submitted to Shelton Blog by John Cox


I just read Jack Krause's letter in "The Journal" entitled "Civility has deteriorated". I think I met him once at one of Commissioner Miles' Citizen's meetings. He showed up with a group from the Washington Pilot's Association whose purpose in coming seemed to be for entertainment (they kept snickering when others asked questions); or disruption (shouting "YOU'RE RUDE" at Commissioner Miles' every statement...see post:
SEMPER FI, JACK!); and for a 2nd act, Steve (he sure seems to have his fingers in a lot pies around here) Bloomfield insisting Jack Miles should resign. Very civil of them.

Jack K. wrote that he has not seen a "community more intent on taking care of their own". I don't know what to say to that. It is just SO true!....but, I think we would differ in what the membership of that community might be. Clearly, there are a lot people in this county who do not feel they are being taken care of, quite the opposite in fact, they feel they are being taken. I am one of them. I feel like I am getting screwed by the ADAGE and Simpson incinerators. I apologize for my crude language. No, never mind, I really don't.

Jack K. then accuses an elected official and many citizens of siding with radical movements. Oh, Senator McCarthy where are you now? I am surprised he didn't use the "T" word...you know...terrorists. From what I've seen here in Shelton, the radical, anarchistic, terrorists generally have a least a few gray hairs, and a few grandchildren too. Actually the grandchildren tend to be source of inspiration for these radicals, not some boogiemen hiding in Jack K.'s closet.

I have seen the "paparazzi" he mentions. One is 65 year old women with gray hair and a nice smile. The other is mother of two kids who happens to live too close to Simpson, and doesn't like having inhalers as a shared family experience. Well, I don't like having my photo taken either. I haven't found a photographer yet that is able to take a photo of me that makes me look good. I also have NEVER heard anyone screaming about their right to take photos at any of the numerous meetings I have attended. Maybe I missed that meeting.

Ok, Jack K., so what is an anti-ADAGE fanatic? Is fanatic a grade of anti-ADAGEism? Like 1+, 2+, 3+, fanatic? Or maybe it refers to how many of the numerous toxic emissions you prefer to not breathe? Like, you are only a fanatic if you object to more than 3 pollutants? If you only object to say....dioxins, sorry, you are just a low grade anti-ADAGEist. I rarely run across anyone I would call a fanatic lately, except maybe Jay Hupp or Tim Sheldon. These two are obviously ADAGEist fanatics. Ask anybody.

As for the court hearings, sometimes you lose, but it doesn't make you wrong.

Then Jack K. goes on to say that meetings often have to be abandoned because the fanatics become so disruptive. You are one word twisting rascal, Jack. I have only seen one meeting abandoned. The one where Chairman Hupp pounded his gavel and declared the meeting over when he couldn't stop another Commissioner from objecting to the way the meeting was being run. I don't think that qualifies as "often" or fanatical, just pissed off (yes, I know, crude language again).

I just want to close this post from the "vortex of rabid dissent" (nice phrase, can I use it?). I don't think I care much for politicians that Jack K. considers "qualified". We already have quite a few of those. We need elected officials that really want to hear what citizens have to say. We need elected officials that will insist that all the workings of their offices are in the open, visible to all. We need elected officials who are willing to fight for what's right, even when they are attacked and plotted against. What we need is more of the "ilk of the antis". (I really like some of Jack's phrases though. Are you sure you're not a closet anarchist, Jack? Anarchists are really good with phrases, you know.)

We are not going away Jack K. I think a lot of people have had their eyes opened by what has been going on in this county. Things like this just continue to grow. Jack K. would call it a cancer in the county. I call it a new heart.

Shelton Blog invites Mr Krause to comment if he so wishes.

Photo by Christine

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Paparazzi in Shelton?

REALLY?

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price

Civility has deteriorated: That was the title of a letter to the Editor of the Shelton-Mason County Journal on November 23, 2010. “Civility has deteriorated.”

As if to confirm the very title of the letter (which title, to be fair, is usually chosen by the editor). the letter writer, one Jack Krause, goes on to prove his point. He proves his point in a manner that is not only lacking in civility, but also through his apparently utter disregard for the facts.

Since 2000, I, too, have watched civility die in this nation. That is the extent to which Jack Krause and I agree on what is real and what is fiction.

I have seen the purveyors of entertainment who pose as journalists, who allege they are “reporting the news,” divide this country with issues that have nothing to do with surviving in a time of great change. And make no mistake; we are in a time of great change. We are in a time of great change, and there are those who would prefer that we not see the change coming at us. There are those who need us to be constantly diverted by things that will not affect the quality of our lives or our very survival.

For our corporate masters to continue to be successful, it is necessary that we not address real issues and real problems. With their 24 hour news cycle, and their teams of paid talking heads who say “look over here” and “look over there,” our corporate masters have successfully divided this nation along lines of ideology.

To make sure that we DO divide as instructed, we are told that:

  • We are blue, or we are red.

  • We are us, or we are them.

  • We love the environment which allows us to live, thrive and survive, or loving the environment is for nuts and sissies.

  • We believe in civil rights; we don’t believe in civil rights.

  • We believe that people in love should have the right to marry each other; we believe marriage can only be amongst some of our citizens, not all of our citizens.

  • We believe in a woman’s right to choose when she will have a child; we do not believe she has such a right.

  • We believe that gays serving openly in the military will be no different than gays serving in the military now we are completely terrified by the idea of gays serving in the military.

These are only a few of the things that we are told makes us different. We are told this for a very specific reason: So we do not unite as a people, as citizens of the United States of America, and look for solutions to the real problems that we are facing as a nation and as a planet. None of the problems we are facing as a planet and a nation have anything to do with reproduction, marriage, religion or race.

The real problems we are facing are going to affect us all, and they are more real than ideology; they are the difference between surviving the coming changes and not surviving the coming changes.

And that brings me back to Jack Krause’s letter to the Journal.

Jack Krause, in writing his letter, seems to have acted as a mouth piece for those who want to do everything humanly possible to make sure that Americans do not unite. He appears to serve our corporate masters, who know with great certainly that it is in their interests that we stay hating, that we stay angry with each other, and that we believe the divide between us is so great it cannot be bridged.

Jack Krause is commenting, in an extremely derogatory fashion, on the people in this community who want to continue to breathe. As one of those people, I believe that I simply cannot live without clean air; this is scientifically fact based. As a human being, as an “air-breather,” I cannot live without air, and I cannot live well, or for long, with toxic air.

Jack Krause, because he is a “faith based” thinker rather than a “fact-based” thinker, has a different opinion. Jack Krause perhaps is someone who does not believe in air (because he can’t see it I suspect), and Jack Krause perhaps has filled his letter to the editor with just what he describes in his letter: misinformation. Jack Krause appears to be doing more than just playing fast and loose with the faith-based-facts in his letter. Is it possible that he could be deliberately distorting and misrepresenting the facts?

Just to help Jack realize how far his “faith based” thinking is from reality, or “reality-based-thinking,” let’s take his statement about: “Attending public meetings means confronting obnoxious paparazzi poking cameras in your face while screaming: “I know my rights” when you object.”

The obnoxious paparazzi? Really? Who does this Jack Krause think he is, Princess Diana? While we have several fine photographers in the reality based community, they are not paparazzi. What they are, is citizens of Mason County who, in their capacity as citizens, sometimes attend PUBLIC meetings and take pictures of the participants and attendees. We do not have paparazzi in Shelton; we have citizen activists who are concerned that their elected officials are not working for the public and who intend to continue watching, listening, asking questions, taking pictures, and holding these elected officials accountable TO THE PUBLIC.

As to the allegation that we are radical; I would propose that nobody has seen radical yet in this movement to save our community. We are simply concerned citizens who want to protect ourselves and our families and our amazing, beautiful environment from rapacious, money-grubbing fat-cats, who do not even live in our community and, in the case of AREVA, who do not even live in our country.

Jack’s letter is seemingly replete with half-truths, innuendo, and what might even be down right falsehoods, and everything he accuses the blogs of, except foul language.

There is the “costly trial” Jack describes in his letter, in connection with the recall of Port Commissioner Jay Hupp. Here, Jack Krause is either terribly misinformed, or again, is it possible that he could be deliberately distorting the facts?

The costly trial was a single hearing, following the filing of the recall petition, to see whether the recall should be allowed to go forward. The Thurston County Superior Court Judge Pomeroy ruled against the citizens (surprise, surprise, surprise), and that was the end of that. There was no great waste of time or public resources.

However, the judge did rule from the bench that the citizens “had a right” to bring the recall petition. She did not find that the citizens brought the petition in bad faith, and she did not find that they brought the petition for purposes of harassment (one of Jay Hupp’s allegations for why the citizens pursued the recall petition). As a result of Judge Pomeroy’s findings, there was no award of attorney’s fees against the petitioner/citizens for bringing the recall petition.

Jack Krause suggests that if you are with this community, and if you have not heretofore been a radical, that you may “… often unknowingly - have openly sided with radical movements.”

He is talking about the people in this community who want to be able to breathe when they go outdoors without danger of dying. He is talking about those “radical” doctors at Mason General Hospital who believe that biomass incinerators pose a huge health risk.

I don’t even know how to respond to Jack’s bizarre talk about “easterners” who tout their academic degrees, but I am heartily sick of the ignorance of those who believe an education somehow disqualifies you for membership in polite society.

These past weeks, this community has breathed some of the dirtiest air most of us have ever known. Fortunately, and because of the blogs and the movement to SAVE OUR AIR, more of us know about the daily air quality (or lack of air quality) than ever. And more of us will know about it tomorrow, because we are going to blog about it.

An informed citizenry will defend itself against assault and attack, whether it be frontal and obvious, like Jack Krause’s attack on the air-breathers and our blogs; or invisible, like 2.5 particulate matter.

As to Jack’s allegations of “foul language” on the blogs; blogs may allow a certain latitude with regard to language and, to that allegation I say: If the posts on our blogs or the infrequent rough language offend some, they should feel free to “change the channel".

Keep it light.

Shelton Blog invites Mr Krause to comment if he so wishes.

Photo by Christine

Friday, November 26, 2010

Parroting the Company Party Line

Anarchists?

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis

The letter written by Mr. Jack Krause, which appeared in this week's issue of the Mason County Journal under the heading "Civility has deteriorated", was baited with demagoguery and ripe with misinformation. And here's why:

First, Mr. Krause accuses opponents of biomass fueled incinerators as "...reverting to anarchistic methods of dissent".

To assert that citizens exercising their civil rights is somehow anarchistic is not only demagoguery, but pure nonsense.

This is the second time I have heard such drivel put forth by a grown man who should know better; the first time was in an article in the Washington Pilot's Association (WPA) newsletter, authored by John Dobson, Port of Shelton Director and president of the WPA. Coincidence?

Mr. Krause is a friend and fellow pilot of Port Commissioners Hupp and Wallitner, and of Port Director, John Dobson. It is reasonable to think he would mention these associations.

Mr. Krause also asserts that Rising Tide is a "radical movement." But Rising Tide is nothing more than a group of Evergreen College students- our very own sons and daughters (or grandsons and granddaughters)- who care enough about our environment to get involved in the political system. With all the talk about how our children are our future, you'd think Mr. Krause would be delighted to see young people getting involved in non-violent, political pursuit of their values.

To the part of the letter where Mr. Krause states that attending a Port of Shelton meeting "...means confronting obnoxious paparazzi poking cameras in your face and screaming, I know my rights;" I've attended nearly every Port meeting since April, and I've never seen a single instance of anything even remotely resembling Mr. Krause's depiction of events. I also don't recall ever having seen Mr. Krause at a Port of Shelton public meeting, though he may have attended one.

But what I have witnessed is ignorance, arrogance and a stunning disregard for the health and welfare of the residents of Mason County by Port officials, who pack the chambers with rowdy individuals brought in from outside the county, who apply rules arbitrarily, who ignore petitions signed by thousands of residents and many medical professionals, and who continue to throw millions of dollars into a worthless airport facility to accommodate their buddies, while the city of Shelton is forced to literally turn out the lights to save a couple of bucks.

And the list goes on and on...

Finally, Mr. Krause warns the public to be wary of smooth-talking, well educated "easterners...coming to save us poor country folks". To this I offer the following advice: if you need to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a piece of emotionally charged crap to support your argument, then you may want to reconsider the merits of your case.

What we have here is nothing more than another Hupp buddy parroting the company party line.

Let me be clear on this point. In my opinion, Mr. Krause is a man who has come late to the party, bringing only a need to assert his opinion of events he knows absolutely nothing about.

But I suspect that the real purpose of Mr. Krause's letter is not so much to lament the demise of civility, but as an instrument of distraction from the issue at hand: The biomassacre of Mason County.

Shelton Blog invites Mr Krause to comment if he so wishes.

Photo by Christine

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In Spite of Climbing Pollution Index Numbers

Mason County, WA USA
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price


Is it safe to go outside?

On Tuesday, November 23, 2010, there was much discussion amongst the air-breathers on what in hell to do about the climbing pollution index numbers, indicating the air in Shelton was unhealthy to breathe.

First, there was Connie’s story about not being able to complete her errands down town last week because she was having trouble breathing.

Then Shawnie was out Monday night with her children, taking pictures in the snow, and she was having trouble breathing.

Tuesday, as we watched the numbers indicating air quality climb all morning, my co-worker had the very real experience of walking two blocks around 10:00 AM to pick up our office mail, and the two blocks back to our office, after which her eyes were itching and burning.

Later in the day on Tuesday. she walked to Safeway and back, a one block trip this time, and when she returned to the office she was having trouble breathing. She has asthma, and is a member of one of the groups most likely to be affected by the bad air.

My son, Bill, heard me complaining about the air quality Tuesday night, and told me about what happened at the epic snowball fight at Kneeland Park on Monday, which lit me up so badly that I wanted to hit someone.

Bill and his friends met at noon at Kneeland Park for a scheduled “epic snowball fight.” Shortly into the fight, two of his friends, who both have asthma, were asking Bill if we had an inhaler at our house (which is only blocks from Kneeland), because they were both having trouble breathing.

Our friend Shawnie was watching the numbers Tuesday, to decide if her children could safely go outside to play in the snow.

With the sunshine, clear sky and sparkling snow, outdoors looked like the place to be. Since school was out, and there was snow on the ground, most of our children were outside Tuesday, slipping and sliding, and running and playing, and sucking in particulate matter that no one could see.

I can imagine our seniors putting on their boots, grabbing their ski poles for balance, and braving the chill for a nice walk on that beautiful clear, crisp winter day. And I can imagine them struggling to breathe after walking one block, and turning around to enjoy the beauty from the safety of their homes, because what looked like a lovely, harmless, winter day, was instead a deadly day in Shelton.

We have a lot of work to do.

There is no doubt that this is a war for our very lives and the lives of the vulnerable in our community. We must be vigilant, and we must continue to work together to do what we can to prevent any further biomass incinerators from coming online in our community, and then work to shut down the one in the harbor which is contributing to our terrible air.

We cannot stop working towards this goal, but we can take a few days to spend time with our families and to express gratitude and thanksgiving for what we have.

On Thanksgiving, when it is my turn to say what I am thankful for...this community, CCMC, IFMC, the bloggers, the watchers, the listeners, the researchers, the detectives, the photographers, the letter writers, the investigative reporters, the people I have met in this fight for our lives and our community, will top the list. I am honored to be in the company of such smart, dedicated people. It gives me hope to read the posts here, and to know that so many of us are committed to this cause.

Happy Thanksgiving, my very dear family of choice.

Keep it light and enjoy a few days of family and friends before we get back to the serious business of saving lives and saving Mason County.

Photo by Christine

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THANKSGIVING MESSAGE FROM JACK MILES

Why I am thankful

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Jack Miles


At this time of the year, we begin the holiday season with Thanksgiving. I want to share with you why I am thankful. Over the last couple of years, I have had a number of deaths in my family, with another one just a few days ago. One of the hardest situations was having to make a decision to take my Grandmother off life support just before Christmas 2006. I knew her wishes and I honored them.

It was
December 13, 2006, and I was on duty at the Fire Station when I received the call, "Come to Arizona, Grandma is dying." This was the day before a major wind storm here in Washington, and I was really in no position to up and leave. However, as it turned out, I was able to leave my fire crew with no problem. When the call came in at 3 in the afternoon, not only was I on duty at the fire station, but I was also house sitting. I not only had to make flight arrangements, and but also had to find someone to watch the house.

First, I checked for flights leaving that night and found only one, it was leaving at 6:45 pm. Needless to say, the odds were stacking up against me. I had to find a flight, someone to house sit, pack my bags, get on the road, face the evening heavy traffic and bad weather. I needed to be at Sea-Tac no later then 6:15pm and also find extended parking. All of this needed to get done in a very short period of time, and amazingly, it did!

While in transit, I called and found extended parking near the airport and I explained the situation. When I arrived, my parking had been taken care of, and a bus was waiting for me to get me to the airport. Oh, did I mention, I arrived at the extended parking at 6:30 pm, and I all I knew this whole time is that if I put all of my faith in God that he would get me there safely. And when I arrived at the gate to catch my flight, it had been delayed for more than 30 minutes!

I finally arrived in Arizona, and immediately went to the hospital to be with my dying Grandmother. For many hours, I sat there and prayed to God to bring her out of her coma and just acknowledge I was there. Every once in awhile, her eyes would open and shut very quickly. Once again, I put my faith in God and hoped for one moment with her knowing I was there, and I could tell her I loved her very much.

Finally, in the late afternoon on December 15, her eyes opened and her head turned to look at me; it took a few seconds for her to focus and realize it was me. At that moment, she lifted her head from the pillow and tried to pucker her lips around the tube she had in her mouth from the life support machine, and it was then I knew she was at peace. This overwhelming feeling will stay with me the rest of my life. I thank God I was holding her hand when she died the next day. There is no greater feeling than the presence of God.

My message to you: Never give up, keep the faith, and trust that our message will be heard, and know we will see the day! I am also thankful for all of you. I am thankful this community has concerned citizens, and I pray for each of you to have a wonderful time with your loved ones. Happy Holidays!

All my best,
Jack Miles

Photo by Christine

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We Must Continue To Do Everything Possible


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Connie Simpson


I went to down town Shelton last week to do errands; the library, Todd’s Shoe Repair, and a coffee at Lynch Creek. After walking a few blocks, I noticed my chest was tight and my breathing became noticeably more difficult. I decided to cut my errands short and got in the car to drive home.

It was then I noticed the inordinate amount of smoke/steam/pollution rising from the Simpson campus. Voluminous rolling brown clouds, lying low over the water, obscured the sky.

No warnings told me not to go into the bowl of Shelton where the particulate material and VOCs linger in the air. People are so used to breathing this noxious mixture, they barely notice.

What really goes up and out of these smokestacks? We must continue to do everything possible to insist that any industry moving into Shelton/Mason County be safe for us inhabitants. Already, Simpson’s emissions are not safe for me, a vulnerable adult with asthma, nor is it safe for children, or folks with heart disease.

Adage says the estimated amount of emissions from their projected plant is safe, but as we all know, the EPA regulations are changing in response to current medical studies. Since 2006, many serious studies refute the claims of industry regarding these emissions.

If we want to live healthy lives in Mason County, we must insist on safe air. I will continue to do everything possible to protect our quality of life and our beautiful area; including speaking up, writing letters, attending county meetings, and studying the issues, and I encourage everyone to whom their own health and the health of the planet is important to do the same. For our children, grandchildren and ourselves, we must never give up or give in.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people
can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude


Monday, November 22, 2010

Chris Hedges: Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion


(NOTE: Here is another profound article from one of our
favorite writers. We posted the first & last paragraphs, &
link for the complete article with everything in between.)

By Chris Hedges


There is no hope left for achieving significant reform or restoring our democracy through established mechanisms of power. The electoral process has been hijacked by corporations. The judiciary has been corrupted and bought. The press shuts out the most important voices in the country and feeds us the banal and the absurd. Universities prostitute themselves for corporate dollars. Labor unions are marginal and ineffectual forces. The economy is in the hands of corporate swindlers and speculators. And the public, enchanted by electronic hallucinations, remains passive and supine. We have no tools left within the power structure in our fight to halt unchecked corporate pillage.

The last paragraph:

It is time to think of resistance in a new way, something that is no longer carried out to reform a system but as an end in itself. African-Americans understood this during the long night of slavery. German opposition leaders understood it under the Nazis. Dissidents in the former Soviet Union knew this during the nightmare of communism. Resistance in these closed systems was local and often solitary. It was done with the understanding that evil must always be defied. The tiny acts of rebellion—day after day, month after month, year after year and decade after decade—exposed to everyone who witnessed them the heartlessness, cruelty and inhumanity of the oppressor. They were acts of truth and beauty. We must take to the street. We must jam as many wrenches into the corporate system as we can. We must not make it easy for them. But we also must no longer live in self-delusion. This is a battle that will outlive us. And if we fight, even with this tragic vision, we will lead lives worth living and keep alive another way of being.


For everything in between: Link to the complete article on truthdig

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SHARPENING THEIR BLADES


Submitted to Shelton Blog by John Cox


This is all getting to be like a soap opera written by Kurt Vonnegut.

The longer this mess goes on, the more that gets revealed about the political and economic machinations of the Mason County elite. By elite I mean the powerful people who try to run this county like their personal fiefdoms.

This elite wants to continue to run the show like they've been doing for years and years, using whatever surrogates that show up on the scene. It's all about money and influence and corruption, and a complete disregard for the real meaning of democracy....with "real" meaning: of the people and for the people. This also includes concepts like fairness and justice, and the right to be heard and listened to. All of that is anathema to the elite. The plebeians must be kept in their place.

Port Commissioner Jack Miles is attempting to stand up for the little people and is being repeatedly attacked for it. The goon squad arrives at meetings to harass and intimidate. The other politicians plan and scheme behind his back, sharpening their blades in preparation for a blood feast they so long for. When Jack behaves according to his principles, they get really upset.

Sometimes they get so upset that the facade drops and they stand revealed in all their malevolent glory.

It's getting nasty out there.

So it goes.....

Graphic by Claude

Can Evergreen Board of Trustees be Trusted?


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Mike Coday

Has Evergreen Been Misleading the State and the Public
About Their Biomass Feasibility Study and Construction Plans?

First, a little history of biomass: Biomass was included in national clean energy legislation in 2009. The devil is definitely in the details with biomass as a clean energy source. Quick growing biomass fuels such as grasses or algae type of fuels that could reliably be shown to replace the burning of fossil fuels have the most promise as a biomass fuel that could help to slow the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but burning biomass for energy is essentially regressive. The incineration or gasification of biomass creates large amounts of new greenhouse gases under a theoretical scheme of carbon neutrality in a time that calls for an absolute reduction of greenhouse gas production. The building climate crisis will force us to get this right sooner or later. When we get it right, biomass will not be part of the solution. It may be ten years before that is clear or it may be 50 years, but in geological and climate change time frames, that is a bullseye. You are invited to mark my words on that.
Governor Chris Gregoire's office announced grants of 31 million dollars as part of the State Jobs Act Awards on October 7, 2010. At the top of the list with the largest single grant award was a grant to The Evergreen State College (Evergreen) for 3.7 million dollars to “Install a biomass gasification plant that will allow the college to significantly reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and replace failing steam converters, steam valves and condensate piping.” Jason Wettstein at Evergreen has stated that this application was submitted to the State in September. Evergreen issued no press release regarding this grant funding and Wettstein was unable to cite a single instance in which Evergreen received a grant of this size and did not issue a press release.

Evergreen continues to claim that they are engaged in a feasibility study of the biomass conversion and have made no decision at this time to proceed with the construction of the biomass plant. When asked about the feasibility study Jason Wettstein responded on November 4th, “We indicated to Works in Progress previously that we would be exploring funding for this project in parallel with our feasibility study, but that we would return funds if we find this project is not feasible with regard to sustainability criteria. That has not changed. Use of grant funds for construction is contingent upon our being convinced that we have found a more sustainable outcome. Achieving progress toward a carbon-neutral campus is the goal in conducting this feasibility study. The grant topic was not intentionally omitted... we appreciate the opportunity in your publication to emphasize that while achieving funding is part of what would make this project feasible, it is far from the sole or most important criterion. Funding gathered will be returned if the technology under consideration does not meet the goal of bringing us closer to carbon neutrality."

When the Governor's Office and the Department of Commerce were asked about the possibility that Evergreen's feasibility study might result in the return of this funding, Penny Thomas at Commerce had this to say: "In their application, TESC does not mention the possibility of returning the grant funds to Commerce for any reason, and Commerce did not make the award to TESC with any such stipulation. These Jobs Act projects are sometimes complicated and require state-of-the-art engineering and construction solutions. Additionally, permitting is sometimes problematic. So in the event that any of our grant recipients finds out that their proposed project doesn’t meet the design standards or goals that they set out in the application, then it is possible they could “return” the award.

Bottom line - this grant was not awarded with the understanding that the grant monies might not be needed. We assume that the project is moving forward. Additionally, we have not had any Jobs Act awards returned to us to date, nor are we aware of any that might not be moving forward as planned."

Evergreen spokespersons have not responded to questions about these conflicting stories at deadline.

Evergreen did hold a public meeting with an opportunity for the public to speak directly to the Evergreen Board of Trustees on Wednesday, November 17th, but the spokespersons for Evergreen failed to broadcast this opportunity across the media and listservs that they monitor. Many folks who clearly would have liked the opportunity to speak directly to the Trustees were denied the opportunity. Informed and energized citizens who showed up a minute late to the poorly publicized meeting with the Board of Trustees were denied the opportunity to speak.

Citizens who have doubts about the wisdom of biomass power generation are organizing at this point to request that the Governor's office and the Department of Commerce freeze the funds for construction of the Evergreen biomass plant pending an investigation of whether Evergreen misrepresented the status of the project in their grant application to the Department of Commerce. A move to ask the Evergreen Board of Trustees to schedule another open meeting with the public is also underway.

For more information on that process or to learn more about why people oppose biomass, I encourage you to visit the following websites:

www.nobiomassburn.org – Biomass opposition in Washington State
http://sheltonblog.net/ - Biomass opposition in Mason County
www.nobiomass.org – Biomass opposition in Wisconsin
www.nobiomassburning.org – Biomass opposition in Massachusetts
http://www.nobiomass.com - Biomass opposition in Australia

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

KEEP DS FOR ADAGE!

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Duff Badgley

New ADAGE Documents Fail To Rebut DS Finding

From: duff@nobiomassburn.org

To: barbara@co.mason.wa.us
Subject: New Adage documents fail to rebut DS finding
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:10:39 -0800

November 19, 2010

Barbara A. Adkins, AICP
Mason County Department of Community Development
411 N 5th Street
Shelton, WA 98584

Re: Keep DS for Adage

Dear Ms. Adkins,
 
No new material evidence has been presented by Adage that warrants Mason County changing its finding of Determination of Significance (DS) for the proposed Adage biomass project.

There is no information in any of these following documents that warrants changing the DS finding:
  • The recently submitted Robinson Noble “Statement of Opinion Regarding Effectiveness” (RN);
  • The November 12, 2010 revised SEPA checklist (SEPA CL) submitted by Adage Mason, LLC;
  • The Stoel Rives, LLP Legal Memorandum (LM) attached to the SEPA CL.
Please consider the following analysis of these three documents and then return your DS finding for Adage that will require a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
  1. RN does not consider fire or explosion which could breach proposed controls and release large amounts of petroleum and/or ammonia into the till, contaminating the aquifer.
  2. LM incorrectly states Adage fuel is not a waste but a commodity with a value.
  3. Slash is slash. Currently it is either left on the ground to rot or is burned. It is waste to humans. You makes this case very well in your Oct. 10, 2010 letter finding for DS.
  4. LM tries to gut SEPA by saying the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) will take care of Adage’s application review and recommends Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS). ORCAA reviews on air quality impacts. SEPA is a broad law that covers all environmental impacts. SEPA was specifically written so the lead SEPA agency’s (Mason County here) SEPA recommendation could anticipate and inform all subsequent agencies weighing projects. Under SEPA, Mason County must anticipate and inform ORCAA--not vice versa.
  5. A finding for MDNS would not require an EIS. With an MDNS, Adage would avoid the rigorous environmental review you state in your 10/10/10 letter this project requires. This project still needs this rigorous environmental review. Nothing in the LM, the SEPA CL, nor the RN has shown a need to change this requirement for a full environmental review.
  6. A finding for MDNS would defeat the purpose of SEPA. An MDNS would curtail and severely restrict environmental review of the Adage biomass project. SEPA requires a broad-based environmental review only available under a finding for DS triggering an EIS.
  7. MDNS is tantamount to an approval by Mason County which would be later cited by ORCAA in its Notice of Construction (NOC) air permit review.
  8. LM uses false and circular reasoning to try to diminish SEPA and persuade Mason County to abandon SEPA's central purpose. LM wants Mason County now to consult with ORCAA regarding its SEPA review. Allowing Mason County’s SEPA recommendation to be influenced now by a subsequent permit reviewing agency (ORCAA) is exactly the reverse procedure SEPA mandates.
  9. LM incorrectly states the Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) uses a definition of solid waste that exonerates Adage from its definition. I have ECY emails from 2009-2010 from my June 15, 2010 Public Records Request that show ECY has been undecided if Adage was a solid waste burner. There is internal debate at ECY, with some high-ranking staffers arguing the proposed Adage biomass project qualifies as a solid waste burner.
  10. Please let me know if you would like copies of these ECY emails.
  11. LM uses circular reasoning to give slash economic value. The only economic value comes from Adage and other incinerators buying it. Under this crooked logic, LM would have us believe municipal solid waste (garbage) fed into a waste incinerator has economic value because it has been purchased--and therefore is not waste!!
  12. The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) classifies slash as waste only given value by incinerator developers like Adage purchasing and burning it.
  13. In DNR’s September, 2010 publication, “Forest Biomass: Hot Topics and Emerging Issues”, DNR states:”…the use of forest biomass as an energy feedstock is helping to create a market for a product previously seen as ‘waste’ ”. http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/em_biomass_hot_topics_fact_sheet.pdf
  14. LM states that the purpose of the Adage biomass project is not to convert solid waste to energy--but that is precisely the main function of the plant. Perhaps it is not the publicly stated purpose, but the main function is converting solid waste (slash with no economic value if not fed to incinerators) to electricity.
  15. Adage fails ORCAA's test copied as “Table 1” into the LM for determining solid waste or not--meaning, if slash is slash is waste to be burned or left to rot, then, by ORCAA's rules, Adage would burn solid waste.
  16. ORCAA Table 1 asks: “Is the Material a Traditional Fuel?” Answer is “No” since only by Adage purchasing and burning the forest slash does it have a function as fuel. Otherwise, the slash is burned in open air fires intended to dispose of it as unusable waste, or the slash is left to rot--abandoned--on the forest floor.
  17. ORCAA Table 1 asks: “Has the Material been Discarded in the First Instance (I.e., disposed, abandoned, thrown away)?” Answer is “Yes”. The forest slash has been abandoned to rot or to be burned as waste. Since answer is “yes”, ORCAA classifies this “secondary material (the slash) as waste”.
  18. ORCAA Table 1 asks: “Does the Material Satisfy the Legitimacy Criteria below?” One of the four Legitimacy Criteria is “Does the material contain contaminants at levels comparable to or lower than traditional fuels which the unit is designed to burn?” Answer is “No” since studies accepted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) document that burning biomass releases more carbon dioxide, more nitrogen oxides, and more particulate matter than burning fossil fuels releases, per unit of energy produced. ORCAA Table 1 then states: “If the answer to one of the legitimacy criteria is no, the secondary material is a waste (sham recycled and therefore considered to be “disposed’ ” (bold by ORCAA).
  19. The proposed Adage biomass project would burn waste material as defined by ORCAA under three different criteria.
  20. The proposed Adage biomass project would be a “sham recycled” burner, per ORCAA.
  21. LM states without substantiation that forest wood fuel is abundant. No one can determine if this statement is true. WA DNR will not have the results of its statewide biomass inventory until July, 2011 at earliest.
  22. SEPA requires consideration of the fuel supply impacts of 10 other proposed and existing biomass incinerators on the Olympic Peninsula that would, collectively, burn 2,750,000 tons of forest wood each year.
  23. SEPA requires consideration of the impacts on forests of removing large amounts of woody material from these forests. It would be a violation of SEPA to fail to do so.
  24. Your 10/10/10 letter finding for DS/EIS is excellent and was prepared with sound legal advice from Mason County staff attorneys. LM parries with competing interpretations of Mason County Code chapters and RCWs regarding definitions of solid waste burners. You received good legal advice in preparing your DS finding. Nothing material has changed. Keep with your DS finding.
  25. SEPA was designed to prevail over and guide regional and local environmental laws and regulations. Please let SEPA do its job. 
Thank you.

Duff Badgley
No Biomass Burn
Seattle, WA, 98119
duff@nobiomassburn.org

REVISED ADAGE SEPA CHECKLIST ONLINE

Here is the link to the Mason County website page with the documents for the revised ADAGE SEPA checklist:

http://www.co.mason.wa.us/community_dev/adage/november_2010/index.php

The 600 Pound Gorilla in the Room


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis


In a recent announcement, AREVA signed an agreement with the Olympia Vicinity Building and Construction Trades Council. The idea is to get union members to put pressure on local politicians so Adage can get on with their nefarious endeavor.


This latest effort is a clear indication that the Adage public relations machine has come to a well deserved, though long overdue, end.


Time to dump the amateurs and call up the big guns.


Of course, the agreement itself is just another public relations scheme. But you have to admit, it beats the hell out of having to listen to a bunch of rag-tag schmucks try to convince us how much they care about our well being.


The agreement dictates that most of the construction jobs to build the new Adage incinerator will go to local labor union workers. Of course, by local they mean Thurston County...close to the capitol local...not economically depressed, Mason County local.


But here’s the thing: Adage, indeed the entire biomass industry, is up against something far bigger than a required Environmental Impact Statement, and the protestations of some local residents. They’re up against a rapidly mounting body of scientific evidence that will ultimately debunk their claims of carbon neutrality, and make fact the effects of biomass incineration on public health. And one thing the biomass industry doesn’t want to contend with is the truth.


Still, due to the recent losses opponents of biomass have incurred in our local courts, it is likely the AREVA legal team will be emboldened to challenge the SEPA required, Environmental Impact Statement on some technicality.

So hold onto your hats Mason County, it appears the 600 pound gorilla has just slipped, unnoticed, into the room.

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Today is the deadline for EIS comments.
These letters are legal documents responding to a particular legal EIS action, regardless of the subsequent events re: that EIS. We can continue to submit comments in writing until 5:00 pm today. We can continue to contact Barbara Adkins with our questions about the recent developments indefinitely.

Email Barbara Adkins: BarbarA@co.mason.wa.us or call her at 427-9670, ext. 286

Visit http://www.incineratorfreemasoncounty.org/action.htm for sample letters or an online comment submission application.

Link to pdf of Barbara Adkins' letter re: most recent EIS developments

Link to pdf of Memorandum of Understanding
(aka Memorandum of the Underhanded)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude

Port of Shelton Meeting 11/16/10 Photo Essay

PORT BUDGET AGENDA

(The meeting started normally enough with Tom Davis
presenting a question during the initial public comment time.)
Tom: "How much money does it take to operate
the airport facility
& how much does it bring in?"
(John Dobson replies that he will respond to this question later,
but never does come back with any straightforward reply.)


Treasurer's Report from Tom Wallitner:
"Everything is in order & the financial status of the Port is in good shape."
(But perhaps not for long because....)


"I request to be reimbursed for the recall petition
legal fees
including any appeals."



"I move that the Port direct the Commission to reimburse
Jay Hupp for recall legal fees including any appeals.
One of my fellow commissioners was attacked & exonerated.
If the taxpayers filed the recall petition, they should pay the legal costs.
"


"If we are going to pay for this with public funds,
shouldn't a dollar amount be disclosed?"
(No straightforward reply was forthcoming)


Hmmm...how much does the Port attorney make per hour?


Hupp & Wallitner passed the motion for the Port to pay for Hupp's
legal fees, with Hupp voting an "aye" for reimbursing himself.
Jack Miles opposed the motion.
(Public comment period followed)



"Commissioner Hupp, the recall petition was not an attack. It is a legal process
to hopefully bring to your attention some concerns we have. That biomass is
not as green as it was formerly regarded is becoming publically known. No, we
did not attack...Yes, we have factual information that we wish to be heard."
(Chris Brotche was followed by Matt Matayoshi)


Matt Matayoshi of the EDC
(paid by the Port to rustle up business)
begins to speak
...


Jack Miles to Jay Hupp: "I object! It was agreed that Matt should
speak during
STAFF comment time, & not PUBLIC comment time!"


"I don't recall that being agreed upon. Continue Matt..."


Matt getting madder, starts again...


"OBJECTION!"


Citizens in attendance were surprised at the meeting's abrupt ending!


"THIS MEETING IS ADJOURNED!" (after LOUDLY SLAMMING his gavel)
(Jay Hupp following his own agenda)

Photo essay by Christine

A High Stakes Game

11/16/10 PORT MEETING REFLECTIONS

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis

Tuesday's Port of Shelton meeting held some surprises.

First, Commissioner Jay Hupp made a formal request to be reimbursed for legal fees incurred while defending himself against the recent, failed, recall attempt brought by a group of "Concerned Citizens".

According to the Port's attorney, Skip Houser, there is a statue under which Mr. Hupp is entitled to be reimbursed, using Port (public) funds.

I'll leave the legal details to those who care; I'm more interested in the level of hubris it takes for a local official to relieve himself of financial responsibility resulting from a situation of his own making.

Clearly, Mr. Hupp doesn't get it. And probably never will.

In any case Commissioner Jack Miles strongly objected to both the manner and the timing of the request, and of the subsequent motion (brought by Commissioner Tom Wallitner), to facilitate Mr. Hupp being reimbursed.

Additionally, Mr. Miles correctly stated that Mr. Hupp had not specified the amount of money he is requesting be reimbursed.

Enter, the ever-oily Port attorney, Mr. Houser, who stated that the motion on the table was merely to authorize the unspecified amount to be reimbursed, not to actually reimburse the unspecified amount. (Hence the 'ever-oily' characterization.)

The rhetoric at the Commissioner's table went back and forth until Mr. Hupp decided it was time to second his own motion (Mr. Oily said it was legal for him to do so) and the gavel came down, once again, in a two to one decision favoring Mr. Hupp.

But there was a point I found interesting. It was when Commissioner Wallitner stated that he made the motion to reimburse "my friend, Jay" because he (Jay) had been "attacked." And by "attacked" he (Tom) was referring to the recall action brought by citizens exercising their civil rights. Let me stop here for a minute because I want to say that I like Tom Wallitner. I try not to, but I just can't help it. To me, Tom is like a bunny with a machine gun. He didn't go out and buy it, and he sure doesn't know how to use it, but ,damn, he's just so much fun to watch- firing away into the air.

The meeting continued along, peacefully, for about, oh, I'd say thirty seconds, until it came time for the public comment portion, and Matt Matayashi, the Port's rising star and current Executive Director of Mason County's Economic Development Council (EDC), got up to speak.

Now Matt is a kid I don't really care for. He's young, bright and well spoken, but he gives you no reason to believe there's a heart hidden under his ambitions. Matt is a wannabe political heavy hitter, with every right to think he'll get his chance at bat. But he's lacking the one thing he'll need to have a successful life. So let's all watch as Matt grows up and discovers what that one thing is.

Anyway, right away, Matt runs into a barrage of objections from Commissioner Miles. Now here's the part where it gets a little dicey.

Apparently, the Port of Shelton pays Matt's salary (that's a little over simplified, but close enough for government work). And Commissioner Miles is of the mind that, that makes Matt an employee of the Port, and thereby he should reserve his comments for the Staff Comments portion of the meeting, and not use up the small amount of time allotted for the Public to comment.

Commissioner Miles then launched into a tale of concentric narrative that nearly put old Tom Wallitner back into the hospital (Tom recently underwent quadruple bypass surgery). In fact, I started looking around for a defibrillator, just in case.

And Mr. Hupp was fairing little better. I was beginning to think we might have to call in 'Life Flight' for an emergency evac.

But suddenly- and prematurely- Commissioner Hupp brought down his gavel and announced that we were adjourned.

But both Commissioners Hupp and Wallitner remained in their seats for a full ten minutes after we were adjourned, apparently engaged in some sort of deep breathing exercises.

And that is why I think Mr. Hupp doesn't have a clue as to what is going on.

If you find this little narrative somewhat amusing, good. But keep in mind what we are up against is a high stakes game of health versus money. And nothing could be more serious than that.

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude

BE PREPARED!


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Clear Cut


Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

Fighting for our health, property values and clean air is a team effort. Those that may not feel they are gifted at one aspect of our effort might be extremely gifted in another. Everyone has a part to play. No, this isn't one of those "It takes a village" pep talks, but when it comes to teamwork, few coaches can lay claim to the record or methods of the late great John Wooden of UCLA basketball fame.


Coach Wooden had a saying that I use in my daily and competitive life. "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." I love this saying because it is very true, and to me, as an Eagle Scout, it has it's roots in the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared".


To prepare for our legal battles will require fund raising, which Beth and company have done a wonderful job of, and preparation, which is going to require even more of our teams considerable talents.


Our recent failures in the justice system shouldn't get us down. We can see they were avoidable. Failure is an unsurpassed learning tool. Upon failing, we owe it to ourselves to be honest in our self examination and learn from it so we don't repeat our mistakes, and thus, increase our chances of future success.


I don't think it's important to dwell on our mistakes, but it is a good idea to organize ourselves in a way that will prevent us from making the same type of errors going forward. I think we should be aggressive in our fund raising efforts and I think we should bring in our "special teams", that is, the people on our team that have specific legal experience preparing attorneys for cases. We are very lucky to have a number of these talented people on our team.

This would free-up the fund raising team to excel at their job while utilizing those with specific legal skills to make sure we prepare our lawyers with the specific information it takes to win.
We may want to make haste in raising funds, but we need to take our time in preparing our legal battles and to make sure our representatives are the most well informed in the court room.

They need to "Be Prepared".