Whistleblower status proposed to help harassed foster parents

In the midst of the ongoing crisis in the Washington foster care system, foster parents have few options when faced with what they consider retaliation. Officials from the Department Children, Youth and Families, Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, Republican Senator Steve O’Ban and Democractic Rep. Tana Senn weigh in on whether foster parents should be afforded whistleblower protections.

County faces tough choice on lease for company with checkered environmental past

Ardagh Group, a multinational glass-recycling firm in south Seattle that has a checkered environmental past, is looking to renew its lease on 17 acres along the Duwamish River. The King County Council faces a tough decision as it weighs the company’s environmental history against its role as a major employer in the region, as well as King County’s only glass waste recycler.

Legislature is delivering on climate protection just in time for Inslee’s presidential bid

Democratic lawmakers are finding success in moving a raft of clean-energy bills through the Washington Legislature. The sweeping bills would make Washington the fourth state to require a phaseout of fossil-fueled electricity, mandate energy overhauls for larger, old buildings, and more. The fate of three lesser bills to protect the climate is less certain.

What Washington’s fight over climate-friendly power grid is all about

Washington legislators are moving to reshape the state’s electricity grid in a dramatic way that favors renewable energy over the next three decades, and environmentalists are rejoicing that climate change is finally a top legislative priority. But is reducing Washingtonians’ contributions to global warming achievable without boosting power rates too high at privately owned utilities? Those are the utilities that rely the most on natural gas and other fossil fuels, and they help meet energy needs at about half of Washington households. Private utilities and Republican lawmakers are predicting cost increases or even “brownouts,” and urging a go-slow approach.

Seattle tree-protection proposal could be backward step, tree advocates say

When Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson set out to pass a long-stalled strengthening of Seattle’s tree-protection ordinance, fans of the urban forest called it wonderful news. They said his move last fall was far overdue considering how Seattle’s development boom is reducing the leafy canopy that gave “The Emerald City” its nickname. But when Johnson aides recently released their third suggestion this year for how to update the city law, the pro-trees people said that despite Johnson’s claims to the contrary, the changes would be unlikely to save more trees. In addition, they say, Johnson’s proposal appears to remove important existing protections for big trees, which studies show shade and cool streets while helping neutralize air and water pollution and reduce residents’ stress levels while improving cardiovascular health. “This is going backwards.

Enviros struggled for success in Olympia in 2018

Mixed environmental results marked the whirlwind 60-day session of the 2018 Washington Legislature, which brought a few environmental firsts but also some significant losses on climate change that go beyond their inability to pass a carbon tax.