Robert is co-founder and executive director of InvestigateWest. At the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Robert exposed a major weakness in the Endangered Species Act and deficiencies in Puget Sound restoration efforts. His reporting on hard-rock mining won the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism. A longtime former board member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, he currently serves as chairman of the editorial board of SEJournal, the group's quarterly publication. Seattle Magazine in 2013 chose him as one of Seattle's "most influential" people.
Groups from the Olympic Peninsula to Spokane and Bellingham to the Tri-Cities are suddenly faced with large fractions of their budgets disappearing – money largely dedicated to helping citizens understand toxic-waste cleanups and how to control pollution.
At its heart, a dispute about how important it is with falling revenues to clean up previously polluted sites versus preventing new pollution, and what citizens really meant when they voted in 1988 for the Model Toxics Control Act.
Cary Renzema interrupts a stroll around his 50-acre forest to point out tiny purple petals peeking out from the forest floor. “Beautiful little orchids,” Renzema says. “Once you start looking, there are hundreds of those things around here.”
For 13 years Renzema has studied this forest’s quirks and charms, explored its groves of cedar trees and patches of vine maple and wild rose about 25 miles west of Portland. Today, though, those sights are bittersweet. As part of a divorce settlement, he may have to log this second-growth forest, leaving thousands of stumps where trees have stood for three generations.