Value Village rebuked by judge for deceiving consumers

The Value Village thrift store chain was rebuked by a King County judge for creating a “deceptive net impression” that shoppers making purchases were helping charity. The judge ruled Friday in a long-running legal battle about consumer protection between Value Village and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. The ruling comes on the heels of Value Village’s announcement that it will close its last store in Seattle. Value Village maintained that it had never misled consumers.

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.

Legislature, Inslee struggle to fix roads that block salmon, help starve orcas

Puget Sound’s beloved orcas are at risk of extinction and scientists say one key step to rescuing them is boosting oceangoing runs of chinook salmon, the biggest, fattest and most nutritious kind of salmon and the killer whales’ main food source. But legislators seeking to open up more than 1,000 miles of prime inland spawning areas that are currently blocked to the fish by culverts are struggling to find a funding source. What is blocking all those fish? Culverts. These are the pipes and tunnels that pass under roads throughout the state, allowing water to flow downstream. It turns out that many old highway projects in the state were poorly engineered where they intersect with salmon-bearing streams and as a result can block the fish in a variety of ways.

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.

WA foster kids sent to out-of-state group homes with checkered records

After a report by a government-appointed watchdog group found Washington foster kids sent to a group home in Iowa were mistreated, InvestigateWest documents how dozens of other Washington foster kids remain at group homes in South Carolina, Wyoming and Michigan that also appear to have mistreated children, according to reports from oversight agencies in other states.