Category Archives: The Other Washington

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Mount St. Helens: The eruption killed 57 people and caused millions of dollars in damages.


Mount St. Helens steams. Photo by Charlie Crisafulli.Mt. St. Helens Streaming Video

Forty years after the mountain’s eruption, officials struggle to balance research and risk.

by Eric Wagner

The Pumice Plain in southwest Washington’s Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is one of the most closely studied patches of land in the world. Named for the type of volcanic rock that dominates it, it formed during the mountain’s 1980 eruption. Since then, ecologists have scrutinized it, surveying birds, mammals and plants, and in general cataloging the return of life to this unique and fragile landscape.

Now, the depth of that attention is threatened, but not due to the stirrings of the most active volcano in the Pacific Northwest. The problem is a large lake two miles north of the mountain: Spirit Lake. Or, more specifically, the Spirit Lake tunnel, an artificial outlet built out of necessity and completed in 1985.

After nearly four decades, the tunnel is in need of an upgrade. At issue is the road the Forest Service plans to build across the Pumice Plain despite the scientific plots dotting the plain’s expanse. In this, Spirit Lake and its tunnel have become the de facto headwaters of a struggle over how best to manage research and risk on a mountain famous for its destructive capabilities.

THE ENTANGLEMENT OF THE LAND, the lake and the tunnel began 40 years ago, when Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. At 8:32 a.m., a strong earthquake caused the mountain’s summit and north flank to collapse in one of the largest landslides in recorded history. Some of the debris slammed into Spirit Lake, but most of it rumbled 14 miles down the North Fork Toutle River Valley. Huge mudflows rushed down the Toutle and Cowlitz rivers, destroying hundreds of bridges, homes and buildings. 

The eruption killed 57 people and caused millions of dollars in damages. Mount St. Helens shed more than 1,300 feet of elevation, hundreds of square miles of forest were buried or flattened, and Spirit Lake was left a steaming black broth full of logs, dead animals, pumice and ash. Its surface area nearly doubled to about 2,200 acres, and its sole outlet, to the North Fork Toutle River, was buried under up to 600 feet of debris.

Having no outlet, and with rain and snowmelt still flowing in, Spirit Lake began to rise. The situation was dangerous: If the basin filled, the lake could overtop the debris field and radically destabilize it, unleashing another devastating mudflow that would send millions of tons of sediment toward the towns of Toutle, Castle Rock and Longview, Washington

For the complete article …

hcn.org/issues/52.5/north-scientific-research-the-threat-below-mount-st-helen

images: fs.fed.us/outernet/pnw/mtsthelens

Remember this ->ACLU makes Privacy Demands ~Smart Meter V Safe Technology ??????


 SUMA-NW

Safe Utility Meters Alliance Northwest (educating people about so called ‘smart’ meters)

 

The ACLU of Washington is raising significant concerns about the lack of protections for privacy, as well as lack of transparency, in the implementation of Seattle City Light’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure.  The project involves installation of smart meters which gather data that can reveal intimate details about what is going on inside a person’s home.  Yet there are no clear and explicit checks and balances to restrict the government or third parties from using or selling smart meter data for purposes unrelated to the provision of electricity, and the City’s Privacy Impact Assessment for the project is unclear and inadequate.

“The new smart meters collect much more detailed data and do so more frequently than City Light’s previous electrical meters.  But the project fails to comply with the principles of the Seattle’s Privacy Program, and there is no meaningful opportunity for the individuals to offer informed consent,” said Shankar Narayan, ACLU of Washington Technology and Liberty Director.

In a letter to the Seattle City Council, the ACLU urged the City to adopt clear and binding guidelines around what data smart meters collect, who accesses the data, what the data can and cannot be used for, and what informed consent must be given before the meters are deployed. The ACLU points out that the option to opt-out offered by the City currently is inadequate, meaningless, and expensive. Under the City’s plan, third parties will be accessing this sensitive data, and those third parties should be bound not to sell the data or use it for unrelated purposes.

Opting out will cost an individual $124.43 as a one-time “administrative fee,” plus $15.87 per billing cycle. “Exercising one’s right to opt out shouldn’t mean opting in to excessively costly fees,” said Shankar Narayan.

ACLU-WA website

http://www.safemeters.org

Soccer coach: Could artificial turf be causing cancer? 2yrs ago


By Gaard Swanson Published: May 19, 2014 at 10:54 PM PDT Last Updated: May 20, 2014 at 6:30 AM PDT

a repost

Soccer coach: Could artificial turf be causing cancer?

SEATTLE — A local soccer coach is raising serious questions about the material used tomakeartificialathleticfieldsCrumbrubberis made fromshreddedtiresandis used in soccer fields all over the country. The turf is especially popular in Seattle because the tires get recycled and the reliable surface can stand up to soggy weather.But one local coach sees a troubling connection between the turf and cancer among soccer players.Soccer runs in the blood of University of Washington assistant coach Amy Griffin. She started playing goalie as a child, and now helps UW goalies stay fit and improve their skills.Griffin’s always searching for new talent and keeps a list of top players. But one list of names isn’t about recruiting. On it are 13 players from Washington who have all been diagnosed with rare types of cancer.Of those 13, 11 come from an even smaller pool of players: Goal keepers.

“Everyone says it’s just a coincidence and kind of walks away, but the ratio of goal keepers to field players is 15 to 1, 16 to 2, and I know plenty of goal keepers that have cancers and I don’t know many field players,” Griffin said.

Griffin said she can’t walk away from what she’s discovered, and she’s not alone. Former professional goalie and reality TV star Ethan Zohn, who has twice beaten non-Hodgkins lymphoma, had been keeping his own list, which he has now handed over to Griffin.

Combined, the lists name 27 players with cancer, and 22 of them are goal keepers.

Griffin can’t say why goalies are getting cancer, but she wonders if it’s the field turf and the crumb rubber used to make it. She said goalies spend a lot of time on the ground diving for balls, blocking shots and sometimes ingesting the small rubber pellets.

“I lived in the stuff,” former UW goal keeper Jorden Alerding said of the turf. “Four to five times a week I was on it for hours — bleeding sweating, everything. Looking back now I wonder could that have been the cause.”

Griffin’s first brush with the unproven connection between cancer and the pellets came when she visited Alerding, who was being treated for cancer.

“She said, ‘I just think it’s something with the field turf. I don’t know what it is, but I think there’s something in those black dots,'” Griffin said.

The former Husky was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma during her freshman year of college when doctors discovered a large, deadly tumor.

“It was about the size, a little bigger than a softball, right in the center of my chest,” Alerding said.

Alerding is now cancer free, but she still questions the health effects of crumb rubber and the lack of further research.

“If this can be prevented, I don’t know why there isn’t more effort being made to do the research and find out,” she said.

The pain is still fresh for June Leahy. Her daughter, Austen Everett, a star goalie for Seattle’s Blanchet High School and later the University of Miami, died a year and a half ago.

By the time Everett lost her second battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Leahy was raising questions about the use of crumb rubber on soccer fields.

“I feel like there is a strong correlation with the turf,” she said.

This isn’t the first time people have raised concerns about the turf, either. In 2008, a goal keeper at Tacoma’s Stadium High School battled Hodgkins lymphoma. Back then, Luke Beardemphl and his family wondered if crumb rubber had played a part in his cancer.

“I’ll catch it. It’ll stop the ball but not the pellets. They’ll go into my face, go into my eyes, my mouth,” Beardemphl said in 2008.

Earlier that year, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission tested some blades of grass used in synthetic turf for lead. The commission found they did not contain enough of it to put children at risk.

The agency later stated that its “exposure assessment did not include chemical or other toxic metals, beyond lead.”

Tires do contain metals and chemicals that have been ruled too toxic to burn in Washington state. The average athletic field uses 27,000 of them.

So, can prolonged exposure to the fields make people sick? The Synthetic Turf Council says no.

The president of the trade organization was unavailable to talk about this story, but the group directed us to a statement on its website.

“For 40 years, under EPA oversight and OSHA- regulated manufacturing, not one person has ever reported ill effects related to any materials associated with synthetic turf,” the statement reads.

Those statements and tests cannot shake loose the feeling Griffin gets every time she learns the name of another goal keeper with cancer.

She also knows that feelings and suspicion do not equal evidence.

The team’s head physician, Dr. John O’Kane, says the concern is valid and has talked with Griffin about the need for scientific and medical research on the effects of crumb rubber.

He said Griffin’s list is only a starting point.

“The question you would need to ask is over that same time period, how many goalies are there that haven’t gotten cancer?” O’Kane said. “And until you understand that number, you really can’t interpret that there’s anything particularly dangerous about being a goalie when it comes to cancer.”

O’Kane said that kind of research could take years. Griffin hopes someone is willing to take on the work to provide her with an answer. She said any answer will do.

“I would love for it to be disproven or for someone to grab me by the throat and say,’These are the facts. This is why it could never be this. This is just happenstance.’ That would be great,” she said.

One former Husky — Alerding — is on Griffin’s list.

THE Plastic Bag Ban STORY …it’s now 2019 and the fight continues and who is monitoring this?


SeattleWAthumbpix

It is now 2019 and though the effort to deal with plastic is more evident, you can still tell …if you’re the one shopping that plastic bags are NOT gone! They come and go, get replaced by paper for about a month still and the next thing you know plastic bags are the only option

first posted – Nov.2011

What’s the Problem?

Washingtonians use more than 2 billion single-use plastic bags each year, and Seattle alone uses approximately 292  million plastic bags annually and only 13% are recycled.  Too many plastic bags end up in Puget Sound where they do not biodegrade.  Plastic bags break down into smaller and smaller pieces that remain hazardous as they are consumed by filter-feeders,  shellfish, fish, turtles, marine mammals,  and birds. PCB levels in Chinook salmon from Puget Sound are 3- to  5-times higher than any other West Coast populations.

In 2010, a  beached gray whale was found to have 20 plastic bags in its stomach!

Data source: Keeping Plastics Out of Puget Sound,  Environment Washington Report, November 2011

How would the plastic bag ban work?

by Mike O’Brien

It’s simple – retailers are prohibited from offering plastic carryout bags to customers.  Paper bags may still be provided to customers for a minimum of five cents – stores keep the nickel to help cover the cost of providing bags.  Everyone is encouraged to use reusable bags.

What bags?

  • Banned Bags Include plastic bags provided at the checkout of all retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from non‐renewable sources).
  • Exclusions: bags used by shoppers in a store to package bulk foods, meat, flowers, bakery goods or prescriptions; newspaper, door hanger bags and dry cleaning bags.

What stores?

  • Where the policy applies: all retail stores including but not limited to grocery stores, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies,  department stores, farmers markets, restaurants and catering trucks.
  • Where it’s not applicable: for take‐out food where there is a public health risk if a bag is not provided.

What about paper?

  • Retailers may provide paper bags made of at least 40% recycled paper for a minimum 5 cent pass-through cost that retailers keep to  offset the cost of providing bags.
  • Low-income customers who qualify for food assistance programs shall be provided paper bags at no charge.

Joining cities on the West Coast and around the world

Seattle would join cities along the West Coast, hundreds of cities across the country and twenty nations worldwide that have already taken action to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

  • San Francisco, CA – Banned plastic bags in 2007.
  • Los Angeles County – Banned Plastic bags November 2010; includes a 10 cent fee on paper bags.
  • Portland, OR – Banned plastic bags in summer 2011.
  • Edmonds, WA – Banned Plastic Bags in 2009; the law was implemented in August 2010.
  • Bellingham, WA – Banned plastic bags in 2011, in the model outlined in this document;  legislation to be implement in summer 2012.
  • Washington DC – Implemented a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2009; reduced  disposable bag use by 80% citywide in the first year.

Background -Seattle

   In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance that would have placed a 20 cent fee on disposable plastic and paper bags at grocery, drug and convenience stores in an effort to reduce waste.   The ordinance passed the Council in a 6-1 vote and then opposing parties collected enough signatures to refer the ordinance to the ballot, where it was overturned by the voters (53%-47%)  in the  November 2009 primary election.   The American Chemistry Council spent over $1.4 million opposing the law during the ballot measure campaign.

My take ~ As the ban on plastic bags is implemented and or enforced most checkers are asking if you would like to buy a cotton bag because there were no flimsy plastic available. Now, after finally getting those flimsy bags out some stores, others such as the Dollar store and Safeway came up with or possibly the plastic industry came up with a heavy-duty plastic supposedly reusable bag. I was at a Safeway and needed another bag. I honestly did not want to spend $5 and while I was looking around, I spotted a heavy-duty plastic Safeway logo on the bag with pretty colours.  I don’t don’t about you but this was a disappointing find on so many environmental official statewide ban levels though i admit it can be reused, it is quite large and was only .25 but they tear easily. I bought one to see how it would hold up and it lasted about 2hours

… so, the next question for king county is if they actually have folks checking in on stores selling heavy-duty reusable plastic bags

What plastic bags?   ugh

.beaseedforchangestickersGREEN