Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Gregoire still going strong

The Governor today announced an ambitious plan to clean up Puget Sound:
Hoping to make transform the restoration of Puget Sound into a national priority, Gov. Christine Gregoire today announced the most-ambitious plan to date to clean up toxic dumps around the Sound, prevent oil spills and take other actions to revive the ailing estuary.

Gregoire’s $42 million proposal would provide a boost to the approximately $90 million currently earmarked for Sound-related work which is and spread among a dozen agencies and institutions.

The funds would come from the state’s $1.4 billion surplus. Environmentalists hope this will mark the first significant commitment to a long-term effort to save the Sound.

A key component of the plan is the creation of the Puget Sound Partnership, a diverse 10-person team made up of elected and public officials, tribal leaders, business interests and environmentalists.

[...]

Gregoire’s plan primarily builds on work already underway, ramping up those efforts and strengthening laws to protect the Sound. Focus areas and spending increases include:
  • $21.6 million for faster cleanup of polluted marine mud and shoreline areas, and funds to address the dirty water that runs off pavement and roofs.
  • 6.5 million in loans to homeowners and businesses upgrading septic systems that waste into the Sound, making shellfish unsafe to eat and fueling algal growth.
  • $4 million to make state parks better stewards of the Sound, including upgrades of failing sewer systems.
  • $3 million for restoring estuaries and areas inhabited by salmon.
  • $2 million to remove more toxic creosote logs from beaches.
  • $1.5 million to bolster oil and hazardous-chemical spill prevention and response, including more storage sites for spill cleanup materials and inspections of oil transfers.
The news was welcomed by area conservation groups and scientists that for years have said the Sound urgently needed help.

“The governor is really stepping out boldly on Puget Sound,” said Naki Stevens, programs director with People for Puget Sound, a non-profit group.
We like to see this kind of leadership - we like it a lot. Republicans will grumble about the cost, but that's to be expected. They typically think only about the short term, and they almost always ignore the bigger picture.

For example, do they have any idea how much cheaper it is to prevent oil spills then it is to clean them up? Now there's real cost savings for you. But the GOP can't see that.

It's the same problem America has with solar energy. It's expensive to build solar powered homes. But once you get over the high startup cost, you have free, dependable electricity for a long time.

Anyway, we're proud to see Gregoire leading on this important issue.

Also: Lynn Allen of Evergreen Politics has posted an interview with the Governor today that's definitely worth reading.

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