Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is Environmental Tax Incentives always the answer?

Investing in renewable energy through tax incentives is the power that is driving Senate Bill 6170. Whether it becomes a Washington State law depends on what happens during the coming days on the senate floor. Proponents of this bill want tax incentives for machinery and equipment investments for electricity generation using fuel cells, wind, sun, biomass energy, tidal or wave energy and geothermal resources. The concept is progressive as it offers opportunity for energy generation using renewable resources; and, protecting environmental degradation from radioactive waste. It also extends tax write-off in an area where expertise is better served by many federal government programs for radio-active waste clean-up.

Washington SB 6170 is fraught with governmental waste, as it seeks to do what the Federal Department of Energy is already mandated to carry out and federal programs have essentially been resolving: cleaning up radioactive waste and other by-products of weapons production and nuclear energy generation. The bill will like to give tax write offs for investors who put money in handling, storing, treating, immobilizing or disposing radioactive tank waste to prevent contamination of soil and ground water. Does it make sense for taxpayers to be paying environmental management companies who are providing clean-up services for radio-active waste clean up? Yes it is worthwhile to have a progressive idea, but introducing an environmental protection instrument or behavioral modification initiative that encourages transfer payments to enterprises that are essentially duplicating the federal government efforts, is probably not a good deal for the millions of tax payers in Washington State.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Revisiting E2SSB 5735: Can we save the Climatic Bill?

Two critical questions remain after the passing of the Clean Water Act in Washington State: Why did the Investment priority legislation fail? How should we prepare to help the Climatic bill (E2SSB 5735) pass this year after its modification?

Reports from legislatures deliberating E2SSB 5735 indicate that the governor’s office probably did not do a good job at selling E2SSB 5735. The bill was packaged to deliver transportation choices that save time and money; keep Washington State engaged in the Western Climate Initiative, a regional program to reduce global warming pollution; and, reduce global warming pollution by the year 2025 from the lone coal plant in Washington State. Current opponents indicate that the scope of E2SSB 5735 is too broad and it needed to be narrowed to some specifics. Specifics that can be deliberately measured: For example, how much transportation investments would lead to deliverables in money saving for the state? What alternative transportation projects can actually save money for Washington State residents and businesses in light of the current business landscape? Answers to these and other questions could have positioned the governor’s office to help legislatures rally around E2SSB 5735 thereby giving it another shot at life.

Selling the Western Climatic initiative could have been a done deal, if the governor’s office had played significant leading role in the preparation and facilitation of the regional initiative. The governor’s office should have focused its energy at building grassroots’ support for the regional initiative by seeking to build the state status as a regional leader, totally committed to changing the way we do business with respect to our storm water drainage runoffs, industrial pollution and environmental management. The governor’s office should have offered efficient policy components in the bill that offered slightest advantage that the state will derive from the regional climatic initiative and set the tone as the leader driving the initiative around the region.

It is also possible to use the past performance of the only coal plant in Washington State with respect to environmental pollution as a selling point for legislatures to rally round E2SSB 5735. For the most part, the Coal plant makes money through emission of carbon dioxide and other green house gases. One could argue that the emission levels of the green house gases from this plant spells catastrophe for Washington resident’s health, the region as well as the nation. The combination of these disadvantages would have driven the law makers to see the moral imperative of saving Washingtonians from continued pollution from the Coal plant beyond the set date of 2025.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Washingtonian Priorities in the face of a tight budget: Did we save our environment?

The higher value ascribed to the clean water bill under current budget debates on the house and senate floors, has less to do with managing storm water runoff pollution in the Puget Sound, but our priorities as Washingtonians under tight budget conditions and a contracting economy. We have often worked through challenging budget priorities in the past. The difference this time is the fact that we are facing a Nine billion dollars shortfall in our state budget. This reality to a great extent beclouds so many minds in the house and senate that some of our legislatures seem confused on what our priorities should be and where we needed to go. This essentially was borne out by the narrow results of the vote on the floor of the house: 51 Yeas; 48 Nays.
For those legislatures who voted in favor of HB 1614, there was certainly no confusion as to what our priorities as Washingtonians should be. Those who said nay, we thank them as is the case on any issue, there is often a second side to all stories! Supporters of House bill 1614, candidly and effectively said to our friends on the other side of the aisle that, despite the probable challenge of a tight budget, there are some issues that must never be compromised. The long-term slow motion risk to human health of the extensive pollution of the Duwamish River and Puget Sound is one of such priorities. Scientists have documented the alarming rate of environmental pollution and its compelling impact on fishery and wildlife in the Puget Sound. The potential consequence of storm water runoff pollution to human reproduction system, including issues of breast cancer, low sperm count in males and mutation to human anatomy due to exposure to chemical compounds, is one that must not be ignored. We can either stand up to do something now, when the problem is not completely out of control, or wait until our hospital starts to find mutations in the reproductive systems of Washington State residents before we start to wake up to our responsibility: to protect human life and preserve our environment for generations to come.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where next: Clean Water Infrastructure development after the passing of HB 1614?

With the passing of HB 1614, the goal of cleaning up polluted stormwater runoffs in the Puget Sound has risen up in people’s consciousness; and, the task of building clean water treatment plants and other associated infrastructures, a viable alternative to the current status-quo. Investment in clean water infrastructure had taken a back seat for the past five decades, while we all watch the Puget Sound deteriorate in health. The passing of HB 1614 is a call for action to reverse back the poor health of our rivers and estuaries. During the long HB 1614 debate, the oil, petroleum and energy lobby groups fought against this noble idea. It is now time to work together towards achieving a cleaner water and air environment in Washington State. The debate has come and gone. We have chosen to confront the greatest challenge of our time, ensuring that we deliver a cleaner water environment to the generation that is coming behind. It is not an easy task, and no one should believe that a $100 million dollars ‘piggy bank’ is going to do the job. By passing HB 1614 however, we have determined that we are going to do something positive towards protecting our waters and environment from pollution. And here comes the added opportunity. Both state and private sectors now have the opportunity to invest in water project infrastructures that creates jobs, support local government budget, and clean up our groundwater and rivers.

Investment in Clean Water Infrastructure in Washington State offers the private sector the opportunity to make profit from the most critical resource in the world. Investments in clean ups and fresh waters are likely to dwarf the gains made in some other areas of Washington economy, including high tech and aerospace. The reality of this conception is the fact that the coming government mandated investment in infrastructure spending and the added impetus to innovate and create new machinery to solve the age long problem by the private sector, will create a multiplier effect in wealth creation from fresh water support enterprises. The combination of both private and public sector investment efforts have the potential of multiplying wealth while at the same time providing an avenue for us to clean up our rivers, estuaries and water bodies. The multiplier effect of investments in similar efforts in other areas of the world has shown that we can never loose by embarking on this laudable effort or investment. The promise of wealth creation from the simple goal of cleaning up our storm drainage and helping fresh water flow down the Washington Rivers and the Puget Sound cannot be overestimated.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A new generation of Environmental Capitalist?

It is very possible that the nagging problem of decades of pollution and annihilation of Washington State waterways will bring a new generation of innovators and thinkers into our mist. Innovators who can harness the natural resources around us to generate wealth without polluting our waterways. Thinkers who understand why we cannot accept the idea of having 150,000 pounds of untreated toxins migrating into the Puget Sound daily. Policymakers who appreciate the essence of listening to innovators and thinkers; and, patiently walking through the maze of politics in fashioning responsive environmental laws. I am not talking about opportunists, but dynamic capitalists who will like to harness their knowledge to change our economy in such a way that we can make profit while at the same time preserve our waterways. Innovative Washingtonians who will like to confront the problems of overstrained storm water system. Thinkers who treasure the vitality and natural beauty of clean waterways and less polluted ocean floors. Men and women who will make Washington Rivers and Estuaries safe while turning the engine of capitalism in full speed!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009: The way forward

The wrangling has just began and I understand that the utility and the energy lobby groups are not going to give up, either here in Washington State or there in Washington DC. There is obviously the need to protect turfs. There is often the need to ensure that when the final Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 is signed into Law, the interest of the stakeholders are protected. For this reason, I welcome a good debate not solely about the passing of the Clean Energy and Security Act, but the process of lobbying about how acts and bills are made by those in government. There is this cynicism that we cannot trust the legislatures and congressmen to do the right thing. There is this doubt about what men and women who debate our laws are willing to do for the constituent they represent in the face of pressure from the lobby groups. I for one believe that our lawmakers are just. That they work hard to make us safe and that issues of clean water, air and energy are as important to them as they are to their lobbyist. Today, I would not buy the notion that industries that create the calluses problem of global warming are asking the rest of us to pay for their mess. I do not believe that these industries do not want to move beyond the current status-quo of polluting the environment, emitting higher levels of green house gases, producing energy at a higher cost to the environment than is acceptable by the health of their family and our families. I do not believe that our lawmakers would rather support position that continues to hold us hostages to foreign oil cartels, warlords, devious aristocrats and poor managers. I do not want to believe that the notion of investing in alternative sources of energy, or energy generation that does not pollute, that create jobs, that keeps the environment safe, is anemically opposing to the goal of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I will like to believe in good faith that all our lawmakers support our rights to live in a clean environment and offer to our children a better environment than we currently have. I believe our lawmakers will not allow themselves to be bamboozled by the lobbyist groups of the right, who are often not really interested in what works, what is safe, and what offers all Americans opportunity to live a healthier life. I can hear the clarion for a big fight. I can hear their excruciating pain and love to defer responsibility for paying for cleaning up the environment to the tax payers. All I’ll say is this: taxpayers feel your pains, but for now, taxpayers will rather not pay for your mess!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Washington State HB 1614 on this Earth Day.

On this earth day, we hope someone out there is not opposing the clean water act. It is essential that we have in place an act that is helpful enough to save our waters. There is no other time as important as today, the earth day, to discuss the benefits of having in place an instrument that shows the political and human will to change the cause of action on our waterways, air and the environment. HB 1614 is an instrument of hope for many. It helps set aside a support fund, call it taxes or clean up fund that helps us curb further pollution of our water ways. We cannot continue to have massive fish kills and billions of water contamination around the Puget Sound. We need to herald our efforts to bring a new day, where we can all say we did our best to make sure that we cleaned our waters of chemical compound, independent carcinogens that affect human and animal life. The organic pollutants made from oil and petroleum industries by-products, deodorants, household products, synthetics, herbicides and other compounds that pollute our waters, is making our environment sick. We cannot continue to expose ourselves to slow risks of water contamination, industrial pollution and waterways degradation. We deserve to live our lives healthily, showing some responsibilities for a sustainable environment.

Our failures to curb the excessive level of PCB contamination of our waterways in the past has continued to lead to the gradual destruction of a gorgeous natural playground, a treasure house of fish and wildlife, that we may not regain, if we don’t stay engaged. HB 1614 is the first step in staying engaged. We need to help the Puget Sound breath better so that fishes and whales in our waters can be safe from industrial pollution. Making those who contribute to the deplorable state of our waterways pay for its clean up is a responsible thing to do on this earth day. We can’t continue to live in denial, failing to appreciate that our Stormwater runoff pollution is impacting the marine habitat. The bottom of the Duwamish River is excessively contaminated by industrial pollution. We need to support a bill that will help us move forward in correcting our negligence. We need to support the clean water bill in Washington State. We can’t have an end to the greatest most fascinating, most vulnerable Orcas whales, Seals and King Salmons in the Puget Sound.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


For those of us who would like the clean water bill to pass, it is rather essential that opponents appreciate our desire for a collaborative solution to the problem of stormwater pollution in the Puget Sound. For businesses that are weary of our efforts, we encourage them to take heart and commit to a bill that will not only clean our storm water runoffs, but encourage the oil industry to become responsible corporate citizens. Paying to mitigate harm from oil and grease pollution in stormwater runoffs is as important as investing in the future of our children and communities. The oil and petroleum industry that are called to set aside money to help improve water quality in the Puget Sound, must see House Bill 1614 as a joint effort by the public and the corporations to keep our water safe and environment clean. Residents of the Puget Sound do not have to suffer for the action of industrial pollutants in an ever challenging environment of economic stress. We do not have to be afraid of the water we consume while at the same time dealing with the fears of the recession. We are much as interested in the oil and petroleum industry making profit as we are interested in children of the petroleum industry corporate executives having clean and safe water to drink in their homes. Asking businesses to pay for cleaning up the stormwater runoff is an opportunity to help these businesses turn back the hand of the clock regarding the damage to our waters and environment due to their production activities. We will all like to promote good behaviors among our citizens, asking those who create a mess to clean up after them is not asking for too much. Let us see this effort as a team effort to save ourselves, our corporations and our future.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Greenhouse Gas Emission and Business Profit Making: The new Environmental paradigm!

Behavioral modification incentives must engage individuals and businesses, especially those operating enterprises that give off green house gases to reform; and, work toward practices that prevent high levels of environmental pollution. The businesses must be engaged to achieve amicable goal of sustainable production practices that help reduce emission levels of greenhouse gases. The choice to pollute must be seen as an unworthy risk of doing business, thereby creating an aversion to this practice. Businesses currently lobbying against HB 1819 and SB 5735 must quit opposing the bill and choose to be positive in an effort to achieve environmental sustainability. The State and the people need businesses to be corporately responsible, working not only for profit but also the greater good of the environment. Law makers and the public already understand the need for industrial tax reform, asking that the oil and petroleum industry pay taxes for cleaning up the storm water runoffs. Individual business must now take decisions that help counter pollution and probably take advantage of creating capital investment in using pollutants to create wealth rather than decimate the environment. Carbon dioxide can be caned and used in other enterprises to generate wealth, new products and rescue the environment. The human enterprising favor which is at the heart of all economic resurgence must not be perceived as adverse to environmental sustainability; it must be seen as a complementary goal to attaining environmental friendly practices and profit oriented independence.

Commitment, Incentives and Public bill on the Environment

The discussion leading up to HB 1819 and SB 5735 was dominated by two behavioral modification incentives: making those who pollute pay for clean ups; maintaining a sustainable environment through cleaner habitats. There is however a challenge in both realms. Pollution abatement incentives can only carry us so far, people must be willing to buy into the notion of maintaining a clean environment. Having clean water and air in the Puget Sound must be accepted as a pennant for greater things in the State. Considering that many of the businesses in the Puget Sound region lie along the water ways, if these businesses do not buy into these behavioral changing incentives, the goal of maintaining a sustainable environment may become an endless challenge. Where polluters choose to accept that payment to pollute is one of the costs of doing business, it is rather difficult to encourage positive behavior that will achieve a sustainable environment. However, when they perceive themselves as part of the solution to a sustainable environment, the goal becomes achievable in lesser time and with greater commitment.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Climatic Warming, Air Pollution & the Heat Wave

I am shifting my priority from discussion of investments in storm water infrastructure and toxic prevention as contained in (HB1614; SB 5518) to legislation to implement real limits on global warming pollution. Legislature’s effort in HB 1819 and SB 5735 is expected to put caps on global pollution. This is a laudable effort that may help correct climatic warming. Air pollution and heat wave associated with industrial pollution is estimated to be causing about 800 to 1000 deaths in a year. When polluters are made to pay for their harm to the environment, they are more likely to be cautious in how they operate. When polluters are made to pay for pollution permits, they are more likely to see the cost of their actions and like in the old saying: when you hit them where it hurts, they will change. Never believe the Nay-Sayers: the concept is a win-win situation, even in these turbulent economic times. When the governor signs the bill to law, we will be able to create green jobs while at the same time curb man-made pollution. With this bill, we will be able to cut down on level of carbon-dioxide and other green house polluting gases.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Washington State Environmental Policy

A community round table on the way forward on Washington State Environment Policy Implementation must now be convened in light of the current realities of the state budget. We will need to revisit our priorities on clean water and air goals. Our ultimate goals will remain constant however, the time line to achieve these goals may need to be elongated. From the look of things and debates on the senate floor, the final draft of the state budget is going to involve some deductions and or eliminations that will impact the environment and environmental policy implementation. Yes, may be not as large as was contemplated when the bill was on the house floor, but the reality is some cuttings or elimination is eminent and as responsible environmentalists, we may not be getting all we desire this year. The Nine billion dollars anticipated budget short fall is going to impact all aspect of the State economy; sadly so, the environmental initiatives. We are told, without new tax obligations, the spending on environment protection is probably going to be about half the level we are today. Debates will continue to rave, but we must be prepared to accomplish more with less; and I believe as determined people on issues impacting our environment, we can and we will! We must not show any trepidation, we must move to refashion and repackage our message to get support from the private sector to achieve our clean air and water goals.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Environmental Budget: Lighting the Way

The House portion of the Bill that would help conserve green house emission was passed yesterday night by the Washington State House of Assembly. The bill now goes for reconciliation with the Senate version. The task ahead is to reconcile what may be considered a bill passed with some skepticism, despite the fact that many people understand the importance and the essence of having clean air and water in Washington State. Senators must now appreciate the position of the public: We hold this to be true and honest that, our children deserve a clean environment. We must bridge our differences on the issues of our environment. We must work hard to reach a height of significance and acceptance of a position that gives hope to the public. We must light the way for others to follow around the country. We must complete the work that was started yesterday in the House. Let’s Roll….!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Families and the Environmental Budget Cut

The compounding effect on our families of cutting deeply into environmental protection budget and its anticipated impact on water quality should not be underestimated. Witnessing such effect in the past fifteen years is heart rendering. Legislatures in Olympia who will like to cut deeply into our safety net are just as guilty of moral turpitude as financial brokers who took us all to the cleaners in the last few years. The Average Joe or Jane Blow in Washington State wants something done about the deplorable state of our waters, and they want it now! Please vote to protect our waters and family, vote against budget cut for environmental protection. It is the least you can do during these trying times to prevent the continued spiral decline in the quality of water our children drink.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sustainable Environment or Squalor during the Age of Budget Crunch.

In light of budget cuts, backroom deals and budget debates confusion, can we ever reach sustainability in Washington State Environmental Resource Protection? The impact of residents activities on the ecosystem and the issue of sustainability is very much here with us as we attempt to divert necessary resources away from our collective problems. Open your eyes and visualize a sustainable environment!

Budget Savings Vs. Clean Air, Clean Water, Less Toxicity

This year, all manner of lawmakers in Olympia, eagerly began tossing opinions back and forth regarding the possibility of HB 1614 and SB5518 passing; and, the potential consequences to Washington State businesses and or residents, if these bills actually passes. While opinions vary considerably, legislatures from the opposing aisle know that cutting deeply into environmental protection budget would only create other problems in our state: environmental pollution and Health issues, among others. The continued tail spin of environmental quality, including water and air quality, says a lot about the status of the resident's health. Cutting state's budget that will ultimately lower air and water quality, is not the right way to go. Washingtonians want our waters to be clean, we want them to be safe and we request by the confidence we have in voting for our legislatures, that they will do all in their power to keep or water, air and environment safe. The little money that is probably expected to be saved by cutting the environmental budget is not going to help anyone. We all understand that times are tough, however as regards our health and environment, we will not compromise. This is because we know better!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

That Environment Budget! April 10, 2009 Blog

Mr. & Mrs. Olympia, Washington Legislature:
There are two basic arguments against cutting Washington State Environmental Protection Budget. First, it has not worked in the past, second, it is not going to work today or tomorrow. We all know what happens when essential services are cut because of budget decapitation: People and the environment become decapitated! We are told by our legislature in HB 1614 and SB 5518 that a cut in environmental budget can help balance past excesses in other areas of the state's budget The case cannot be far from the truth. Most recently, the rationale has been expanded into the state's health care insurance for the underprivileged. Like in the past, we already know what is going to happen to children from low income households, when affordable health care insurance is unavailable to them. Just like the children of the poor who are going to suffer tremendously in the coming years, our environment will suffer likewise. Mr. & Mrs. Legislature, here is a reminder just before you come to our homes to seek your bi-yearly support or votes: We expect our government to ensure that the water we drink is safe and the air we breathe is clean. Anything less is a compromise: Please, don't cut the environmental protection budget!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Christopher Adekoya

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Debates on Environmental Priorities in Washington State

We must all support HB1614 and SB 5518. It is time residents of Washington State appreciate that our environment is all that makes us what we are and this is a time to share responsibility for it. We must now encourage our legislators to do the right thing. Often in debates as this, lobbyist are able to change the course of action in Olympia. Our communities cannot afford the backroom dealings and hand twisting on issues as important as our waters in Washington State.

Environment Issues in Washington State

It is time that we support HB 1614 and SB 5518. Residents of Washington State must now put our money where our mouths are. We must encourage our legislatures to do the right thing by giving support for both house bills. I am strongly in support of these bills and encourage my friends, neighbors and colleagues to bring their influence in making sure that the bills pass. Please call 1-800-562-6000 and leave message.