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Inslee directs Ecology to rewrite clean water rules

By | October 9, 2015 | 0 Comments

Gov. Jay Inslee is directing state Ecology officials to rewrite a proposed clean water rule that determines the level of pollutants allowed in the state’s waterways.

The new rule is designed to align with federal recommendations in an effort to maintain state control over the process. If the state doesn’t act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will issue its own rule.

“That has left us with a choice,” Inslee said Thursday at a press conference in Seattle. He said the state can either adopt a federal rule that is “extremely stringent and very inflexible,” or write its own rule that is “reasonable and works with our growing economy.”

“This is our state and it should be our clean water rule,” Inslee said.

The clean water rule is tied to a fish consumption rate that assumes residents can safely eat fish that is caught in the state’s rivers, lakes and streams. The state’s current rate is 6.5 grams of fish per day, or about one bite of fish per day.

The EPA recommended in September that Washington significantly increase the fish consumption rate to 175 grams a day, or about one small fish filet per day.

“This rate accounts for local data, reflects input from tribes in Washington and protects fish consumers downstream in Oregon,” which also uses 175 grams a day to determine safe levels of pollution, the EPA wrote in its September proposal.

Inslee’s proposal matches the federal recommendation of 175 grams a day. That comes with a theoretical cancer risk rate of one in a million chance of developing cancer if a person ate 175 grams of fish every day for 70 years.

Ecology officials say they plan to write a rule that will provide more flexibility to industries, municipalities and manufacturers than the federal version. Ecology director Maia Bellon said it would consider things like “intake credits,” which would adjust a company’s obligation if the water that the company draws is already contaminated.

EPA will halt its rulemaking process if Washington submits its own rule, Inslee said.

“During this process, I heard over and over that people in businesses and governments wanted to maintain control over this process,” Inslee said. “Not to turn our future over to the federal government.”

Categories: Environment, Fish

TVW releases new short documentary about school levies, teacher compensation

By | October 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

Over the past 30 years, school districts in Washington have become increasingly reliant on local levies to pay for costs that the Washington Supreme Court says should be covered by the state — including teacher salaries and basic education.

This 16-minute short documentary produced by TVW looks at how a school in the Highline school district is affected by an overreliance on local levies.

Categories: Education, Schools, tax, TVW

On ‘The Impact:’ Details about the state’s first Alzheimer’s plan

By | October 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

This week on “The Impact,” host Anita Kissee looks at details of the state’s first Alzheimer’s plan to address the growing needs related to the disease.

The Legislature passed a bill last year providing authorization to develop an Alzheimer’s Disease Plan for Washington. The state Department of Social and Health Services recently released a 153-page draft of the plan.

On the show, Kissee meets with a patient who is struggling with the disease. Kissee also interviews Bob LeRoy from the Alzheimer’s Association and Bea Rector of the Dept. of Social and Health Services.

The Alzheimer’s Association is hosting 11 town hall meetings across the state in October and November to discuss the draft plan — dates and locations are available here. Anyone who suspects elder abuse can call the state’s hotline at 1-866-ENDHARM.

Also on the show — details about the upcoming Combined Fund Drive masquerade ball on Oct. 24 at the state Capitol, which is expected to draw up to 600 people. The Combined Fund Drive is a way for public employees to give to charity through payroll contributions and fundraising events.

“The Impact” airs Wednesday, Oct. 7th at 7 &10 p.m.

Categories: TVW

On TVW this week: GET committee, education finance listening tour

By | October 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

TVW’s schedule page is undergoing maintenance while we upgrade our equipment this fall. Here’s what TVW will cover the week of Oct. 5-10th.

A PDF of our weekly broadcast schedule is available here.

Monday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m.: TVW will live webcast the House Task Force on Washington Waters at this link. The meeting includes a discussion about water supply, stormwater and flood needs.

Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m.: The Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Committee is meeting at the Capitol to discuss the bill passed by the Legislature in 2015 lowering college tuition. Read the full agenda here. The committee will also take public comment and hear an update about GET customers. TVW will carry it live at this link.

Thursday, Oct. 8 at 5 p.m.: Members of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee are traveling across the state in October on a “listening tour” to hear from the public and elected officials about how the state can best fund basic education. The tour will stop in Bremerton at the Performing Arts Center, 1500 13th Street in Bremerton, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. TVW will live webcast the meeting if it is possible from that location. If not, we will tape it and air it at a later time (check back for details and a link).

Here is the list of all the times and dates of the tour:

Categories: TVW

TVW will have limited live coverage this fall as equipment is upgraded

By | October 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

TVW is undergoing a major equipment upgrade that will impact how we cover live events this fall. Mike Bay, vice president of programming, released this memo on Thursday detailing what TVW viewers can expect starting next week through December:

TVW received funding from the 2015 Legislature to upgrade its Capitol cameras and HQ infrastructure from 4×3 standard definition to 16×9 high definition.

This upgrade has already begun, but will kick into high gear in the coming weeks. It involves a complete replacement of TVW’s system: the 40+ cameras on the Capitol Campus; the “master control” area and technical infrastructure (servers, routers, switchers etc) at TVW HQ; and the miles of cable that connect everything together.

How this will affect coverage:

Our current Capitol cameras and will no longer be operational as of the week of Oct. 5. To cover events, even on campus, we need to physically bring in mobile cameras.  Thus, our overall coverage of events, on Campus and off, for TV and for webcast, will be significantly reduced through end of year.

We will not be able to go live on TV, and on the closed circuit channels that feed the Capitol. We will likely not be able to go live until shortly before the 2016 session, when the new infrastructure and cameras are in place.

Our ability to live webcast Campus events will be reduced as well.  Both due to reduced overall coverage and because we will not be physically connected to the Capitol for an extended period; we will webcast via wireless transmission to the extent we are able.

–As TVW’s HQ infrastructure is being replaced there will be down times and outages that affect TVW’s entire system, including the online archives at

We are of course aware the Legislature could be called back to the Capitol for a special session, and have discussed contingency plans for coverage should that occur.

Categories: TVW

Hops and apple harvest on ‘The Impact’

By | October 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

On this week’s edition of “The Impact,” host Anita Kissee travels to Sunnyside and Yakima to see how the drought affected Washington’s apples and hops.

Here’s a look at some photos of the apple and hops harvest. The full 30-minute show will be posted online shortly at this link.

Categories: TVW

Rep. Hans Dunshee elected new budget chair in House

By | September 21, 2015 | 0 Comments
Rep. Hans Dunshee

Rep. Hans Dunshee

Rep. Hans Dunshee is the new lead Democratic budget writer in the House and will take over as chair of the Appropriations Committee, House Democrats announced Monday.

He replaces Ross Hunter, who recently left the Legislature to head up the state Dept. of Early Learning.

Dunshee previously chaired the House Capital Budget Committee, which crafts the state’s construction budget. The Snohomish Democrat is a former small business owner and volunteer firefighter who has served a little over 20 years in the Legislature.

Dunshee’s budget-writing counterpart in the Senate is Republican Sen. Andy Hill, who said earlier this month he will not run for governor in 2016.

Hunter’s seat has yet to be filled. King County Democrats last week selected lawyer Patty Kuderer, Redmond City Councilwoman Kim Allen and real estate broker Santiago Ramos as nominees to fill the vacancy. The final choice will be made by the Metropolitan King County Council.

Categories: Democrats, WA House

Ecology begins rule-making process to cap carbon emissions

By | September 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

The state’s Ecology department is moving forward with a rule-making process that would require more than 30 manufacturers, power plants and landfills in Washington to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions.

Gov. Jay Inslee directed the department in July to develop a cap for carbon emissions under the state’s Clean Air Act after his own proposed cap-and-trade plan failed to advance in the Legislature during the 2015 session.

Ecology director Maia Bellon said in a press briefing Monday the department’s rule is “fundamentally different” than the governor’s plan. She noted that Inslee’s plan targeted a larger number of polluters — about 130 facilities — that emitted more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. Ecology is focusing on a smaller number of facilities, about 35, that are owned by 30 companies and emit at least 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Several landfills meet Ecology’s threshold, including ones in Yakima, Maple Valley, Graham and Castle Rock. Four power plants operated by Puget Sound Energy would be required to reduce emissions, as would natural gas distributors Avista and Cascade Natural Gas. It also targets refineries and petroleum fuel facilities such as the BP Cherry Point Refinery, Tesoro in Anacortes and Phillips 66 in Ferndale. Read the full list of companies here.

Ecology air quality program manager Stu Clark said companies will have a “wide variety of options” to reduce pollution, such as installing new equipmenht, obtaining credits for emissions, sharing emissions credit or paying for projects elsewhere in the state that reduce greenhouse gases.

If companies don’t comply, Ecology has enforcement powers under the state’s Clean Air Act to issue notices and penalties, Clark said.

Health officials on Monday said the latest drought and wildfires underscore the need to reduce carbon. State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said smoke from wildfires resulted in hundreds of hospitalizations, and warmer temperatures are decimating the state’s shellfish industry.

Ecology plans to introduce a draft rule in December and begin gathering public input early next year, with the goal of having a rule implemented by 2016.

The rule aims to meet a 2008 law passed by the Legislature that set a goal of reducing greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and half that by 2050.

Categories: Environment

Toxic algae, GET program on tonight’s edition of ‘The Impact’

By | September 16, 2015 | 0 Comments
Officials sample algae at Waughop Lake.

Officials sample algae at Waughop Lake.

On tonight’s edition of “The Impact,” host Anita Kissee looks at the threat of toxic algae blooms in Washington’s lakes and rivers.

State officials believe the algae is worse this year because of the summer drought. Toxic algae can make people sick — especially children and the elderly — and pets can die after drinking water with a toxic bloom.

The show also details the future of Washington’s prepaid college tuition program, known as GET, and what families need to know about the credits they’ve already purchased.

Update: Watch the show below.

For more information on toxic algae blooms:

For more information on the GET Program:

Categories: TVW

State revenue increases by $363 million in current budget

By | September 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Revenue in the current two-year budget cycle is up by about $363 million, largely due to legislative action taken earlier this year.

The uptick in revenue brings total projections for the 2015-17 budget to $37.8 billion.

Most of the new money has already been factored into the current budget, said the state’s chief economist Steve Lerch. That’s because more than half of the additional revenue, or $220 million, is a result of legislative changes made during special session, including the closure of some tax breaks.

Lerch said the September quarterly forecast is similar to the last release in June, except oil prices have dropped. Washington has also seen stronger employment figures than expected in June, he said.

The next revenue forecast is set to be released in November.

Watch the meeting below:

Categories: economy