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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Another Green Monday

Fighting the green fight in Spokane is a challenge. One thing we’ve learned at DTE as a result: Patience. Our Huckleberry's event was not by any means a smashing success or a train wreck. Each panelist was articulate and effectively communicated what we had envisioned: An opportunity to listen to what others had to say about our environmental community. Janice Raschko noted citizens remember the bad things from years ago better than something positive yesterday. Perhaps that speaks to our local downtrodden nature; we're trying to change that. But something eye opening happened during the course of the hour-long discussion - there was a level of connectivity that we hadn't felt before. It didn't feel like we were talking about, or hearing about fringe ideas or radical thoughts as it often did when we first started covering these topics. It just felt normal. Once again, thanks to all of our panelists and Huckleberry's. Let's hope this was only the beginning.


In the course of Friday afternoon - our inbox had repeated hits of emails reminding us to support, or urging us to continue putting pressure on the passing of the city's Sustainability Action Plan.  Like a lot of issues though, we felt like we were preaching to the choir.  We'd make jokes about the "anti-UN crazies", we'd urge people to write Mayor Verner and the City Council - providing links to email addresses that most of you probably already have in your contact list.  But then we were forwarded a memo from the Spokane GOP urging their members to OBJECT the passing of the plan.  That's when we realized this issue had reached far outside of the choir.  And that's when we realized we were in trouble.  So we urge you readers - send an email to the council and to the mayor expressing your support for this plan.  You must send it no later than this Friday, April 24.  And engage your friends, colleagues and family about this plan - open up the dialogue.  This is an opportunity to set course for a sustainable future for Spokane - and it's a chance for the city council to express their commitment towards a cleaner, greener community.  Don't let this opportunity pass, and don't let the council let it pass.  And by chance you need encouragement, or ideas,  - read The Spovangelist's appeal to the Spokane City Council to approve the recommendations of the task force. 

When 137 years just isn't enough.  "Federal regulators say they understand concerns about habitat destruction and water pollution. But they feel powerless to do much because of the current mining laws."  The above comes from a recent Greenwire article about proposed hardrock mining in Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area - one of the first to be designated under the Wilderness Act of 1964.  Because of the utterly ridiculous 1872 Mining Law, Revett Silver Co. (a Spokane Valley-based operation) is likely to alter the 94,272-acre wilderness forever with a massive hardrock mine on the edge of the wilderness area.  "Using horizontal drilling techniques, they plan to burrow as much as 3 miles underneath the wilderness area to remove an estimated 10,000 tons of copper and silver ore per day."  Read more HERE. 

The Killing Fields. The news out of north Idaho has been pretty grim lately. And now, Becky Kramer reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds about 150 carcasses of white tundra swans annually along the marshes of the Coeur d’Alene River, dead from lead poisoning, another result of a century of horrible mining practices in the Silver Valley. According to the article, sediments in the marsh have lead concentrations of 5,826 parts per million, which is 10 times higher than the safe limit for waterfowl. Full story HERE.

Dear Science: John Boehner. In a move that could represent a major policy shift, the EPA belatedly declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are a danger to the public health. Next, the debate will intensify over a federal regulation on coal plants, and for Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation. (The Bush administration opposed putting mandatory limits on emissions, citing it would hurt business.)

Now, this finding should seem pretty obvious, right? It's "almost comical." Depends on your sense of humor. Check out Rep. John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House, talking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos yesterday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is the Republican plan to deal with carbon emissions, which every major scientific organization has said is contributing to climate change?

BOEHNER: George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.


Full interview HERE.



Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.