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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington state denies sublease for coal export terminal

Washington’s outgoing public lands commissioner said Tuesday he is refusing to allow the state’s aquatic lands to be used for a major coal-export terminal along the Columbia River. But the company behind the proposal insisted the decision would have no effect on its plans.

Senate bill takes steps to improve wildfire fight

Called the Wildfire Budgeting, Response, and Forest Management Act, it would, yet again, attempt to end the trick called “fire borrowing,” where money for forest management, fire prevention and treatment is gobbled up to pay firefighting costs.

Washington lands commissioner race draws crowd of Democrats

This fall’s race for Washington’s commissioner of public lands – an office that oversees the state’s largest firefighting force and 5.6 million acres of land – is hotly contested since no incumbent is on the ballot.

Early and intense, wildfire season rages amid concerns

OLYMPIA – The people managing the Department of Natural Resources Dispatch Center are acutely aware of how bad the Northwest’s wildfire season is so far, and how much worse it can get. Consider:

Washington leaders warn of another bad wildfire season

OLYMPIA – With Washington in a drought and facing another difficult fire season, Gov. Jay Inslee and Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark held their annual exercise that emphasizes fire preparedness and safety. They walked a mile in under 16 minutes and got into a practice fire shelter in under 30 seconds. Department of Natural Resources Wildfire Division Manager Bob Johnson said it is the least strenuous of all tests for those who might go to a fire line. The most strenuous, which firefighters must pass, involves carrying a 45-pound pack for 3 miles in less than 45 minutes.

Prepping for wildfire season

OLYMPIA -- With a warning that Washington may be in for another difficult wildfire season, Gov. Jay Inslee and Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark did their annual exercise to emphasize fire safety and preparedness.

Inslee: Fires will worsen without emission control

OLYMPIA – With wildfire season approaching, Gov. Jay Inslee used an annual exercise to push for more controls on carbon emissions, saying forest fires will get worse in Washington if the nation doesn’t cut greenhouse gases. The state is facing what Inslee called “the three horses of the fire Apocalypse” – drought, heat and a beetle infestation that’s killing trees – and doubled its wildfire-fighting budget this year. The number of wildfires in Washington could quadruple by 2030 if steps aren’t taken to reduce carbon pollution and slow climate change, he said.

Washington timber board seeks advice on moratorium

OLYMPIA – The agency that manages state forest lands will ask if it’s legal to declare a moratorium on timber harvests near landslide areas in an effort to prevent tragedies like the March 22 slide that killed more than 40 people. The Forest Practices Board, which sets rules for harvesting timber, voted unanimously Tuesday to emphasize public safety as it reviews timber rules for areas near slides and locations where water is absorbed into the ground and recharges aquifers.

Task force will study dying forests in Eastern Washington

Washington Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark will convene a committee of foresters, scientists and other experts in an effort to contain a pending forest health epidemic east of the Cascades. Since the 1980s, the number of acres of trees killed by insects and disease has doubled. Over the next 15 years, state projections indicate that elevated tree mortality could occur across 2.8 million acres of Eastern Washington, or roughly one-third of the landscape.

High court rulings go for, against McKenna

OLYMPIA – State Attorney General Rob McKenna did not overstep his legal authority when he joined a lawsuit last year against federal health care reforms pushed by President Barack Obama, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday. But he did overstep that authority when he refused to handle an appeal of a property-rights case for Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark, the court said in a separate decision.