Your tax dollars at work

Photo courtesy of Randy Wick via our Flickr pool

Photo courtesy of Randy Wick via our Flickr pool

It’s been a busy week for Washington in Washington DC. On Monday, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell introduced S. 668, the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Reauthorization Act of 2009. Now referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, this bill creates (or, more accurately, re-creates, since this is an effort to reauthorize the 1998 bill. In any case…) a 14 person Commission that includes a representative of 7 counties, two tribal representatives, someone appointed by the governor to represent the Puget Sound Partnership, and four civilians. The goals of the Commission would be to protect and restore marine habitats, populations, and water quality, and to promote these goals to the public and relevant organizations through education and research. [FULL TEXT]

Tuesday, March 24th was the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill. To mark the occasion, Senator Cantwell cosponsored S. 684, the Oil Pollution Prevention and Response Act of 2009, with Senator John Kerry of MA. The bill would strengthen the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and give the Coast Guard and NOAA additional powers, to deal with the rise in oil polution over the last 16 years– although the number of vessels actually spilling oil into waterways has declined, the volume of oil spilled has increased. This bill has also been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. [PRESS RELEASE]

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Cantwell introduced S. 672: A bill to amend the Natural Gas Act, the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, and the Federal Power Act “to modify provisions relating to enforcement and judicial review and to modify the procedures for proposing changes in natural gas rates.” S. 672 has been referred to the referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The title of the bill is a little confusing, but basically S. 672 puts some muscle behind previous legislation, allowing for investigation of violations and enforcement of cease and desist orders. [TEXT] Referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Seattle Representative Jim McDermott introduced H.R. 1683, the Clean Environment and Stable Energy Market Act of 2009, in conjunction with 3 other representatives, on Tuesday. The resolution would revise IRS codes to require a permit for gas emissions, something like a cap and trade mechanism, if I’m reading it right. [TEXT] Referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee.

Not to be left out of the Tuesday fun, former governor Gary Locke was confirmed as Secretary of Commerce, which occasioned blessedly brief speaches from Senators Cantwell and Murray. [TEXT] The rapid confirmation of Locke only reinforces my belief that the man is so squeaky clean that you could… suddenly what I was going to write seems a trifle naughty. Never mind.

Finally, on Wednesday Congress passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (H.R.146), a huge win for Western states. This bill has been a year in the making, facing significant opposition from Republican lawmakers, who objected to the measure because it blocks energy development on public lands, and protects an additional two million acres of wilderness, and a thousand miles of river, including some of the most beautiful and pristine territory in America. Thanks to this act, some of that protected territory is now designated the “Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail”: the trail is 1200 miles long and runs from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Coast, through the Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and Wilderness Coast. It passes through three states, crosses three National Parks, and through seven National Forests. [TEXT] Hip, hip, hooray!

[EDITED: Photo caption updated with apologies to the photographer. Bad proofing on my part. Great photo on his.]

3 Comments so far

  1. randy on April 3rd, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

    Hey, all Creative Commons licenses require attribution. How about you at least notify me before you steal my photo and post it without credit next time?

  2. stan on April 3rd, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

    I am so sorry! I have a terrible time with tagging photos through the site, I didn’t realize it hadn’t taken. How would you like me to tag it?

  3. randy on April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

    Stan, I responded in email as well. It’s all good. Thanks for the credit. If anybody else read this and is curious, it was just a photo I took for a sweet girl I loved very much but had to say goodbye to shortly after :(

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