Category Archives: State

WA Ecology Dept: Salad Oil as Dangerous as Crude Petroleum Oil

WA Ecology Dept. now fears salad oil as much as crude oil

The Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) has found a new villain.

Tossed on your salad greens.

DOE doesn’t see vegetable oil as any less of a threat to the environment than crude petroleum oil.  And they are ready to act on their latest fears.

The agency proposed in mid-January that short-line railroads in Eastern Washington that haul animal fats and vegetable oils will have the same requirements as interstate crude oil carriers.

Railroads that haul vegetable oils already must follow rules set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But apparently the state didn’t trust the EPA to control all their imagined  hazards associated with transporting closed containers of  Saffola.

DOE has given no evidence that food oils have caused environmental damage, or are any conceivable threat that requires new regulations. Continue reading WA Ecology Dept: Salad Oil as Dangerous as Crude Petroleum Oil

PSCAA: Harsh wood stove laws hurt “heat-or-eat” rural poor

Wood Stove “Mobile Apps” for Rural Poor and Elderly?

Forty percent of low-income Americans reported that they have had to choose between paying for food and utilities in the past year.

Should local governments have sweeping power to change how we live–especially when those changes would hurt our neediest citizens the most?

Should a government’s decision making process be more accessible to those who are affected the most?

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is an unelected, little known, and powerful agency that has created strict and confusing regulations over wood burning, that have a great impact on low income citizens in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.

In an apparent attempt to share their draconian wood stove laws with folks who are trying hard not to freeze in their homes, PSCAA came up with some really cool mobile apps.

If you have any problems with PSCAA’s apps, they’ll try their best to get back to you within two business days.  Of course, that doesn’t stop you from getting hit with massive fines if you go ahead and light your wood stove because it’s cold and you can’t reach them for days. Continue reading PSCAA: Harsh wood stove laws hurt “heat-or-eat” rural poor

Puget Sound Regional Council – A Trainwreck in the Making

Fertile Ground for Corruption

Western Washington is increasingly ruled by unelected regional planning agencies with great power, utopian visions, hefty budgets, and little accountability.

In other words–the perfect breeding ground for corruption.

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) joins other obscure regional governments like the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA), and the Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) that wield enormous power over our daily lives.

PSRC controls transportation dollars, and can withhold them when they believe that their visions are being disregarded.

And like these other regional agencies, the Puget Sound Regional Council makes it clear that they have the power to change the way people live and work. Continue reading Puget Sound Regional Council – A Trainwreck in the Making

Lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers erodes small business rights

This is a follow-up to my article published in Watchdog Arena on April 29, 2015.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s legal action against 70-year-old Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman could have far-reaching consequences for many small business owners and entrepreneurs—consequences that haven’t entered into the discussion yet.

Barronelle in her flower shop
Barronelle in her flower shop

Last month, a Benton County judge ruled in favor of Ferguson in his lawsuit against Stutzman, who refused to create floral arrangements for the same sex wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed because of her Christian beliefs.

Based on the judge’s ruling, Stutzman stands to lose her family’s home, her life savings, her possessions, and her lifelong business, which had first belonged to her mother.

She’s not backing down.

Ferguson said that Stutzman’s refusal to create floral arrangements for a gay wedding violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act, which states, “Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.”

Ferguson also referenced Washington’s Civil Rights Act, which has been amended to include discrimination against sexual orientation, among many other things.

The Civil Rights Act says that discrimination includes, but is not limited to: denial of employment, discrimination in real estate transactions, credit, insurance, or HMO services, and denial of the right to use public accommodations and amusements.

The law says nothing about flowers.

The Civil Rights Act also forbids discriminatory blacklists and boycotts.

But that doesn’t stop Ferguson and the ACLU from turning a blind eye to ongoing public boycotts of Arlene’s Flowers. Continue reading Lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers erodes small business rights