wac's shared items
And what about winds? Look at the pressure forecast for 11 PM Sunday night. With an intense low far offshore, we still have very large pressure differences in the coastal waters and over NW Washington--which means strong winds. The wind forecast for the same time shows 45 kt sustained water in the coastal waters and 35 kts over NW Washington. Gust could be considerable larger. Time to batten down the hatches and enjoy some storm watching! And the models are showing significant snow above 4000 ft this week.
Google says China's web censorship is a 'trade issue'
Google says state censorship in countries like China should be put on the United States' trade agenda. Nicole Wong from Google told the Senate Judiciary ...
Google's China Exit Strategy: Watch This SpaceWired News
Google Wants US to Weigh Challenging China in WTOBusinessWeek
Google: 'no timetable' on China talksRegister
Voice of America -The Associated Press -TopNews United States
all 224 news articles »
Those looking to plan their King County bus trips on Google Maps (and on their iPhones) have been out of luck since Saturday’s service change. Fear not! The problem will be solved soon, according to Metro’s Twitter feed:
Google Trip Planner will again be able to plan trips on Metro starting Fri., Feb 12. Metro has provided data to Google.
OneBusAway also faced some technical issues to do the service change (which is expected), but those issues are now fixed and most buses should now be tracked through the service. Just yesterday, One Bus Away announced the launch of an official Android client which follows the successful launch lsat year of a native iPhone app.
Carrying on a tradition began by Fred Rogers in 1997, PCC Natural Markets and KCTS 9 are teaming up for the annual Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. Beginning Monday, January 11, through Sunday, February 7, collection bins will be stationed at all nine PCC locations, including Fremont (600 N. 34th St), as well as inside the KCTS station lobby. Items will benefit Wellspring Family Services, which helps thousands of families in need in Seattle and King County. The organization can really use children’s clothing but any new or clean, gently used sweaters and coats are appreciated. For a complete list of PCC locations, click here.
Today we started with a large pressure difference across the Cascades (see temperature and wind forecast for 10 AM above). Cold temperatures and associated high pressure west of the Cascades. There was very strong wind acceleration in the only sea level gap across the Cascades...the Columbia Gorge...with winds at locations such as Troutdale reaching 30-40 mph.
The next act is beginning...the first in a series of upper level troughs is moving through and behind it there will be an influx of colder, continental air (see plot). Not the primo stuff...but cooler than we have had during the past several days. I have included a surface chart for later tomorrow...with cooler air and northerly flow moving south--there is a large pressure change at the forward edge of the cold air. There could be a few snow showers tomorrow morning with this...particularly over the western Cascade foothills...but nothing of any note.
A second upper disturbance moves through Sunday and an even stronger pulse of cold air, with strong easterly and northeasterly flow follows (see figure). Will be an interesting day. A huge gradient will be established over the Fraser River Valley and strong winds will push into Bellingham, with further acceleration down the western Strait of Juan de Fuca. You will see the famous Tatoosh easterly gales! At one time this area was known as the "graveyard of the north Pacific" due to these winds and the rocks. You have delicate plants...protect them. When the winds die down on Monday morning the temperatures could plummet on the western side into the teens in some locations. Maybe even colder Tuesday am. Good weather for plumbers--could have some frozen and bursting pipes.
And watch the action offshore! As the cold air moves over the relatively warm water there will developing cumulus activity...including showers. There will be lines of convection...should be impressive.
Monday and Tuesday will be cold and sunny. That's far enough to forecast...but remember...sometimes the most interesting weather happens when a cold spell ends. I won't even mention that unspeakable four letter word: S**W. Don't even think about it.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The war on terror has been extended to the animal kingdom:
A bear killed two militants after discovering them in its den in Indian-administered Kashmir, police say.
Two other militants escaped, one of them badly wounded, after the attack in Kulgam district, south of Srinagar.
The militants had assault rifles but were taken by surprise - police found the remains of pudding they had made to eat when the bear attacked.
It is thought to be the first such incident since Muslim separatists took up arms against Indian rule in 1989. Bears do not support terror.
To follow up on Martin’s post I just want to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to Environmental Impact Studies. This has yet to be done for the deep-bore tunnel, with the draft EIS to be released in February of next year and the final EIS completed in the spring of 2011.
Environmental Impact Assessment can be defined as:
The process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.
Emphasis mine. Furthermore from the Washington State Department of Ecology;
Q: What is SEPA?
A: SEPA is the abbreviation or acronym for the State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW. Enacted in 1971, it provides the framework for agencies to consider the environmental consequences of a proposal before taking action. It also gives agencies the ability to condition or deny a proposal due to identified likely significant adverse impacts. The Act is implemented through the SEPA Rules, Chapter 197-11 WAC.
So when is a SEPA review process needed?
Q: When is SEPA environmental review required?
A: Environmental review is required for any proposal which involves a government “action,” as defined in the SEPA Rules (WAC 197-11-704), and is not categorically exempt (WAC 197-11-800 through 890). Project actions involve an agency decision on a specific project, such as a construction project or timber harvest. Nonproject actions involve decisions on policies, plans, or programs, such as the adoption of a comprehensive plan or development regulations, or a six-year road plan.
More below the jump.
Then what is considered government “action”?
(1) “Actions” include, as further specified below:
(a) New and continuing activities (including projects and programs) entirely or partly financed, assisted, conducted, regulated, licensed, or approved by agencies;
(b) New or revised agency rules, regulations, plans, policies, or procedures; and
(c) Legislative proposals.
(2) Actions fall within one of two categories:
(a) Project actions. A project action involves a decision on a specific project, such as a construction or management activity located in a defined geographic area. Projects include and are limited to agency decisions to:
(i) License, fund, or undertake any activity that will directly modify the environment, whether the activity will be conducted by the agency, an applicant, or under contract.
(ii) Purchase, sell, lease, transfer, or exchange natural resources, including publicly owned land, whether or not the environment is directly modified.
(b) Nonproject actions. Nonproject actions involve decisions on policies, plans, or programs.
(i) The adoption or amendment of legislation, ordinances, rules, or regulations that contain standards controlling use or modification of the environment;
(ii) The adoption or amendment of comprehensive land use plans or zoning ordinances;
(iii) The adoption of any policy, plan, or program that will govern the development of a series of
Basically the deep-bore tunnel.
The International Association for Impact Assessment goes on to describe the basic principles of an EIS as:
- Purposive – the process should inform decision making and result in appropriate levels of environmental protection and community well-being.
- Rigorous – the process should apply “best practicable” science, employing methodologies and techniques appropriate to address the problems being investigated.
- Practical – the process should result in information and outputs which assist with problem solving and are acceptable to and able to be implemented by proponents.
- Relevant – the process should provide sufficient, reliable and usable information for development planning and decision making.
- Cost-Effective – the process should achieve the objectives of EIA within the limits of available information, time, resources and methodology.
- Efficient – the process should impose the minimum cost burdens in terms of time and finance on proponents and participants consistent with meeting accepted requirements and objectives of EIA.
- Focused – the process should concentrate on significant environmental effects and key issues; i.e., the matters that need to be taken into account in making decisions.
- Adaptive – the process should be adjusted to the realities, issues and circumstances of the proposals under review without compromising the integrity of the process,and be iterative, incorporating lessons learned throughout the proposal’s life cycle.
- Participative – the process should provide appropriate opportunities to inform and involve the interested and affected publics, and their inputs and concerns should be addressed explicitly in the documentation and decision making.
- Interdisciplinary – the process should ensure that the appropriate techniques and experts in the relevant bio-physical and socio-economic disciplines are employed, including use of traditional knowledge as relevant.
- Credible – the process should be carried out with professionalism, rigor, fairness, objectivity, impartiality and balance, and be subject to independent checks and verification.
- Integrated - the process should address the interrelationships of social, economic and biophysical aspects.
- Transparent – the process should have clear, easily understood requirements for EIA content; ensure public access to information; identify the factors that are to be taken into account in decision making; and acknowledge limitations and difficulties.
- Systematic – the process should result in full consideration of all relevant information on the affected environment, of proposed alternatives and their impacts, and of the measures necessary to monitor and investigate residual effects.
So, not only is WSDOT failing to meet SEPA requirements (in my estimate at least, but I’m not a lawyer), but the process related to the deep-bore tunnel is exemplifying why the principles of environmental impact studies are so critical for making sound policy choices.
Let me be completely clear. I have abstained from this debate because I have changed my opinions on the tunnel more than once. What prompted me to write about the tunnel over the last few days is my concern that informed policy making, based on data and studies, is getting utterly trampled by politics. Some are pushing this lawsuit as a way to delay the viaduct, and I don’t agree with that. To me the lawsuit is about ensuring the highest level of integrity and transparency while ensuring that decisions are made upon facts and figures. I believe that once a study is complete a decision should and must be made based on the study, regardless of the outcome.
UPDATE: As of September 15th WSDOT released a Request for Qualifications. Also on September 17th WSDOT requested that the State Treasure sell $500 million dollars in bonds, part of which will fund among other projects;
A bored tunnel will be constructed under downtown Seattle between approximately Dearborn St. and Harrison St. to replace the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct along the central waterfront. The new bored tunnel moves SR 99 to a new below ground alignment under downtown Seattle and will bypass the existing Battery Street Tunnel.
These bonds have been sold and I assume could be considered a government “action”.