Coal plant closeup

Photo credit Erica Dellwo.

Avista Utilities has a reputation for supporting renewable energy in Eastern Washington—so why do they still power our homes and businesses with dirty out-of-state coal from Montana’s Colstrip Generating Facility?

Avista’s Reliance on Coal Power

The largest source of U.S. carbon pollution is burning fossil fuels for electricity. And Colstrip stands near the top of its industry according to the US. Environmental Protection Agency. Eastern Washington already faces the impacts of climate change including longer wildfire seasons, reduced snowpack and extended droughts. Meanwhile, Colstrip pumps more than 15 million tons of carbon pollution into the air every year from burning sub-bituminous coal from a nearby mine. That’s equal to the carbon pollution from half of all passenger cars in Washington State. Overall in Washington, coal provides about 20 percent of the state’s power but contributes more than 80 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.

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jacina rally

Photo Credit to Richard Bocook

That was the message at noon today, Friday, by the community and business owners on the double digit block of West Main Ave, downtown Spokane. Last Friday, a transgendered woman, Jacina Carla Scamahorn was assaulted, inside of Boots Bakery, at 24 West Main Ave.  The series of events that followed paints a picture of the Spokane Community that, as a whole, does not tolerate violence or bigotry against gays and transgendered.

Within days, the community demand quick action by the police.  On Monday evening, around a hundred citizens showed up at the scheduled Spokane City Council meeting to voice their outrage and ask for a quick action by the Spokane Police.  On that same day, Spokane Police posted online pictures of suspects that were capture by surveillance cameras, and local media covered the incident.  By Tuesday, Spokane Police arrested two suspects, 45-year old Adam Flippen and 43-year old Marc Fessler.

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breean head

Breean Beggs

I have admired Breean Beggs for a long time.  It is good see him involved in the public debate about why Sean Oie’s killer was released. I am also intrigue about Breean Beggs’ candidacy for Spokane County Prosecutor. Read the rest of this entry

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Photo Credit to Bryan Burke

Photo Credit to Bryan Burke

This does not surprise me.  From what I have heard about the management at Deaconess Hospital, Spokane, WA, and their Hospital in the Valley, Community Health Systems should have had a complaint filed at them sooner.

The hospitals in Spokane owned by non-profits don’t seem to have these problems.  We should never forget the value of the labor movement our capitalist economy.  Read the rest of this entry

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Immigration Reform

To the Editor:

In an historic bipartisan 68-32 vote, last June the US Senate passed an immigration reform bill that included a path to citizenship for eleven million illegal immigrants, an innovative temporary worker program, and increased visa numbers for skilled foreign workers, as well as a nationwide employment eligibility verification system and stricter border control.  This was a result of bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests, and immigration advocates. Although many predict that the bill would pass in the US House, the majority Republican leadership there refuses to bring it up.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the next decade. Furthermore, it is supported by such pro-business and pro-agriculture groups as the US Chamber of Commerce and the local Washington Growers League, an influential Eastern Washington agribusiness association working on immigration in an unusual alliance with the Washington Federation of State Employees.   Interestingly, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration has also expressed support.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers needs to represent her constituents, many in business and agriculture, by standing up to US House leadership so as to pass this bill.

Roz Luther

Spokane, WA

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