December 2, 2019
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Study seeks input on ideas to remove, or keep, Snake River dams



Now's the time to comment on the future of the four lower Snake River Dams. A new online survey is now open and this is the chance for the public, including employers, to express their views.

The survey is part of Gov. Jay Inslee's study on the economic impacts of the removal of the four lower Snake River Dams. It seeks to "gather and summarize the perspectives of Washingtonians on the impacts, both positive and negative, of retaining or breaching/removing the four lower Snake River Dams," according to the survey.

Inslee supports this process to understand the full range and diversity of views in the state regarding the dams, the survey authors write. The information will be used to help craft the governor's recommendations on the Columbia River Systems Operations Environmental Impact Statement being developed by federal agencies.

AWB supports keeping the dams in place as they provide carbon free hydropower, irrigation for important Washington crops, and shipping routes from the Inland Northwest to the West Coast.

A draft report on the state study to remove or keep the dams is expected early this month. For more information, please contact Peter Godlewski at PeterG@awb.org or 360.943.1600.

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Cross-laminated timber can help the Northwest lead on the Green New Deal

By Seattle City Councilmember Abel Pacheco and his director of communications, Conor Bronsdon

We live in a region of pioneers and conservationists in a land built on the back of the timber industry. The idea of sustainable working forests fits not just our historical industrial strengths, it fits our regional ethos. In the Pacific Northwest, we want to live green. It's time for Seattle to take the lead on mass timber. With cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other mass timber products we can move to solve our housing crisis, develop needed density, and address climate change -- all while staying true to our regional culture and history.

By using CLT in the development of much-needed housing we will actively remove and store carbon from the atmosphere -- every cubic meter of timber growth captures one ton of carbon from the atmosphere. Construction would simultaneously emit less carbon.

Encouraging CLT usage could also jump-start stalled rural economies that have languished since the logging industry slowed down. Construction startup Katerra opened the nation's largest capacity CLT manufacturing facility in Spokane and Vaagen Brothers Lumber, which has been in Washington for four generations, is expanding CLT production operations in Colville. With the state making code changes fall that allow for the use of mass timber in buildings as tall as 18 stories, the region is primed to use CLT to address our affordable housing crisis.

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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Prepare students for technical careers

By The Seattle Times editorial board

Once, all it took to secure a satisfying and well-paying job was a high school diploma and a good work ethic. But that story has largely changed.

That's why Washington's public schools must offer robust, high-quality Career and Technical Education programs to help prepare the state's vocationally minded students for career success.

A college education should be within reach of all students with the aptitude and interest to pursue a four-year degree, but not everyone wants to follow that path. At the same time, there is a high and consistent workforce demand for skilled tradespeople, without whom Washington's economy would shudder to a halt.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times.