Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Regs Against Wood Smoke Moving Forward

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is in the process of revising the Agency’s regulations to help implement the Clean Air Task Force recommendations to meet the requirements of our non-attainment area. The proposed changes to its regulations will make burn ban enforcement more effective and also set the date by which all uncertified wood stoves need to be removed.
They’re starting the public comment process today, which will culminate in a public hearing at its September Board of Directors meeting.
Regulation update
The proposed amendments to PSCAA’s wood smoke regulations are drafted and out for public comment.
The key revisions include:
·         Clarification of the definition of “adequate source of heat” and adding a requirement to obtain an exemption from the Agency to use a solid fuel burning device during burn bans if it is the only adequate source of heat
·         A requirement to remove uncertified wood stoves and coal-only heaters from buildings in the Tacoma, Pierce County nonattainment area by September 30, 2015
·         Clarification of fuels allowed to be burned and prohibited from being burned in a solid fuel burning device
·         New language prohibiting the installation of unapproved devices

The public notice period will last from August 28 to September 26, 2012, and PSCAA will have a public hearing on September 27 at the Board of Directors meeting.
Where?   Tacoma Municipal Building | 728 St. Helens Ave |Tacoma, Washington 98402
When?     September 27, 2012 | 8:45 AM
For more information on the proposed changes, and how to comment, visit PSCAA’s website. The proposed changes are to Article 13 (Solid Fuel Burning Device Standards).
Other updates
PSCAA is working full-tilt to launch its enhanced burn ban enforcement effort as well as the wood stove removal and replacement program. Both programs will be ready to launch this fall, in time for the start of the wood-heating season.
Here is an overview of where these efforts are:
Increased and enhanced enforcement of wintertime air quality burn bans:
·         PSCAA is forming agreements with local governments to train and employ their staff as inspectors during burn bans. This will allow PSCAA to substantially increase the number of inspectors on the ground enforcing burn bans. Participating municipalities include Pierce County and the cities of Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place and Puyallup.
·         PSCAA is developing a better process for enforcing burn bans when it’s dark (evening and early morning).
·         Starting this burn season, PSCAA will lower the trigger levels for calling burn bans as allowed by the new state law.
·         To get the word out about burn bans, enhanced enforcement practices and consequences of violating burn bans, PSCAA’s  will launch an awareness campaign this fall.

Wood stove removal and replacement program
·         Development of the 2012-2013 wood stove removal and replacement program is well underway. PSCAA has approximately $1.5 million this year to help people get rid of their old, polluting wood stoves and inserts and replace them with cleaner heating devices.
·         The program will offer full cost assistance to income-qualified wood burners and a lottery and bounty for all others meeting eligibility requirements.
·         Details of the program will be available by October.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chamber's Rep Chosen for Business Slot on County Salary Commission

The Pierce County Citizens Committee on Salaries for Elected Officials, held its first meeting last month, and will meet monthly through the end of the year.

The commission's regularly scheduled meetings will be held the fourth Wednesday of each month. Meetings will begin at 5 p.m. in Conference Room D of the Hess Building, located at 901 Tacoma Ave. S, Ste 105, Tacoma, WA 98405.

Meetings are open to the public. Meeting dates are as follows: Aug. 22, Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 26.

The citizen commission's role is to recommend to the County Council whether salary increases are warranted for the Assessor-Treasurer, Auditor, Executive and Sheriff. Under the Pierce County Charter, County Council salaries are 60 percent of the Executive's salary. Salaries for judges and the Prosecuting Attorney are set by state law.

Six of the commission's 10 members were selected by lot from voter registration rolls. The remaining four – representing labor, legal, business (Joanna Monroe) and human resources organizations - were nominated by the Executive and confirmed by the Council. The full list (below) is available in Resolution 2012-4, which confirmed the appointments. More information about the commission's directive is available in Ordinance 2012-21.

New EIS for County Flood Plain

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for Pierce County's proposed Rivers Flood Hazard Management Plan was released today. The statement evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the management plan, as well as two alternative approaches.

The flood plan will guide the management of flooding and channel migration hazards on major rivers, large tributaries and associated floodplains over the next 20 years. It is a comprehensive approach to reducing damages from major river flooding and channel migration, protecting public safety and improving fish habitat.

"The Final Environmental Impact Statement outlines the impacts and benefits of the plan and its alternatives on the earth, water, plants and animals, natural resources, land and shoreline use, transportation, and public service and utilities, among others," said Harold Smelt, manager of the Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Surface Water Management division.

The final version incorporates comments and new information the county received from the public and stakeholders during the review process.

The proposed Flood Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement will be brought before the Pierce County Council's Economic Infrastructure and Development Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 25. Committee meetings are televised on Pierce County TV, which can be found at

A hearing before the full County Council will be scheduled based on a recommendation from the committee.


In 1992, Pierce County adopted the Puyallup River Comprehensive Flood Control Management Plan for the Puyallup, Carbon and White rivers. The proposed Flood Plan will replace the 1992 plan and expand its scope to include the Nisqually, Greenwater, and Mashel rivers and South Prairie Creek.

In December 2009, a committee was formed to advise Pierce County on technical and policy issues related to the proposed Flood Plan. The committee included 26 representatives from federal, state, local and tribal government, business, agricultural, and environmental organizations, flood prone communities, and other interested parties. In addition, 14 public meetings were held between March 2010 and February 2012.

Scientific studies were completed to provide a better understanding of Pierce County river systems. In addition, an in-depth analysis of the potential economic impacts of major flooding in Pierce County was completed.

Documents available

The Final Environmental Impact Statement and proposed Flood Plan are available in a variety of formats. Please visit for a list of available formats and to view related information.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chamber Supports Transit, Not Prop 1

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to oppose Pierce Transit Proposition 1, up for voters in the November 6, 2012 general election.

“The Chamber has long supported transit in Pierce County—even supplying the headquarters for the establishment of Pierce Transit decades ago.  Unfortunately, the proposed sales tax levels are simply unacceptable.  As the Chamber continues to welcome businesses and jobs to the area, we need to stay competitive with the communities around us,” said Tom Pierson, Chamber President & CEO.

pdf of the Resolution

The Chamber believes in and supports maintaining transit operations. That the proposed tax levels would push sales taxes for Pierce County to the highest in the state is critical information that influenced many board members. Currently Tacoma and Pierce County sales tax are tied with Seattle, King County and other cities like Kirkland and Redmond for the highest sales tax rates before the proposed increase.

“Having the highest sales tax rate in the state is not a distinction Tacoma-Pierce County would want to be known for, “ Pierson said. “Being a community that preserves a reasonably business-and-economy friendly atmosphere is the sort of favorable distinction we should strive for instead."

Monday, August 13, 2012

2Q Tacoma Council Scorecard

You are likely one of the hundreds that took a look at our first ever elected official scorecard.  As you know that only covered issues brought up in the first quarter of 2012.

Now that the second quarter has wrapped up, we are pleased to present an updated scorecard.  The issues this quarter revolved around streamlining regulations and planning for future growth.  We were pleased to see the Council work together to open more doors for more businesses.

To ensure that past voting history is not lost, the scorecard has been expanded to include votes from not only the past quarter, but also the beginning of the year.  For a full page version of the scorecard and commentary, please download it from the Chamber website here: