Can’t beat this heat
Earlier this month, the University of Washington’s Office of the State Climatologist forecasted above average temperatures across the state for the next three months. The predictions come on the heels of Washington experiencing its warmest May on record and lower than average precipitation, triggering a drought advisory from the Department of Ecology (DOE).
It also tracks with conditions globally. Data this month showed that average world temperatures measured over a one week stretch resulted in the hottest recorded seven-day period ever.
This development sparked the head of the United Nations to say that climate change was out of control.
While people globally and statewide brace for scorching temperatures, the biggest climate news to come out of the state Legislature last week was 43 state lawmakers who signed onto a letter insisting that the DOE ease climate regulations.
The letter suggested eight rule changes to Washington’s “cap and invest” program, which requires companies that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon a year into the atmosphere to pay for each metric ton in total.
The bill that created the program passed in 2021, creating a finite number of permits that are auctioned off at least four times a year. The next auction is scheduled for August, with Republican lawmakers urging the DOE to take action before then.
With proceeds from the program going to finance environmental-related projects addressing droughts and wildfires, many state Democrats see the program as a necessary cudgel incentivizing companies to prioritize decarbonization.
Past review needed
The Washington state Office of Independent Investigations (OII) is presently accepting requests to review prior investigations of cases involving the use of deadly force by law enforcement. More details and information on how to submit can be found on the OII website.
All investigations are performed by the OII Investigations Division. They will involve regional supervisors, who are experienced investigators who will lead a team of other investigators; senior investigators, who will conduct the investigations; and investigators, who are staff who are undergoing field training to become more proficient in use-of-force investigations.
The creation of the OII was requested by Gov. Jay Inslee based on recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Independent Investigations of Police Use of Force.
The Task Force was convened in 2020 following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Manuel Ellis in Tacoma. The agency presently has one office in Olympia but is seeking to open six more branches statewide. Its public website launched in January 2023.
Read more of the July 19-25, 2023 issue.