Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Federal Government’ Category

U.S. report: global energy use to rise 56 percent by 2040

by Matt Rosenberg July 30th, 2013

Fueled by growth in emerging economies led by China and India, global energy usage between 2010 and 2040 will jump 56 percent while carbon dioxide emissions from energy use will rise 46 percent, according to the “reference case” 2013 International Energy Outlook released in full today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Fossil fuels will continue to 2040 to provide almost four-fifths of global energy used, according to the outlook.

King County DUI plea deal with Renton driver accents recent U.S. high court constraints on blood alcohol tests

by Matt Rosenberg July 16th, 2013

Because of an April U.S. Supreme Court ruling normally barring consideration of blood alcohol tests done without search warrants, says a King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office official, a 20-year-old Renton woman who ran into a man in a wheelchair at a crosswalk and who had levels of alcohol and marijuana in her blood that exceeded legal limits, got off last Friday with misdemeanor convictions and related sentences rather than facing the original felony charges. On July 12 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas finalized a plea deal between the county and attorneys for defendant Emily Sue Falkenstein resulting in her conviction on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and reckless endangerment rather than the original felony charges of vehicular assault and felony reckless endangerment. That’s directly because prosecutors were unable to use blood tests taken shortly afterward due to the April high court ruling in the case of Missouri v. McNeely, said Ian Goodhew, Deputy Chief of Staff to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

“Smart guns” with user ID coming; Washington state reactions mixed

by Peggie Duggan July 3rd, 2013

In January of this year a month after the murder of 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut by a disturbed shooter using his mother’s weapons, President Obama issued 23 executive actions to address gun violence – including commissioning a report that would assess the state and availability of new gun safety technologies to limit unauthorized use. On June 17 came the assessment from the National Institute of Justice. “A Review of Gun Safety Technologies” says two different types of what some term “smart guns” – keyed to authorized users only – are coming to market this year and advance orders are already being taken for one, the Kodiak Intelligun.

But reactions to the report were mixed among Washington state law enforcement officials, legislators and gun rights supporters. Some saw potential benefits in improved safe storage and could foresee continuing progress in performance and acceptance. Others worried about reliability or said the emphasis instead should be on illegal possession, a more robust system of background checks, and more educational outreach to at-risk teens about added penalties for using a gun in a crime.

Defense work worth up to $770M to Pac NW firms in Q2

by Matt Rosenberg June 20th, 2013

In the second quarter of 2013 to date, Pacific Northwest companies mainly in Washington state – and other than Boeing directly – have been awarded contracts by the U.S. Department of Defense worth up to $769.6 million for software management services, drone support, infrared targeting and payload delivery systems, wood products, fuel, shipping containers, ship maintenance, paving, medical research and more.

Tutorial: Using NOAA’s U.S. Climate Data Mapping Tool

by Matt Rosenberg June 17th, 2013

Federal data for 2012 show Washingtonians can feel confident crowing about how cool and moist is their climate, even if some other parts of the country experienced record or very high heat and record or very low rainfall. 2012 temperatures and precipitation are depicted in a series of maps from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration covering the country, regions, states and climate sub-divisions within states. The tool allows views of data back to 2002.

UW Expert: WA Legal Pot Requires Public Health Vigilance

by Matt Rosenberg June 17th, 2013

Voter-approved legalization of marijuana last fall in Washington state via I-502 may well improve regulation, oversight, social justice outcomes and revenue collection around use of the drug, but at the same time will warrant ongoing scrutiny for potential public health problems, particularly among the young, according to a new paper published by a University of Washington drug addiction expert in the journal Frontiers of Psychiatry.

Inspector General: Misuse, Sloth at Key EPA Facility

by Peggie Duggan June 14th, 2013

In an “Early Warning Report” the Office of the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency recommended to the agency it take immediate action on its largest warehouse. Parts of the EPA headquarters storage site had been converted into a workers’ playtime complex for contractor employees while other sections were markedly unsanitary and unsafe. The contractor, Apex Logistics, LLC, had been previously described by EPA as “uniquely qualified” to do warehouse management work though there’d been no on-site reviews at the 77,000 square foot HQ warehouse in Landover, Maryland since it was leased by the agency in 2007. Following a briefing last month from the OIG about conditions there, EPA moved quickly to take corrective steps.

Pols urge “system-wide” tolling study; I-90 EIS looms

by Matt Rosenberg May 22nd, 2013

Proposed electronic tolling of I-90 just east of Seattle – to fill a $1.4 billion gap in building the western approach of a new bridge on SR 520 – is getting more complicated. There will now be a full Environmental Impact Statement, not just an Environmental Assessment. Regional pols are also pushing for a “system-wide” study of tolling in greater Seattle which they say should include looking at using vehicle tolling revenues to fund transit. And in the end it could be that instead of relying on I-90 user fees, tolling on a broader swath of SR 520 itself will help pay for the new bridge’s western approach.