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Washington

Significant Washington Land Returned To The Colville Tribe

In Washington state, nestled in a habitat corridor linking the Cascades to the Rockies, in the heart of the Tunk Creek Valley, there’s a conservation story that is closely tied to the peoples connected to this land—and continues to breathe with the transfer of Indigenous lands back to the original stewards. It takes place on a large ranch, owned by the Figlenski family for over four generations, who have their own stories connected to the valley. As generations of the Figlenski family began to pass away, Ernie Figlenski knew he’d only let go of the property under the conditions it would still be intact as well as healthily managed—unlike some nearby properties that have been broken apart and transferred without preservation in mind.

How A Gas Facility Started A Fight Over Climate Change And Sovereignty

In the Tideflats of Tacoma, Washington, beyond the masts of sailboats anchored in the Puyallup Tribe’s marina, pipelines emerge from the earth and snake their way inland. Their destination — an 8 million-gallon liquefied methane gas tank — was once considered by politicians to be the logical answer to the climate crisis. Now, it’s the center of a local controversy with international implications. The tank, owned by Puget Sound Energy, is the product of a recent era of proposed climate solutions. In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency gave the shipping company TOTE Maritime a waiver to switch its operations to methane gas, also referred to as natural gas, in order to encourage it to lower the sulfur output from its diesel emissions.

Peace And Environmental Activists Protested Major DOD Fuel Depot

Manchester, Washington - Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, 350 West Sound Climate Action, Earth Care Not Warfare and other peace and environmental groups met at noon at Manchester State Park.  From there, they walked to the Manchester fuel depot, the Department of Defense’s largest single-site fuel terminal in the United States, and demanded that the U.S. military reduce its carbon footprint while reducing its global military footprint on the planet.  The U.S. military has approximately 750 military bases around the world and emits more carbon into the atmosphere than 140 nations. If the U.S. military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal.

Police Arrest Seven Pro-Palestine Protestors In Washington D.C.

West Bank - The U.S. police in Washington D.C. arrested on Monday seven pro-Palestine protestors from organizations and associations supporting the Palestinian right during a peaceful demonstration in front of the Israeli occupation’s embassy in Washington rejecting Israeli ethnic cleansing in occupied Jerusalem and Anaqab “Negev”. During the demonstration, a sit-in was held at the entrance to the embassy, with the participation of dozens of activists and people in solidarity with Palestine, as well as members of the U.S. Palestinian community. The protestors gathered peacefully outside the Israeli Embassy to denounce the forced expulsion of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem and Anaqab.

Proposal Would Create Alert System For Missing Indigenous People

A bill proposed in Olympia would create an alert system for missing and murdered Indigenous women and people, the first of its kind in Washington and the United States. House Bill 1725 would create an alert to help identify and locate missing Indigenous women and people. Similar to “silver alerts” for missing vulnerable adults, it would broadcast information about missing Indigenous people on message signs and in highway advisory radio messages when activated, as well as through news releases to local and regional media, according to a news release from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. It would be the first alert system specifically for missing and murdered Indigenous women and people in the country, the news release said.

Politics And Prose Becomes First Unionized Bookstore In DC

We are pleased to announce that Politics and Prose and UFCW Local 400 have reached agreement on the scope of a bargaining unit at P&P, and the union has now been formally recognized as the collective bargaining agent for the bookstore unit. Both parties are committed to working together collegially and constructively to negotiate a contract for unionized employees and ensuring that Politics and Prose continues to play a vital role in our community. In a statement, P&P owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine said: “As stewards of a local, independent business with a 37-year legacy of progressive management and mission, we’ve valued collaborating with employees to solve problems and address needs, and we look forward to working with the union in the same spirit.”

Puyallup Tribe And Community Organizations Challenge Decision Allowing Tacoma LNG Facility

Today, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and several community organizations filed an appeal with Pierce County Superior Court challenging a November decision by the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB). Despite misleading and inaccurate information used to evaluate the project, PCHB determined the Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) air permits, issued by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) and given to the Tacoma Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility, were adequate.

Data Suggests Police Prey On Drivers In Black DC Neighborhoods

In Washington D.C., Black residents fill the city’s coffers with fines and fees collected through traffic enforcement. A new analysis from The Washington Post found that 62 percent of all fines were from majority Black neighborhoods with an average median income of less than $50,000. Metro Database Reporter John D. Harden searched through millions of records over a five-year period from 2016 to 2020. According to the report, the disparity remains even through the pandemic period of March 2020 to June 2021. In a Twitter thread, Harden laid out some facts about the cycle of debt that can trap some drivers in the District. Harden’s reporting also illustrates the importance of data in exposing inequality. Data analyzed revealed that two-thirds of drivers ticketed by police since 2019 were Black.

Addressing America’s Homelessness And Squalor

Washington, Ward 1 - “I wanna know where the $2.5 million is – that’s my reaction.” Muhsin Boe Luther Umar — or as we call him, Uncle Boe — throws his hands up and shakes his head. In his role as both Resident Council President at Garfield Terrace and D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B03 Member, he’s had more than his fair share of dealings with D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA). So I had asked him what his reaction was upon hearing about the recent audit of three DCHA contracts, which found nearly $1.4 million in wasted funds. “You’re talking $1.4, I’m talking about $2.5 million spent on one senior housing building,” he says. Back in 2018, D.C. is said to have spent $2.5 million on “weatherizing” improvements for Garfield Terrace, “$975,000 spent to keep the roof from leaking – it’s still leaking,” Boe says, pointing to the water stains on the ceiling.

Peace Organizations Win Fight For Records On Explosives At Naval Base

Washington - On August 31, 2020, Judge Ronald B. Leighton ordered the release of eleven records that the  Navy had provided to Plaintiffs in 2012 in the course of a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) lawsuit that were sealed later in 2012 in a secret court hearing.  Judge Leighton also lifted a gag order imposed upon Plaintiffs over seven years ago.   Following the ruling by Judge Leighton, on October 23, 2020, Judge Thomas S. Zilly in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma ordered the Navy to pay legal fees incurred by two peace...

Washington State Law Puts Limits On Facial Recognition Technology

Olympia, WA - Last week, a Washington state law went into effect that requires a warrant for ongoing and realtime facial recognition surveillance. The new law will not only help protect privacy in Washington state; it will take a step toward hindering one aspect of the federal surveillance state. A coalition of 10 Democrats introduced Senate Bill 6280 (SB6280) on Jan. 14. The new law requires law enforcement agencies to get a warrant “to engage in ongoing surveillance, to conduct real-time or near real-time identification, or to start persistent tracking” with just a few exceptions. This includes using facial recognition technology to scan crowds, streets or neighborhoods. Police can utilize facial recognition without a warrant when exigent circumstances exist or with a court order authorizing the use of the service for the sole purpose of locating or identifying a missing person, or identifying a deceased person.

Washington State Patrol Instructed Officers To Assault Protesters

In an alarming report the Washington State Patrol (WSP) has issued an apology after a command officer was caught on video telling fellow officers to assault protesters. The officer said:  Don’t kill them, but hit them hard. Seattle Times reports: The Washington State Patrol has apologized after video surfaced of an officer telling his team, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard,” while preparing to clear protesters from the streets in Seattle’s Capitol Hill on Tuesday evening. Newsweek reports: A Washington State Patrol officer was recorded telling his officers to hit protestors hard ahead of a night on patrol in the Seattle area Tuesday. The officer, who has not been identified, was filmed speaking to others in the patrol group, telling them, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard.” The video was later shared to social media. The video, taken shortly before 7:45 p.m. Tuesday by Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride, and a Burien City Council member and deputy mayor, is alarming.

Class War Violence: Centralia 1919

The Centralia American Legion and the leading businessmen of that city had more than a parade in mind when they gathered on November 11, 1919, to celebrate Armistice Day. Apparently believing that the spectacle of political violence would enhance the patriotic experience, they concocted a plan to raid the Centralia IWW Hall. IWW halls were of great practical and symbolic importance to workers. As Wobbly activist and historian Ralph Chaplin explains, the halls were loved by workers, but despised by employers.

Victory: Trump Administration Backs Down, Withdraws Proposal To Restrict Protest

On October 28, 2019, the National Park Service said "In response to more than 140,000 comments received from the public and stakeholders, the National Park Service (NPS) today announced it is withdrawing its August 2018 proposal to revise the First Amendment and Special Use Permit regulations for the National Mall, President’s Park and other national parks in the Washington, D.C. area." This victory shows once again that if we unite and act in solidarity we can win. Now that we have kept our right to protest, we urge people to exercise those rights in the coming years. The 2020s will be a decade of potential transformational change but it will only happen if people mobilize to demand the change we need. 

Washington Court Upholds Climate Necessity Defense

Today climate activists in the U.S. celebrate a crucial victory. Yesterday the Washington Supreme Court denied the State’s petition for review in environmental activist Ken Ward’s case and set a Washington State precedent recognizing the necessity defense for direct action for the sake of preventing catastrophic climate change. “This victory upholds the right of a defendant to assert the necessity defense to the charges brought by the State and also strengthens the essential role that a jury of community members will play in determining whether the accused should be found guilty or not,” said Lauren Regan...
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