Christine Gregoire

Gregoire says budget cuts won't stop progress on environment

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- Even while dealing with international climate change negotiations here, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is thinking about the recession back home. She admits it will hold back environmental progress but says she intends to move foward as best Washington can:

Gregoire at Copenhagen climate talks: Green energy the way to rescue economy

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- In this second of three segments in her interview with InvestigateWest, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire argues that the way to revive the economy is through green jobs needed to fight climate change:

Gregoire, at Copenhagen climate talks, negotiates to bring green-energy companies to Pacific Northwest

By Alexander Kelly and Blair Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire says she is negotating at the United Nations talks on climate change here with two foreign firms considering launching green-energy ventures in Washington:

This is as much a trade mission for me, an economic development, as it is to represent Washington state and the United States to the rest of the world to show that we are accepting our role and we are leading.

More in this, the first of three segments of InvestigateWest's interview with Gregoire:

Puget Sound fouled by West Point sewage

Last spring, PBS's Frontline aired an episode called Poisoned Waters that investigated major U.S. waterways in “peril” due to pollution. Among them was Puget Sound.

“We thought all the way along that [Puget Sound] was like a toilet: What you put in, you flush out...We  [now] know that's not true. It's like a bathtub: What you put in stays there,”Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire told Frontline.

Puget Sound just got a little dirtier. Beginning Monday night and lasting until Tuesday morning, around 10 million gallons of sewage flowed from the West Point Treatment Plant, located in Magnolia, into Puget Sound.

“This situation is unacceptable,” wrote Christie True, director of King County's Wastewater Treatment Division, on the King County website.

According to King County's website, “the overflow began as employees prepared the plant for high flows during last night’s rainfall. Standard operating procedures during wet weather entail readying an emergency bypass gate that can open automatically to prevent flooding inside the plant that could harm workers and damage equipment.”

A switch malfunctioned, activating the bypass gate and diverting the untreated wastewater into Puget Sound. Pam Elardo, the plant's manager, told the Seattle Times that it took three hours to repair the switch in order to close the bypass gate.

King County immediately closed nearby beaches out of concern for public health and inspection. The county took samples of the water and will continue to monitor the water over the next couple of days.

Supporters of Wash. gay rights bill sue to halt Ref. 71

Supporters of Washington State's "everything but marriage" gay-rights expansion bill have sued the Secretary of State in an attempt to block an initiative to bring the bill before Washington voters in November, Janet I. Tu of The Seattle Times reports.

In May, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law a bill that would have expanded the state's domestic partnership law, first established in 2007. Passed by more than half of state legislators, the bill would have provided domestic partners with the same benefits as married couples.

Opponents of the bill have since made speedy efforts to collect 120,577 signatures for Referendum 71, an attempt to overturn the state's decision and put the bill in the hands of voters.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of struggles over the signatures, which are still being counted. Opponents and supporters have taken turns craning their necks over state-appointed checkers, and both sides have complained that the signatures have been unfairly accepted and rejected by state workers.  Now, as the count draws to an end, proponents of the bill have made what some have called a "last-ditch effort" to block Ref. 71. from getting on the November ballot. The lawsuit seeks a temporary hold on the referendum, arguing that two types of signatures -- voters who had not registered prior to signing the petition, and those who did not sign the back of the petitions -- are padding the counts.

In an effort to increase transparency, staff from the Secretary of State have put together a daily blog and a Twitter to follow the signature counts.