The Voice for Industry
March 1, 2010
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Business Climate? Stormy

When it comes to environmental regulations, Seattle is home to one of the most difficult industrial landscapes in the world. If you doubt it, consider the multi-layered government approach to cleaning up storm water that targets Seattle industrial business and land owners.

The City of Seattle is now implementing a new set of regulations to govern the disposal of rainfall inside the city limits. This layer of regulations is being applied on top of the King County system to regulate the storm water runoff that enters the Metro sanitary sewer system, and both of these efforts came on top of Washington state storm water regulations that were adopted to bring our state into compliance with, yep, a fourth set of storm water directives mandated by the federal government.

Worse, the federal regulations empower citizen groups to seek civil penalties from any company that fails to comply and the groups happily do so. Citizen enforcement efforts cost local companies thousands of dollars every year and payments are extracted even for paperwork "violations" that have absolutely no practical impact on the environment.

These efforts are coordinated by no one we know of, except perhaps the lawyers for the watch dog groups, and the regulations are doing very little to help protect Puget Sound or other local waterways which are impacted far less by "industry" than by residential septic systems, lawn fertilizer and petroleum runoff and emissions from cars, trucks and buses.

For example, 340,000 vehicles cruise through Seattle every work day on Interstate 5 and State Route 99, dumping tons of water-borne pollution on Seattle buildings and land every year. And who pays for that? Well, you probably won't be surprised to learn that it's the legal responsibility of local business owners to establish on site systems to filter out a wide range of these pollutants before they enter waterways or the sewage system.

It doesn't matter where the rain comes from or what's in it when it lands. You "own" it in term of removing the pollutants.

It may all sound too strange to be true, but it is and this sorry state of affairs is the subject of a day long conference this Thursday, March 4, conducted by the Northwest Environmental Business Council.

"Managing Stormwater in Washington" will be held at Hilton Seattle Airport and Convention Center in SeaTac at 17620 International Blvd. Registration begins at 7 am and the program starts at 8. The conference concludes at 5, appropriately enough, with a cocktail reception because many will leave the conference needing a good, stiff drink.

The conference program, registration and other details are available from the NEBC at

Two Lanes, Two Years

Crews have closed two lanes on NE 12th Street in Bellevue.

If you drive on the NE 12th Street bridge in Bellevue, prepare for some major changes; two of the bridge's four lanes are closed for up to two years.

The road closure is necessary so crews can create a safe work zone as they build a higher, longer and wider overpass over I-405. The work is part of the I-405 Bellevue Braids Project designed to ease congestion between NE Eighth Street and SR 520.

While the overpass is closed, drivers will be limited to using just one lane in each direction and should expect and be prepared for delays on city streets.

US 97A Full Closure

FREIGHT TRAVEL ADVISORY US 97A (MP 204-205) North of Wenatchee

The slope stabling project will require 12 days of full closures of US 97A from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays - Thursdays with a brief half-hour opening at noon. The dates are: March 15-18, March 29 - April 1 and April 12-15.
Emergency services will be allowed through during closures. The work zone speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph. Oversize (width) restrictions are in effect.

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