Talking Points: Jay Manning

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Jay ManningJay Manning, director of the Washington State Department of Ecology, developed an interest in environmental protection after watching the forests of his native south Kitsap County get carved up into subdivisions. First as an attorney and now as a civil servant, he has worked with the business community to achieve environmental objectives.

Jay ManningJay Manning, director of the Washington State Department of Ecology, developed an interest in environmental protection after watching the forests of his native south Kitsap County get carved up into subdivisions. First as an attorney and now as a civil servant, he has worked with the business community to achieve environmental objectives.

On Accommodating Growth in Washington: We've done quite well [encouraging] low-impact development and fairly well in terms of promoting density and infill. But even a good system, when it runs up against intensive growth, is very hard to manage. This is a beautiful, attractive place and people are going to move here. I just hope we don't love it to death.

On Global Warming: There will be a 60 to 80 percent loss of snowpack by 2060. In a basin like Yakima, there isn't enough water to go around. To take that much runoff out of the equation causes problems for existing water users such as farmers, and it also creates issues for growth. Warming could also have a devastating impact on fisheries. And the human health impacts will also be great. There will be mortality, disease and pests that expand their range.

On Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Transportation creates 47 percent of [our] greenhouse gases. Very soon, cars will have to meet [our] new tailpipe emission standards. We also have one of the nation's most stringent energy codes for new construction, and the governor has directed the building code council to ramp those up in terms of efficiency. A new cap-and-trade program [to come before the U.S. Congress next year] will be the centerpiece of our policy. 

On the New Green Economy: We are one of the leaders in the world in the transition from carbon-based fuels to renewables. We are the only state in the union that has a numeric goal for green job growth, and we've blown past it. Think of the infrastructure we need to build to support electric cars. The amount of work for electricians alone is huge. There are also opportunities for timber and agriculture to profit from carbon offsets. 

On Forest Management: One big forest fire can undo a lot of CO2 reductions. As the climate gets warmer and drier, the fire risk goes up. We need to find ways to agree to take dead and dying trees out, use them as fuel, and replant and reforest. We need to put away some of the baggage that timber harvesting has generated.

On the Impacts of Carbon Trading: If there is no cost impact from a carbon cap, then it probably won't work. To reduce carbon, you generally have to invest in new tech and new processes. There is some fear among big energy users like refineries. We want to work with them to make this transition as easy as it can be. My mission is to protect the environment and human health. But if I do that in a way that is oblivious to economic consequences, I won't be here very long. I won't be very effective.

 

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