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The Daily Troll: Metro under threat. Goodbye, Lake Union fireworks.

City Council pleases its critics on waste hauling to Eastern Washington. A new report looks at the competing arguments on coal ports.

Fireworks: The big dud

Longtime organizer One Reel said today that there will be no Lake Union 4th of July fireworks for Seattle this year. A spokeswoman told the seattlepi.com that the decision was final. Last year, One Reel got a big boost in sponsorships and contributions after heavy media coverage of a shortfall in sponsorships. It looks like going to that well a second time wasn't a viable strategy.

Coal: The avalanche of comments

The government agencies reviewing a large coal port proposed north of Bellingham today released their summary of the stunning 124,000 comments on how large an environmental review to undertake. Supporters of the plant argue for its additional jobs and want a review focused on the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal itself, while opponents raised concerns ranging from global warming to increased risks of maritime accidents in Northwest waters. 

Crosscut's Floyd McKay says the three main agencies (the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington State Department of Ecology and Whatcom County) will likely take until the fall to assess the comments and decide how large an environmental impact study to conduct. His recent Coal Wars series on the competing arguments about the scope of the EIS and other Crosscut coverage of the issue can be found on our Coal Ports page.

Compost stink drifts away

Seattle City Council today approved a revised agreement to begin shipping food waste, yard clippings and other compost to Eastern Washington. The agreement requires that a still-undetermined Eastern Washington site not only be outside the Mountains to Sound Greenway, but also well-removed from forests, rivers and any neighborhoods that might be affected by odor. The revised agreement brought applause from the audience, some of which had expressed concerns about impacts around Cle Elum under an earlier version of the city's plan.

The city's plan to ship most garbage to Eastern Washington could remain in effect for up to 10 years. But councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Tom Rasmussen urged Seattle Public Utilities to get moving quickly on more local and environmentally friendly approaches.

Out like a lamb

March ended beautifully, and Cliff Mass's weather blog underlined how much of a change it was from last year's "dismal" month and recent wet, cool beginnings to spring. Seattle had an inch less rain this March than normal. Portland was even drier: It had its third driest March on record at the airport, according to PortlandWeather.com. And before we start fretting that Mother Nature will make us pay later for the current good fortune, consider that Portland has had three consecutive wet springs, culminating with its wettest March ever last year.

Metro Transit worries

Metro Transit today released a report on service changes it will have to consider without help on its finances, which are currently scheduled to take a big hit when a two-year tax expires mid-2014. Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said one-third of all routes could be up for elimination, and another 40 percent might see service reductions. The county can't renew the expiring tax of $20 per vehicle without new authority from the state Legislature.

Early last month, Desmond gave a presentation on the overall financial picture. Here's part of it (you can find more here).

The Daily Troll is about to publish its 100th made-for-the-evening-commute summaries of the news. Still fresh after 100 editions! You can sign up to get it in your inbox every afternoon.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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