October 9, 2009

Bad day to be green in Tacoma – dirty air, polluting sailing ships

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rita_hibbardweb8Bummer day to be green in Tacoma.

Not only is the air in the somewhat unfragrant city to the south of Seattle among the dirtiest in the country, but the state ship is now officially too dirty to enter California waters.

Bummer.

Bottom line on the Bad Air Deal: the city has to come up with a plan to clean up its air by 2014, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Tacoma is the only city in the state to make the list of the dirtiest 31.  The pollution designation is for ultra fine particles found in smoke and haze –  what you and I call smog.

In anticipation of the listing, several elements of a pollution control plan have been instituted in Tacoma. They include measures taken by the Port of Tacoma to reduce diesel exhaust, efforts by the city and Pierce County to move to less polluting vehicles, and programs intended to motivate consumers to weatherize their homes.

Then there’s that ship. It looks beautiful, the Lady Washington, one of the tall ships used in the Disney film “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The ship normally spends its winters in California waters, where it welcomes more than 70,000 visitors, including 7,000 school kids. Not this winter. The Lady’s 60-year-old diesel engine has been deemed unwelcome in the green state of California. That’s a big hit in the revenue column.

Operators are working to raise the $100,000 needed to replace the aging engine with a less-polluting variety.

 — Rita Hibbard

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