June 7, 2011

If a tree pollutes in the woods…

By If a tree pollutes in the woods…

Author: Brian T. HodgesPseudotsuga_menziesii_28236

For years, Washington’s Department of Ecology has been trying to determine the source of pollutants entering Puget Sound.  The presumption, of course, has been that those dastardly humans who have the gall to live in a home and drive to work – god forbid that they take a trip to one of those maligned strip malls – are the source of everything bad.  And the solutions coming from the government have been ever increasing fees, taxes, and regulations on developed lands. 

Meanwhile, the primary culprit all along has been …  wait for it … trees! 

A new Ecology study reports that forests, which make up 83% of the watershed, are responsible for roughly 10,000 tons of pollutants (including naturally occurring compounds from decaying plants) per year in the Puget Sound region.  Only a fraction of pollutants reaching Puget Sound come from developed lands.  Imagine that! 

This should be good news.

But, as we all know, good news usually comes with a price.  Already, a coalition of government, environmentalists, and labor interests are using this study to propose tax increases to pay for stormwater control projects.  I say, tax the trees.

A summary of Ecology's study can be found here.

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