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Mukilteo Beacon
Mukilteo , Washington
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June 21, 2006     Mukilteo Beacon
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June 21, 2006
 

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2 - Mukiiteo Bea6on - June 21, 2006 on air MRD members want to know what actions will fly ~ PAUL ARCHIPLEY ~e Beacon lready moving at a snail's pace, the panel charged with reviewing Paine Field uses ground to a halt last week when it voted to seek le- gal opinion on its work. Panel co-chair and Everett Mayor Ray Stephenson of- fered a motion and won a 7-3 vote asking the County Coun- cil to hire an independent attorney who would provide opinions on two points: First, to determine wheth- er the documents collectively known as the Mediated Role Determination that encour- age general aviation and in- dustrial uses (such as Boeing and Goodrich) are "valid." And second, to advise the panel on what, if anything, can be legally done to encour- age or discourage regularly scheduled passenger service at the airport. Stephenson said he felt he needed more information to properly do the job he'd been asked to do. "I feel somewhat ham- strung. I believe I'm being asked to do something with- out all the information I need to make a determination," he said. PanelmemberandMukilteo Councilmember Lori Kaiser objected, noting the MILD is a policy document, not a legal one. She warned that general questions, such as what is "valid," would merely elicit general answers. But Stephenson successful- ly argued that the panel's rec- ommendations to the County Council would likely result in legal action by factions unhappy with its position, in particular on the question of scheduled passenger service. "I don't think we should be afraid of the answer. We're headed for a showdown," he said. "If a motion passes to en- courage passenger service, don't you think there would be a legal challenge?" "I guarantee it," said panel co-chair and former Mukilteo Mayor Don Doran. Doran, who has fought Paine Field expansion for more than a decade, said no one has ever suggested that the MRD is a legal document. "What I keep hearing is that although the MRD has been given the 'weight' of a legal document, the fact of the matter is, it isn't," Doran said. "It's more of a gentleman's agreement. I haven't heard anyone suggest the MRD forc- es the county to do one thing or another." Peter Camp of the County Executive's office also ques- tioned the action. "From the county's per- spective, part of the panel's charter was not to determine the MRD's legality," Camp said. And he agreed that the first part of the motion could be an exercise in futility, "In law, a word has differ- ent meanings depending on the context. So ff you asked me about the validity of the document, I'd have a difficult time knowing what you want- ed," Camp said. "I could run up some huge billable hours on you." But following the vote, Camp said he was scouring the region for attorneys who are expert in FAA law and, at the same time, working on the scope of what will be asked of that attorney. He said the scope of action would be presented to the panel before it goes to the at- torney, and they would expect to have the answers before the panel reconvenes in August. Doran said he didn't learn about Stephenson's planned motion until minutes before the meeting. And he wasn't happy about it. "Our mantra has been that this should be an open, pub- lic process," Doran said. "The public didn't know about this, and neither did I nor some other panel members. "When you're going to ask for a motion, it should be fair to notify the public, the panel and, clearly, the co-chair. That didn't happen." Doran guessed that Ste- phenson may have been react- ing to pressure from members of the business community who favor regular passenger service at Paine Field. "We suspect Mayor Ste- phenson was looking for a short-term media splash," Doran said. Biodiesel already used in Mukilteo LAURA WILCOX l e Beacon city officials te whether or not to switch their vehicles to biodiesel, the Olympus Ter- race Sewer District has al- ready put the environmen- tally friendly fuel to use. So far, OTSD staff have seen no negative side effects to their decision to switch from diesel to biodiesel last January "I'm shocked that the city is still studying something that Snohomish County and we're using there's no need to study it, you just use it. It's not that big of a deal," OTSD's Gil Bridges said. Bridges, who fellow OTSD worker Daryn Janda calls a "biodiesel guru," is the waste water treatment plant man- ager and decided to make the switch with the approval of the district manager. OTSD usesa 20 percent blend of biodiesel and pc- troleum, called B-20, in their trucks, and staff have seen no difference in engine per- formance, Bridges said. "We want to be pro-active and environmentally friend- ly," he said. Bridges said biodiesel burns cleaner than straight petroleum, is safer to use, and is less toxic to spill. He added that it has a higher flammability rate, which means more heat is needed to ignite it compared to petroleum. According to www.biodie- sel.org, it is less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar. It's also made from domestic renewable re- sources, such as soybeans. Biodiesel is sold at a farm- er's market in Bellingham, and is locally produced by WholeEnergy in Mount Ver- non. The last purchase OTSD made was for $3.33 a gal- lon-and that was delivered. McEvoy, a fuel company in Everett, will bring the fuel right to you. Bridges said it's not the biodiesel that is expensive; it's the petroleum you mix it with, and with the constant fluctuating in gas prices, the cost of biodiesel fluctuates as well. You can run your diesel vehicle on 100 percent biodie- sel, but you might have some problems with plugged fil- ters. However, this is because biodiesel is an effective cleaner, and once everything is filtered out of the engine, there should be no prob- lems. If you have a new car, you should be able to start using it without any concerns of filter clogging at all, because the engine is already clean, Bridges said. OTSD is also working with farmers in Mansfield, Wash and in Snohomish County who use their biosolids for fertilizer to begin growing canola oil seed crops instead of wheat for biodiesel pro- duction. "Washington state is try- ing to be pro-active and so is King County, and thank goodness Snohomish Coun- ty is, too," Bridges said. 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