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Articles written by Don C. Brunell


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  • Honoring families of those making ultimate sacrifice

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|May 23, 2024

    On Memorial Day, we traditionally honor Americans in our military who gave their lives in battle for our country. It is called the "Ultimate Sacrifice," and they died protecting our freedoms and keeping us safe. In recent times, we have acknowledged our citizens in uniform who continue to suffer with permanent combat emotional and physical scars. They are alive largely because our battlefield survival is dramatically improving, and our accompanying rehabilitation expands. This Memorial Day we...

  • Washington benefits from Alaska oil leasing

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|May 9, 2024

    Recently, President Biden launched the second phase of his attack on domestic oil and gas production by effectively blocking leases in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. That follows last year’s reimposed ban on exploration in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. Both actions are ill-advised. In the Wall Street Journal, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, quipped: “the Biden Administration has imposed more sanctions on Alaska than it has on Iran.” The Interior Department just blocked new oil and gas leasing on 13.3 million acres in Alas...

  • Pragmatic Kilmer, McMorris-Rodgers will be missed

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|May 2, 2024

    Unfortunately, too many pragmatic Democrats and Republicans in Congress are retiring at a time when we need them most. Two are from Washington: Reps. Derek Kilmer (D), Olympic Peninsula; and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), Eastern Washington. McMorris Rodgers and Kilmer cut their political teeth in Washington’s Legislature. While they faithfully followed their parties, they found ways to come together on issues vital to our state and nation. McMorris Rodgers was elected to Congress in 2004 and K...

  • 'Green energy' pieces filling dumps

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Apr 11, 2024

    While wind and solar farms generate “greenhouse gas free” electricity, there are ongoing concerns over their impacts on our environment especially as a rapidly growing number of worn-out blades and panels are landing in landfills. Those blades, housed on giant wind towers reaching over 250-feet in the sky, are starting to reach the end of their useful lives (15 to 20 years) and are being taken down, cut up and hauled to burial sites. Even though over 90 percent of the decommissioned wind tow...

  • Why no Easter lily sightseeing tours?

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Mar 28, 2024

    Easter is when potted Easter Lily plants start showing up in nurseries and supermarkets like poinsettias during the Christmas season. They adorn the altars and pulpits of most churches on Easter Sunday, but why don’t sightseers flock to fields to enjoy the spectacular sea of white blooms? The answer is a small group of family lily farmers who are bulb producers. They need to clip the flowers to concentrate the plant’s nutrients on bulb development. Fields of white flowers on the ground are not...

  • Managed forests on family tree farms reduce Greenhouse Gases

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Mar 7, 2024

    As climate change concerns grow, researchers are turning to family tree farmers for assistance. They have been helping for a century, but their efforts have gone unrecognized. The American Tree Farm program has emphasized sustainability and managing lands for water quality, wildlife, wood, and recreation. In recent years, it has included climate change. According to the American Forest Foundation, families and individuals collectively care for the largest portion of forests in the U.S., more...

  • Cleansing sewage essential to fresh water supply

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Feb 22, 2024

    In Washington, this year we hope to again escape the historic droughts plaguing other parts of the world. The Columbia River water system flowed at normal levels in recent years which is good for our agriculture, hydropower generation, barging, local water supplies, and fish and wildlife. However, 20 years ago we faced the same severe drought that is afflicting the world’s major river drainages including the Colorado River. That water scarcity forced factories to close, farmland to remain f...

  • EV Battery Recycling Requires Herculean Effort

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analsyt|Feb 1, 2024

    Each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries constituting 180,000 tons of hazardous material. The situation is likely to get worse as the world shifts to lithium batteries to power a massive influx of electric vehicles (EV). It needs immediate attention. Everyday-green.com reported more than 86,000 tons of single-use alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C and D) are thrown away yearly. They power electronic toys and games, portable audio equipment and flashlights and make up 20 perce...

  • Biden Needs to Expose His Secret Snake River Dam Plan to Reality

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Jan 18, 2024

    The $33 billion secret Snake River Dam plan that President Biden and friends cooked up in the White House basement needs to be exposed to the light of day and thoroughly aired by all. It is time to assess how it might work in the real world rather than wait and see what happens once it is implemented. While $33 billion may seem like “walking around” money to a President who tosses around trillion-dollar programs like horseshoes at the church picnic, the amount is equal to the yearly ope...

  • Biden Needs to Expose Secret Snake River Dam Plan to Reality

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Jan 11, 2024

    The $33 billion secret Snake River Dam plan that President Biden and friends cooked up in the White House basement needs to be exposed to the light of day and thoroughly aired by all. It is time to assess how it might work in the real world rather than wait and see what happens once it is implemented. While $33 billion may seem like “walking around” money to a President who tosses around trillion-dollar programs like horseshoes at the church picnic, the amount is equal to the yearly ope...

  • Dairy farmers pushing green cow power

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Jan 4, 2024

    In the 1990s, “things go better with Coca Cola” was the catchy slogan that dairy farmers dreaded. At the time, milk producers were in a head-to-head battle with soft drink giants and losing market share. Milk consumption had steadily declined over the previous two decades. One key reason was aggressive advertising by bottlers of iced tea, water, and soda pop. By 1993, nationwide milk consumption declined 20 percent and was down to less than one cup per person per day, Savuer.com reported. So,...

  • Finding the power for Christmas lights

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Dec 14, 2023

    It is that time of year when people put up their outside holiday lights and displays. Judging from our neighborhood they are decorating more than usual. In our country 90 percent of individuals say they plan to celebrate the holidays this year. Total retail sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas are projected to reach $957 billion. The setting for the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is reminiscent of bedecked suburban communities. Clark Griswold decorates every foot of his home and f...

  • Making Their Way to America

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Nov 23, 2023

    As we prepare for the upcoming holidays, we must be grateful for what we have and focus on our needs rather than fixate on what we want and crave. Being thankful starts with an appreciation of why our families came to America in the first place---our freedoms and opportunities. Legendary singer-song writer Neil Diamond hit single; “America” was performed in 1981 to help welcome home 52 American hostages that Iranian militants held for 444 days at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran. All they needed was...

  • Never Forget Our Vets

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analsyt|Nov 9, 2023

    While the last veterans who survived the “surprise” Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are dwindling rapidly, we cannot let their sacrifices and the memories of that horrific day which propelled America into World War II fade into history. On December 7, 1941, 350 Japanese aircraft descended on Honolulu’s military installations in two shocking waves. More than 2,400 Americans were killed, and 21 ships were sunk or damaged. Our soldiers, sailors and pilots who fought and won WWII are now 90 or ol...

  • Return of the Sockeye

    Don C. Brunell, The Gazette|Nov 2, 2023

    In 1992, a single male sockeye salmon managed to swim 900 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River to Redfish Lake located deep in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains---the end of his migratory journey. Biologists dubbed the sole survivor, “Lonesome Larry.” By 2010, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council happily reported record-setting runs for sockeye —387,000 had climbed the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam. Last year, 751 sockeye were trapped at Redfish Lake Creek and taken to nearby Sawtoot...

  • Hydrogen fuel investment good news

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Oct 19, 2023

    President Biden’s $65 billion infrastructure bill contains $8 billion for regional hubs to develop ways to produce and distribute hydrogen fuel. One is planned for the Pacific Northwest and should help haulers and truck manufacturers in Renton and Portland in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, long-distance haulers need a network of hydrogen fueling stations (like today’s truck stops) along with affordable trucks and fuel. Hub researchers’ added challenge is 95 pe...

  • Gas attacks stress struggling Americans

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Oct 5, 2023

    Gov. Jay Inslee inappropriately used our state’s building codes to ban natural gas in new homes and commercial buildings. Now, the Biden Administration is going a step further issuing rules that drastically clamp down on natural gas used in heating and air conditioning units. Inslee’s regulations phase out fossil fuels used for heating water and cooking in new buildings by 2030. They were the first steps to eliminating natural gas in and around the house. Biden’s Dept. of Energy (DOE) propo...

  • Biden's lease cancelations hurt Washington

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Sep 21, 2023

    While media focus was on Joe Biden’s decree putting a tiny plot of land within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) off limits to oil and gas exploration, reporters ignored the bigger story. Biden’s other proclamation forbids tapping more than 10 million acres within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, a 23-million-acre area on Alaska’s North Slope. That is the area which should replenish the crude oil drawdown stemming from Biden’s oil withdrawal from strategic wells establi...

  • Banning trucks running on diesel, natural gas is reckless

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Sep 14, 2023

    There is an axiom: Don’t let “the perfect” get in the way of the good! That is important to remember when it comes to improving our air quality. While climate activists want to banish all fossil fuels to control greenhouse gas (GHG), it is not possible today without epic disruption to our economy, supply chains, jobs, and quality of life. Simply, getting to “zero emission” cannot happen by government edicts. It takes innovation driven by the private sector. For example, the California Air Resou...

  • Focus on powerlines to avoid fires

    Don C. Brunell|Aug 24, 2023

    Many fingers are again pointed at electric utilities because downed power lines are suspected of starting another horrific wildfire---the one that raced through Lahaina killing hundreds of unsuspecting people. Who would have imagined that one day, the historic Hawaiian capitol on Maui would be a thriving tourist destination and 24-hours later it would be piles of smoldering rubble and ashes which included remains of people? Cellphone video reveals that high winds down live electric lines which...

  • Blame the beetles for forest health

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Aug 17, 2023

    Growing up in the 60s, our parents blamed everything on “The Beatles.” According to them, they were “the punks” from Liverpool who caused all the teenagers to go crazy. Lately, there is another group of “Beatles” giving people fits, only their names are spelled differently. These “beetles” are tiny insects that burrow under the bark of mature needle-bearing trees (conifers) and munch on the nutrient layers. In time, they suffocate whole forests and create immense debris fields. In fact, those tiny bugs provide much of the dead wood fueling to...

  • Kudos to Rio Tinto for Cleaning Up Holden Mine Site

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Aug 10, 2023

    Today, good works are often brushed aside or ignored---especially, if done by one of the world’s largest mining companies. However, Rio Tinto deserves kudos for its half-billion-dollar mine cleanup in Holden., a remote village in the picturesque North Cascade mountains just south of Lake Chelan. Rio Tinto did not mine an ounce of copper or other precious metals at Holden. It acquired the site as part of a larger purchase. It gathered interested stakeholders together and ironed solutions o...

  • Bumper cherry crop sweetens farm economy

    Don C. Brunell, Business Analyst|Jul 20, 2023

    The good news is this state’s cherry crop looks good—a marked improvement over 2022. It is sweetening our farm economy especially for cherry growers who have struggled over the last five years. “Last year’s cold, wet April brought down the cherry crop,” Wenatchee World writer Gabriel Garcia recently reported. “But this year, the Washington state cherry harvest is in full swing, and the industry is optimistic about it.” Washington’s cherry growers expect to pick 21 million 20-pound boxes...

  • Red tape shackling manufacturers

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Jul 13, 2023

    Until President Biden signed the Chips and Science Act (CSA) last year, companies, such as Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. looked elsewhere to build plants costing well over $20 billion each. Biden’s pitch to taxpayers was ultramodern manufacturers of miniature computer chips used in our sophisticated weapons, advanced manufacturing, cars and trucks, and high-tech equipment needed to move back to the U.S A. Congress responded and passed CSA supplying a $280 billion to e...

  • Mining Mine Wastes Key To Critical Minerals Supply

    Don C. Brunell, Business analyst|Jun 15, 2023

    China’s growing dominance of critical metals production and stockpiles is setting off global alarms. It has American manufacturers in a bind as they ramp up domestic electric vehicle (EV) battery production. Ores containing these elements are in deposits across our planet; however, the technology to process them is largely in China. As the China Communist Party (CCP) under Xi Jinping exerts its leverage, America and its allies are facing global economic and military challenges. China is t...

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