News from Olympia

Washington Audubon identified three priorities coming into the current legislative session: setting a clean-fuel standard, revising the Growth Management Act to address climate change, and preserving funding for environmental programs. Nothing is a done deal, but there is reason for optimism in all three cases.

Our own Rep. Fitzgibbon is the main sponsor of HSB 1091, which would set a Clean Fuel Standard for Washington State. Transportation accounts for about 40 percent of the state’s carbon output. This bill will be the blueprint we need to transition to an electrified transportation future. It has been proposed more than once in recent years but has yet to reach the Governor’s desk. With some modifications and a different track through the various committees, HSB 1091 appears to be on its way to becoming law this session!

If you are in an emailing or calling mood, Rep. Cody and Sen. Nguyen should be encouraged to support and co-sponsor this bill. And a “thank you” for Fitzgibbon couldn’t hurt.

The Growth Management Act is a series of statutes that were first adopted in 1990. They require comprehensive planning by counties and municipalities to allow for population growth and development while preserving habitat quality and ecological integrity. But there is no requirement for addressing or responding to climate change – a glaring omission. SHB 1099 would correct this. Those in the know are encouraged by this bill’s chances. Fitzgibbon is a main sponsor of this as well. The above email and call advice holds for SHB 1099.

COVID has wrecked havoc with state budgets across the country, Washington included. When budgets are tight, legislators are hard pressed to cut things like education and law enforcement. Programs and departments that deal with the environment often bear the brunt. The budget proposed by Governor Inslee preserves funding in these vital areas. And it looks like there may be funding coming from the other Washington to help the state. The budget process is complicated there are many chances for things to go off the rails, but so far so good.

By Conservation Chair Steve Hunter

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