I recently taped a segment on TVW’s weekly news program The Impact documenting the Senate’s attempt to ban two toxic flame-retardant chemicals found in household products. If the Senate version of the bill advances, Washington would be the first state in the nation to take this step forward for consumer protection. You can watch the video by clicking here or on the image below.
The 2013 regular legislative session, which concludes today, featured the advancement of several issues identified as key priorities of Washington’s environmental community.
- New-energy solutions and environmental improvement
- Senate Bill 5802 convenes a legislative task force to examine the most cost-effective means to improve the state’s environment and further the advancement of clean-energy technologies.
- Senate Bill 5603 establishes the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council to serve as an advisory body and forum for communication on marine-water issues and ocean acidification.
- Conservation works
- Senate Bill 5296 would establish the Environmental Legacy Stewardship Account to refocus the state’s toxic-cleanup program on the renewal of contaminated lands and prevention of future hazards. The bill was passed by the Senate and is now before the House of Representatives for further consideration. Because it is considered necessary to implement the Senate budget, it will remain in consideration during the forthcoming special session.
- Stormwater projects – the Senate budget proposals include over $100 million in funding for stormwater projects across the state. Read more…
*This op-ed was originally printed in the Bellingham Herald on April 24.
Taxing recycled fuels hurts environment, economy
By DOUG ERICKSEN — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
By supporting a new tax on recycled fuels used in the petroleum-refining process, politicians in Olympia and stakeholders are overlooking serious questions that such a tax would raise for both the environment and the economy.
If the state were to begin imposing use taxes on by-products that are reused in a manufacturing process, there could be serious implications for other industries and production techniques we all consider environmentally desirable. Consistency would argue that the same taxation approach should be applied to waste vegetable oil that is re-used in producing biofuels, “hog fuels” used in the pulp and paper process, and scrap materials used by anaerobic digesters to produce electricity in rural areas. It doesn’t make sense to start taxing all prudent and efficient reuse of these resources.
Rather than imposing new costs on recycled fuels, we should celebrate the fact that they currently provide more than half of the energy required to run the state’s five petroleum refineries. It means that these refineries are making their processes as energy-efficient as possible. Read more…
The Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, which I serve as chairman of, will have a special meeting tomorrow focusing on how the state can encourage further development of wireless technology. The meeting will feature testimony from Steve Largent, a former Oklahoma congressman and Seattle Seahawk who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One of my goals coming into the 2013 session was to do what we can to foster growth in our state’s telecommunications industry. I want to know how we make Washington the first ‘5G state’ in the nation. That’s what we’ll be focusing on Wednesday, and I’m glad to have such esteemed panelists providing us with solutions. Read more…