Senate committee to examine water quality rule-making process

SalmonOn Monday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m. the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee will hold a special meeting to brief members and interested parties on the progress that has been made towards determining standards for water quality in Washington state. The Department of Ecology and key stakeholders have been engaged in the current rule-making process since late last year. The meeting will be broadcast live on TVW and on www.tvw.org.

Water quality standards are based in part on fish-consumption rates for state residents. DOE has been working on setting fish-consumption rates for several years, a process that was delayed in part due to widespread concern stemming from a controversial draft proposal in 2011 that would have raised the average amount of seafood Washington residents are estimated to eat by over 400 percent, to around 18 pounds per month. For comparison, Oregon currently has the nation’s highest rate at 12 pounds per month. The fish-consumption rate is important because it has implications for how much runoff industrial and municipal facilities are allowed to discharge.

This issue is technical, but the implications to the average resident of Washington couldn’t be simpler – higher fish-consumption rates mean more expenses for businesses and higher costs for consumers. Along with my fellow members of the committee, I look forward to being briefed on the rule-making process so that we will all be on the same page on this important issue going forward.

  • Monday, Sept. 23
  • Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications work session on fish consumption rates and water quality standards
  • 10 a.m. in Hearing Room 4 of the John A. Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus
  • Hearing will be covered live on TVW and at www.tvw.org