Important legislation passes Senate energy, environment committee

  • 5G bill establishes Washington leadership in high-speed broadband.
  • Environmental cleanup measure cuts red tape.
  • Legislation opposes dam-breaching, promotes clean energy.

OLYMPIA – The Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee passed 25 measures before a key legislative deadline Friday, on time and on track with Senate committees during the first six weeks of the 2017 legislative session.

The energy committee, chaired by Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, passed legislation that would make Washington a leader in deployment of 5G wireless broadband technology, streamline regulations for private environmental cleanup projects, boost clean energy and urge the federal government to preserve the clean hydropower of the Columbia River system.

House and Senate policy committees had until Friday to pass measures that originated in their respective chambers. Budget committees get another week. By comparison, the Senate Agriculture and Economic Development Committee passed 31 measures and the Senate Transportation Committee 23. Important pieces of legislation passed by the Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee include:

  •  Senate Bill 5711, sponsored by Ericksen, which clears the way for broadband providers to build next-generation 5G networks, building an infrastructure that will support economic development, job growth, and consumer demand for high-speed wireless services.
  •  SB 5170, sponsored by Ericksen, which streamlines the permitting process for voluntary hazardous waste cleanups, and put polluted sites back in productive use sooner.
  • SB 5438, sponsored by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, which sets a goal for public agencies to complete the environmental impact statement process within two years.
  • A series of bills sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, that recognize and promote the clean-energy advantages of geothermal power and emerging modular nuclear reactor technologies.
  • Senate Joint Memorial 8004, sponsored by Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, urging the federal government to reject proposals to breach the dams of the Lower Snake River, vital to the state’s economy and energy supply