Legislative Hot List

Week of February 20, 2017

 

Below you will find the environmental community’s “Hot List”, a regular communication detailing positions on up to ten of the highest priority issues for the upcoming week. Separate Hot Lists are prepared for the House and Senate and distributed periodically throughout session. Please feel free to contact me at clifford@ctassociates.org if you have any questions and we hope you find this communication helpful!  We recommend that you print the Hot List, in order to have a usable copy.

Respectfully,

Clifford R. Traisman
State Lobbyist, Washington Conservation Voters & Washington Environmental Council

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE ACTION

HB 1266: Concerning petroleum storage tank systems

House Appropriations Committee: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session

POSITION: SUPPORT

  • Allows the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) to have a more active role in remediating failing underground storage tanks that pose a lower risk to public and environmental health.

HB 1611: Concerning oil transportation safety

House Finance Committee: Possible Public Hearing Executive Session

POSITION: SUPPORT

  • This bill addresses a $3.6 million funding shortfall for Ecology’s Oil Spills Program, ensures the transporter of oil can pay for the response after a spill, expands the ability of the public to weigh in on pipeline projects, and protects Puget Sound by ensuring all vessels have the best protections possible.

HB 1622: Relating to the state building code council

Appropriations

POSITION: SUPPORT

  • Moves the State Building Code Council to the Department of Enterprise Services, authorizes long overdue, minor increases in fees that support the Council’s work (which have not changed since 1989) and requires cost benefit analysis of proposed rules.
  • Clarifies that a permit’s governing code and ordinances are those in effect on the date of the permit application.

HB 1663: Concerning imposing a surtax on the possession of hazardous substances.

House Finance Committee: Possible Executive Session

POSITION: SUPPORT

  • For the third year in a row, the legislature is dealing with an historic funding crisis that threatens to stall toxic cleanups, eliminate funding for pollution prevention and control work, and take away critical support to local communities facing a toxic pollution problem.
  • This bill ensures reliable funding in the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) accounts by adding a .14% surcharge when revenues drop below $160 million in a given year. The bill provides $52 million in needed funding this biennium and provides reliable funding over the long term.

HB 1710: Limiting appeals related to the harvest of damaged forest products.

House Capital Budget Committee: Possible Public Hearing and Executive Session

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Unnecessarily eliminates the public’s ability to ensure that salvage sales after a wildfire are done appropriately and sustainably.
  • Leaving trees after a fire often helps prevent muddy debris torrents after rain and snow events and allows nature to heal itself. Eliminating tools for the public to weigh in on projects reduces transparency and increases costs for restoring the natural environment after a fire.

 

SENATE POSSIBLE FLOOR ACTION

SB 5010: Water Rights Relinquishment

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • While we support and encourage water conservation, this bill would bypass a process in existing law to ensure that when a farmer conducts conservation then transfers the “saved” water, Department of Ecology reviews and approves the transaction.
  • This bill will result in impacts to existing water right holders, including instream flows necessary to protect endangered salmon stocks.

SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION

SB 5239: Ensuring that Water is Available to Support Development

Ways and Means Committee: scheduled for a hearing on February 20th

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Overturns the Supreme Court decision in Hirst, allows unmitigated development to harm existing users of water, including neighbors wells and instream flows for endangered salmon.
  • Overturns the Supreme Court decision in Foster, allowing water rights permits to be issued without “water for water” mitigation.
  • Will cause harm to existing, “senior” water rights, depleting water supplies necessary for existing wells, farms, and endangered salmon.

SB 5500: Relating to the state building code council

Ways and Means Committee

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Prohibits adoption of new codes updates unless the legislature acts to allow implementation of the code updates, subjecting the technical updates to the political vagaries of the legislative process.  The Legislature created the State Building Code Council to perform the technical analysis necessary to support and implement code changes which already undergo a substantial vetting process.
  • Limits adoption of new codes to no more frequently than six years from the current three, which could lead to significant lost opportunities for incorporating new measures, standards and technologies into the energy code, resulting in decreased energy efficiency and decreased bill savings for the eventual building occupants.

SB 5616: Limiting the enforcement of administrative rules and policies.

Senate Ways and Means Committee: Possible Public Hearing and Executive Session

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Requires the legislature to approve any rules developed by state agencies, including environmental agencies.
  • Creates a burdensome approval process without any significant public benefit.

SB 5789: Full Hydrologic Cycle

Senate Ways and Means

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • The premise of this bill is that, if you cut down trees, you restore water to streams and aquifers.
  • Cutting down trees generally has the opposite effect, leading to compacting of soils and, in most cases, huge increases in stormwater runoff which damages streams, results in flooding, and leads to less recharge of aquifers.

 

If you would like to be included in the inside scoop on the happenings in the capitol, send an email to nick@wcvoters.org.