Legislative Hot List

Week of February 8, 2016

Almost every week during the state legislative session, WEC helps develop and distribute the Environmental Community Hot List for the State House and Senate.

The Hot List contains up to 10 of the most important environmental bills being debated that week. We send the Hot List to legislators, staffers and members of the media. Because it has input from all the key environmental groups and is because it is quick and easy to read, the Hot List is a helpful and powerful tool for engaging legislators. If you would like to be included in the inside scoop on the happenings in the capitol, send an email to cathy@wecprotects.org.

 

Hot List for the State House

HOUSE COMMITTEE ACTION

HB 2346: Promoting a sustainable, local renewable energy industry through modifying renewable energy system tax incentives and providing guidance for renewable energy system component recycling.

Appropriations: Possible Executive Session | POSITION: SUPPORT

  • Focuses on restructuring the current production incentive program, reducing the per KWh rate and making the program self-supporting
  • Provides framework for recycling solar modules at end of life

HB 2506: Concerning the development of a state plan to implement federal regulations on electric generation facilities.

General Government & Information Technology: Hearing and Executive Session Monday February 28 | POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Bill is premature, limits the state’s options before planning has even started (i.e., requires all allowances be distributed, not retired, etc.), increases planning costs.
  • Still limits transition away from fossil fuels by requiring that the current “diversification” of the state’s generation sources not be diminished, which ties the states hands into the future.

HB 2613 and HB 2778: Fixing the sales tax exemption on clean alternative fuel vehicles

Transportation Committee: Possible Executive Action | POSITION: SUPPORT

  • The recently extended sales tax exemption for electric, hydrogen and other alternative fuel vehicles excludes many important mid-market models due to the $35,000 “hard” cap.  Expected transformational cars in 2017 with 200 miles of range (like the Chevy Bolt and next generation Nissan Leaf) will likely be just above this price point and excluded from Washington’s incentive.
  • Revenue for the exemption is backfilled from Transportation Fund, so there is no General Fund impact to this fix.
  • Incentives help drive down Washington’s carbon emissions in transportation and improve air quality.

HOUSE FLOOR ACTION

HB 1571: Concerning Paint Stewardship.

POSITION: SUPPORT

  • Creates an effective and convenient paint take-back program established by paint manufacturers. Supported by the American Coatings Association.
  • Will greatly increase reuse and recycling of leftover latex paint and proper disposal of toxic oil-based paint throughout the state.

HB 2841: Funding the Building Code Council and setting up a stakeholder group to devise a permanent budget solution.

POSITION: SUPPORT

  • Bi-partisan deal to provide the Code Council with a two-year funding boost via a temporary building permit surcharge of $1 per residential permit and $5 per non-residential permit to avoid agency shutdown and staff layoffs as soon as July.   Agency fees have not been adjusted for 26 years, and their function is vital to the state’s meeting our building energy use reduction goals.
  • Moves the Council to the Department of Enterprise Services and sets up an interim stakeholder process to discuss a permanent budget solution and potential process reforms.

 


 

Hot List for the State Senate

SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION

SB 6287: Relating to Definition of Hydraulic Project.

Ways and Means: Public Hearing and Possible Executive Session | POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Will exempt all projects above the ordinary high water mark from coverage under the HPA permit.
  • Exempt projects will damage critical habitat for salmon, forage fish, and other species.

SB 6568: Relating to establishing a water discharge permit for concentrated animal feeding operations.

Ways and Means: Public Hearing and Possible Executive SessionPOSITION: OPPOSE

  • Restricts ability of communities to enforce clean water laws relating to large scale agricultural operations.
  • Will result in increased contamination of drinking water, Puget Sound, and other waterbodies.

SENATE FLOOR ACTION

SB 6173: Prohibiting rules and policies that limit greenhouse gas emissions.

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • The Department of Ecology has authority to adopt and implement rules that limit harmful air pollutants known to cause climate change. This bill would eliminate that authority and preclude the state from implementing federal regulations related to climate pollution.

SB 6187: Concerning the authority of the pollution liability insurance agency.

POSITION: SUPPORT

  • Allows the pollution liability insurance agency to create a low-interest loan and grant program to help owners upgrade petroleum underground storage tanks, upgrade systems for new fuel blends, and add EV charging stations.

SB 6215: Identifying water rights for Municipal Water Supply Purposes.

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Would allow municipal water suppliers, including irrigation districts, to convert agricultural water rights into municipal water rights without any review by the Department of Ecology to determine if they are valid.
  • Will result in harm to salmon and existing water rights.

SB 6224: Concerning energy facility site evaluation council procedure.

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Places unrealistic time limits on the timeline reviewing energy projects such as large oil terminal proposals, clean energy projects, and nuclear energy.
  • As a result, EFSEC review will be forced to cut corners, fail to include SEPA review information, and provide flawed recommendations to the Governor for a final decision.

SB 6527: Incentivizing trade and economic development through state environmental policy reviews.

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • This bill dramatically weakens the scope of review under SEPA – a critical law for ensuring local communities have a voice to learn about and weigh in on the environmental impacts of significant projects like coal terminals and dam construction.

SB 6551:  Notice of Violation for a Discharge from an Agricultural Facility.

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Would make it illegal for state agencies to investigate and enforce pollution problems associated with agriculture when the agency receives a confidential tip regarding the violation.
  • Would greatly reduce the willingness of community members to report violations and, in turn, would result in more water quality problems.

SB 6584: Establishing a Proof of Water Reliance Application.

POSITION: OPPOSE

  • Would allow domestic wells in the Skagit watershed to deplete water for an established instream flow necessary to protect threatened salmon stocks.
  • There are better alternatives which allow limited development yet still protect salmon.