The state budgets had an uncertain future heading into the 2021 legislative session — some forecasts even painted a grim picture. Typically, essential environmental programs and projects are often first in consideration for budget cuts. Through the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s advocacy this year, we worked hard to protect these critical investments in our state’s operating and capital budgets.
The approved 2021-2023 operating budget enhanced investments in the environment and natural resources. This includes robust funding to meet the needs of frontline communities and Tribal Nations by centering environmental and racial justice in the implementation of environmental programs. Highlights include:
- funding important work to include climate change in state land use planning,
- creating a Buy Clean/Buy Fair database system, and
- creating a plan to integrate “net ecological gain” standards into state laws.
The capital budget spends roughly $450 million on priority projects to improve infrastructure, advance salmon recovery, support rural communities, and promote clean energy. Highlights include:
- $16.3 million for six Community Forest projects in rural areas across the state,
- $9 million for wastewater upgrades, and
- $81.3 million for clean energy and weatherization projects.