Thursday Jolt: Environmental Heroes and Zeroes
Today's winners and losers.
Today's winner: Seattle legislators. Well, some of them.
The Washington Conservation Voters have released their annual environmental scorecard for legislators around the state and just six Democratic Party Seattle-area legislators—Southeeast Seattle (and suburban) state Reps. Steve Bergquist and Zack Hudgins, both (D-11); Southeast Seattle state Rep. Eric Pettigrew, (D-37); Capitol Hill state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, (D-43); and North Seattle Democratic Reps Jessyn Farrell and Gerry Pollet (both D-46)—received a perfect 100-percent score.
In the senate, among Seattle-area senators only West Seattle's Sharon Nelson (D-34), Bob Hasegawa (D-11), and Adam Kline (D-37) scored 100 percent.
The rankings were based on legislators' ssupport for (or opposition to) a dozen bills, including, among others, legislation restricting toxic flame retardants; a bill requiring the state to come up with "a credible evaluation of approaches to reducing" greenhouse gas emissions; and legislation requiring a Department of Ecology study before additional trains can move oil and other hazardous materials across the state.
Environmentalist state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34), chair of the house environment committee and the sole house Democrat on Governor Jay Inslee's Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup (CLEW), where he fought for a stringent carbon-reduction policy, scored just 88 percent because he voted (along with most of the house) in favor of a bill that would have allowed developers to put off paying impact fees intended to help cities build infrastructure to offset the environmental impacts of growth.
WCV argued that allowing deferral of impact fees would have encouraged growth on the fringes of cities rather than in urban areas; although the bill passed, Governor Jay Inslee vetoed it.
Fitzgibbon says he voted for the bill because "the impacts that impact fees are intended to help pay for are not ones that take place until someone moves into the home. There’s not additional cars on the street when a building permit is issued." The bill, he said, moved the impact fee to "a more logical step in the [development] process."
Sharon Tomiko-Santos, D-37, had the lowest score among Seattle legislators, at 75 percent (she voted against two of the WCV's twelve bills). Now-Mayor Ed Murray, previously a Democratic state senator from the 43rd District, scored an 89.
Not surprisingly, Seattle legislators did fare far better on the environmental scorecard than those outside the city. To find out which 18 state house members and nine state senate members (spoiler alert: All Republicans) scored a zero on WCV's list, meaning they voted against all 12 of the group's litmus-test bills, check out the group's handy scorecard.
(Side note: Isn't It Weird That the liberal WCV's web site is, aesthetically, virtually indistinguishable from the conservative/libertarian Washington Policy Center's site? From the color scheme to the stylized image of the state Capitol to the font to the placement of literally every element on the home page, the two sites could've been designed by the same person. Or robot.)