This Washington

Afternoon Fizz: Environmentalists Get a Win in Legislature

By Josh Feit March 2, 2010

Given all the bad news lately in Olympia for environmentalists:
1) No local option for transit;
2) Hazardous substance tax gutted;
3) Renewable energy tax exemption curtailed

... there was some welcome news for green lobbyists late today.

Rep. Geoff Simpson's (D-47) bill governing environmental standards for shorelines, which is backed by the green lobbyists from Futurewise, passed the Senate 35-10 this afternoon. (It already passed the House 58-39 back in mid-February.)

What Simpson's bill does is wonky, but important: It clarifies a 2003 law setting shoreline protection standards that the state Supreme Court recently weakened with a 2008 ruling that opened the law to local challenges.

The 2003 law—now firmed up by the Simpson bill—says that until 1971's Shoreline Management Act is updated, it must be governed by the more stringent environmental standards of 1990's Growth Management Act.

The bipartisan bill had a broad coalition of supporters, including groups that usually bristle at environmental regulations: The Association of Washington Business; the Washington Farm Bureau; the Washington Public Ports Association; and the Washington Realtors. Also on board with Futurewise: The Department of Commerce; the Department of Ecology, the Association of Washington Cities, and taking the lead on the bill, the Washington State Association of Counties.

The lonely opposition came from the archconservative Building Industry Association of Washington and the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners ,who testified about "ClimateGate"—the controversy in the runup to the Copenhagen talks about lefty scientists fudging evidence on climate change.

Governor Chris Gregoire, whose own Department of Ecology requested the bill, has five days to sign the bill.
Filed under
Show Comments