Recommended Local Actions for the Week of 20170227
ACT TODAY: Support SB5501/HB1663 (Funding for Toxic Pollution Prevention and Cleanup)
Call or submit comment online to express your support for these important bills which will stabilize funding for preventing and controlling pollution and cleaning up toxic sites, including the Bellingham waterfront.
Funding to support toxics cleanup, as well as pollution prevention, in Washington state comes from a tax on hazardous substances – mostly petroleum products. With the drop in oil prices in recent years, there has been a significant shortfall in revenue to support cleanup. These bills will help stabilize funding by applying a modest surtax on hazardous substances when annual revenues fall below $160M.
The voter-approved Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) has proven to be an effective means to clean up toxic waste sites, prevent toxic chemical pollution, and support communities to address toxics pollution threats. However, the state has lost an estimated $375 million in MTCA funding over the last three years, and the tax must be stabilized to keep Washington on track in reducing harmful pollution.
Thankfully, the legislature is considering HB 1663/SB 5501, which would:
- Stabilize funding for cleaning up toxic sites, preventing and controlling pollution, and ensuring communities have a voice in reducing threats from toxic pollution.
- Apply a modest and temporary surcharge on the state hazardous substance tax, which would generate an estimated $50 million over the next two years and help address a $70 million budget shortfall.
- Allow for more predictability in the state budget process and provides reliability for local communities that depend on these dollars to improve public health and the environment.
- Help maintain funding for critical state environmental programs that benefit all corners of the state.
I urge you to support HB 1663/SB 5501 so we can protect our communities from risks we face today and keep us safe for years to come. Thank you for considering my comments, and I look forward to your response.
- More information on SB5501/HB1663 “Concerning imposing a surtax on the possession of hazardous substances”
Comment in Support of Extending Solar Incentives
Seen all the solar panels popping up on local roofs lately? This phenomena is due largely to a three-pronged state/federal incentive program which provides tax credit, banking of excess production, and production payments which are much higher if you buy Washington-made equipment. The state incentives that began several years ago will expire in June of 2020. All along, the idea has been that legislators would revise the program based on experiences and then introduce new legislation to extend it with improvements. Unfortunately, they have failed in at least a couple of attempts to do so, and now we are staring down the expiration of incentives in 3 years. In my amateur reading, the new legislation steps down production payments, changes the requirements around community solar installations, removes the requirement of owning the building and land, changes the funding cap, and a few more administrative details.
Attend the Recall Hearing for Senator Doug Ericksen
Thursday, March 2nd at 8:30am, Whatcom County Superior Court. We will provide further guidance later this week. Please refer to our post on this for updates.
Thank Jay Inslee for Executive Order on Immigration
It’s that time of the week again, time to call Jay Inslee and say thanks. Washington will not participate in civil immigration raids. Read about it in the Seattle Times and the Stranger.
From the Calendar
Monday 27 Feb, 6pm, Candlelight vigil – Immigration enforcement
Monday 27 Feb, 7pm (but come at 6:15 for trading cards), Family Council Night at Bellingham City Council meeting
Saturday 4 March, 3-5pm, Riveters Collective Meeting and Social
SAVE THE DATE: 3/7/17, 6pm. Whatcom County Council Special Presentation on the Hirst Decision.
In the Hirst decision, the Court ruled that Whatcom County, in issuing building permits with permit-exempt wells as water source, failed to comply with GMA requirements in protecting water resources. Whatcom County Council has scheduled a special presentation on the issue at their 3/7 meeting, where they will show a 20-minute video, ask questions of state and local water experts, and hold a public hearing on a proposed interim ordinance. More information here.