Environment

The Legislature will be looking at a number of environmental proposals during the 2023 session, but nothing as monumental as previous years when the state adopted nation’s second cap-and-trade bill on industrial carbon emissions. Proposals so far this year range from planting shade trees along streams to cool the waters for migrating salmon to how to spend those cap-and-trade dollars.

Here are some Crosscut stories with more information on the legislative environmental agenda:

Top environmental bills on the 2023 WA Legislative agenda

Q&A: Washington Governor Jay Inslee talks housing, guns, climate

WA HB 1010: On shellfish health

House Bill 1010 aims to create stricter regulations on the amount of biotoxin in harvested crab. The state board of health will be required to adopt sets of rules that regulate “crab harvesting, tracking, and recalls” by June 30, 2025. 

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9

WA SB 5104 Puget Sound marine shoreline habitat

Senate Bill 5104 aims to add protections for the marine nearshore habitat in Puget Sound. By June 30, 2024, the Department of Ecology would be required to conduct a survey regarding the “shoreline conditions, structures, and structure conditions” of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hood Canal and the San Juan Islands using aerial and on-the-water observations. By June 30, 2025, the survey need to be completed and released to the public.

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the Senate Jan. 9

 

WA HB 1181 Updates to climate planning framework

House Bill 1181 aims to improve Washington’s climate crisis response by amending the goals of Washington’s Growth Management Act, or GMA, to prioritize transportation systems that are efficient and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Department of Transportation, would be required to release a comprehensive list of transportation guidelines by Dec. 31, 2025. If the GMA is updated, green spaces and open spaces would need to be retained and enhanced. A climate change goal would also be added, saying future state plans and regulations must, among other things, “foster resiliency to climate impacts and natural hazards.” The planned updates would be required to avoid creating or widening environmental health disparities.

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9

 

WA HB 1085 Reducing plastic pollution

House Bill 1085 aims to minimize three common sources of plastic pollution: single-use plastic water bottles, containers and wrappers used as packaging for beauty products and foam overwater structures. For the first, buildings with water fountains must also have a bottle filling station by July 2026. For the second, lodgings such as hotels and rentals cannot provide care/hygiene products such as lotion or shampoo in plastic containers smaller than six ounces. This would not affect locations like hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, or other similar places. Additionally, expanded or extruded plastic foam could not be sold, distributed or installed on overwater structures such as docks, floats and walkways. Foating homes would be exempted from this restriction.

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9

 

WA HB 1078 Urban forestry management

House Bill 1078 aims to create more affordable housing in urban growth areas by establishing an urban and community forestry program. This program, managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), would balance deforestation of urban areas with the development of affordable housing. Planned development areas would be prioritized based on demographic, health and environmental data. To offset the tree clearance, the DNR will plant tree banks in designated community areas. The bill would also promote coordination between the DNR and local community ordinances, assisting and pooling resources for the program. 

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9

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