The Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Waterkeepers Washington (Puget Soundkeeper, North Sound Baykeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper, Twin Harbors Waterkeeper, and Columbia Riverkeeper) invite you to join our inaugural Clean & Abundant Waters Lobby Day on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 in Olympia.

Clean & Abundant Waters Lobby Day
Tuesday, February 25th, 2020
11 am – 4:00 pm 
United Churches of Olympia
110 11th Ave. SE  |  Olympia, WA 98501

View our agenda for the day here.

On this day we will be meeting with legislators to advocate for bills that protect our waterways, salmon, and orca. Receive hands-on advocacy training, meet with your legislators, and connect with like-minded advocates and members from across the state.

Clean and abundant waters are the life force of the Pacific Northwest. From our iconic Southern Resident orcas and salmon, to Coast Salish tribes and communities who call the Pacific Northwest home, clean and abundant waters are the key to ensuring that our ecosystems and quality of life in this region is healthy. But, sadly, we are in grave trouble. Confirmed by the recent release of the 2019 State of the Sound Report, we are nowhere close to cleaning up our waters and conditions are dismal. As the degradation of our waterways continue to outpace restoration efforts, and as our rivers and streams continue to struggle to meet minimum flows, more than ever, we must take action, together and fight for the health of our waters.         

Please join us in supporting our five legislative priorities for 2020. 

2020 Clean & Abundant Waters Lobby Day Priorities:

· Plastic Bag Ban (SB 5323 / HB 1205)

Single-use plastic bags made from nonrenewable natural gas and oil resources are among the most commonly found items littering state roads, waterways, and the ocean. While only 6% of plastic bags are recycled, the vast majority do not biodegrade and have long lasting impacts on wildlife and ecosystems. Additionally, plastic bags cause operational and contamination problems at recycling facilities. Building on 27 local ordinances and existing initiatives from the private sector to phase out plastic bags, this common sense legislation would: prohibit thin single-use carryout bags, and require a 10 cent charge for paper carryout bags and plastic film bags, thereby incentivizing the use of durable carryout bags.

· Copper Antifouling Paint Ban (SB 6210 / HB 2385)

Boat owners often use “antifouling” hull paints containing pesticides and other toxic chemicals to prevent the growth of algae and barnacles on the underside of their vessels in marinas, lakes, and other water bodies. The most popular paint among these is copper-based and has toxic environmental impacts, as well as negative effects on endangered salmon and other aquatic wildlife. Of particular concern is runoff from boatyards when old paint on vessel hulls is chipped and sanded off before repainting. Many boat owners in Europe have completely eliminated the use of antifouling paint in favor of new technology being piloted in the U.S. in places like San Diego, and alternative paints less harmful to salmon and aquatic species have come onto the market in recent years. Ecology will introduce request legislation to extend the current ban on copper antifouling paint until 2026, giving the agency authority to gather information from paint manufacturers. Boat manufacturers, retailers, and others have suggested state legislation should permanently allow the use of copper paint, setting a standard in law that would allow copper paint beyond the five year extension. While we reluctantly support an extension of the current 2021 ban, we oppose any effort to set a standard for copper antifouling paint in statute.

· Motorized/Suction Dredge Mining Ban (SB 5322 / HB 1261)

Suction dredge mining uses gas-powered dredges to vacuum rocks, gravel, and sediment from the bottom of creeks and rivers in search for gold. This destructive practice degrades water quality through erosion and sedimentation, destroys aquatic habitat for endangered salmonids, kills eggs and larvae, and can strand fish and denude riparian vegetation. This bill would bring Washington in compliance with the Clean Water Act rules and ban suction dredge mining in designated Critical Habitat for ESA listed Salmonids. This practice has been banned or strictly regulated in California, Oregon, and Idaho. It is time for Washington to step up on this issue.

· Ecology Drought Preparedness Response Bill (HB 1622 / SB 5675)

Washington state has experienced increased frequency and severity of droughts during summer months in recent years. As the climate continues to change, modernizing Washington’s drought statues is critical to effectively prepare for and respond to increasing drought emergencies and to protect our vulnerable communities. This legislation would accomplish this through the following: create tools and resources to build long-term drought resiliency among water users and communities, improve the State’s ability to respond to droughts in the short term, and codify many of the best practices identified in the updated 2018 Washington plan developed collaboratively between eight state agencies.

· Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resilience (C-PACER) Financing in Washington

Known as “PACE” financing, this program would reduce barriers for building owners seeking to improve and extend the life of their buildings while meeting important energy and water conservation goals. This bill would allow owners to finance conservation improvements over the life of the structure, making it cost effective to conduct these projects. This legislation would provide clear benefits to building owners and the environment by reducing utility bills and increasing property values, generating local jobs, and incentivizing water and energy conservation. Since it was developed in 2008, PACE enabling legislation has seen strong success in over 30 states, in many cases with bipartisan support. C-PACER legislation is critical to enhancing investment in Washington’s commercial, industrial, non-profit, and multifamily building stock. A broad coalition of businesses, local governments, and environmental groups support this bill.

View our factsheets for each of our priority bills.