Thanks to everyone who lobbied in favorite of these bills in the Washington State 2014 legislative session, the 60-day session which ended last Thursday. I am grateful to Audubon Washington for a high-energy campaign to engage citizens statewide in their new "60 Ways in 60 Days" campaign. The status of the four bills I was tracking is provided here (below) Jen Syrowitz of Audubon Washington who kept everyone informed with her clear, thorough, and succinct e-mails over the past two months. (I have edited Jen's notes for space and added one-word status report).
Derelict Vessel Bill--YAY!
A strong bipartisan bill concerning the removal of derelict vessels in Puget Sound passed last week and awaits the Governor’s signature. This bill represents a gigantic step forward in increasing vessel owner responsibility, reducing deconstruction costs, and speeding up the process of getting the vessels out of the water, improving marine habitat protection in the Sound.
Forage Fish Bill...Promising
The forage fish bill died in the Senate late last month, but not before passing through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Parks. Last week, the House Environment Committee held a work session on forage fish: Forage fish populations as an indicator of Puget Sound recovery. The 1.25 hour session was used to identify issues and initiate discussion regarding future actions that could help fill research and information gaps around forage fish populations in Puget Sound.
Oil Safety Transportation Act--Died
The Oil Transportation Safety Act died in the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee this session without a hearing. Although no funding was allocated in the House, funding was secured in the operating budget for a comprehensive study to understand the state’s preparedness and response ability for oil transportation, both on land and in water, and the vulnerabilities we have along with the types of resources we need. The legislature will receive a progress report on this study by December 1, 2014 and final report by March 1, 2015.
Big Oil Loophole--Gaping
Unfortunately, this common sense bill to close an antiquated tax loophole and reinvest $59 million back into K-12 education, failed to pass the 2014 legislative session. Future actions will continue to try and hold oil companies accountable.