2017 Washington State Legislature

From funding for toxic cleanups to oil transportation safety and sound policies on water availability, the environmental community had huge goals for the state legislative session.

The state legislature went into two overtime sessions to approve a two-year operating budget, but the details of a second budget — the capital budget — are still up in the air. The capital budget would invest in more than 1,400 projects across Washington, including 75 school construction projects and funding for toxic cleanup projects through the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The state legislature is expected to reconvene in fall 2017 to pass a capital budget.

With your help, we were successful in:

Clean Energy Priorities

Three years in a row, RE Sources' supporters spoke out in support of our state's growing solar power industry for legislation to extend Washington's solar incentives program.

Updating Washington's solar incentives. 

In 2017, the state legislature successfully passed the Solar Bill, protecting homeowner incentives and local solar jobs. This accomplishment:
            • Defends current solar owners from further erosion of your production incentives.
            • Creates a new, right-sized program for new solar owners in WA.
            • Saves the thousands of solar jobs we already have, and creates the legislative certainty for solar to grow by leaps and bounds.
            • More information: solarstrongwa.org

Clean Water Priorities

In 2017, our Clean Water program worked In collaboration with Washington Environmental Council's Environmental Priorities Coalition, on legislation that would impact Whatcom County and the Salish Sea.

Reducing toxic pollution in our communities.

The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) is the voter-approved law dedicated to cleaning up toxic waste sites, preventing harmful chemicals in manufacturing and products, controlling pollution to protect water quality, and supporting communities heavily impacted by toxic pollution threats. 

In 2017, the legislature fully funded public participation grants (PPG) — grants for organizations to educate the community about projects to clean up toxic sites. But the operating budget continues to raid MTCA funding to backfill other department funding.

Enough water for people, farms, and fish.

The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that counties must make sure there is enough available water before issuing permits for new developments in rural areas. After the ruling, requests were made for a “legislative fix” to allow business as usual, neglecting the problem. Any proposed fix needs to protect in-stream flows and existing water rights.

Several bills were proposed to address the ruling, but legislators couldn't come to a consensus, and ultimately failed to pass a capital budget.  

Oil transportation safety.

Oil transportation threatens the safety of our communities and the health of our environment. Washington state must prioritize legislation to protect our waterways, improve pipeline safety measures, and ensure funding for oil spill response. 

Funding for oil transportation safety and the Department of Ecology’s Spills Program were part of the final negotiation process. But ultimately, the bill that would have secured a reliable funding source and strengthened the tools to address oil spills did not pass. 

More information    

Read more about the 2017 legislative session and get action alerts in our Clean Water and Clean Energy blogs.