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HB 1663: Model Toxics Control Act keeps Washington on track in reducing harmful pollution

posted Mar 2, 2017, 2:18 PM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities   [ updated Mar 3, 2017, 2:59 PM by Virginia Cleaveland ]
With federal leadership planning to make dramatic cuts to environmental programs, we need state leaders to keep Washington on track in reducing harmful toxic pollution in all communities across the state. Unfortunately, core state programs are already under tremendous pressure and risk continued budget cuts. 

Thankfully, Rep. Strom Peterson (21st District) introduced House Bill 1663 to stabilize a critical funding source paid by polluters. The bill has strong support from environmental justice organizations, local governments, and business. Here are the bill's key points:
  • Stabilizes funding for cleaning up toxic sites, preventing and controlling pollution, and ensuring communities have a voice in reducing threats from toxic pollution. 

  • Applies 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. 

  • Allows 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.
HB 1663 is critical to stay on track in cleaning up more than 5,500 toxic sites statewide, implement common-sense laws pollution prevention laws like the Children’s Safe Products Act, and provide grants to local communities to give the public a voice in addressing pollution. 

Without stable funding, some cleanup projects like the Bellingham waterfront and the Lower Duwamish River will be stalled — which means pollution will continue to pose a threat and economic development will be delayed. Failure to pass HB 1663 also puts state environmental programs at risk of unnecessary funding cuts and likely eliminates funding for local community support grants. 

Please contact your legislators and tell them that this is a key piece of legislation they should support. 



How you can help

Contacting your legislators by phone is by far the most productive and impactful form of communication. Read more in the New York Times article "Here's why you should call, not email, your legislators." 
  1. Call your legislators. Let your state representatives know you support this bill. Find your legislators through the Washington State Legislature's District Finder and view the talking points below.

  2. Email your legislators. Find your legislators through the Washington State Legislature's District Finder and view the talking points below.

  3. Contact your legislators through this form. Visit the Washington Environmental Council website to fill out a quick and easy form that is automatically sent to your legislators.

Email to legislators

RE: Model Toxics Control Act (HB 1663)

Dear [insert name],

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 revenue must be stabilized to keep Washington on track in reducing harmful pollution.

Thankfully, the legislature is considering HB 1663, 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.