The word “lobbying” carries a lot of baggage. Polluting industries and special interests have bred a lot of cynicism around what it means to lobby lawmakers, and worked to weaken laws protecting our most valuable shared resource: Water.
But really, lobbying is simply meeting with elected officials to have your voice heard. That’s why we think it’s time lobbying is put back into the hands of the people. We’re calling on our community to join us for Clean & Abundant Water Lobby Week from January 31st to February 4th, where we’ll help make it easier to talk to your elected officials about four key bills that could become law this year. More about those bills below.
We’ll hold a training session the week before so you have the tools and confidence to lobby, details sent when you sign up. We encourage anyone to join, whether it’s your first time talking to lawmakers or not! We’ll be right alongside you at every step of the way.
This week is organized by RE Sources and North Sound Baykeeper, Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP), Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT), Spokane Riverkeeper, Twin Harbors Waterkeeper, and Puget Soundkeeper.
What to expect: Brief training and short online meetings
We’ll hold one training shortly before Lobby Week begins at 10am on January 31st to go over:
- The do’s and don’ts of lobbying
- An overview of each of the bills, and talking points to help you support them.
What bills are we advocating for?
- The Lorraine Loomis Act for Salmon Recovery (HB 1838/ SB 5727): Some Puget Sound salmon species have declined by 90% compared to historical populations. The Act requires properly functioning riparian management zones around rivers and streams, including healthy vegetation to maintain cool waters. It also increases the focus on salmon recovery in land use planning for the future, with important financial assistance, monitoring, and accountability to address the urgency of the salmon crisis. Learn more about the bill.
- The RENEW Act (SB 5697): Globally, 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the marine environment every year, devastating the world’s oceans, ecosystems, and communities. The Act will (among other provisions) 1) Establish an extended producer responsibility system that make producers of packaging and paper products responsible for the full lifecycle of their products; 2) Require that by 2031, 100% of the packaging and paper products made or sold into Washington is reusable, recyclable, or compostable. Learn more about the bill.
- Conserving and restoring kelp forests and eelgrass meadows (SB 5619): Kelp and eelgrass are critical to iconic species like salmon and orcas, and hold irreplaceable cultural value for many Tribal Nations. This bill generates funding to allow the Department of Natural Resources to complete the analysis needed to develop success measures and coordinate actions to conserve critical marine forests and meadows to achieve a goal of 10,000 acres of kelp forest and eelgrass meadows conserved and restored by 2040. Learn more about the bill.
- Reducing pollution from wastewater treatment plants (SB 5585): Every community in Washington must manage its wastewater to protect the health of surface and groundwater. For many places, this means having a wastewater treatment facility with a water quality permit from the Department of Ecology. These permits are critical to keep harmful bacteria out of water, protecting shellfish harvests and salmon runs, and ensuring local waters are safe for recreation. But stagnant fees have led to an underfunded permit program, meaning Ecology cannot support communities in ensuring their wastewater facilities are functioning properly. This bill seeks to remove the outdated cap on fees for municipalities. Learn more about the bill.
Participants will attend at least one (or more depending on your legislative district) 15-minute lobbying meeting with a representative via Zoom. Each meeting will be staffed with at least one member from a host organization to help guide and facilitate while we advocate for these priority bills. More info on training and meetings will be sent when you sign up!
Click the tabs above for more information on each bill.