Major Accomplishments, Environment

Protecting Public Health and the Environment

  • Strengthened pipeline safety: signed strong state law to inspect pipelines; secured offer of delegated authority from federal agencies for interstate pipeline inspection; sponsored National Governors’ Association resolution committing all Governors to work on improved federal law; and worked with delegation on federal bills to give state greater authority.
  • Secured passage of nation’s first and strongest law controlling metals in fertilizers.
  • Took steps to reduce presence of mercury in the environment.
  • Won new rules to reduce the presence of mercury in the environment.
  • Virtually eliminated burning of grass seed fields.
  • Reduced vehicle emissions by 286,557 tons in 1997 and 1998 through the emissions check program.
  • Adopted strong plan with Oregon to protect and restore Lower Columbia River water quality and habitat.
  • Ensured role for WA in Idaho-EPA work on metals contamination of Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River.
  • Supported Loomis Forest transfer to conservation status.
  • Continued Washington’s national leadership in the area of controlling invasive species by submitting – and signing into law – executive request legislation that strengthened state laws relating to the possession, transport or release of invasive species.
  • Signed legislation that requires the notification of neighbors of facilities when there has been a release of toxic substances at the site. This information will tell neighbors of the release, the risks involved, and the plans for cleanup of the substances.
    Supported the designation of roadless areas within U.S. Forest Service lands.

Creating Tools to Rescue Wild Salmon

  • Created the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to ensure that salmon recovery projects are chosen by a citizen board using scientifically sound criteria.
  • Created the Joint Natural Resources Cabinet made up of 12 state agency heads, to develop and implement the statewide salmon recovery strategy.
  • Created the Government Council on Natural Resources to bring together a wider forum, including representation from the Legislature, tribes, cities, counties, federal government, and ports.
  • In 2002, obtained $13.9 million in BPA funding to promote ESA-listed salmon recovery efforts in the Yakima Basin, and an additional $938,000 for projects elsewhere in the Columbia Basin.

Protecting Two Vital Resources: Salmon and Timber

  • Negotiated the Forests and Fish Agreement to protect salmon and give timber industry regulatory certainty. Only forest management agreement of its kind in the country. Agreement provides water and salmon protection on 8 million acres of private forest land and 60,000 miles of streams.

Helping Farmers Protect Salmon

  • Created the Agriculture, Fish, and Water Forum to negotiate agricultural practices to protect salmon and keep our waters clean.
  • Supported increased funding for the federal Conservation Reserve and Enhancement Program (CREP), which provides funding for farmers who provide protective buffers along salmon-bearing streams.

Ending the Fish War With Canada

  • Negotiated the US-Canada Salmon Treaty in 1999. Agreement represents a major landmark in Pacific salmon management.
  • Negotiated an agreement that reduces Canada’s catch of Washington’s chinook and coho. Washington will get a 30 percent increase of critical, listed Puget Sound chinook to their spawning grounds.

Protecting the Pristine Hanford Reach

  • Strongly advocated for federal management of Hanford Reach and North Slope.

Promoting Comprehensive, Statewide Watershed Management

  • Provided new resources to promote more watershed planning at the local level. Encourages local watershed planners to address stream flows, water quality, and/or water storage in their watershed plans. Each planning group is eligible for up to $300,000 in additional funding to finance their work. Requires existing planning groups to decide by the end of 2001 if they wish to amend stream-flow levels needed for fish or leave the task to the Department of Ecology. Newly formed groups will have one year to make the choice. $2.1 million was provided. (01-03)
  • Signed legislation to promote more efficient use of water and to reduce conflict over water rights and uses.

Responding to Environmental Crises

  • Launched emergency effort to identify invasive green crabs that threatened shellfish industry.
  • Supported legislation establishing a ballast water monitoring and treatment program to protect state waters from invasive aquatic weeds.
  • Assisted coastal communities working on response to serious ocean erosion.
    Contributed towards funding rescue tug at Neah Bay during 1999 – 2000 and 2000-2001 winters.
  • Obtained federal aid for affected coastal fishing communities hurt by declines in groundfish.
  • Supported operations of the Columbia River Gorge Commission after legislative budget cuts threatened to weaken protection of unique Gorge resources.
  • Supported legislation to establish a public-private partnership effort to develop the state’s first-ever biodiversity protection strategy.
  • Reached a new agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy for an accelerated cleanup plan for the Hanford site, to complete cleanup by 2025-2035, rather than the originally scheduled 2070.

Taking Care of Recreation Needs

  • Ensured no state parks needed to be closed when state budget was facing reductions.
  • Funded major renovation at Ft. Worden State Park.
  • Added 100 miles of snowmobiling/cross-country ski trails and 3 parking sites.
  • Maintained funding for the WA Wildlife and Recreation Program providing parks, trails, wildlife habitat, and natural areas.

Meeting Water Needs

  • Made water-rights processing more flexible so water is available where it is needed most. Creates two lines for water-right applications – one for new rights and one for changing or transferring existing water rights. This allows faster action on change or transfer requests that have been long stuck in line behind requests for new water rights. $6 million was provided (01-03)
  • Created a tax incentive to conserve and re-use water. In addition, the taxes paid by utilities that conserve or reuse water go into a special fund to lease and buy water rights for endangered fish.
  • Revised the 1977 Family Farm Water Act allowing family farm water permits in urban growth areas, or within city limits, to be converted to other uses – for homes, businesses, cities. (01-03)
  • Allowed family farms in rural areas to temporarily transfer their rights, helping others during the drought. (01-03)
  • Established firm timelines to set stream flows and benefit fish through a trust water rights program. Donors do not risk losing their water right, and their donations are tax deductible. (01-03)
  • Encouraged local participation in water-permit processing. Allows county appointed water-conservancy boards to process all types of water-right changes and transfers, subject to review and approval by the Department of Ecology. Removed tribal lands from the jurisdiction of the boards. Made water conservancy boards more efficient and accountable to the public. (01-03)
  • Secured $1.2 million in BPA funding to lease or purchase water from farmers during the 2001 drought year, thereby assisting farmers who chose not to plant crops, keeping water instream to meet fish needs or to produce electricity.

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