March 2023 Conservation Report
- Last Updated: February 23, 2023
by Tim Manns
At this writing in mid-February, the priorities of Audubon Washington and the Environmental Priorities Coalition (EPC) are faring well in the state legislature. February 17th is the cut-off date for policy bills to pass out of the first committee in which they were considered. There are further cut-off dates as bills wend their way through the legislative process. Most bills will not reach the Governor’s desk. Last year the bill updating the Growth Management Act to require that counties and certain municipalities address resiliency to climate change in their comprehensive plans came within a hair’s breadth of passing when time ran out. This year there is strong optimism the bill will make it (HB 1181 Washington State Legislature & SB 5203 Washington State Legislature ). Significantly for Skagit County, this bill will require addressing such climate change effects as sea level rise.
The Washington Legislature is working on the state’s two-year budget, which has three parts: Operating, Capital, and Transportation. All three have implications for conservation. Audubon and the EPC are urging that the revenue from last session’s landmark carbon tax legislation, the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), be spent as intended; that is, on supporting meaningful climate action and community resilience to climate change. See EPC One Pager (waconservationaction.org) for specific investments we hope to see. We are fortunate to live in a state where major policy has passed to address climate change. Now comes the challenge of implementation. Contact your state legislators and urge them to spend CCA dollars as intended. These revenues come from the state’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases.