Is this our next McCleary?
We only get one environment, those of us lucky enough to live here have an incredible variety of areas to enjoy, from the majestic coast line of the west to the high deserts of eastern Washington you will find some of the most beautiful sites in the United States right here under our feet, however a lot of work needs to be done to preserve its beauty for future generations.
In my early years working in the timber industry I gained a healthy respect for our environment and its beauty, there can be a healthy balance of nature and man however it is incumbent on all of us to help keep our environment clean.
In my formative years I spent countless days on the beach in Longbranch out on the Key Peninsula, the Taylor Bay area had some of the most interesting places for a youngster to investigate such as lagoons and endless rocky beaches, the smell of fresh salt air in the breeze on a hot summer day still resonates in my mind which is why I found it interesting that recently a group of young folks are having a much different experience than I had as a young person, they have brought forward a court action seeking protections of the environment for future generations, which led me to ponder, is this the next McCleary situation?
Lets consider this for a moment, I applaud these young citizens for coming forward in defense of this great chunk of the Northwest we call home, but what brought this action? apparently it revolves around Olympia’s lack of action regarding clean air standards and greenhouse gases or GHG’s and not meeting deadlines that forced this legal action, this issue has been around since 2008, now 8 years later still nothing is happening leading to frustration, sounds a little like McCleary and kick the can down the road until a reaction is required, no doubt coupled with mandatory money that we may not have if pushed in to a court order.
While I don’t have all of the answers 8 years is a long time with little or no results, as Lieutenant Governor I would welcome the opportunity to work with Washington’s business and industry to make meaningful changes that we can all live with, young people should not have to worry about what their future environment will be like, those of us who seek to be entrusted with these issues should do just that, lead by example in a trust worthy way for the benefit of the future generations.
When Olympia offers legislation such as HB 2840 which allows release of animal waste into ground water it makes one wonder about the choices we are making in protecting the environment, look at the turmoil caused in Flint, Michigan by lead contamination in the water, and I would have to ask would legislators who vote for legislation such as HB 2840 let their children drink from that ground water source?
Farmers already have a difficult time making ends meet let alone making a profit, as I researched this particular issue I viewed it as pouring money down the drain, if you read my Sustainable Energy Plan you will see that this waste is a potential revenue stream for farmers in turning animal waste into clean burning fuel for our state, using this as an example of taking a major environmental issue and turning it around as an opportunity should be the rule not the exception.
Other environmental opportunities
Brownfield Projects are another way of encouraging clean up of our environment where it has been contaminated, you can learn more about Brownfield Development at this link https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfield-overview-and-definition , Brownfield Developments are good for the environment, good for developers and good for reduction of blight and encourage employment opportunities.
We are all in this together, lets work together to keep Washington clean and green!