After more than 20 years of promises to simplify and reduce the regulatory burden on business, what does the state have to show for it? A botched, half-finished job, says a new report from the state auditor’s office. You can’t find what you need on the Web, and what’s there is hard to find. Efforts to “streamline” rules are a low priority and no one tracks results. “Talk is fine and talk is cheap, but we need to see the action,” says Auditor Brian Sonntag.
Federal and state regulators continue to pile on the environmental regulations. The Department of Ecology may be delaying development of a new Surface Water Quality Standard but the Department of Commerce is moving ahead with a new Emissions Performance Standard for baseload electricity generation. Utilities and major customers are concerned.
A 24-year-old environmental “cleanup” tax that has become a catch-all fund for the Department of Ecology and cash-strapped lawmakers is under attack in the state Supreme Court. Tim Hamilton’s service-station operators say it’s a gas tax in all but name — but they wouldn’t have sued if people hadn’t gotten piggy.
A new report from the Employment Security Department shows that so-called “green jobs” took a pummeling in the recession – just like they did everywhere else in the economy. Researchers say they are stumped for an explanation. Though perhaps one clue is provided by the fact that 60 percent of the decline occurred in the public sector, at a time when plummeting tax revenues have forced government to retrench.
Americans continue to prioritize economic growth over environmental protection, by a 49% to 41% margin, as they have since 2009. This eight-percentage point gap in favor of economic growth is smaller than last year’s record 18-point gap. For most of the last three decades, Americans have prioritized the environment over economic growth.