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House passes handful of bills Sunday

The House of Representatives passed a handful of bills Sunday in a weekend stretch of voting on the last weekend to pass bills out of their house of origin.

While not as many bills passed over the weekend as Friday’s list of bills that made it through each chamber, a few that were passed on Sunday address climate change, forestry and the environment — issues that have emerged this legislative session as policy priorities for various legislators. 

The following are a selection of bills passed on Sunday:

House Bill 2311 amends greenhouse gas emissions limits to align with the most current climate change science, according to a press release sent on Sunday afternoon. The prime sponsor of the bill, Rep. Vandana Slatter (D-48th District), said setting greenhouse gas emissions goals to reflect the most up-to-date science is crucial to address climate change. 

“It is vital that our target for reduction of carbon pollution be scientifically accurate and reflect what we know,” said Slatter in the press release. “The consequences of falling short will be extremely harmful and can significantly impact future generations.”

Among other provisions of the bill, HB 2311 would require the state to set a 2050 net-zero emissions goal, require state agencies to set long- and short-term goals to meet emissions reduction benchmarks and establish a carbon capture and sequestration policy. The bill also requires increased reporting standards on greenhouse gas emission from wildfires and certain industry sectors. After passage in the House, the bill will now go to the Senate.

House Bill 2528 establishes the Forest and Forest Products Carbon Account, which will contain money to be used for grants provided to private landowners. These grant recipients would then be expected to use the money to advance the state’s carbon sequestration goals. These efforts would include reforestation projects and planting new forests on land that previously didn’t have forests, a practice known as aforestation. The bill now advances to the Senate. 

House Bill 2768 aims to help communities develop urban forestry plans that align with certain state goals, including salmon and orca recovery, eradicating environmental health disparities and improvements to human health and local air and water quality. The bill also directs the Department of Natural Resources to analyze urban forestry needs and opportunities and to provide assistance and resources to further along efforts for the implementation of urban and community forestry programs. The bill will now go to the Senate. 

House Bill 1853 directs the Washington State University Stormwater Center with the creation of a new, statewide “Don’t Drip and Drive” program, which would raise awareness statewide about the importance of ensuring vehicles aren’t leaking motor oil or other fluids that could then runoff into underground water systems. The Department of Ecology started a similar program about 10 years ago that dealt with water pollution from vehicle fluids in Puget Sound. According to Rep. Bill Ramos (D-5th District), the bill’s sponsor, toxic chemicals from vehicle fluids can threaten at-risk salmon and orca populations and deposit these chemicals into the food chain. The bill now advances to the Senate. 

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