The 2020 Washington Legislative session is set to begin. If you’ve recently moved, or aren’t sure who your legislators are, go here to find out, and while you’re at you can sign up for their newsletters to keep in touch. The citizen Legislature meets annually on the second Monday in January in the ornate Capitol building in Olympia. In odd-numbered years — the budget year — the Legislature meets for 105 days, and in even-numbered years (this year) for 60 days.
Surfrider Foundation’s Washington Chapters will be tracking a variety of topics again this year and promoting various ways to make your voice heard including phone banking, letter writing, attending hearings, and participating in Environmental Lobby Day on January 30th. Register now to attend the 2020 Environmental Lobby Day!
2020 Washington Environmental Priorities:
The priorities are determined by the Washington Environmental Priorities Coalition, which is made up of more than 20 statewide organizations (including the Surfrider Foundation) working to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities in the legislature. Learn more about the coalition and sign up to become a session activist! For the 2020 legislative session, we have adopted four priorities essential for healthy communities and a thriving environment. Download the 2020 Environmental Priorities Summary.
REDUCE PLASTIC POLLUTION (*Surfrider is one of the lead groups working on this priority again this year)
Our local waterways, ocean, and recycling systems are overloaded with plastic pollution. Thin plastic bags that are used for just a few minutes and then thrown away pose a particular problem: only 6% ever get recycled. Single-use bags enter into our waterways and the ocean where they clog the stomachs of wildlife. They also clog recycling equipment where they are costly to remove and are the major contaminant in our commercial compost. The Reusable Bag Act would eliminate thin carry-home plastic bags at all retail establishments and help Washington address a growing recycling crisis.
CLEAN FUELS NOW
The transportation sector is responsible for nearly half of our climate and air pollution in Washington. We need our transportation to be clean, affordable, and accessible. A Clean Fuel Standard will require fuel producers and importers to reduce pollution from the fuels that power our transportation system. It is a tested and effective policy that would clean our air, give us more options to fuel our vehicles (such as electricity and local renewable biofuels), create economic development, cut climate pollution, and move us beyond oil.
CLIMATE POLLUTION LIMITS
Climate action requires carbon reductions across the board and deep investments in healthier natural landscapes—shorelines, forests, and farms. This means setting credible and ambitious climate pollution limits, providing clear direction to meet these limits, and investing in nature-based solutions like trees and soils to capture excess carbon. This priority will update the state’s greenhouse gas limits to reflect current science and lay groundwork to reach net zero carbon emissions and beyond.
HEALTHY HABITAT HEALTHY ORCAS
With our beloved orcas facing extinction, bold actions to increase salmon populations are needed. After decades of development-related habitat loss, we seek passage of a new standard, net ecological gain, to protect and restore habitat and leave our environment better than we found it for future generations. We will work with state and local governments to implement this key Orca Task Force recommendation to accomplish results now and in the future.