With several issues teed up to be priorities during the 2019 Washington Legislative session, Washington Surfrider Chapters are excited to help push the marine conservation agenda forward. Several of the issues have been the focus of our local campaigns for many years, and now is a great opportunity to scale up to have a larger impact at protecting our state from the threats of plastic pollution and oil spills. Surfrider Foundation is a member of the Washington Environmental Priorities Coalition, a group made up of more than 20 statewide organizations working to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities in the legislature. Below is a run down on some of our priorities, and ways that you can get involved to help out!

Single use plastic carry out bags continue to be the bane of existence to those who frequently clean our beaches, that’s why we are advocating in support of a statewide Reusable Bag Act.

Reducing Plastic Pollution: Thin plastic bags are used for only a few minutes and discarded. Only 6% of these bags are ever recycled. Plastic bags blow into our waterways and the ocean, clog the stomachs of wildlife, and break down into smaller pieces that also get eaten. Plastic bags also clog recycling equipment – costing money because they have to be extracted – 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 include a pass-through charge to motivate people to bring their own reusable bags and help cover the stores’ cost of more expensive bags. See more from our recent press conference announcing the bill. 

Oil Spill Prevention: Washington continues to face significant risks of oils spills in Puget Sound and the coast. These risks threaten local economies and the survival of iconic species like salmon and orcas. To address these risks, the state must have the same protections on barges and other vessels that exist for large tankers, require an emergency response tug that can protect high-risk areas like the San Juan Islands, and ensure that oil drilling will never happen off of Washington’s coast. Read more from our Statewide Leaders who have been speaking out over the past year in opposition to offshore drilling along Washington’s Coast. 

Don’t let this be the view of the Washington Coast

The two issues above are the two that Surfrider Chapter’s will be focusing the majority of their energy on in the coming year, additionally there are the important issues of 100% Renewable Energy, and Orca Emergency Response that the Environmental Priorities Coalition will be focusing on that are worthy of passing. Read more about all 4 Environmental Priorities in the one pager. 

How Can YOU help?

  1. Join Surfrider Foundation and get active with your local chapter!
  2. Save the Date for January 29th and plan to attend the Environmental Lobby Day in Olympia! Register here if you would like to attend. 
  3. Find out who your legislators are, sign up for their newsletters, attend an upcoming town hall, and give their office a phone call or an email and let them know that you care about the issues of plastic pollution and oil spill prevention.
Democracy is a participatory sport. WA Field Manager Brice Boland, and WA Policy Manager Gus Gates as WA Surfrider staff are here to help you find your voice in this process.