With just over two weeks left in the 2018 Washington State legislative session, InvestigateWest is tracking key environmental bills. Which are dead? Which are alive? Exciting questions remain. Will Washington become the first state to ban toxic chemicals in food packaging?
Washington State legislature is considering a bill that would phase out detention of youth for non-criminal offenses including truancy. Opponents of the bill say Judges need detention as a last resort to get kids to comply with court orders, while others say these punishments are detrimental to the welfare and growth of the children.
A deadline for truckers who serve the ports of Seattle and Tacoma to reduce air pollution by switching to cleaner trucks is delayed nine months as the drivers stage a walkout to lobby port commissioners. The ports are also putting up $1 million to guarantee loans for drivers who want to upgrade. But the drivers say they need a lot more financial help to make the switch.
Environmentalists and industry representatives are battling in Olympia over whether to ban chemicals used widely in fast-food wrappers and found in some communities’ drinking water that may cause various health complications. If the bills are passed, Washington will be the first state to regulate “perfluorinated chemicals”.
Short-haul truck drivers who pick up and deliver containers at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are organizing a walkout Tuesday to protest a proposed April 1 deadline restricting port access to allow only newer, cleaner-burning diesel trucks. Independent drivers who own their trucks and contract for work one load at a time say the cost of upgrading to cleaner vehicles will put many of them out of business. The drivers are mostly immigrants from East Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, according to the Northwest Seaport Alliance, an agency formed in 2015 to merge the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. A flyer distributed late last week calls on independent drivers to attend a meeting of commissioners from both ports Tuesday. At the meeting, Seaport Alliance commissioners are set to decide whether to adopt the new April 1 deadline for their self-imposed, decade-old commitment to cleaner-burning trucks.
Washington foster parents are organizing to demand more respect from the state, saying they should get at least some consideration when legal decisions are made about what happens to the kids in their care. They lost on that measure this year, although several other pieces of legislation designed to help foster kids remain alive this year.
Even with Democrats in charge of both houses of the Washington Legislature and the governor’s mansion, the 2018 legislative session is far from a sure-fire win for environmentalists. Climate, water use, oil spill prevention and more are being discussed. Can anything significant pass?
“An epidemic of trees” has resulted from a misguided century-long policy of extinguishing wildfires in the West. Now more people are moving into the woods, even as “megafires” explode. It doesn’t have to be this way, a veteran scientist says, even as climate changes makes forests hotter and drier.
Long-stalled efforts to better protect Seattle’s tree canopy got a boost from a recent executive order by the mayor, and a key city council member says he will try to pass a stronger tree protection ordinance by next spring.