Thinking about giving EPA control of state water
According to news reports, Gov. Inslee is considering letting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set new water quality standards for our state. Those standards will likely be the most stringent in the nation and unobtainable.
The governor demonstrated remarkable leadership last year when he forged an agreement between the tribes, industry leaders and conservationists on new water quality standards which are tied to the rate of fish consumption by state residents. But the governor said he would not finalize the rule unless lawmakers passed companion legislation he sought giving the state Department of Ecology new authority to ban chemicals. The Legislature didn’t and it deserves a thumbs down for jeopardizing the deal.
The governor’s choices now are to approve the fish consumption rule and seek expanded authority for the Department of Ecology next year, or relinquish control to the EPA. Even considering giving the EPA control warrants a big thumbs down. He’ll earn a big thumbs up if he finds the courage to stand up to the EPA and fight for the legislation he wants next session.
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Candy Mountain Trail and Hanford contractors
The recently passed Washington state capital budget included $695,377 for Benton County to buy land on Candy Mountain so a public hiking trail could be established if matching dollars could be raised locally.
Thanks to two Hanford contractors, Bechtel National and CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., those funds are largely in hand.
Bechtel, which is the contractor responsible for the often controversial waste treatment plant project, donated $100,000 to the project in June. Last year CH2M Hill, responsible for cleanup of the central plateau at the Haford site, pledged $500,000 to the trail effort.
Thanks to their generosity and the passion of the Friends of Badger, which is leading this effort, we will soon have a 20-mile long trail connecting Badger Mountain, Candy Mountain and Red Mountain that will offer us and future generations some of the most spectacular views in Eastern Washington.
The Legislature also deserves a thumbs up for investing in providing and preserving public access to these mountains but without those matching pledges in hand, the money could have gone elsewhere.