Families, farms, fish, and forests depend on clean water, clean air, and a healthy ecosystem to thrive. The Washington Legislature has entrusted us to address the challenging and complex environmental issues affecting Washington. The Legislature made significant new investments in clean energy, reducing toxic threats, and protecting and restoring Puget Sound. They passed a $590 million 2019–21 operating budget for us to advance this work.
We are working to solve incredibly complex and diverse environmental issues. Innovative partnerships with tribes, businesses, conservation groups, agricultural producers, local governments, and Washingtonians from all walks of life set the stage for habitat restoration and natural resource stewardship.
As a member of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Task Force, we are developing and implementing a range of recommendations for orca recovery. Our recommendations include reducing toxics in water and implementing stronger oil spill prevention measures.
Another priority of ours is addressing the recycling crisis caused by China’s new and more restrictive laws. The new restrictions led us to pursue legislation and funding to reduce litter and help stabilize the recycling system in Washington. We are now creating a Recycling Development Center in Lacey that will spur innovative markets for recycled materials and help local governments reduce recycling contamination in their communities.
Investing in communities
The majority of our budget goes to local communities to help address environmental challenges. Polluted stormwater runoff that threatens the health of water is being reduced by repairing and replacing failing sewage systems. Flooding hazards are being addressed with creative approaches by combining salmon recovery with river habitat restoration. And, as the climate warms, communities faced with diminished water supplies are receiving funds to help prepare for and manage the impacts of drought.