2017 Legislative Priorities

Earth Ministry at Washington State CapitolEarth Ministry and WA Interfaith Power & Light raises up the moral foundation for environmental justice in the state legislature. From educational workshops to trips to the capitol, we provide a wide range of opportunities for people of faith to get involved in faithful advocacy.

For more information or to join us, please contact jessica@earthministry.org. Together, faithful advocacy is how we solve problems, protect our families, plan for the future, and invest in a high quality of life for all of God's creation. 

Click here to download Earth Ministry's two-page environmental priority factsheet. 

 

Children's Safe Electronics Act: HB 1596

In 2008, the Washington State Legislature passed the Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA). We are grateful for this groundbreaking law that requires makers of children’s products to disclose whether certain toxic chemicals are present in their products. Reporting use of toxic chemicals in clothing, toys, bedding, and personal care products has had a positive impact on the health of our children, the marketplace, and product makers.

A major category of products is exempt from this law – children’s and consumer electronics, including cellphones, computers, and televisions. Electronic products should NOT be exempt because:

  • They contain toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium as well as phthalates – chemicals linked to reproductive problems and learning disabilities.
  • Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens and using electronics.
  • Electronic products are the highest-use product category for toxic flame retardants.
  • Several studies indicate that these chemicals migrate from electronic products into household dust. Adults, children, and pets are then exposed through incidental ingestion of dust.

The Children's Safe Electronics Act is a right-to-know bill that will provide crucial information for us to know what chemicals are in the products we purchase and for policymakers to have the best information to keep us safe. The moral choice is clear – we need to hold electronics to the same standard as all other product categories under the Children’s Safe Products Act.

Update: Failed to pass out of House Environment Committee. 

Healthy Food Packaging Act: HB 1744

Many food packaging materials, especially those used for fast-food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags, are made with a class of chemicals called PFAS (perfluorinated compounds) that are linked to a variety of health effects, including cancer and hormone disruption. When we pop a bag of popcorn or grab a quick meal, we’re often going for reduced stress, not added concern about chemicals leaching into our food.

We need to get all PFAS chemicals out of food packaging because:

  • PFAS chemicals are designed to repel both oil and water, and are so highly persistent that scientists call them “virtually indestructible.”
  • Recent testing found PFAS chemicals in all 30 microwave popcorn bags tested
  • PFAS chemicals were in 42% of fast food wrappers tested—showing widespread use of these chemicals, but also broad adoption of alternatives.

This bill will eliminate the unnecessary use of perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) in food packaging to protect the health of all of God’s children. Please call your elected official in support of it today!

Update: Failed to pass out of House Environment Committee.

Clean Energy Transition Act: HB 1646 & SB 5509

We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the harmful effects of climate change in order to protect our health, communities, and economy. When we make the transition to clean, efficient energy we will grow our economy, creating a new wave of jobs and prosperity. In Washington, a group of social justice, labor, faith, environmental and health advocates have created what we believe is the most effective and equitable carbon reduction policy to date for transitioning to a clean energy economy.

The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy's policy will:

  • Drive significant investment in clean energy, healthy forests, and water infrastructure—to reduce climate pollution more quickly and address the impacts of climate change in Washington.
  • Fund these investments with a tax on climate pollution, which has a price that is linked to how well we are on track to meeting our emissions limits. These limits will be based on best available science in order to contribute to achieving a healthy, stable climate.
  • Bolster economic stability and equity in the transition to clean energy.

    (Click here to see the full fact sheet)

Update: Deemed necessary to implement the budget, may be reintroduced. 

Oil Transportation Safety Bill: HB 1611 & SB 5462

With the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, we expect an increase in tanker traffic by 700% through the Salish Sea, meaning more oil moving through pipelines and more export terminals, making Washington State a target for dangerous spills and explosions.

The Oil Transportation Safety Bill will:

  • Ensure that the oil industry pays in the case of a spill or other disaster
  • Update funding for prevention, preparedness and response
  • Protect Puget Sound from increased oil barges and other vessels from the Kinder Morgan Pipeline
  • Protect against refineries turning into transshipment terminals
  • Strengthen oversight of pipeline safety

We must do what we can to protect God’s creation since it cannot defend itself. We support this legislation to ensure common sense safety measures that will provide funding for oil spill prevention and response. The health of our environment and local communities depends on it.

Click here for more a one-page factsheet.

Update: Passed out of House Environment Committee; referred to Finance Committee for executive action, but none taken on March 3. 

Fund the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA): HB 1663 & SB 5501

The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) has been a successful law dedicated to cleaning up of toxic waste sites, preventing the use of harmful chemicals in products, and controlling pollution to protect water quality. The law relies on one of the most volatile revenue sources in the state budget--the hazardous substance tax. Because oil prices have plummeted and the MTCA fund has been raided repeatedly for other programs, there is a $75 million shortfall in its funding. This priority will impose a tax surcharge on imported toxics to ensure the money is secure and stable to solve the $75 million shortfall.

Our faith calls us to care for the most vulnerable. The MTCA is dedicated to the cleanup of toxic sites which often happen in the poorest of our communities. God calls on us to ensure that these vulnerable communities have access to clean water, a stable environment, and good health. Fully funding the MTCA is one important way that we can do so.

Click here for a one-page factsheet.

Update: Executive action taken in the House Committee on Finance, passed and referred to Rules 2 Review. 

Water for People, Farms, and Fish: SB 5024

The Supreme Court recently held in its Hirst decision that new housing developments should not move forward where there is no legal and practical access to safe drinking water, or where providing safe drinking water will hurt flows in rivers and streams that wildlife, habitat, and senior water rights depend on. This bill codifies the Hirst decision into law.

It is our responsibility as people of faith to protect the water that gives life to us and to all of God’s creatures. We are stewards of the Earth when we provide reliable and sustainable sources of clean and safe water to our communities.

Click here for a one-page factsheet.

Update: Deemed necessary to implement the budget, may be reintroduced. 

Clean Energy First Act: HB 1334

  • Builds on the success of I-937, Washington’s Energy Independence Act, which set 2020 efficiency goals. Washington has seen a boom in the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors, generating billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs.
  • Creates a path toward a 100% clean energy electric grid in Washington by prioritizing clean energy investments. Requires new energy needs be met with clean, renewable sources including energy efficiency, wind, solar, and existing hydropower.
  • Additional fossil fuel resources, specifically natural gas, would be permissible only if a utility can demonstrate that it cannot meet standards using a portfolio of renewable resources.

Update: Failed to pass out of House Committee on Technology and Economic Development.

Solar Tax Credits: HB 1048 & SB 5499

This bill promotes a sustainable, local renewable energy industry through modifying renewable energy system tax incentives and providing guidance for renewable energy system component recycling.

  • Promotes solar power by reducing the per-kilowatt-hour incentive rate to reflect the improving market and costs of solar systems, while maintaining an in-state manufacturing incentive.
  • Allows customers who seek a solar energy alternative for their home or business to receive eight years of incentive payments at the same rate at which they enter the program.
  • Expands utility participation in renewable energy.
  • Allows customers already enrolled to maintain their existing incentive rates until 2020.

Update: Deemed necessary to implement the budget, may be reintroduced. Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Finance March 10, at 8:00 AM (Subject to change).

News and Events


New State Report Recommends Banning Toxic Flame Retardants

The Washington Toxics Coalition explains how the Department of Ecology cites health concerns and availability of safer alternatives in a new report on flame retardants – further proof that these toxic chemicals don’t belong in our homes!  January 29, 2015 Washington Toxics Coalition  (Seattle, WA) A…
Read More »

Furniture firms shun flame retardants but some toxic couches still for sale

Great news to anyone who likes to sit on a cushion: retailers are making the wise choice to eliminate toxic flame retardants in home furniture. In the meantime, read on to learn how labels identify which products are safe for your home.  January 23, 2015 The Chicago…
Read More »

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Environmental Priorities Coalition editAs a member of the Environmental Priorities Coalition, Earth Ministry/WAIPL works closely with the wider conservation community in our advocacy work. We bring an important spiritual and moral voice to environmental issues of the day.

The Environmental Priorities Coalition is a network of over 20 leading environmental groups across the region that influence policy at the state level. Find out more about the Environmental Priorities Coalition.

Earth Ministry works on safe chemical reform as members of the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition, a broad-based alliance of organizations across Washington working to protect families and the environment from harmful toxic chemicals. This effort is spearheaded by our partners at Toxic-Free Future