Budget and other legislation will improve environmental conditions in Puget Sound area
The 2007-09 Washington state budget included a $220 million cash boost to help launch Gov. Chris Gregoire's goal of a clean, healthy Puget Sound by 2020. The state’s supplemental budget and other bills in the Legislature this winter will help achieve that goal, according to a report in The Olympian.
The 2007 state Legislature also created a new state agency, the Puget Sound Partnership, to guide the cleanup goal, the newspaper reported.
According to the article, Gregoire's supplemental budget includes:
• $2.2 million for the Puget Sound Partnership to craft an action plan by September 2008;
• $9 million for the state Department of Transportation to conduct an inventory and maintenance plan for storm water controls on state highways in the Puget Sound basin;
• $310,000 to pinpoint toxic air emissions that damage aquatic life and water quality in Puget Sound; and
• $9.4 million to continue toxic waste cleanup and creosote log removal from Puget Sound tidelands and shore areas.
The proposed Evergreen Cities Act would restore, retain and establish more trees and forests in urban areas, according to the newspaper. The trees could soak up rainfall to reduce storm water runoff, noted Audubon Washington chapter coordinator Lisa Paribello.
"Since 1971, we've lost about 800,000 acres of urban forestland in this state," Paribello said.
In addition, the Puget Sound caucus, a coalition of environmental and conservation groups, will lobby for a bill to make it easier for homes, businesses and office buildings to collect rainwater from rooftops while abiding by state water rights laws, said People for Puget Sound Policy Director Bruce Wishart.