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As Legislature Reconvenes, Green Groups Say Protecting Hard-Fought Wins A Top Priority

Aerial view of the The Washington state Capitol campus in Olympia, Wash.

Environmental groups say there’s really just one priority as lawmakers head back to the to the legislature in Olympia next week: no rollbacks. 

Every legislative session, the broad spectrum of green-minded groups in the state gets together to discuss their main issues and work toward achieving them.

Clifford Traisman is a lobbyist with Washington Conservation Voters and a spokesman for the Environmental Council that sets the priorities. For the early session this year, he says it’s pretty simple. They just don’t want things they’ve accomplished to be undone.

“It’s a short session; it’s an election year; it’s an education session around McCleary," he said. 

McCleary is a reference to the state Supreme Court ruling that requires more funding for basic education, which is the state's paramount duty, per Washington's constitution.  

"So we are not asking for any – in terms of the priorities – any proactive legislation,” Traisman said. 

The vulnerable areas they’re trying to protect include subsidies for clean energy, especially solar; the Growth Management Act that encourages density in urban growth areas and open space outside them and a pioneering law in Washington that regulates toxic cleanup of chemicals produced through industry.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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