An Environmental Law Update
One of Washington Governor Christine Gregoire’s top priorities is protecting and restoring the environmental health of Puget Sound, and on May 7, 2007, she signed into law a bill creating the Puget Sound Partnership (“the Partnership”). The Partnership is a new state agency charged with overseeing and restoring Puget Sound to a healthy condition by the year 2020.
Genesis of the Partnership
The legislation that created the Partnership, ESSB 5372, grew out of a public-private task force the Governor convened in December 2005. The group met over the course of the past two years, and at the Governor’s request, developed a list of recommendations for how to improve the
health of Puget Sound. The task force’s recommendations included:
•Cleaning Up Areas With Septic Problems: by partnering with the private sector and financial assistance to local governments.
•Substantially Increasing Compliance With Existing Land Use and Water Quality Laws: by providing funding to state and local governments for enforcement and technical assistance; and providing assistance to local governments updating their Shoreline Master Programs and Critical Areas Ordinances.
•Accelerating Cleanup of Toxic Sites, Both In-Water and Within One-Half Mile of Puget Sound: by preventing pollutants from entering the Sound; and using innovative
“outcome-focused” state-private partnerships to achieve faster cleanups.
•Significantly Reducing Polluted Stormwater Runoff: by implementing and enforcing the recently revised municipal stormwater permit to local governments; providing funding
for high-profile, low-impact developments; and providing incentives for pre-1990 developments to reduce polluted stormwater runoff.
•Protecting Adequate Instream Flows in Puget Sound Rivers: by developing rules for water use efficiency and water reclamation; expanding financial support and financial
incentives for capital investments in reuse and reclamation projects.