Washington Adopts Measure to Speed Environmental Cleanups

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In the space of only 36 hours, the Washington Legislature resurrected, and the governor signed into law, a bill that changes the way the Washington Model Toxics Control Act (“MTCA”) provides funding for cleanups at contaminated sites. The goals of this legislation are to make sure that money in the state’s Toxic Cleanup Account is used for cleanups and also to hasten the cleanup of sites. While the measure had bipartisan legislative support, its passage was not without controversy. The environmental community has expressed concern that the provisions shift the costs of cleaning up contaminated sites from the responsible parties to the taxpayers.

Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) first introduced the measure last January. Although it passed the Senate during the regular session, the bill appeared to have died in the state House. But, in the waning hours of the legislature’s first special session, the bill was revived and put on a fast-track to passage and signing.

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