The Puget Sound Partnership


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.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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