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Don't Forget What Makes Us Special

by Editorial Board
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - January 22, 2004

When it comes to the environment, Washington state's natural blessings create one perpetual temptation, complacency.

This year, lawmakers face the seductive notion that they can ignore the environment to concentrate on job creation. That would be a mistake. The environment is a key part of the state's marketability with employers.

Indeed, such recent events as the Edmonds oil spill should draw lawmakers' minds back to the environment. Rep. Mike Cooper, D-Edmonds, wants to require some vessels to deploy containment booms before they take on oil, as California already does. Good idea.

Findings of PCBs in salmon also suggest the need to do more. Legislators should honor Gov. Gary Locke's request for money to move forward with plans to deal with persistent toxic chemicals.

Before the session, environmental groups drew up a list of priorities, including the persistent-toxics funding. They also want rules to gradually increase electric utilities' use of renewable energy sources, new protection for stream flows and a commitment to environmental certification of state forest practices. State Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland has another idea deserving of legislative attention -- creation of a fund to maintain trails, campgrounds and natural areas on state lands.

Nature never stands still. If lawmakers don't move forward on the environment, Washington will surely slip backward.

Editorial Board
Don't Forget What Makes Us Special
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 22, 2004

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