AWB Statement on Governor's Plan for New Water Quality Rule
New path is costly and uncertain for employers, municipal ratepayers
OLYMPIA — Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, issued the following statement today regarding Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to direct the state Department of Ecology to draft a new clean water rule:
"We are disappointed the governor has abandoned his previous water quality rule proposal, which he declared to be both scientifically sound and legally defensible, and taken the state in a new direction that will yield imperceptible human health and environmental benefits, but is certain to cost employers and municipal ratepayers more money. While we applaud the governor’s recognition that industry and municipalities represent only a small part of the toxic pollution problem in state waterways, the direction he has announced will place extraordinary regulatory burdens on those with discharge permits in the coming decades. State economic growth will be impacted, and permittees will struggle to achieve ultra-low water quality criteria, and then only at great cost. The state Department of Ecology will be challenged as well to come up with the mechanisms needed to implement this regulation.
"The governor's decision is also disappointing because it abandons almost four years of work by the many groups it affects, including municipal governments, labor groups and employers. After working diligently to develop a plan that worked for all parties, the governor has now directed the state Department of Ecology to start over and draft a new rule in just six months. The governor notes that his new plan will include implementation tools aimed at giving businesses flexibility to comply with the rule, but it is far from certain that the Environmental Protection Agency will approve of these tools, which have never been used before.
"We remain committed to working with governor and the state Department of Ecology to develop a rule that works for everyone, while continuing to question this new path that will produce standards that are not achievable."
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 7,900 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.