Statement on the State Senate Operating Budget

By Mike Stevens, Washington state director

The news last week was dominated with stories of the president’s recent budget, which slashed critical conservation and environment programs through dramatic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, Department of the Interior and more.

Yesterday, our state Senate released their operating budget proposal, which included cuts to Puget Sound recovery, habitat restoration, salmon recovery and no funding for climate action through the Clean Air Rule.

Since the 2007-2008 recession, our state’s investments in protecting clean air, clean water and healthy natural resources have shrunk from 1.6% of our state’s general fund to 0.7%.

Conserving our state and national resources is not a partisan issue and it is not optional. Nature is essential to our well-being and it offers solutions to some of the greatest economic and security challenges we face. Especially in light of the federal cuts, we think Washington has an opportunity to lead our nation, instead of falling behind, by taking the following actions:

1)     Hold the line: No more reductions to natural resource agencies that have already borne the brunt of post-recession cuts in our state’s operating budget.

2)     Take action to pass smart carbon pricing policy that protects our natural resources and works for all of Washington. Until that happens, we must continue to fund existing policies like the Clean Air Rule to drive down carbon emissions to protect our communities.

3)     Use the Capital Budget, set to be released next week, to make bold investments in Puget Sound and coastal restoration, cleanup of polluted stormwater runoff, forest health and wildfire risk reduction, salmon recovery, recreation and public land.

Please join us in speaking up for nature, and let your legislators know you care about our natural resources.