The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is prepared to move forward with a strict, so-called clean-water rule for Washington if our state fails to change its existing rule. The reason our state has yet to come up with an adequate revised rule is due to Jay Inslee, and his announcement last month that he was killing a deal on draft rules for clean-water standards that had been under development for a year.
Inslee’s refusal to allow the deal to move forward was nothing more than a temper-tantrum. As Shift reported, the draft clean-water rules in question were developed by Inslee’s own Department of Ecology (DOE). Inslee intended that the rules would be implemented along with “legislation meant to reduce toxic chemicals”, which was a back-room deal he had cut with some of the extreme environmental groups which invested so much in elected Inslee.
However, while that bill passed the state House, it did not have enough bi-partisan support to make it through the state Senate. So, Inslee threw a fit.
The Everett Herald editorial board recently pointed out that tasking the EPA with developing clean-water rules for our state would result in standards that “many in local government and industry say can’t be met affordably with existing technology for treatment of sewage, stormwater runoff and effluent from plants.” The Herald editorial board writes,
“Those supporting the state’s rule-making believe that leaving the job to the EPA won’t help anyone. Standards that are too stringent and too costly or technically impossible to be met won’t protect the environment or the public health any more than a lack of standards.”
The editorial board goes on to urge the Legislature to “accept the compromises offered in the bills the governor has sought to keep chemicals out of the water.” And, by doing so, reveal that they fail to understand who is responsible for the failure of the original draft rule.
The truth is that, after he killed the draft rules, Inslee claimed that the state lacks the “necessary broad approach to protecting our water in a way that advances human, environmental and economic health” without his accompanying legislation. A DOE official immediately contradicted that statement. The official stated that Inslee’s legislation was not necessary for the rules to move forward.
The EPA estimates it would take about “eight to 11 months to complete its rule-making work and allow time for comment from the public and from the state.” The federal agency said it would “hold off if it sees progress from the state.”
Time is ticking away. It’s time Inslee placed the interests of the state ahead of his own extreme agenda and allow the DOE to move forward with the original one-year-in-the-making deal.