House passes measures to jump-start jobs and conservation projects

Saturday, February 20, 2010


OLYMPIA—In an effort to energize the slumping construction industry while promoting energy and water conversation for decades to come, on February 13, the House voted overwhelming for two measures that would make conservation projects more affordable to Washington’s families and businesses. The measures proposed by Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline) would double the allowable payback period for energy- or water-conservation loans provided by public utilities or water districts.

“The construction industry has always led the way to recovery,” said Chase, who serves as Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Environmental Health. “Financing is often the only or the biggest barrier to energy- conservation and water-conservation projects. By helping to tear down those barriers, these measures will put contractors back to work and construction workers back on the job.”

House Bill 2676 makes financing energy projects more affordable by doubling the payback period for energy-conservation loans provided by a public utilities or irrigation districts from 10 years to 20 years. Chase’s House Bill 2677 does the same for water-conservation projects, allowing loans provided by water utilities and water districts to be paid back over 20 years instead of the current 10 years.

Washingtonians have historically been wary of loaning public money, but voters changed the State Constitution in 1979 to allow loans of public money for conservation.

“Washington values conservation and our families are trying very hard to conserve water and leave a better world with clean water for our children and grandchildren,” Chase said when addressing the House on her water-conservation bill. “This financing permits substantial construction projects to revitalize our economy, conserve our water resources, and create projects for our contractors and jobs for our workers.”

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