To the Editor: Toxic Users Should Pay

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Working for Clean Water Bill is the best chance in decades for our State to truly make a difference for Puget Sound and other important waterways. But now, the industries that cause the most harm are making excuses and asking to avoid responsibility.

It is well known that toxics like oil and fertilizers are the greatest cause of our water quality problems, killing wildlife and making our beaches and shellfish habitat off limits. But, as described in the Jim Brunner article "Gas-station owners want tax overturned", oil companies and gas station owners are now suing the State to "get out of jail free". They want to undermine the Hazardous Substances Tax passed 22 years ago.

I have worked for over 20 years on restoration projects in the Thornton Creek Watershed, most notably to get the Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel at Northgate done. This prize-winning project is universally seen to benefit our urban watershed. I've also worked in Shoreline to get LID (Low Impact Development) technologies used in our Aurora Phase II project, providing big water quality benefits to both Boeing and McAleer Creeks. So I know that these are exactly the types of projects this bill could fund, bringing many green jobs to our communities.

I hope that this bill passes and that the gas and oil companies will accept their responsibilities. It will impose a "user fee" in effect on the very industries that are destroying our precious water resources. It makes sense!

Janet Way


Anonymous,  March 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM  

You are absolutely right! Thanks for your hard work. I sure hope this bill passes as well.

Anonymous,  March 26, 2010 at 1:31 PM  

The bigger harm doesn't come from gas stations. Gas stations are highly regulated by DOE and have manditory monitoring wells to monitor releases. This is already a heavy burden on a small gas station. I think the oil industry should have more responsibility in the matter. The bigger threat I see are parking lots, home heating oil tanks, dry cleaners, illegal dumping, etc. The thing that concerns me the most is that the state is "dipping" into these funds to balance their budget, that's a big concern. You're asking for more money, just so the state can take it. Remeber any additional tax on any business is an additional tax to your wallet.

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