That sounds mighty dramatic, maybe over the top. What's this bill about?
Waal... HB 2454 is a bill that paves the way for "water quality trading" in Washington State. Painted as accommodating and innovative, and dressed-up as so many bills are nowadays in predictable, wolf in sheep's clothing buzzwords like "voluntary" and "market-based," the legislature is setting up tables in the temple of environmental justice for the sale of Get Out Of Jail Free cards. Instead of nabbing those who pollute, and correcting real problems appropriately, this bill says:
Trading programs allow facilities facing higher pollution control costs to meet their regulatory obligations by purchasing environmentally equivalent or superior pollution reductions from another source at a lower cost.
Specifically, the state conservation commission should examine watersheds in which total maximum daily loads have been produced, and assess whether there are potential buyers, or permit holders, and sellers of credit to support a water quality trading program consistent with the water quality trading framework developed by the department of ecology.
Whether we need it or not, "environmental protection" is one whale of a lucrative business around here. The potential for corruption and exaggerated "environmental needs assessment" is real; that's obvious. WE ask - how much does this kind of thing achieve in making Whatcom County or Washington State a better place? A cleaner place? More productive, healthier? And, how can greed be kept out of these institutionalized staff-driven goldmines? WA Commerce has been promoting regional TDR's (transfers of development rights) between counties to help grow cities that don't keep their own acts clean.
As things are already, good and decent stewards of healthy rural land find themselves thanklessly hobbled like lambs tied to stakes - cautioned not to turn a shovel of dirt, or farm without a plan. It's the devil being spied on and watched over, having to obtain say-so first from the lairds and keepers. Is there no end to the scope and scale of this state's "environmental" lock-downs and the institutional coveting of ever-more private property? Water quality - uh - pollution trades... What a load of hypocrisy.
WE have reported on quite a few stories just like this in the last couple of years, like the abysmally vague and scientifically vacant "natural resources marketplace," the greedy interests that underpinned and promoted the DNR reconveyance, and how local watershed planning has been hijacked by a greedy local monopoly and the Puget Sound Partnership. There's little question that the growing web spun by bureaucrats and bankers (and the barking left) have no intention of giving up. The road back has got to be guided by common sense.