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Published on Friday, January 25, 2013

MTCA reform legislation

AWC testified on January 23 on two bills that would make significant changes to the Model Toxics Control Act – the state law that governs and funds the cleanup and prevention of toxic sites around the state, and provides funds for local stormwater management.

The first, SB 5296 by Sen. Ericksen (R-Ferndale), makes several changes to the statute and is hot off the press at the time of this writing. Sen. Ericksen’s bill is intended to make the program more efficient and refocus efforts on toxic cleanup. Cities have a great interest in these proposals, which have already changed since the draft versions were heard in committee.

In general, we are excited to work with Sen. Ericksen to help him accomplish his goal of making the program work better, but have some concerns about how stormwater investments from the state would be handled under this new paradigm. We will need help from our cities to make sure these reforms truly accomplish the goals that we share with the senator.

Sen. Ranker (D-Orcas Island) has also introduced SB 5201, which mirrors a bill we supported last year. This bill provides for city authority to establish brownfield redevelopment districts, to pull together multiple small cleanup sites into one redevelopment district that can be more competitive for funding and cleaned-up more efficiently. This proposal also includes a brownfield redevelopment trust account that aims to provide more certainty for cities and others who take on significant liabilities in the course of major cleanups. We will continue to work this bill and welcome any comments.

A stakeholder roundtable has been established for both bills and AWC will be participating. Please share any thoughts and comments you have with Carl Schroeder.