State Senator Dean Takko (D-Longview) recently authored an op-ed in The Daily News condemning the latest instance of the Washington Department of Ecology prioritizing its politics at the expense of facts.
At issue is a recent decision prohibiting the state’s oyster growers from spraying a pesticide to kill burrowing shrimp that threaten the oyster stocks even though they had previously approved the use of the very same pesticide just a couple of years earlier. As Senator Takko put it, “Interestingly, the agency, using science, approved this same solution just three years ago.” Sen. Takko continued, “In 2015 the agency OK’d the use of the pesticide, calling it ecologically sound. But when it caught the attention of activists, who denounced use of the spray, the agency quickly reversed its course.”
This decision is just another example of Washington’s broken, politicized permitting process.
Businesses that stand to employ citizens of rural Washington often run into permitting roadblocks arbitrarily implemented by regulators. Sen. Takko argues that, “This has become a significant problem in our state, one that stands to have long-term implications, particularly for rural communities where economic development opportunities often take longer to come to fruition.”
Sen. Takko calls for a change: “If we, as a state, are truly serious about jumpstarting economies in every community – not just the Puget Sound region – then we have to have an honest conversation about how projects are permitted. Because as it stands currently, politics reigns supreme in state agencies like Ecology.”
While the agency’s politics disproportionately harm rural communities, it also affects the entire state. Sen. Takko writes that Washington “is the most trade dependent state in the nation right now, but our regulatory process is hamstringing potential investments in our trade infrastructure.”