We’re disappointed to report that legislation to address carbon pollution has stalled in the Washington state legislature. Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Reuven Carlyle, the prime sponsor of the carbon tax bill, announced last week that they were a few votes short of passing the measure out of the state Senate. The bill, SB 6203, included smart investments in land and water protection for carbon sequestration and climate adaptation that WALT and our members supported.
However, the legislation got farther than any past carbon measures and attracted a broad and diverse bipartisan coalition of supporters. We are hopeful that the hard work done this session will set up success for carbon reduction efforts in the future.
Climate change is an enormous, complex challenge that faces us all. Land trusts will play an important role as Washington works to address this challenge for today and the future, with deep expertise in preventing conversion, restoring the health of natural lands, stewardship, and protecting working farm, ranch and forest lands.
The good news is that there is consensus in the legislature that climate change is a serious problem that is already impacting the communities in which we live and work, and the land and water that land trusts work to protect.
A coalition of groups, including the Nature Conservancy, has filed a ballot initiative to address carbon pollution and prepare the state for the effects of climate change. You can find details from TNC here.
Land trusts’ work is critical to improve the resiliency of our lands and communities in the face of climate change. Land trusts are working to protect and restore lands that increase water storage and availability, recharge drinking water supplies, and mitigate the impacts of flooding. Land trusts are also working to mitigate the impacts of rising seas and severe coastal storms on shorelines. Our natural and working lands are threatened by climate change, but they can also be a solution to help our communities adapt and stay safe.
Land trusts are also working at the forefront of efforts to ensure that our forests, agricultural lands, and other landscapes can continue to sequester carbon.
Legislative efforts this session recognized the importance of the land in any effort to sequester carbon and increase our resiliency in the face of climate change. You can see WALT’s principles on elements that any climate initiative should include here, and can find our comment letter on SB 6203 here.
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