State OKs environmental bills for Earth Day

Legislators celebrated Earth Day with the passage of environmental bills in the final hours of the legislative session.

The package creates new laws that regulate the use of foam blocks for docks, govern production of hydrogen to power buses, provide for the study of carbon monoxide and places restrictions on battery sales.

Substitute House Bill 1085, by Rep. Sharlett Mena, D-Tacoma, prohibits the sale and distribution of expanded foam blocks and floats used in overwater structures, unless the foam is contained in a shell of concrete, aluminum or plastic. Floating homes and residences are excluded. Floats, docks and accessory overwater structures associated with floating homes or residences will be subject to the restrictions, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

The bill requires any building with a drinking fountain to have a water bottle filling station as well, beginning July 1, 2026.

“This bill will help protect and preserve our marine ecosystems and reduce the massive amounts of plastic waste that our society creates,” Mena said. “It is often said that kids are our future, but it is our responsibility to them to have a clean and prosperous future.”

The bill was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee April 20.

Substitute House Bill 1236, by Rep. David Hackney, D-Tukwila, allows public transit agencies to produce and distribute green electrolytic hydrogen and renewable hydrogen. Green electrolytic hydrogen is produced through electrolysis and comes from renewable sources such as wind or water. Public transportation agencies can sell green electric hydrogen and renewable hydrogen to facilities that distribute, store or dispense these types of hydrogen for transportation fuel under the bill. The bill has been delivered to Inslee.

Substitute House Bill 1779, by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, requires the Department of Health to establish an interagency carbon monoxide workgroup including representatives from the Department of Ecology, State Patrol and Office of the Attorney General. The workgroup is required to create a report on current and future state activities preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, increasing awareness throughout at-risk communities, collecting data from incidents and identifying sources for funding awareness campaigns. The report is required to be submitted to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2024, and needs to include recommendations on how to reduce carbon monoxide poisoning in Washington. The bill was delivered to the governor’s desk.