Nelson, McCoy: ‘This is poisoned politics at its worst’

April 1st, 2015|

OLYMPIA – Bipartisan legislation to address toxic chemicals in children’s and household goods is in jeopardy following a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee.

Two bills are being considered by the Legislature. One would streamline the process for banning toxic flame retardants common to furniture and children’s products (House Bill 1174). The other would encourage manufacturers to use alternatives to harmful chemicals through a collaborative process with the state Department of Ecology (House Bill 1472).

A striking amendment proposed by the Republican committee chair would combine these measures, removing their original intent and making it even more difficult to ban these toxic chemicals in Washington.

“The chair’s approach substantially weakens the bill and would undermine our ability to clean up our water, protect human health and keep harmful chemicals out of our environment,” said Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

“While everyone is preoccupied with state budget proposals being rolled out this week, legislation that protects our children, first responders and the environment was steamrolled in committee,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island. “The state’s citizens, advocates and largest newspapers are calling on the chair to pass these bills as is. Instead, the interests of chemical companies were secured for years to come.”

Both bills passed the House of Representatives in their original form with wide bipartisan support, HB 1174 passing 95-3 and HB 1472 passing 63-35.

“This is poisoned politics at its worst,” McCoy added. “These bills went successfully through the public process – we could see the finish line – and now we’re faced with passing bad policy or no policy at all.”