Ecology member gaveled down in toxic debate



swm22013Ecology member gaveled down when raising red flags about toxic control bill

A fast track bill that would rewrite a voter-approved 1988 initiative to clean up toxic waste sites produced unusual drama Wednesday (Feb. 20) when a soft-spoken Federation member was gaveled down when she opposed the bill.

Dolores Mitchell, a member of Thurston County Ecology Local 872, was methodically laying out why Federation members opposed Substitute Senate Bill 5296 to rewrite the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA).

Voters approved MTCA “to fund work that protects human health and the environment,” Mitchell told the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

“SB 5296 takes the will of the people and circumvents it by strong-arming the Department of Ecology into accepting model remedies for cleanup sites.”

That sparked a point-of-order objection from Sen. Mark Schoesler of the 9th Dist., the Senate Republican leader, who objected to what he called Mitchell’s “over-the-top remarks.”

Mitchell showed great dignity in taking the admonishment and continued her testimony.

Other speakers on her panel, including representatives from Ecology and the Washington Environmental Council also opposed the bill.

Proponents say the MTCA funds have been used for non-toxic cleanup activities while opponents say the current law is not the problem, but how the money is appropriated.

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