Kretz bill would require scientific proof before state agency action against landowners

Kretz bill would require scientific proof before state agency action against landowners

In an effort to work with the state Department of Ecology (DOE) to adjust the agency's rules and regulations on businesses' and landowners' and their “potential to pollute,” Rep. Joel Kretz introduced House Bill 2472. The measure would require the state DOE to have “site-based, source-specific environmental testing” before pursuing potential pollution enforcement actions against businesses and landowners.

“My goal is to work alongside the DOE to ensure we come up with a solution that gives folks a fair shake and the agency the ability to scientifically assess site pollution questions so they can be addressed properly,” said Kretz, R-Wauconda. “The bill simply asks for some solid proof of pollution before citing a business and would be a reasonable and workable step to add to the process.”

As an example, shoreline requirements explain the use of fertilizer (including lawn fertilizer) cannot be within 75 feet of a waterway, and landowners should soil-test lawn before applying fertilizer. Additionally, homeowners are required to “offset” the following conditions:

  • Areas of exposed soil or poorly established vegetation.
  • Coarse textured soils such as sands or sandy loams.
  • Property sloping toward water.
  • Impervious surface such as sidewalks and driveways.
  • Lawn/landscape maintenance close to water.
  • Method of application of fertilizers, pesticides, or soil amendments.

Kretz said that while some of this is common sense management, the problem is the current Revised Code of Washington (RCW) says, “if in the opinion of the Department of Ecology” people are polluting or have the “potential to pollute” they are subject to enforcement.

“This RCW allows for a broad view and would just about cover everyone who lives on a piece of dirt and has access to water. My bill is an opportunity to tighten up the regulations and save everyone time and money,” said Kretz, who serves as the deputy Republican leader in the House. “No one is asking for a favor or for the agency to turn a blind eye to the bad actors. Folks just want the ability to receive the scientific information they need from DOE to assess the situation on their property or at their place of business to see what, if anything, they can do to mitigate a source of pollution should there be a problem.”

House Bill 2472 has not yet been scheduled for a public hearing.


Washington State House Republican Communications