Top Chapter Priorities
Building Abundant, Affordable Housing
Washington is in a statewide housing crisis, with big implications for working people and the environment. Outdated land use policies that restrict the types and quantity of housing in urban areas are driving sprawl, boosting climate pollution, and displacement of low-income residents and communities of color - while keeping homes unaffordable to most. We need to pass legislation that allows more affordable, climate-friendly housing - like triplexes and fourplexes - in our cities and neighborhoods. Similarly, increasing investments in affordable home choices near jobs, services, and transit is crucial to sparing frontline communities the biggest burden of climate change. Lastly, we need to provide more assistance and stronger safeguards to keep people in their homes and protect our neighbors from housing insecurity, homelessness, and evictions.
Protecting Instream Flows for Salmon
Due to rapid climate change, Washington State is facing historically low levels for instream flows crucial to keeping streams cool and allowing fish upstream to spawn. These functions are critical for the survival of endangered salmon. Currently, applicants seeking new water permits must ensure new developments do not reduce Department of Ecology-established water levels for instream flows. We anticipate adverse legislation pushed by rural developers that would weaken these requirements - having devastating effects on not only salmon, but also farmers, recreational fishers, local tribes, and more.
Preserving Mature Forests:
Full Funding for Trust Land Transfers
Preserving public lands is key to functioning ecosystems and mitigating climate change. To stem the rapid loss of natural places and wildlife, more land and ocean habitat must be set aside from human impact. Washington's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages over 3M acres of non-aquatic land, and the majority of DNR forestland managed exclusively for revenue-producing timber sales. This year, we are working to secure $25M in the state budget for the Trust Land Transfer program, which - through local groups and volunteer leaders - identifies and nominates state lands for transfer of management to different agencies.
Restoring Endangered Salmon and Orca:
Funding for Studies of the Lower Snake River
Wild salmon populations are either endangered or in deep decline across the Northwest. Chinook salmon in particular are critical for helping save our starving orca. Scientists and key public officials agree – removing the four lower Snake River dams, restoring 140 miles of free-flowing river, is the best opportunity on the west coast to recover abundant salmon. A recent report by Senator Murray and Governor Inslee demonstrates that the services from the four lower dams - including energy, transportation of grain, and irrigation - can successfully be replaced or mitigated. We need funding in the 2023-2024 state budget to supplement recent federal funding to move this process along.
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