Representatives Brian Blake and Jim Walsh have co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would create a legislative task force to provide relief for communities impacted by the environmental protections of the Marbled Murrelet.
In HB 2300 pre-filed earlier this month, the bill would take a look at current protections of the murrelet, and make recommendations that would assist economic development in the areas impacted.
According to the bill, the murrelet has been protected since it was listed under the federal endangered species act in 1992, but according to figures, the population is greater than it was at that time, but has been reported to be in decline in recent 11 years.
Rep. Walsh spoke to KXRO about how the bill came about.
Recommendations in the recent Marbled Murrelet Long-term Conservation Strategy would close off parts of the state for habitat protection.
Walsh told KXRO that the plan from the state does not look at how the decision impacts communities.
The bill would create a task force that would look specifically at;
- The economic impacts associated with environmental protection of the marbled murrelets in counties bordering the Pacific Ocean;
- The barriers to development in areas subject to marbled murrelets environmental protections;
- The property tax burden shift caused by the devaluation of land due to environmental protections of the marbled murrelets;
- Identify activities that could improve the economic vitality of the impacted areas; and
- Any other issues related to improved prosperity and government regulations connected to marbled murrelets.
The new task force would include representatives from both parties in the house and senate, the Departments of Fish & Wildlife and Commerce, a member of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, as well as advocates for protecting forests.
In all at least 17 people would sit on the task force, although the bill requires a county commissioner and representatives from Port Districts and Chambers of Commerce in each county impacted. This includes “each of the counties bordering the Pacific Ocean and Columbia river that have areas designated as protected habitat by the United States or Washington state for the marbled murrelet.”
If passed as written, the task force would be in place by August 1, 2018.
The post Bill could provide economic assistance from Marbled Murrelet protections appeared first on KXRO News Radio.
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