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Governor signs Clean Fertilizers, Healthier Lakes and Rivers Legislation into Law

Environmental Community Priority will reduce phosphorus pollution in Washington’s water

Apr 14, 2011

OLYMPIA – Today, Governor Christine Gregoire signed the “Clean Fertilizers, Healthier Lakes and Rivers” legislation (ESHB 1489) into law.  The legislation manages the sale of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers and provides a commonsense and cost effective approach to making sure that our lakes and rivers are clean. 

This legislation was one of the four environmental community priorities for the 2011 legislative session and the first to be signed into law.

When phosphorus in fertilizer washes off of our lawns into lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound, it causes pollution that costs taxpayers and businesses millions of dollars to clean up.  Excess phosphorus in our waterways causes rapid growth of weeds and smelly algae blooms that can harm fish, wildlife and public health.  Lake Spokane/Spokane River, Lake Whatcom, Lake Vancouver, Lake Washington and hundreds of other waterways across our state are polluted from too much phosphorus.  

“This law will provide a commonsense and cost effective approach to fulfilling our responsibility to keep our lakes and rivers clean and healthy for ourselves and our children,” said Mike Petersen, executive director of the Lands Council. “Managing the sale of phosphorus lawn fertilizers will help clean up lakes and rivers across Washington while saving our businesses and local governments money; it’s a win-win for our economy and the environment.”

“We’ve worked hard over the past few years to craft sensible legislation to reduce phosphorus pollution,” said Rick Eichstaedt, with Spokane Riverkeeper.  “We are proud to have collaborated with the Environmental Priorities Coalition, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, the Washington State Lake Protection Association, Fred Meyer, Washington Retail Association, Avista Corp., Inland Paper Company, the City of Spokane, and dozens of local governments across the state to pass this bill into law.” 

“This is a significant step forward in our ongoing effort to protect Washington’s water,” said Clifford Traisman, lobbyist for Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters.  “We applaud Rep. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) for his tremendous leadership on this issue and also commend Senators Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island), White (D-Seattle), Brown (D-Spokane), Ranker (D-San Juan Island) and Nelson (D-Maury Island), and Rep. Upthegrove (D- Des Moines) for their important contributions to improving and passing this bill.”  

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The Environmental Priorities Coalition is a network of 24 leading environmental groups in Washington state
that believe we can have a strong economy that provides everyone with the opportunity to prosper
and a clean, healthy and safe environment for ourselves and our children.

Formed in 2003, the Environmental Priorities Coalition selects priority issues each legislative session
that are important to protecting public health and welfare.

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