A bill recognizing the important role working forests play in removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is set to become law. Washington lawmakers passed SB 6355 and HB 2528 in early March, sending the legislation to Gov. Jay Inslee for signing.
Once enacted into law, state agencies would recognize and support efforts by timber companies to sequester carbon through reforestation and transference to long-lived wood products. The legislation also encourages investment in sustainable forestry and wood production by encouraging landowners to grow more trees that promote air quality and sustain a robust forestry industry.
Speaking in support of HB 2528 on Feb. 16th, primary bill sponsor Rep. Bill Ramos (D-5th) stated that the bill would encourage working forests to remain so, benefiting the economy and the environment.
Said Rep. Ramos during the HB 2528 floor vote:
“We don’t want our small landowners to have the pressure they’re under to convert their forest lands to other uses…Anytime we can take the state’s number one natural resource and turn it into an opportunity to make products and to help with the global climate issues and to help add value to our timber industry in Washington state, it’s a good day.”
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-24th), the prime sponsor of SB 6355, stated in his blog that the legislation would “reduce carbon emissions and enable our private timber forest owners to stay competitive at the same time” and added that “clean air and a robust local timber industry can be, and should be, natural partners.”
Said Van De Wege to the Daily World:
“There’s a longstanding presumption that timber harvesting and environmental protection are mutually exclusive, but the truth is just the opposite. By aligning timber practices and cycles with the state’s carbon reduction goals, we can boost our rural economies and improve our environmental health at the same time.”
Washington forests and wood products sequester 35% of our state’s carbon emissions and working forests play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gases. In fact, sustainably managed forests provide a renewable timber supply for wood-based goods that retain the stored carbon throughout the life of the wood product, making working forests and the sustainable forestry industry one of the most effective and natural ways to maximize carbon sequestration.
Thank you to primary SB 6355 sponsor Sen. Van De Wege and co-sponsors Sens. Shelly Short (R-7th), Dean Takko (D-19th), Curtis King (R-14th), Mark Mullet (D-5th), Jesse Saloman (D-32nd), Hans Zeiger(R-25th), Steve Conway (D-29th), Tim Sheldon (D-35th), Marko Liias (D-21st), Judy Warnick (R-13th), Jim Honeyford (R-15th) and Keith Wagoner (R-39th).
Thank you to primary HB 2528 bill sponsor Rep. Ramos and co-sponsors Reps. Richard DeBolt (R-20th), Mike Chapman (D-24th), Matt Boehnke (R-8th), Brian Blake (D-19th), Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34th), Steve Tharinger (D-24th) and Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37th).