ARCHIVE: Conversations on Washington's Future
Washington is at a crossroads in determining how clean our water needs to be. If we do it right, we will end up with an outcome that will result in cleaner water, healthy fish and a thriving economy.
Water is Washington’s lifeblood. It is key to our economic growth and fundamental to our agricultural and fishing industries. The force of our rivers drives turbines that provide the Northwest with energy. Washington’s rivers and streams are vital to the survival of the region’s iconic salmon as they migrate and spawn. Our lakes and rivers provide stupendous recreational and aesthetic benefits. In short, water is integral to our quality of life.
In December, Governor Gregoire launched the Washington Shellfish Initiative to protect and restore Washington’s shellfish and promote “clean water” jobs.
As part of that initiative a Blue Ribbon Panel was formed to focus on a problem that is impacting Washington now, and will do so into the foreseeable future: the growing acidity of our marine and coastal waters.
Washington’s future quality of life depends on our ability to find solutions that support a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and strong communities. When we find ways to achieve all three, our state is all the stronger. A fundamental issue, one that deserves thoughtful discussion, is the relationship between environmental regulations and the economy.
These times are unlike any I’ve ever seen before. I think when historians look back at the days we are living in, they will say it marked a turning point in our society. Despite – and maybe even because of – these tough economic times, I believe a new paradigm is emerging, one that actually is cause for encouragement and hope.