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Economy and the Environment

View of Wenatchee, photo source: Photobucket / Washington's environment works

A clean environment and a healthy business climate go hand in hand.

We're listening and it shows:

Working Washington:

Aug 5: State sending millions to cities, counties to fight stormwater

May 29: Federal grants aim to curb stormwater runoff to Puget Sound watersheds

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WaferTech LLC

Since 2003, WaferTech reduced their dangerous waste by more than 77%, while increasing production.

NIC Global Manufacturing Solutions

NIC Global Manufacturing Solutions saves $150,000 each year by strategic pollution prevention efforts at its Woodinville plant.


CellNetix estimates saving at least $180,000 annually as a result of their Pollution Prevention Planning, and technical assistance from Department of Ecology.

Investments in protecting and cleaning up Washington's environment play a major role in securing Washington's quality of life for families - and strengthening our enviable position in the competitive global economy.

More than one-third of Washington’s economy is directly supported by natural resources activities such as forestry, farming, fishing, outdoor recreation, hydropower and waterborne trade.

The Department of Ecology's strategic priorities play an important role in making this happen. To continue to compete successfully, Washington needs:

  • Clean water, air, and soil.
  • Healthy people, communities, and work places.
  • Adequate natural resources to sustain communities, our economy, transportation, and our work force.
  • To be smart in how we use our limited water so there is enough for people, communities, fish, and farms to share — now and in the future. Since 2005, Washington has made historic progress in being water-smart rather than water-short, including the Columbia River basin.

Quality of Life, including a healthy environment, is one of the key factors monitored each year by the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council in gauging Washington’s economic competitiveness. The Council’s December 2011 annual “Washington State Economic Climate Study” says Quality of Life was the state’s “best category in terms of ranking for the state.” See the 2011 Economic Climate Study (page 77) for information about the state’s Quality of Life.

By necessity, Ecology and Washington state are leading the way on meeting the challenge and the economic opportunities of global climate change — reducing our region's contribution to the problem and seizing the opportunity to spur growth in new, green technologies, to help build a clean economy, and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

One of our state's strengths is its natural beauty and resources. Our economic strength is tied to these resources, but could be risked if these assets are not properly protected. Ecology's mission is to help protect our state's environment and human health.

Many Washington businesses have turned to lean manufacturing techniques to improve their competitiveness. Based on the Toyota Production System, lean identifies and eliminates wastes and non-value-added activities. Aerospace manufacturers, cabinet-builders, hospitals, and shipbuilders are using lean to lower costs, improve quality, and reduce lead times. Other businesses have enlisted Ecology's engineering efficiency experts to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and save money.

Economic Climate Study

The citizens of Washington should enjoy a high quality of life, which requires a healthy state economy. To achieve this goal, the 1996 Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 2758 creating the Economic Climate Council (ECC). The ECC is responsible for selecting a series of benchmarks that characterize the competitive environment of the state. The benchmarks are indicators of the quality of life, education and skills of the workforce, infrastructure, and the costs of doing business.

The economic climate council shall consult with the Washington economic development commission in selecting benchmarks and developing economic climate reports and benchmarks. The commission shall provide for a process to ensure public participation in the selection of the benchmarks.

Related Ecology Links

Protecting Washington's Quality of Life

Budget and Strategic Planning

Hazardous Substance Tax

Beyond Waste progress report: Economic, environmental, and social vitality

Brownfields Revitalization - redeveloping contaminated sites

Economic risks of Hanford nuclear waste

Value of managing our water

Economics of Columbia Basin water projects:

Smart investments in Washington's economy and environment (pdf)

Successes in Pollution Prevention

Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices

Washington State Environment and Economy: Jobs in the Woods Through Proven Programs

Other Related Links

Washington state Recovery website (ARRA)

Community, Economic Development & Trade Committee work session presentation
(03/04/09) Dept. of Community, Trade and Economic Development (pdf)

Governor's Office of Regulatory Assistance (ORA) - helps with environmental permitting, business licensing, and improving regulatory processes.

Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University

Transforming Farmland Into Wetland and 725 Jobs, The Chronicle online, Sept. 30, 2008
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