Department of Ecology News Release - April 11, 2011

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Ecology director's statement on court ruling upholding key environmental cleanup funding source

OLYMPIA – Washington Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant issued the following statement today on a King County Superior Court ruling that upholds a key funding source for environmental protection and cleanups.

Sturdevant said, “Once again, the court system has upheld the validity of a law that Washington voters passed more than two decades ago to make sure we have funding to clean up and prevent toxic pollution. The Hazardous Substance Tax is the key to the success of the voter-approved Model Toxics Control Act. What was true then is true now: cleaning up old toxic messes and preventing new ones in our air and water and land is good for families, communities and businesses.”

He added, “The Attorney General’s Office has done the people of Washington a great service in vigorously and effectively defending the law so this important work can continue.”

Today’s ruling by Judge Cheryl Carey was the second time since November 2010 that the court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this voter-approved tax as applied to motor vehicle fuels. The first suit was dismissed on the basis that the challengers lacked standing to bring their claim.

In 1988, Washington voters passed Initiative 97, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), which authorized funding for a broad range of state and local toxic cleanup, management and prevention purposes and anticipated the need to respond to new threats from toxic materials. To do this work, the voters authorized a tax on hazardous materials including petroleum products, pesticides, and some chemicals.

More information about MTCA and the Hazardous Substance Tax (PDF).

See the court ruling (PDF).

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Media Contact: Dave Workman, Ecology communication director, 360-407-7004; david.workman@ecy.wa.gov 

For more information:
Ecology's Hazardous Substance Tax page (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/tax/2011/hazsubstancetax.html)
Focus sheet on MTCA and Hazardous Substance Tax (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/1101005.pdf)
Check out ECOconnect, Ecology’s blog (http://ecologywa.blogspot.com/ )
Follow Ecology on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ecologywa)