«Dean Large, Committee Chair, called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m. and introductions were made. Dean asked for a motion to approve the March 20 ...»
WASTE 2 RESOURCES ADVISORY COMMITTEE
** MEETING SUMMARY **
May 15, 2012, 9:30 a.m.
Dean Large, Committee Chair, called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m. and introductions were
made. Dean asked for a motion to approve the March 20 meeting notes. There was a motion to
adopt them. The motion was seconded and the notes were approved.
Budget/Legislative Update - Laurie Davies
Contact: 360-407-6103, Laurie.Davies@ecy.wa.gov
It was a very long legislative session. All things considered, the budget turned out well for Ecology and the Waste 2 Resources (W2R) Program. The final budget includes a $1.694 million reduction from WRLLCA and a proviso for which Ecology did not ask for a veto. There was also an add to the Capital Budget for $1.694 million in STCA for composting and waste reduction.
Jerry Smedes asked what activities W2R can’t work on.
According to the proviso language added in the budget, W2R may not use WRRLCA funding to work on anything funded by the 30% category, including:
“the beyond waste plan, work on national solid waste recycling issues, work on construction and demolition recycling and green building alternatives, educational programs including the green schools initiative, and management of the 1-800-recycle hotline and database on school awards, waste to fuels technology research partnerships with universities, legislative policy support, solid waste regulatory reform evaluation process, solid waste financing study, technical assistance for organics reduction as well as recycling and composting programs to local government and the private sector, work with business to reduce the use of toxic substances and to reduce solid waste, evaluation of beneficial use for solid wastes, and compost facility compliance.” Art Starry asked if Laurie could post an explanation of how W2R’s funding has changed. Matt Henry also echoed this request later on during the funding priorities discussion and expanded on it by specifying sharing basic information about the funding, priorities, and historical information. Laurie said she would.
Laurie said no policy bills passed. There will be some work in the interim on mercury lights recycling, including a workgroup to work on issues per Senator Nelson’s request. Some manufacturers are concerned the fiscal note for the mercury lights legislation was disproportionate and that larger manufacturers will pay more. They have also raised a concern that the legislation violates antitrust laws.
Waste 2 Resources Advisory Committee Meeting May 15, 2012 Page 2 Cal Palmer asked what the W2R Program can work on with the add to the Capital Budget. The Capital dollars were added to the W2R budget to replace funding removed on the Operating side.
That funding may be used for anything that was cut on the Operating side, but is specifically being applied to organics recycling and composting, waste to fuels, C&D recycling, and illegal dumping.
Sego Jackson commented that in the last two sessions there have been a lot of things going on “behind the scenes,” e.g. provisos. Laurie said there has been a significant push on the MTCA Account. Stakeholders have argued that solid waste in general shouldn’t be funded by MTCA.
Suellen Mele said she thinks the provisos were statements that W2R isn’t spending the money in the right way (or on the right categories). It’s a concern. The provisos were carefully crafted.
Jan Gee noted there are a lot of different interest groups talking to legislators. Legislators believe that much of the money that Ecology is using isn’t going toward the right priorities.
There is a high level of distrust. House and Senate chairs of the environment committees have committed to work with us during the interim.
Funding Priorities - Laurie Davies Contact: 360-407-6103, Laurie.Davies@ecy.wa.gov Laurie asked the committee about having a funding priorities discussion. Do we want to have the discussion as a whole committee or should we have a subcommittee?
Dean Large said he finds that meetings on such a broad topic don’t flesh out issues. He thinks the only effective way to achieve that is to have more individual meetings with those you think have more closely held points of view. They may not feel comfortable sharing with a larger group.
John Sherman asked Laurie to reframe the outcome Laurie wants from the process. Laurie said she is looking for consensus on how WRRLCA funds are spent and priorities for the funding.
Matt Henry asked if Laurie has a timeline. Laurie said before the next budget comes out. The Governor plans to achieve that by November 1. We’re also gearing up for a new Governor’s budget by February 2013. WRRLCA is a carry-forward account she presumes will be restored next biennium.
Dennis Durbin said he thinks subcommittees do a lot of good work, but the committee as a whole would benefit from more participation and to not limit it. Those who want to meet with Laurie individually could request that.
Dean Large said there are no hidden agendas. Laurie is just trying to get input to formulate a goforth plan that best represents stakeholders.
Waste 2 Resources Advisory Committee Meeting May 15, 2012 Page 3 Art Starry said there’s a combination of things that might work. Have a more staged and structured discussion. Give committee members opportunity to do their own stakeholder work.
This would take some preparation.
Jan Gee said there is a strong misconception among legislators about this funding. We need to understand what their thoughts are. When you pull together interest groups with legislators, it forces addressing issues. Jan said if this committee could come to a consensus, she could use that information when she lobbies. Maybe we can come up with a list of those we should engage.
Dean Large asked if there are two different policy issues, three or what number? Laurie said there are discussions going on around use of MTCA, but W2R is a small fish in the issue. If we iron out problems in the WRRLCA Account and get consensus, we could use that same consensus to address MTCA issues.
Jan Gee said legislators have said that if they felt that WRRLCA funding was spent properly and on meaningful projects, they would restore it.
Cal Palmer asked about what criticisms there have been about use of the funding.
Jan Gee said we’re trying to find out. We need to talk to legislators and ask them to share their concerns.
Laurie suggested that topics could be brought to the whole committee, combined with working with legislators and individual stakeholders.
Pat Campbell asked for the opportunity to provide written comments. She also wanted to know if Laurie wants the committee to get feedback from local governments. Laurie said she hopes the committee will do that.
Cal Palmer said that collectively this group should find ways to flesh out issues and have constructive dialogue. Why have this committee if we can’t have these conversations?
Laurie asked the committee a second question: If we’re going to focus on WRRLCA, do we still support the 50/30/20 split?
Jerry Smedes suggested that we not attempt to change the percentages. Laurie said the account is pretty consistent and runs about $18 million a biennium. Money for contracts for local governments is pretty much straight pass-through funding. Jan Gee said it’s still important for the money to go toward the stated goals.
Laurie asked if the group was O.K. with focusing on the 30 percent and not the overall percentages.
Suellen Mele said she wasn’t involved when the 50/30/20 split was made. It wouldn’t be a good idea to try to change it. Suellen supports keeping that whole and just focusing on the 30 percent portion.
Waste 2 Resources Advisory Committee Meeting May 15, 2012 Page 4 Jody Snyder asked if the 30 percent goes back to organics, C&D, etc. Laurie said no. The statute says we can use that money for technical assistance to local governments, educational programs, and developing state solid and hazardous waste plans. Jody asked if organics, waste fuels, and illegal dumping are funded by a different account. Laurie said for some of those activities, yes.
Michael Transue asked about when the 50/30/20 split was instituted. Jan Gee said about 17 years ago.
Sego Jackson said we don’t really know what’s behind the budget provisos. He sees Ecology activities that are important locally, but he can’t go back to management and tell them what’s really going on overall.
Dean Large said Beyond Waste wasn’t universally accepted, so he isn’t surprised about pushback in years when budgets are so tight.
Pat Campbell asked if we’ve only received pushback on the 30 percent portion of the funding.
Laurie said yes.
Dean Large confirmed with the committee that they agree to focus only on the 30 percent priorities.
At the July W2RAC meeting, Laurie will share what the statute says and historic information about the funding starting with the last biennium when the W2R Program was “whole.” The entire committee will work on the issues.
Cal Palmer commented that we have a better focused solid waste system than we had years ago.
Suellen Mele asked if there will still be a W2RAC Finance Subcommittee. Laurie said the activity is suspended.
CPG Projects & Outcomes - Laurie Davies Contact: 360-407-6103, Laurie.Davies@ecy.wa.gov Laurie said grants for the regular cycle were just signed, and she asked some committee members to share how they’re putting their grants to good use.
Scott Windsor said city of Spokane uses CPG funding for a lot of hazardous waste collection programs. This has involved interlocals with six different counties to assist them with disposal of their materials. They’ve used grants for curbside collection to purchase blue containers.
They’ll now use the money for outreach. They’re using local jail staff to sort out batteries, etc., and are also proceeding with mercury lights collection (strictly household). Dean Large asked about the quantity of Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) that might use that service. Scott said about 15 a month.
Waste 2 Resources Advisory Committee Meeting May 15, 2012 Page 5 Dennis Durbin said Stevens County is using CPG funds to continue with programs like household hazardous waste collection. Stevens County is the 5th largest county in the state, but 32nd in population, so they are spread out thin. They have 16 drop-off collection sites for recyclables. They also collect about 25,000 gallons of waste oil per year. The waste oil serves as a primary heat source for public works shops. CPG funds nine projects including composting workshops, and outreach and education at schools. The funds have even paid for a new baler.
Pat Campbell said Kitsap County received $430,000 for MRW collection, and education and outreach. Overall, the funding represents about 14 percent of their program costs. They have one fixed household hazardous waste facility, which is open three days a week. They accept SQG waste by appointment only. Five facilities accept batteries and used motor oil. The education and outreach they do is particularly important because of the county’s transient population (military families). Kitsap County also participates in the 2Good2Toss website, and produces a newsletter.
John Sherman said Tacoma-Pierce County Health (TPCH) has received funding for about 20 years. They don’t use it for innovative things - the funding helps with baseline activities for a lot of their programs. They have a solid waste enforcement grant that provides $104,000 for an 18month grant cycle. It supports field staff responding to reports of illegal dumping, improperly stored materials, etc. The funding helps TPCH be responsive to public and stakeholders.
Marine Debris – Paula Ehlers, Chuck Matthews Contact: 360-407-0271, Paula.Ehlers@ecy.wa.gov; 360-407-6383, Chuck.Matthews@ecyc.wa.gov Paula Ehlers said she and Chuck Matthews were asked to work on this issue when news hit in December about potential tsunami debris from Japan that could start appearing on the coast.
This effort has turned into something a lot bigger than originally thought. State agencies involved include the Department of Health, Emergency Management, State Parks, and the Department of Natural Resources. NOAA has been the umbrella federal agency. There hasn’t been a state “lead,” but Paula thinks the Governor is getting close to naming one. Paula and Chuck have given 13-15 presentations since January to coastal communities, and have also worked with tribes.
Chuck said a response plan is being drafted, but it has to be a living document because there are
so many unknown elements. This involves about five modules:
Monitoring to try to track increases in arrival of debris.
A modeling element utilizing satellite resources and oceanographers.
Responses for arrival of large items, e.g. the ship a couple of weeks ago on the Oregon Coast.
Responding to routine debris. If we see a dramatic increase, how do we go about picking it up?
Waste 2 Resources Advisory Committee Meeting May 15, 2012 Page 6 This has become a big media issue. We’re trying to plan for both an unknown scale and timeframe. Chuck said they’ve learned a lot from the coastal communities, and their questions and concerns in response to what they’ve seen in the media. Information has been developed based on questions from those communities. Outreach tools like wallet cards and laminated posters have been developed to give people information on what to do if they find debris.
Paula commented that the potential for radiation is nearly none.
Chuck said for now, the plan is to rely on existing volunteer efforts. Regarding disposal costs, he used the recent Long Beach Peninsula cleanup as an example. Just less than five tons of debris were collected. Five tons isn’t a lot in terms of disposal, so even if we see doubling or tripling of debris, we still aren’t talking about a lot of money.
Dean Large asked if local solid waste plans are consistent with the tsunami plan. Chuck said we’ll have to look at it in different terms over time. So far, we haven’t needed to go there.