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Bill would make coast coalition law

March 28th, 2013 - 6:21am

(Olympia) -- A bill moving through the Washington State Legislature would give coastal businesses more say in the management of coastal water issues.

Senate Bill 5603 would write the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council into state law. Originally created as a stakeholder group, the council was comprised of representatives from coastal industries to provide a local, coastal perspective when implementing the state's coastal and ocean policy. Sen Brian Hatfield's bill would allow the governor to appoint representatives to advocate for the best interests of coastal communities and industries.

"The idea of having local input and a shared responsibility to govern the natural resources of the coast, shared with the state government, I think, makes a lot of sense. They've been doing at the Puget Sound level for quite a few years; now this brings the same approach to the coast," said Hatfield.

The creation of the statute would bring more than a dozen representatives of coastal industries together to work with representatives from the Governor's Office and five state agencies. Together they could create an open dialog and make recommendations on state, local and tribal policies dealing with coastal waters issues, including resource management, fisheries, shellfish aquaculture and ocean energy. The bill was approved by the House Environment Committee and will next move to the full House.

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