The traditional kickoff panel for Business & The Environment, “Meet the Regulators”, once again proved informative.
Regulators Share 2019 Highlights, Look Ahead to 2020
Answering questions from moderator Geoff Tichenor of conference title sponsor Stoel Rives, regulators from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Washington Department of Ecology and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, agreed on several themes:
- The biggest challenges facing environmental regulators include greenhouse gas reduction, water quality/supply and litigation.
- The polarized political climate increases stress on agency employees.
- All three agencies are working through recent or anticipated changes in leadership teams.
Issues Specific to Oregon and Washington.
Oregon DEQ Director Richard Whitman said the state is on track to meet Gov. Kate Brown’s goal of having 50,000 electric vehicles licensed in Oregon by the end of 2020. He also said a new information system, DEQ Online, will be introduced in 2020. A team from DEQ explained the online environmental data management system during one of the conference’s panel discussions. You can find more information on this website: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/Permits/Pages/Your-DEQ-Online.aspx
In Washington, orca recovery is a major emphasis in the wake of new laws passed by the 2019 Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. More information is available on this website. https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Puget-Sound/Orca-task-force
On a lighter note, 2020 marks the Washington Department of Ecology’s 50th year of existence. Happy Birthday!