Throughout the month of February, the SSA, Sustainability, and OSLA have been attending multiple lobbying sessions at the State Capitol in Olympia. Last Wednesday, Zach Boucher, the Transportation Coordinator at Sustainability, participated in a Transportation Lobby Day. The following day, I testified to the House Environmental Committee in favor of HB 1106, which would enable schools such as Bellevue College to access incentives for energy produced from alternative sources. This would include the new photovoltaic array BC installed in December. While it felt a little daunting to be surrounded by professional representatives and lobbyists of other interest groups and corporations, it felt enabling to advocate for what I strongly believed in. Even though I spent three hours using public buses to reach Olympia, the trek was absolutely worth it, knowing that my voice would be heard.
On Monday, the OSLA will return to Olympia in conjunction with other schools throughout Washington to advocate for a variety of topics. Sustainability will be participating in an Environmental Lobby Day the following day with the Washington Environmental Council on priorities ranging from banning toxic flame-retardants to promoting clean energy incentives.
Alvin Loong – SSA President
Transportation Advocacy day – 2/12/2013
The main purpose behind the Transportation Advocacy Day was to promote three areas that need drastic improvements and funding. These include: (Quoted from transportationchoices.org)
Transit for all Too often Washingtonians are left with no choice but to drive because they don’t have frequent and reliable bus and train service. Our efforts are focused on keeping the transit service we have (especially in these tough economic times) and laying the groundwork for future transit expansion.
Fix It First Our bridges and roads are crumbling. Every Washingtonian deserves a safe and functioning road system. Let’s fix our system before we undertake new road building. When we do make new investments, let’s make sure that these investments create jobs, spur economic growth and improve the safety of our communities.
Complete Our Streets Streets are for everyone – motorists, walkers, bicyclists and transit users. But many local streets are not designed with all users in mind making them unsafe and challenging especially for kids, seniors and people with disabilities. We work with local governments to institute Complete Streets policies so that our streets are designed to be safe, usable and inviting for all users.
1) 400 Million of direct funding for local transit agencies. Washington only directly funds 2% of transit vs the national average of 17%. $400 million would prevent cuts to Pierce transit, King County Metro, and other local agencies.
2) Give Sound Transit the funding authority to get a Sound Transit 3 ballot measure off the ground faster. Right now Sound Transit has only a limited ability to tax for projects such as light rail. This would give them more authority to apply taxes so that they can work to develop a more complete transit system.
3) Fund a new high speed rail study in order to get federal money to build one. The study will focus on Seattle to Spokane and Seattle to the TriCities in order to help people move around the state and attract votes from Eastern Washington legislators.
Zack Boucher, Transportation Coordinator and Peyton Stever, student and transportation advocate
I recently lead a group of BC Students to Environmental Lobby Day in Olympia on Feb. 19th! Students got one on one training about effective lobbying and later got to speak to state legislators about important state bills concerning clean energy alternatives, eliminating toxins from our homes, and a bill that would help in preserving and conserving our precious green state by securing funding for mandatory programs that seek to protect our air, water and land.
Bellevue College students got the chance to voice their concerns for the Environment and help make a difference by rally for these policies and calling for legislative support on these bills. Students will also get a chance to meet with lead people who are working on these bills March 12th, with a follow up on the progress made since lobby day as well as what next steps to make to help get these bills passed.
Furthermore students will get the opportunity to do phone banking and stay connected with their district legislators throughout the next few months leading up till legislative session has closed.
Besides focusing on pushing for these three major priorities this year, we are also turning our attention to many other local and state wide issues, such as the Coal Export issues our WA state may soon face that would impede Washington’s struggle to move forward sustainably. In the next few months we will be leading our young students to speak out about the dangerous health risks and ecological risks that could result if these coal terminals are implemented.
If you would like to learn how to participate in environmental advocacy in the future, please contact Magenta Loera [firstname.lastname@example.org] the Sustainability Advocate at Bellevue College.
Magenta Loera – Sustainability Advocacy Intern