12th District Sen. Brad Hawkins’ legislation to help Leavenworth respond to a boundary change for Washington’s apple maggot quarantine area received a unanimous vote today from the state Senate.
Recent adjustments to the quarantine area created complications for the City of Leavenworth. Hawkins says City officials told him the boundary change prohibits the city from transporting its brush and yard waste toward Wenatchee. Hawkins learned that chipping all of the brush or hauling the waste further west for disposal was either too costly or was not a viable solution.
Hawkins’ bipartisan solution, Senate Bill 6055, would allow Leavenworth and three other affected municipalities to burn their brush and yard waste two times per year as part of a pilot project. The project will demonstrate whether the burning option will provide an acceptable alternative to hauling the waste for disposal. The Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee endorsed an updated version of Hawkins’ proposal Jan. 31, following testimony from Leavenworth and Chelan County officials.
“This unusual situation puts Leavenworth between a rock and a hard place. The idea of burning the brush and yard waste is worth exploring, but at the same time all of us are sensitive to concerns about how burning might affect local air quality. This bill strikes the right balance by limiting the number of burns,” Hawkins explained.
“I worked hard prior to our session to gather feedback from the Departments of Agriculture and Ecology and support from my Democratic colleagues on the committee. I also worked closely with the City of Leavenworth and Chelan County to improve the proposal during the session” said Hawkins.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.