House approves Brown industry-siting bill

The House of Representatives today voted 95-2 to approve Sen. Sharon Brown’s legislation to establish an innovative statewide industrial-siting coordination program.

“As we continue to move forward with our pandemic recovery efforts, it is important that we look for creative ways to support industry growth,” explained Brown, R-Kennewick. “Industrial symbiosis is an idea whose time has come. It addresses the critical need of industrial businesses to reduce costs and increase profitability, and the public need to improve environmental performance.

“I’m pleased to see that this fresh approach received such broad, bipartisan support in the House, as it did in the Senate,” added Brown. “Working together, we can bridge the gap between environmentalists and industry, saving and creating new jobs in the process.”

Senate Bill 5345 would establish a statewide industrial waste-coordination program based on the highly successful model of Denmark’s Kalundborg Eco-Industrial Park. It is perhaps the world’s best example of an industrial-symbiosis network – a cooperative environment in which companies use each other’s by-products and otherwise share resources to both save money and improve the environment. While Kalundborg developed organically, it now serves as a model for what public-private developers and industrial-site planners can aim to achieve, said Brown.

Under SB 5345, the program would be administered by the state Department of Commerce and bring together expertise, technical assistance and best practices to support local industrial-symbiosis projects. The bill also would establish a competitive-grant program for research into waste-exchange ideas.

As amended by the House, the bill taps the Commerce Department with developing criteria for grant allocations. Allocation of grants would be required to reflect geographic diversity, with grants being distributed equally in western and eastern parts of the state, urban and rural areas, and small towns and large cities. Individual grant awards would go up to $500,000.

Because it was amended in the House, SB 5345 now returns to the Senate for that chamber’s reconsideration.