Senate passes Brown’s bill to create industry-siting program

Measure is a smart way to bring industry and environmentalists together, says sponsor

Today, the Senate voted 47-0 to approve Sen. Sharon Brown’s legislation to establish an innovative statewide industrial-siting coordination program.

“Industrial symbiosis addresses critical needs – the need of industrial business to reduce costs and increase profitability, and the public need to improve environmental performance,” said Brown, R-Kennewick.

“It’s a smart way to bring industry and environmentalists together. Their concerns don’t have to be in conflict; as we have seen in Denmark, where this idea originated, we can bring both sides together if we do the work.

“I’m pleased to see that this novel idea continues to garner broad, bipartisan support in the Senate.”

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.

Brown explained that companies involved in the Kalundborg effort exchange material wastes, energy, water, and information. While the Kalundborg park developed organically, it now serves as a model for what public-private developers and industrial-site planners can aim to achieve.

Under Brown’s bill, 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.

“Kalundborg is proof that smart businesses and symbiotic relationships between facilities can be both economically and environmentally beneficial,” said Brown, pointing out that the program is generating nearly $30 million of economic value for a community of just 17,000 people, while reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by 600,000 tons a year in the process.

“There is no reason why Washington can’t see that same level of success for our citizens.”

The bipartisan measure, which is co-sponsored by Democrat Sens. Rolfes, Das, Hasegawa, Lovelett, Mullet, Nguyen, and Randall, and Republican Sen. Rivers, now moves to the House for that chamber’s consideration.