State right to get tough on polluters

The OlympianApril 15, 2014 

Workers from Ballard Diving move containment booms that surround the partially submerged MV Helena Star in Tacoma's Hylebos Waterway, November 20, 2013. It's the beginning of a weeks-long effort by the Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Coast Guard, Tacoma Fire Department and Ballard Diving to raise the remove the derelict vessel that sank in January 2013.

PETER HALEY — Staff photographer

Attorney General Bob Ferguson has been cracking down on the environmental scourge of derelict vessels. The AG has filed criminal charges against the owners of three sunken vessels since January. Now he’s getting support from the state Legislature.

Gov. Inslee recently signed a bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Chris Reykdal, designed to decrease the number of abandoned and derelict vessels in the state.

House Bill 2457 establishes new requirements for vessel sales and, among other provisions, creates a fee on certain commercial vessels to fund the state’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program.

Most importantly, the bill provides a sales tax exemption on businesses engaged in approved methods of vessel deconstruction. That could eventually save the state millions of dollars now being spent to clean up fuels and oils leaking from abandoned vessels.

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