Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rep. Upthegrove named Legislator of the Year by Washington Conservation Voters

Washington Conservation Voters has named Rep. Dave Upthegrove their 2011 Legislator of the Year for his outstanding leadership during the recent legislative session on environmental issues.

Rep. Upthegrove is chairman of the House Environment Committee, and was instrumental in ensuring that key environmental legislation made it through the House this year. This includes legislation to ensure a coal-free future for Washington state, a measure to keep lakes and rivers free from toxic algae blooms caused by phosphorous loading, and a bill making our state the first in the nation to ban the use of toxic coal-tar sealant in pavement.

He has long been an advocate for a cleaner, healthier Puget Sound. In 2007, he sponsored legislation creating the Puget Sound Partnership, and is former chairman of the Select Committee on Puget Sound.

In addition to his leadership on statewide environmental issues, Rep. Upthegrove has also worked on issues in and around his South King County district, which is the 33rd Legislative District. He sponsored legislation in 2005 to require that playground soils in areas exposed to industrial pollution be tested for contaminants like arsenic and lead, and that those contaminants be removed from the soil so that children have a clean, healthy place to play. The 33rd District is in an area affected by pollution from the former Asarco Smelter near Tacoma, and some of the highest concentrations of contaminated soil were found in Normandy Park.

Additionally, Rep. Upthegrove is a strong proponent of the proposed Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway, which would create one continuous corridor of open space between the Cascade foothills of the Upper Green River watershed to the Puget Sound lowlands in the Green River Valley. He recently worked closely with the director of the State Parks Commission to remove Flaming Geyser State Park from a list of potential state park closures, since Flaming Geyser is a key component of the proposed Greenway.

Congratulations, Rep. Upthegrove!