Last week Republican state Senator Doug Ericksen won a victory for Big Oil when the legislature passed, and the governor signed, SB 5296, which weakened the Model Toxics Control Act.
The legislation was the result of a deal between the state House and Senate in which the Senate agreed to pass a fix to the estate tax that saved the state up to $160 millions. See Big Oil wins in state legislature, in an apparent quid pro quo for estate tax fix.
On his website, Senator Ericksen acknowledges leading on the issue: NEWS: Whatcom County senators broker landmark agreement on toxic-cleanup reform.
But according to the Bellingham Herald’s Report: Ferndale lawmaker accepts most free meals from lobbyists:
From those documents, the biggest beneficiary of lobbyist expense accounts was Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who recently rose to lead the Senate’s committee focused on the environment. In the first four months of this year, Ericksen had at least 62 occasions where he benefited from free meals, drinks or golf, according to records. That’s about every other day over the first four months of the year — and even more frequent if weekends are excluded.
Many of the lobbyists who treated Ericksen represented energy and oil companies, such as BP. Through the legislative session, Ericksen pushed ahead with a major overhaul in the state’s environmental cleanup laws that the industry supported. And he used his position in the Senate to drive changes to Gov. Jay Inslee’s top legislative priority, altering a bill to strip symbolic language that would have blamed climate change on humans. He also gave a climate change skeptic a rare block of time to tout his unconventional views.