Industry News
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The U.S. Senate voted on Dec. 21 to confirm Alexis Taylor, former Oregon Department of Agriculture Director, as USDA's new top agricultural trade official. Read more

WA Packaging Recycling Act stalls, but push for EPR remains

After amendments offered by Food Northwest were officially introduced by leading Democrats in Olympia, Washington, SB 5154 and HB 1131 (the Wrap Act) failed to make the deadline to pass out of one legislative chamber. That means the WRAP Act is dead for now in Washington. It will be back. WRAP was the latest push to pass Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws on a state-by-state basis. At least four states have EPR laws on the books (including Oregon and California) and eight more are considering them this year. Oregon’s law is in rulemaking now and Food NW is represented on the rules advisory committee by Pam Barrow.

EPR has taken different forms, but a common thread is shifting the costs to recycle packaging away from waste companies and municipalities to the companies who use the packaging. Food Northwest has worked in coalition with other leading groups to ensure that EPR standards and mandates are attainable and cause the lowest level of economic impact on food companies possible. We’ve also worked tirelessly to ensure states do not adopt EPR rules that put compliance with them in conflict with FDA or USDA requirements. We’ve engaged on the viability of recycled content requirements as well. These requirements may run afoul of federal rules and there is not currently adequate availability of usable recycled material to meet some of the proposed levels for recycled content. EPR is a long-term issue. Food NW is fully engaged in working for the best possible outcomes.


Washington’s First Cap & Invest Auction Raises about $300 million

Washington’s first auction of allowances under the Climate Commitment Act raised about $300 million. The Department of Ecology announced that it had sold almost all of its 6.2 million allowances, each representing one metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions. The settlement price was $48.50 per ton, more than twice the floor price of $22.20. Businesses that are regulated under the Climate Commitment Act can purchase allowances to cover a portion of their emissions. The revenue from the auctions will be used to fund greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects and research. The Governor’s two-year budget would spend about $1.7 billion in auction revenue. The state will hold up to four auctions each year. For additional information see:


Natural Gas Bans in Jeopardy?

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of appeals found a Berkeley, California ordinance banning new natural gas hookups in new buildings to be preempted by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Several municipalities in Oregon and Washington have adopted similar ordinances. For more information see EnergyWire.

Washington to Design Extended Producer Responsibility Program

In response to failure to pass legislation to establish an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program, the legislature provided in its budget $500,000 for the Department of Ecology to fund a third-party contractor to gather stakeholder input and recommend a design and implementation for an EPR program.  This report is due to the legislature by December 1, 2023.  Food Northwest will participate in the stakeholder process and work to influence legislation for 2024.

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