Regional solutions needed to deal with climate change

Print Article

Courtesy photo of Jack Toevs by Cameron Karsten

As an orchardist and a longtime member of the Quincy community, Iím seeing changes in our weather patterns that concern me. The drought of 2015 brought home how important water is for us in Eastern Washington, where families and livelihoods depend on a reliable supply.

Weíre dealing with hotter, drier summers, a declining snowpack and earlier meltoff. That means less water is available in summer and fall. These and other impacts of a changing climate are expected to worsen over time. We need regional solutions that will assure plentiful water for agricultural and community needs. Weíve seen our neighbors in the Yakima Valley confronting this problem through an integrated strategy, and we know itís expensive. But we also know the costs are worth solving the problem.

We have an opportunity to invest in preparing our communities for our future water needs, and at the same time address the underlying causes of this problem.

Right now, SB 6203, a bill to reduce carbon pollution, invest in our natural resourcesí ability to adapt to the effects of climate change, and transition to a clean-energy future is working its way through the state Senate. The bill is a step forward in addressing the problem of climate change at its source and in investing in our communitiesí resilience.

The policy currently under development tackles these interconnected issues in several ways. It aims to:

∑ Generate revenue to invest in working farms and forests that store carbon in trees, soils and plants Ė and at the same time drive dollars into rural communities.

∑ Improve our water supply through investment in irrigation, conservation and river restoration.

∑ Fund flood-protection projects in communities where they are needed most to protect homes, businesses and agricultural lands.

∑ Invest in forest restoration, creating jobs in the woods and helping prevent catastrophic wildfires. (Our state spent $500 million battling forest fires from 2014 to 2016, and we donít yet have the bill for 2017.) Healthier forests are better at storing water, too Ė helping prevent droughts and shortages affecting our ability to water our crops and livestock.

∑ Invest in clean energy and economic development that will bring good paying jobs to Central and Eastern Washington.

This legislation is still a work in progress, but it has momentum. Thanks to people from rural communities speaking up, the bill now includes a rural economic development section. This includes expanding broadband services, offering small-business grants, and supporting low-carbon innovation and entrepreneurship.

Iíve always said that Eastern Washington was an ideal place to grow apples. But like my fellow farmers, Iíve already started seeing my crops and growing seasons impacted by changes to the climate. These arenít ďsomedayĒ problems to us farmers, these are ďtodayĒ problems.

Itís time for us to share with our state legislators our own ideas about solutions that work for our communities. Together we can help inform legislation that takes our concerns into account while investing in the future of our farms and a fruitful agricultural system for Washington state.

Jack Toevs is an apple grower from Quincy.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Misconceptions about Grant PUD

September 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald As a slight introduction, I have been your Grant PUD Commissioner for the past twelve years and have chosen not to seek re-election. As I ride off into the sunset Iíd like to set the record straight ...

Comments

Read More

School sports good for players and spectators

September 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Itís fall, even if itís just beginning to feel like it outside, and that means kids are back in school. And the beginning of school means the beginning of school sports. Fields, gyms and pools all ov...

Comments

Read More

Shaking the hand that feeds us

September 06, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Why bother farming when we can all just get our food at the supermarket? A Quincy resident heard that on the radio 37 years ago and it set him thinking: how do we show people the connection between ...

Comments

Read More

County treasurer offers perspective on MLIRD assessment billing

September 04, 2018 at 9:19 am | Misleading information has created a false narrative regarding the Moses Lake Irrigation & Rehabilitation District (MLIRD) 2018 assessment billing. In prior years, the MLIRD sent the assessor a r...

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2018 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X