Legislature approves Warnick bill to protect crops from pests and disease

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R- Moses Lake, to prevent the spread of destructive pests and disease through compost was approved unanimously by the state House.

“This is an important bill for our state,” Warnick said. “It provides necessary protections for our agricultural industry to ensure that this cornerstone of our economy continues to thrive. It is a great bill and I’m pleased that the House made it better with a minor amendment.”

Senate Bill 6605 would create a process for the state Department of Agriculture to review applications for moving waste for composting from facilities in quarantine areas to areas not under quarantine. The goal is to review information to ensure that facilities are not at risk of spreading plant pathogens, disease or pests.

Last year, the value of Washington’s apple crop alone was $3.7 billion, with total economic value to the state being $8 billion. Of the 142 million boxes produced, 30 percent are exported.

“Having the state Department of Agriculture more involved in the oversight of facilities will make the process even better,” said Warnick. “This legislation promotes responsible waste management that takes into account the interconnectedness of our state’s economy.”