Sixth annual WA-B.C. joint cabinet produces 2012 Action Plan
OLYMPIA, WA - Premier Christy Clark and Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire announced today that Washington State and British Columbia have concluded a series of agreements to strengthen their cross-border partnerships, attract investment and create new jobs.
"Building strong working partnerships, as Washington and British Columbia have done, make our region stronger, safer, and more competitive," said Governor Gregoire. "Over the years, these collaborative efforts have led to quicker border crossings, upgraded rail service, and emergency preparedness. Today's meeting will have the same long-lasting impact that will help continue to help our economy, families, and environment."
"Over the past six years, Washington and British Columbia have built a relationship that is truly unique in North America," said Premier Clark. "The more that we talk to each other, the more we recognize our goals are the same: safe communities, a clean environment, and jobs to support families. And by working together, I'm very pleased we're able to agree on concrete, specific actions to help us reach our goals and better serve our citizens."
The 2012 Action Plan on Jobs maintains the strong partnership between Washington and British Columbia on border management and cross-border infrastructure development to make the region more globally competitive while ensuring borders are safe and secure. As part of the plan, Gregoire and Clark signed a joint letter to President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper commending the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan and committing British Columbia and Washington to support and expedite federal commitments to improve the flow of people, goods and services across the border.
Other key features of the 2012 Action Plan on Jobs include:
- Flowing from Washington State's New Energy Strategy announced in December and British Columbia's Natural Gas Strategy announced earlier this month, specific actions to better align and maximize opportunities for energy efficiency, clean transportation, and low-carbon energy, including natural gas.
- Developing a regional jobs and investment strategy to leverage "clean economy" opportunities across West Coast jurisdictions.
- Specific measures to enhance regional transportation co-ordination and efficiency, ranging from improved information sharing and analysis, to the AMTRAK Cascade Corridor, to the identification of future border and highway infrastructure needs.
The meeting set the 2012 priorities for environmental co-operation, including preparation for the removal of Japan tsunami debris, and the governor and premier signed a proclamation celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the WA-B.C. Environment Cooperation Agreement.
Other topics included joint emergency preparedness plans for major earthquakes and promoting the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Agreement as a model for a broader North American Mutual Aid Agreement.
Since their first cabinet meeting in 2005, Washington state and B.C. have built a unique bilateral working relationship unlike any other Canada-U.S. interaction. This partnership has resulted in a number of mutual benefits including:
- The Enhanced Drivers' License travel document as well as additional, quicker border crossings with added NEXUS and FAST lanes.
- Technology improvements such as web-based public communications about border conditions.
- Considerable financial investment for roads and rail services, including upgrading the rail line used by Amtrak trains through the B.C. Lower Mainland.
- Resources and support during emergencies through the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Arrangement.
- Formalized cross-border collaboration on preparation, response and recovery for public health emergencies, such as pandemic flu and the West Nile virus.
Governor's Communications Office
Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat
Washington State - British Columbia 2012 Action Plan on Jobs
WA - B.C. Proclamation Celebrating 20th Anniversary of Environmental Cooperation Agreement
Washington State - British Columbia
2012 Action Plan on Jobs
THE STATE OF WASHINGTON AND THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA,
Sharing a common border and a longstanding relationship of friendship and trust;
Recognizing that the jobs and standard of living of Washingtonians and British Columbians depend significantly on the open and secure movement of people, goods and services across our border, and therefore a need to facilitate legitimate cross border trade and travel;
Committed to exploring opportunities to coordinate action and establish partnerships aimed at enhancing jobs and investment in both our jurisdictions, to add to our individual initiatives such as Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan launched in September 2011 by British Columbia and the 2012 Washington State Energy Strategy: Core Solutions For Economy, Jobs And Climate launched in December 2011, and to build on the Province's and the State's solid foundation of prudent fiscal management to attract investment, open new markets and create jobs for Washingtonians and British Columbians;
Acting on our Memorandum of Understanding on Pacific Coast Collaboration to Protect Our Shared Climate and Ocean of 2007 to pursue aggressive clean and renewable energy policies, combine efforts to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, and coordinate efforts to encourage clean technologies;
Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding to Establish the Pacific Coast Collaborative of 2008 and its Action Plan on Innovation, the Environment and the Economy agreed to in February 2010, to which both Washington and British Columbia are signatories and committed to advancing bilaterally as well as severally, whose mandate includes enhancing a sustainable regional economy, especially with respect to environmental goods and services;
NOW THEREFORE HEREBY AGREE TO TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS IN 2012:
A. Work Jointly to Support and Expedite Implementation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan
Commending our respective federal governments for their comprehensive approach to better border management and regulatory cooperation which is critical for growing jobs in our region, Washington State and the Province of British Columbia will work together in coordination together with the federal governments, border communities and businesses to ensure that:
- the needs of our citizens and businesses are appropriately prioritized through ongoing discussions with our federal counterparts and with officials tasked with leading the Beyond the Border Executive Steering Committee and the United States-Canada Regulatory Coordination Council;
- our strong partnerships in cross-border transportation infrastructure development, law enforcement, and emergency management are maintained in order to complement and support the new federal initiatives in these areas; and
- understanding and participation by our citizens and businesses in cross-border trusted trader and trusted traveler programs continues to be built to facilitate the movement of people, goods and services to enhance regional prosperity.
B. Develop and Implement a Regional Jobs and Investment Opportunities Strategy through the Pacific Coast Collaborative
Washington State and the Province of British Columbia will work together and with other West Coast jurisdictions to identify opportunities for accelerated job creation in their respective jurisdictions by leveraging the potential of the emerging West Coast "clean economy" through regional collaboration.
C. Enhance Regional Transportation Coordination and Efficiency
Washington State and the Province of British Columbia commit to work together to give effect to the Action Plan on Regional Transportation signed at the 2012 Washington-British Columbia Joint Cabinet Meeting to take action in the following areas in 2012:
1. FAST program for freight mobility within the Cascade Gateway
2. Enhancements to Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS)
3. Border related green house gas emission reduction measures
4. Aldergrove/Lynden (Hwy 13-SR 539) Border Crossing
5. Border Circulation Initiatives
6. NEXUS program for trusted passenger travelers
7. Identification of Future Cascade Gateway Border and Highway Related Infrastructure Requirements
8. Commercial vehicle registration data sharing and weigh station bypass
9. AMTRAK Cascade Rail Corridor
D. Advance Low Carbon Energy and Clean Transportation Cooperation
Washington State and the Province of British Columbia commit to work together to give effect to the Workplan on Energy and Clean Transportation Cooperation signed at the 2012 Washington-British Columbia Joint Cabinet Meeting to take further action in the following areas for completion in 2012:
1. Energy efficiency including energy efficiency financing; appliance energy efficiency standards; low-income and rental housing; and building envelope training.
2. Expanding natural gas as a clean, efficient, low carbon alternative for ferries and heavy duty vehicles.
3. Information and best practices on development of: renewable and low carbon fuels such as advanced aviation bio-fuels; shale gas; natural gas storage to enable firming of intermittent electric generators; and natural gas pipeline infrastructure between British Columbia and Washington.
4. Information and best practices on energy pricing mechanisms to encourage efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions including British Columbia's revenue neutral carbon tax; mileage based insurance that is being proposed in Washington; and electronic tolling that is currently being deployed in both Washington and British Columbia to support select highway construction projects.
AGREED as to form and content and signed and dated in two (2) duplicate originals in Olympia, Washington, this 10th day of February, 2012.
Christine O. Gregoire
State of Washington
Province of British Columbia
Washington State - British Columbia
Joint Declaration Recognizing 20 Years of Environmental Cooperation
Whereas there is a long-standing history of cooperation and partnership between Washington State and the Province of British Columbia on regional environmental issues;
Whereas in May 1992 the Province and the State entered into an Environmental Cooperation Agreement to promote and coordinate mutual efforts to ensure the protection, preservation and enhancement of our shared environment for the benefit of current and future generations;
Whereas the Environmental Cooperation Agreement provided the foundation for ongoing and future collaboration including:
- developing joint efforts to address Puget Sound and Georgia Basin water
quality, to reduce pollution and respond to spills in the Columbia River, to regulate air pollution sources in the border region, to reduce flooding problems in the Nooksack River and to protect the ground water in the Abbotsford/Sumas area;
- inter-jurisdictional cooperation on environmental assessments and reviews;
- cross-border efforts to reduce carbon pollution;
- protection of our shared climate and ocean;
- working on coastal climate change adaptation and promoting awareness of the impacts of sea level rise on coastal areas;
- sharing information on how to make government operations as carbon-neutral as possible; and
- invasive species and Japanese tsunami debris management;
Whereas environmental issues and challenges are increasingly more complex, requiring jurisdictions to build upon the emergence of complementary cross-border environmental forums;
Whereas it is important to foster and maintain strong communication and working relationships between our jurisdictions in order continue to work effectively on issues of mutual interest;
We recognize 20 years of Environmental Cooperation and agree to promote continuation of these activities to maximize our collective efficiency and effectiveness in addressing our shared priorities under the British Columbia - Washington Environmental Cooperation Agreement and subsequent supporting arrangements.
Christine O. Gregoire
State of Washington
Province of British Columbia