Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee

HB 1039

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Establishing a statewide CBRNE response program.

Sponsors: Representatives Driscoll, Ericks, Haler, Seaquist, Simpson, Conway, Hurst, Haigh, Goodman, O'Brien, Morrell, Kelley, Wood, Kenney, Hunt and White.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Creates a statewide chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) Incident Response Program.

  • Divides the state into CBRNE response regions and establishes a regional teams to respond to CBRNE incidents.

  • Standardizes training, equipment, and procedures for CBRNE responders.

  • Establishes procedures for recovering response costs from those responsible for causing a CBRNE incident.

  • Creates a CBRNE Account (Account) containing funding recovered CBRNE costs, grants, and any other funding that is transferred to the Account by the Legislature.

Hearing Date: 1/14/09

Staff: Yvonne Walker (786-7841)


Various state and local governmental entities in Washington are involved in emergency management and preparedness. The Emergency Management Division. The Emergency Management Division of the Washington Military Department administers emergency management and disaster relief programs. The Director of the Military Department (Director) is appointed by the Governor and is required to develop a comprehensive emergency management plan including an analysis of the natural, technological, or human-caused hazards that could affect the state. Local jurisdictions are directed to establish comprehensive local emergency management plans, and submit their plans to the Director for recommendations. Local jurisdictions may also establish and operate joint local emergency management organizations. The Emergency Management Council.The Emergency Management Council (Council) is a 17-member Council appointed by the Governor to advise the Governor and the Director on state and local emergency management matters. The Council includes representatives from various state and local agencies as well as emergency medical personnel and private industry. Among other duties, the Council must ensure the Governor receives an annual assessment of statewide emergency preparedness. In the event of a disaster beyond local control, the Governor, through the Director, may assume operational control over all or any part of emergency management functions in the state. In addition to using state and local agencies and employees for emergency response, the Governor and the chief executives or emergency management directors of counties, cities, and towns have authority to press citizens into emergency management service if the Governor proclaims a disaster.The Washington State Emergency Response Commission. The Washington State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) was created in accordance with a federal law that establishes requirements for federal, state and local governments, and private industry regarding emergency response planning. The membership of the SERC includes representatives from private industry, state and local agencies. Among other purposes, the SERC designates and oversees local emergency planning districts or committees and facilitates preparation and implementation of emergency planning and preparedness. The Washington State Patrol Fire Protection Bureau.The Washington State Patrol Fire Protection Bureau provides training to first responders on hazardous material incidents and is the Incident Command Agency if an incident occurs along any state route or interstate freeway. The Terrorism Unit offers training and information regarding terrorism response and extremist groups. The training is meant for all first responders, but the Terrorism Unit also provides information to agencies and people on these topics.

Funding. In 1988 the citizens of Washington created by initiative the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The primary purpose of the MTCA is to raise sufficient funds to clean up all hazardous waste sites and to prevent the creation of future hazards due to improper disposal of toxic wastes into the state's land and waters.The MTCA includes a tax on the wholesale value of hazardous substances. There are over 8,000 different substances, including petroleum products, pesticides and certain chemicals. Of the total tax receipts, 47.1 percent is allocated to the State Toxics Control Account (STCA) for cleanup of hazardous waste sites and related planning and regulation activities. The remaining 52.9 percent of the revenues go to the Local Toxics Control Account (LTCA) for use as grants or loans to local governments for hazardous and solid waste programs and for cleanup of hazardous waste sites.

Summary of Bill:

The Director of Fire Protection (DFP) in the Washington State Patrol must establish and maintain a statewide chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) incident response program.

CBRNE Program.

A CBRNE agent is a chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear, or explosive agent. A CBRNE incident is an incident creating a danger to persons, property, or the environment as a result of spillage, seepage, fire, explosion, or release of a CBRNE agent.

The DFP must establish a CBRNE program that:

When dividing the state into CBRNE response regions, the DFP should consider:

The primary duty of a regional response team is to stabilize a CBRNE incident. The response teams' duties do not require providing perimeter security or, except as may be incidentally necessary, transporting, storing, disposing, or cleaning up CBRNE agents.

Two Advisory Groups.

A policy advisory group and an operations advisory group are created to assist the DFP in implementing and managing the CBRNE program. The policy advisory group advises the DFP on the budget, staffing, policy and other management-related issues of the CBRNE program. This group consists of the following six members appointed by the DFP:

The operations advisory group advises the DFP on the technical and operational issues, including the training, equipment, response, and performance standards needed for the CBRNE program. This group consists of two voting members from each of the CBRNE response regions representing the contracting units of local government and one nonvoting member from the following state agencies: the Department of Ecology, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, the Washington State Patrol, the Military Department, and the Emergency Management Division of the Military Department. In addition, the DFP must seek the appointment of one tribal nation representative and two private sector representatives.

If a unit of local government requests the assistance of a regional response team, then that respective unit of local government must provide the response team with geographical and topological site-specific information, any necessary on-site security, and any logistical support that the team reasonably requests.


A CBRNE Account (Account) is established under the custody of the State Treasury. The Account contains funding recovered from CBRNE cost reimbursements, grants, and other funding that is transferred to the Account by the Legislature.

In instances where a specific person is responsible for a CBRNE incident, the DFP may notify that person by appropriate order. If the responsible person does not pay within 30 days of receiving the order, the Office of the Attorney General will bring an action in superior court to collect the amount. The DFP must actively seek public and private grants to fund the CBRNE program.

After July 1, 2010, and annually thereafter, the state treasurer must transfer the amount needed from the LTCA to bring the Account up to a total of $4.2 million. If at any time the Account exceeds $6 million then the state treasurer must transfer any amount exceeding $6 million from the state Account to the LTCA or any other fund from which moneys were transferred into the Account.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on January 6, 2009.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.