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Public Policy

CELP advocates for the implementation of public interest ethics and principles in statewide water management, including stewardship, equity, sustainability, environmental justice, and inter-generational vision.


We work with the Washington Departments of Ecology as well as the Department of Fish and Game. We monitor and submit comments on agency actions including rulemaking, and the issuance of permits. We also continue our participation in stakeholder groups set-up by Ecology and the Legislature to help guide their water policy making including the Water Resources Advisory Committee. In addition, CELP maintains its presence in Olympia, advocating for legislation that will protect and improve water resource management in the state.

The below tenants of  PROTECT EDUCATE, EMPOWER, INFLUENCE, DEFEND define our advocacy efforts as we work toward an abundant, resilient water future.

PROTECT: CELP works with constituents, neighborhoods, non-profits, agencies, and tribal governments to ensure that our water sources remain healthy, abundant and resilient now and into the future for the communities and ecosystems they support. As a Public Trust, water belongs to all of us, and it is our responsibility protect this precious resource for humans, wildlife, and life itself.

EDUCATE: By representing the interests of our members, we serve as a resource for legislators, providing fact sheets, talking points and input on legislation. We work with a contracted lobbyist to assist us in keeping our interests at the center of policy making. We keep legislators informed of constituent concerns and set up meetings outside leg session with legislators to talk about water resource law and its impacts. Our membership provides a powerful voice that empowers us to work effectively with the representatives in their districts.

EMPOWER: Through our Lobby Days and online resources we equip the public with knowledge about how the legislative process works, how to connect with their representatives, and how to effectively voice their concerns about the issues relevant to them. We offer actions anyone can take to reduce their water consumption, and the latest knowledge of how climate change is impacting water availability in Washington state. We believe there is hope for the future of a healthy planet, but it will take actions by all of us to ensure a water-rich future.

INFLUENCE: With decades of expertise, the Center for Environmental Law & Policy is particularly adept at composing public comments that are substantive, persuasive, and ultimately effective in influencing rule-makers. Participating in the democratic process by communicating with agencies assists them in developing sustainable water policies and keeps public interest, rather than corporate, in the forefront. Our waters are a Public Trust, and it is up to us to ensure their health and resiliency now and into the future.

DEFEND: When our advocacy and collaborative efforts fall short, CELP brings targeted litigation to protect the public interest in ensuring clean and abundant waters for all. To this day, the legacy of our founder Professor Ralph W. Johnson’s legal philosophy, strategy, and scholarship informs the way we work. CELP is especially honored to partner with tribal governments and agencies to ensure their treaty rights are protected

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