We’ve passed the halfway mark in Washington’s Legislative session, so I wanted to provide an update on Climate Solutions’ top climate priorities, and where we need to apply pressure to make sure our lawmakers demonstrate climate leadership.
Cleaning up transportation
On Saturday, February 27th, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Clean Fuel Standard (HB 1091). We’ve been here before—in fact the last two years the House has passed the bill. We must demand that our Senate follow suit. This crucial policy would cut air and climate pollution from our transportation sector, and it’s already working in Oregon, California and B.C. Why not here yet? Because every year the oil industry stokes fear with misinformation. This is the year we make sure the Clean Fuel Standard doesn’t stall out.
In addition to cleaning up our transportation sector with clean fuels and electrification, we know that we need to prioritize accessibility, availability and affordability through public transit, pedestrian safety and more ways to get around beyond driving alone. We are part of a robust and diverse coalition asking our legislature to adopt a Clean and Just Transportation Package. We are also following other bills including HB 1099, which would ensure that climate issues and resiliency planning are added to the Growth Management Act, and the Affordable Housing bill HB 1220.
Addressing the fastest growing source of pollution too
But we also know that given the carbon math, the Legislature has more to do in addition to passing a Clean Fuel Standard this year. The House Appropriations Committee failed to advance the Healthy Homes and Clean Buildings Act (HB 1084), but we must still make progress on this large and growing source of emissions this year. For example, the House is queued up to vote on another bill (HB 1280) which would require greenhouse gas emissions to be considered during the design of public buildings, and would require all-electric systems to be included as an option.
Other big actions
The Legislature is looking again at a possible path to account for the cost of carbon in our economy and to generate revenue to accelerate investments in critical solutions. We’re actively tracking Governor Inslee’s Climate Commitment Act and other proposals to make sure the Legislature prioritizes benefits to those communities, principally tribes, communities of color and low income communities, most burdened by climate change and the legacy of fossil fuel pollution. It’s essential that any such policy is designed both to effectively cut carbon and to invest directly to address long-time inequities. It’s past time we require major polluters to actually cut their pollution and hold them accountable for the environmental and public health harms they’re responsible for.
Acting on environmental justice
Climate Solutions supports the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (SB 5141) which would ensure that state agencies embed environmental justice and frontline community input in all major agency actions. The bill now moves to the House after passing the full Senate 28-21 last week. The Buy Clean/Buy Fair Act (HB 1103) would promote low-carbon construction and good jobs in state-sponsored projects. The House Appropriations Committee did not pass the measure, so we are working on strategies to keep the bill’s provisions alive in another form to see them passed this year.
Last year our Legislature failed to take sufficient action to cut pollution, so this year they have to act on several major policies to catch up to the kind of response the climate science demands. They need to hear from you—delaying climate action is as bad as climate denial. Sign the petition to encourage the Washington Legislature to commit to Lead on Climate and pass a Clean Fuel Standard in 2021. Let’s keep moving, and achieve strong action on climate this year.