The 2019 session was a landmark in advancing statewide climate policy and established Washington State as a nationwide leader in making a just transition to clean energy and addressing the climate crisis. The Climate Alliance expects state legislators to continue 2019’s momentum by combining deep carbon pollution reductions with advances for workers, low-income communities, and communities of color who disproportionately bear the impacts of pollution and transition. We are calling on our state legislators to pass the following climate bills:
Climate Alliance Developed Priorities
Smarter investments for a clean and equitable transportation system
Transportation infrastructure should be evidence-based, measuring health impacts, financial and mobile accessibility, community, safety, and sustainability outcomes. Currently, Washington state’s transportation investments are decided without using any defined goals or metrics. As a result, only certain projects are prioritized, regardless of size or benefit. This process leads to negative outcomes, like traffic, increased air pollution, and fiscal irresponsibility. The Transportation for All bill (HB 2688/SB 6398) requires new transportation investments and any transportation funding cuts to meet health, equity, and environment metrics and goals set forth by the Office of Financial Management and the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Creating progressive and sustainable transportation revenue
Funding Washington state’s transportation system must be a top-tier issue for the legislature this year. Our current transportation revenue sources restrict spending to highways and rely on a regressive tax structure that disproportionately burdens low-income communities. The Climate Alliance urges the legislature to consider our Transportation for All funding guidelines as they develop new transportation revenue sources. Washington can continue to lead the nation by being among the first to prioritize progressive revenue sources and fee structures, and also by creating systems to listen to and incorporate community needs by engaging stakeholders in policy development, monitoring, and evaluation. In addition, we must use charges and rate structures to address environmental and social impact externalities of transportation, including greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollutants, congestion, injuries and deaths, and stormwater runoff.
Climate Alliance Adopted Priorities
Restore health and resilience of Washington forests and communities
Washington’s wildfire and forest health crises threaten lives and livelihoods across the state. It’s time to get ahead of the problem by investing in the resilience of our forests and the preparedness of our communities. The Healthy Forests & Wildfire Preparedness bill (HB 2413) will raise roughly $125M in new revenue per biennium to implement Washington’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan, restoring the health and resilience of 1.25 million acres of forest via a surcharge on property and casualty insurance policies. More resilient forests mean cleaner air, healthier, and safer firefighters and communities, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and, increased ability of forests to sequester carbon.
Ensure state purchasing for public infrastructure supports clean and responsible manufacturing
The Buy Clean and Buy Fair Washington Act (HB 2744) directs state agencies to consider suppliers’ greenhouse gas emissions when purchasing structural materials for publicly-funded infrastructure projects and increases transparency on labor practices. Incorporating carbon intensity and labor practices into procurement decisions levels the playing field for responsible manufacturers that have invested in emissions reduction technologies and supports the dual goals of cutting carbon pollution and growing a strong domestic workforce.
Continue strong climate leadership with ambitious goals
Climate action requires carbon reductions across the board and deep investments in healthier natural landscapes—shorelines, forests, and farms. This means setting credible and ambitious climate pollution limits, providing clear direction to meet these limits, and investing in nature-based solutions like trees and soils to capture excess carbon. The Climate Pollution Limits Bill (HB 2311/ SB 6272) will update the state’s greenhouse gas limits to reflect current science and lay groundwork to reach net zero carbon emissions and beyond, while taking care of workers and communities who face high levels of pollution.