Today the Washington State Department of Ecology initiated a process to begin enforcing statewide carbon limits and demand accountability for carbon pollution under the state’s Clean Air Act. Below is a statement from Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy Director Lisa MacLean, on behalf of the Alliance Steering Committee, in response:
“The Clean Air Plan is a promising step forward in enforcing existing laws to accelerate Washington’s transition to a clean energy economy. The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy will be following this process to ensure the state sets meaningful, science-based limits to carbon pollution and ensure the disproportionately higher rate of pollution in communities of color and communities with lower incomes is equitably addressed.
“The largest forest fires in our state’s history have scorched over a million acres of land, destroying communities, razing crops, threatening livelihoods and claiming the lives of three firefighters. Global warming pollution is starting to change our climate and increase the frequency and ferocity of wildfires, drought and hotter temperatures. Children, seniors and people of color are suffering the most from the effects of asthma and heat-related illness as record-breaking heat waves continue to sweep the state. The people of Washington understand we must confront this daunting challenge.
“Today’s announcement is an important step forward, yet additional work remains to address the cost of global warming pollution to our communities and economy. We will continue to work with our growing coalition to ensure Washington has an effective, equitable climate policy that controls the major sources of carbon pollution in our state, protects vulnerable communities, and grows good, family-wage jobs in areas like renewable energy, energy efficiency and forest health. That means investing in communities disproportionately impacted by climate change – predominantly communities of color and low-income communities – and the protection and support of impacted businesses, and workers and communities dependent for their livelihoods on fossil-fuel industries.”