Climate & Health in the Washington State Legislature
As the 2018 legislative session wraps up, we're glad that legislators took meaningful steps on climate action - but we can't stop now.
Our Climate & Health Task Force works to confront climate change as the biggest public health threat of our time. A number of issues we advocate for, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening oil transport safety, and putting a price on carbon pollution, were the focus of legislation in Olympia during the short session that ran from January to March.
Even as we wrap up with this year's legislative session we hope you’ll join us in continuing to contact your legislators to support climate action using health-based advocacy. For more information or tips on advocacy, please contact Sarah Cornett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to contact your legislators, you can find their contact information here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/.
Protecting Washington from the Risks of Oil Transport
As an active member of the Stand Up to Oil coalition, we work to keep our communities safe from the health and safety risks of oil moving through our state. A bill moving through the Senate, SB 6269, would take crucial steps to reduce risks of oil spill from trains, vessels, and pipelines. This policy addresses an urgent funding gap in prevention and inspection, and ensures that Washington stays on top of the evolving risks of oil transport.
March 7th Update: this bill passed the State Senate 42-7 in a vote on March 3rd. It now awaits a vote in the House.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation
Transportation fuels are responsible for nearly half of our climate pollution in Washington. A Low Carbon Fuel Standard bill, HB 2338, would have taken important steps to reduce the carbon intensity of these fuels. Refineries would reduce the emission-generating components of their fuels, and could comply by reducing emissions associated with refining and purchasing credits from utilities. California and Oregon already have similar laws on the books.
Update: this bill unfortunately did not pass out of committee. We're hopeful that it will be introduced in 2019.
Putting a Price on Carbon Pollution
Alongside our partners in the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, we're working to put a price on carbon pollution in Washington this year. A bill introduced by Sen. Reuven Carlyle at the request of Gov. Inslee, SB 6203, would have taxed emissions starting at $20/ton beginning in 2019. It directed revenue towards clean energy investments, forest health and water quality, and a fund for transition assistance. We're gearing up to pass a similar policy with the Alliance as a ballot initiative in November and hope you'll join us in this crucial effort!
Update: Sen. Reuven Carlyle, the prime sponsor of this bill, announced on March 1st that it would not see a vote on the Senate floor. However, it passed through two Senate committees - a milestone in progress for carbon pricing legislation.