2024 Washington climate priorities
Climate is our priority: Washington legislative mid-session update

Thanks to the active interest of advocates across the state, Washington legislators are hearing the message that we must address the climate crisis this session, and every session. From emails, calls and letters to the editor, to attending Town Halls, Advocacy Days, and constituent meetings, your voices are making a difference. We are over halfway through the 2024 legislative session, and you can take a moment to take action on some of our top priorities here.

Here's how things are going so far:

100% Clean School Buses (HB 1368) + $80 million to support the transition 
Environmental Priorities Coalition Priority 

All schoolkids should be able to get a healthy and safe ride to school, yet almost all of our 12,000+ school buses in Washington currently run on harmful and polluting diesel. The Legislature can and should ensure that all Washington kids can ride healthy by requiring that new school bus purchases are zero-emission as soon as these buses are cheaper to own and operate than diesel buses, and provide $80 million to financially support schools in this transition. This bill has passed the House and is moving to the Senate.

$100 million for Clean Multi-family Housing 

We need to dedicate funding so residents of affordable, multi-family housing can reap the benefits of living in clean and healthy electric buildings. Low-income residents are the least able to transition off fossil gas, and for tenants of affordable, multi-family housing (MFH) it is largely up to building owners to make this transition. The Washington Legislature should invest $100 million in affordable MFH housing incentives for energy efficiency upgrade, electrification retrofits, and technical assistance. The Governor's proposed budget was heard the first week of session. Now we wait for the House and the Senate to present their respective versions, and we will continue to advocate for these funds. 

Clean Buildings Navigator Bill (HB 1391)

With significant new clean energy incentives coming to Washingtonians from federal investments and the Climate Commitment Act, it is critical that people be able to understand and access the incentives that are available, and that the state government conduct significant community outreach and soclicit community input. This bill would create a one-stop shop and outreach campaign to do just that. HB 1391 has passed the House and is moving to the Senate.

Gas Utility Decarbonization (HB 1589) 

This bill will ensure that PSE (our largest gas and electric utility) plans for the transition to clean energy, makes significant new programs available to help folks transition off of fossil gas, and creates opportunities for low-income people to access the clean energy transition. This bill has passed the House, and is moving through the Senate.

Hold Oil Companies Accountable - did not move forward 
Environmental Priorities Coalition Priority 

This bill is a part of a broader effort to hold the oil industry accountable for the harms it has caused us. While this attempt at requiring price transparency didn’t make it through this year, we anticipate success via our climate investments this budget and other legislation. We already have one of the most ambitious climate policy frameworks in the nation with the Climate Commitment Act and other past policies. We will continue to work together on holding oil companies accountable, and other issues. 

* Last year the Climate Commitment Act program generated a total revenue of $2.2 billion to invest in protections for our climate and clean air. It's an extraordinary win for our climate and communities to have the CCA actively working to make polluters pay and help fund clean energy in Washington, but we will still need to ensure these dollars are invested wisely. We will, unfortunately, need to defend this law from detractors at the ballot this fall. Stay tuned!

Author Bio

Joëlle Robinson

Field Director, Climate Solutions

Joëlle engages community members and diverse constituencies—faith, health, youth, parents, business—to make their voices heard for climate solutions. She led the team of organizers to ensure we stopped any coal export from the U.S. West Coast over the past decade. On offense, she co-led the Field team to help pass the 100% Clean Electricity (Clean Energy Transition Act in 2019) and in 2022 collaborated with the Field team to ensure that all new buildings (commercial and residential) will be built with heat pumps per the State Building Code Council. She continues to conspire for good with them on many other local and state initiatives.

Joëlle was the Regional Outreach Coordinator of National Wildlife Federation where she focused on mobilizing hunters, anglers and concerned citizens around solutions to global warming. Previous work with Climate Solutions includes the NW Climate Connections partnership, serving as the Field Assistant for the successful Clean Cars campaign, and Field Director of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which passed in April 2006.

She previously served on the boards of Earth Ministry, Solar Washington, and Sierra Club Executive Committee. She’s currently President of the board of her 3 year-old!

Joëlle is Northwest born and raised who loves to hike, dance, travel and explore the natural world.

Her favorite quote is “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —  Mary Oliver