Washington State Government

Climate Priorities for Washington State in 2019

Washington’s 2019 legislative session presents important opportunities for our state to chart a course towards a prosperous clean energy future. Because so many areas of our lives have been dependent on the fossil fuels of the past, we are adopting different strategies in order to make steady progress towards achieving 100% clean energy. Click here for a printable summary of our Climate Legislative Goals for 2019.

Here are some key paths forward we’re following this year:

100% Clean Electricity

HB 1211, SB 5116. As we transition more of our transportation and building sector from fossil fuels to the grid, we must ensure that our homes and vehicles are powered by clean and renewable electricity. A strong 100% Clean Electricity Standard will do just that. By setting a firm deadline of 2045 for the removal of all fossil fuels from our electricity system, with strong interim targets including phasing out coal by 2025, we will set our state on a path to a 100% clean energy future. We can ensure that new energy demand is met with renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other non-polluting sources of energy. 

Research commissioned by Climate Solutions confirms this clean pathway is both technically feasible and affordable, with costs projected to total half a cent per kilowatt-hour or less across the region by 2050.

The policy would:

  • Phase out coal by 2025, and prioritize replacement power with energy efficiency, renewable energy, storage, and other
  • fossil-free resources;
  • Require that Washington utilities be carbon neutral by 2030;
  • Put utilities on a pathway to serving customers with 100% clean electricity by 2045;
  • Require all utilities to create low-income energy assistance programs and maximize an equitable distribution of costs, benefits, and risks.

A Clean Fuel Standard

HB 1110, SB 5412. Transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel are responsible for nearly half of our climate pollution in Washington, and Washingtonians send $10 billion every year out of state to buy these fuels. Transportation fuels are also the largest sources of harmful air pollution, which health professionals link directly to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. We can reduce these harms and support our regional economy by implementing a Clean Fuel Standard. A Clean Fuel Standard would increase the use of affordable electric transportation, while creating new economic opportunities for clean fuel production in rural Washington. Washington is the last West Coast jurisdiction without such a standard; by enacting this policy, we will align ourselves with neighbors California, Oregon and B.C. Download our Clean Fuel Standard FAQ here.

The policy would:

  • Require refineries and fuel importers to achieve a 10% carbon intensity reduction by 2028, and a 20% carbon intensity reduction by 2035;
  • Cut more than five million tons of carbon
  • by 2035;
  • Create new economic opportunities and local jobs in the production of clean fuels from the agricultural, dairy, waste and forestry sectors.

Clean and Efficient Buildings

HB 1257, SB 5293. Washington’s building emissions have risen 50% since 1990, undoing much of the climate progress we have made in other sectors. Buildings and built infrastructure account for a quarter of Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce these emissions through
deeper investments in energy efficiency—our cheapest energy resource. By supporting efficiency policies throughout our built environment, we can reduce emissions while creating new jobs and helping families and businesses save on energy bills.

The policy would:

  • Provide efficiency incentives and set standards for large commercial buildings;
  • Give cities and counties the authority to adopt stronger energy codes for new residential buildings;
  • Require all utilities to create low-income energy assistance programs and maximize an equitable distribution of costs, benefits, and risks.
  • Require gas utilities to set efficiency

Electrify the Transportation Sector

To meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets, we must aggressively electrify our transportation sector and help more people take advantage of clean transportation options. Taking targeted steps to electrify transportation in Washington, including fleets, buses, and cars, will save customers money on fuel with electricity costs about 30% lower than the U.S. average.

The policy would:

  • Reinstate the state’s electric vehicle incentive, providing a tax incentive on new or used EVs;
  • Expand access to low-income communities, by providing a rebate to low-income households that scrap old, dirty vehicles and replace them with new or used electric vehicles;
  • Help electrify fleets by paying for a portion of the incremental cost of new electric trucks and buses, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetimes

Healthy Environment for All

SB 5489. Those who suffer first and most from environmental impacts should be the first to shape and benefit from environmental policy. These groups, including low-income households, linguistically isolated people and communities of color, have often been unjustly marginalized in this process. The HEAL Act will address this disparity.

The policy would: 

  • Create a foundation and pathway for all communities to benefit from environmental policy;
  • Require state agencies to use environmental health disparity data and analysis when developing policy and making decisions about investment;
  • Coordinate agencies to improve environmental health by reducing disparities between communities.