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JON ANDERSON
Washington Legislature Advances Clean Fuels Standard and 100% Fossil Free Electricity
February 7, 2018

Olympia, WA:  Late Tuesday, the relevant fiscal legislative committees voted in favor of both a clean fuels standard (House Transportation Committee) and 100 percent fossil fuel free electricity (Senate Ways and Means Committee). This follows on the heels of the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee approving the carbon tax proposal, SB 6203, late last week. All three are complementary policies needed to maximize clean energy solutions, reduce global warming pollution, and create economic growth. Summaries of the policies are here for reference, as well as polling showing how the public is ready and wants strong action. 

100% Fossil Free Electricity (SB 6253): If passed, it would end the use of coal for Washington electricity in the next twelve years and set a path to zero-carbon power in our state by 2045. Expanding the next generation of clean energy resources will not only clean up our grid, but also create new local clean energy jobs here in Washington.

Clean Fuels (HB 2338): Transportation fuels are responsible for nearly half of our climate and air pollution in Washington, and are major sources of pollutants linked to respiratory disease. Washington is the only West Coast jurisdiction lacking a clean fuels standard requiring refineries to reduce emissions. A clean fuels standard will also help grow our regional economy by supporting local job creation in rural Washington and provide new economic opportunities for the agricultural, dairy and forestry sectors.

HB 2338 would:

  • Require refineries to clean up their fuels by reducing the carbon intensity of their fuels
  • Refineries can comply by blending biofuels, purchasing credits from utilities and others that sell electricity for EVs, reducing emissions associated with refining, and other ways

STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT:

“Climate change is the number one threat to birds, and we are encouraged by the bipartisan progress toward passing an effective set of complementary climate policies in the legislature,” said Gail Gatton, Executive Director of Audubon Washington. “Passage of the 100 percent fossil fuel free electricity bill will accelerate the path to a clean energy future for everyone, keep energy costs low, create new local jobs, and protect the state we love from future climate damage. That’s why labor, clean energy, and conservation groups have joined together to support this ambitious yet reachable goal.”

“Every unit of clean electricity creates more jobs than fossil fuel power. This policy will help create thousands of homegrown, family wage jobs, especially in the electric sector, and a clean energy transition will create long-term local economic growth and stabilize our electricity rates. This policy is a win for Washington,” stated Matthew Hepner, Executive Director of the Certified Electrical workers of Washington.

“Clean fuels will bolster both Washington’s health and economy,” said Vlad Gutman-Britten, Climate Solutions Washington State Director. “For too long, oil companies have had a monopoly over our transportation options, leaving people with few alternatives to fossil fuels—fuels which are by far Washington’s largest source of climate and air pollution. There is a better way forward. A Clean Fuels Standard will require oil refineries and distributors to ensure that Washington’s fuel supply gets cleaner over time, reducing carbon pollution from gasoline and diesel. Producing local, low-carbon fuels will create jobs in Washington, give consumers more choice at the pump and ensure healthier air now and for future generations.” 

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Author Bio

Mara Gross

Former Oregon Communications Manager, Climate Solutions

Mara is an attorney and policy advocate with wide ranging experience on social and environmental policies, and a former Oregon Communications Manager with Climate Solutons. As a member of the communications team, she worked on messaging and media outreach to build momentum for ambitious climate leadership in Oregon. 

For eight years prior to joining Climate Solutions, Mara was the Policy Director and then Executive Director at the Coalition for a Livable Future, a nonprofit focused on equitable planning in the Portland metro region. She previously served as the legislative aide to then-Oregon Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (now governor of Oregon).  Mara also worked on several electoral campaigns in Oregon and California, provided legal aid on employment and housing issues, and practiced law in the private sector.  She has a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law and a B.A. in philosophy from Wellesley College.

Outside of work, Mara travels around town mostly by bike and explores Oregon’s beauty and Portland’s amazing neighborhoods with her partner and young daughter, who wants everyone to stop driving "smoke cars."