Washington moves one step closer to passing a Clean Fuel Standard
On the evening of March 12, the Washington State House of Representatives passed HB 1110 (Clean Fuel Standard) by a vote of 53-43. This milestone vote brings Washington state closer to passing a policy aimed at growing the market for low carbon fuels, reducing the costs and impacts of air pollution to public health, and increasing economic investment and returns from local renewable fuel production.

The bill has strong support among a diverse group including public health groups, local elected officials, automobile manufacturers, environmental justice groups, clean energy businesses, and science and medical professionals, and several leaders expressed strong support upon passage:

Curt Augustine, Director of Policy & Government Affairs at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a leading advocacy group for the auto industry, representing 77 percent of all car and light truck sales in the United States:

“HB 1110 is a clear win for Washington State and has the support of the auto industry. A clean fuel standard benefits businesses and the broader Washington State economy, while protecting our environment and reducing air quality impacts. Clean fuel standards are proven methods in neighboring states to spur economic growth in renewable fuels and cleaner transportation options.”

Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins:

“A clean fuel standard is one of the Port of Seattle’s top 2019 legislative priorities as our agency is committed to addressing the climate crisis and reducing the impacts of transportation fuels on our health. This policy would help expand Washington’s market for low carbon fuel innovations like sustainable aviation fuels and renewable natural gas, reduce emissions and impacts to public health, and help address the worsening climate crisis. The passage of HB 1110 helps us achieve all of these and look ahead to building a stronger, healthier, cleaner future for our state.”

Carrie Nyssen, Vice President of Advocacy & Air Quality, American Lung Association:

“With a clean fuel standard in Washington state, we can breathe deeper and easier. Transportation emissions and worsening air quality are directly linked to increased public health impacts such as heart and lung disease, lost work days, and premature deaths. The air we breathe is inescapable and we don’t always get to choose what goes into it. We can make a choice by passing HB 1110 and prioritizing the climate and our health.”

HB 1110 is part of a significant package of complementary climate bills being considered by the state legislature. It would require oil refiners and importers to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels by 20 percent by 2035, support expanded transportation electrification, and create more homegrown jobs in the production of clean, low-carbon fuels.

Aligning with Other West Coast States and British Columbia

A clean fuel standard is more than just about climate change—it’s about cleaner air, business and economic development, and reduced costs and impacts to public health. Washingtonians spend $9 billion annually on gasoline and diesel while many of our locally produced clean fuels are shipped to other states that already have a Clean Fuel Standard. In passing this legislation, Washington would join California, Oregon, and British Columbia creating a full West Coast clean fuels market, strengthening the region’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions and laying the building blocks for thriving clean energy economy.

Improving Public Health

Dependence on a global fuel market is already costing Washington residents with volatile fuel prices and rising health care costs. The American Lung Association and WA Physicians for Social Responsibility see a Clean Fuel Standard as one of the most important ways to improve public health by decreasing sources of air pollution. Reduced emissions and cleaner air has direct positive health impacts and reduces public health costs across all communities. Lower-income people suffer the most from air pollution and climate change and have the fewest resources to cope, or to pay for health care. A study on California’s Clean Fuels Standard identified $2.5 billion in annual avoided public health costs. This is expected to grow to $8.3 billion by 2025 with a reduction of  asthma attacks and related hospitalizations, lower rates of lung cancer and heart attacks, and fewer lost workdays.

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The article was written by Climate Solutions staff. Our individual bios can be found here.

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