Fighting Climate Change & Its Effects

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, put a price on carbon, and enact measures to promote climate resiliency.  

Issue Team Chair: Raelene Gold, 3037218
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2020 Legislative Session Wrap Up
(Interested in the 2019 Session Recap? Click Here)

Last session, the Clean Energy Transition Act passed along with bills requiring new residential buildings and appliances sold in the state be more energy efficient , which reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

This session continued the progress made last session in moving to renewables,  decreasing fossil fuel use, lowering GHG emissions, and supporting an energy storage project.  Support for renewable community solar projects passed. The SB 5811 Zero Emission Vehicle bill making these vehicles more available, was a priority and win for us. As was  SHB 6135, ensuring the electric grid is meeting increased electric demand as we transition from fossil fuels to renewable sourced electricity. We were disappointed with bills we supported that did not pass, but this session saw too many good bills with too little time to get them passed, so hopefully they will be reintroduced next session.

    Click on Bill # for detailed information.  See UPDATES below.
    Bills the League Supported That Have Been Signed Into Law
    • SB 5811 Zero Emission Vehicles. Reducing emissions by changing the clean car standards and program. Authorizes the Department of Ecology (DOE) to adopt California zero emission vehicle program regulations. Expands the types of vehicles required to meet California standards to include medium duty vehicles. Gasoline cars are the single biggest source of carbon pollution in Washington. To make the big cuts in carbon we need, we must make the transition from fossil fuel cars to cleaner alternatives. Bill signed by the Governor.

    • SSB 6135 System reliability under the Clean Energy Transformation Act (100%). Original bill required Department of Ecology submit a report regarding electrical grid reliability every four years. Substitute bill directs Department of Commerce, and the Utilities and Transportation Commission to convene a meeting of utilities and stakeholders every 12 months to discuss adequacy of energy resources to serve our electric needs, and specify needed changes. Bill signed by the Governor.

    • SHB 2819  Designating pumped storage projects located near county bordering Columbia River to be projects of statewide significance. Bill specifically for a proposed project near Goldendale. Pumped storage is a mode of energy storage.  Bill signed by the Governor

      Bill the League Supported That Passed Both Chambers

      • ESHB 2248 Expanding equitable access to benefits of renewable energy through community solar projects. Provides needed resources to enhance participation, and benefits lower income communities with community solar projects. Community solar projects allow those unable to afford residential solar to benefit from renewable solar through a community solar project, where multiple customers residing across a wide geography can participate. Bill authorizes a community solar project to apply to the Washington State University Extension Energy Program to receive an incentive payment from a participating utility, to provide direct benefits to the projects subscribers. Bill awards the public utility a commensurate tax credit.  Governor did not sign.

      Bills the League Supported That Did Not Pass

      • SJM 8018 Concerning a federal nuclear waste repository. Requests Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy establish and develop a permanent federal nuclear waste repository. We need a permanent solution for safe storage of high level nuclear wastes, which is being stored at Hanford and is a threat to the Columbia River. Considering this bill had bipartisan support, this defeat is a disappointment.
      • SHB 2287 Rail Safety. A joint transportation committee shall oversee a consultant study on rail safety governance best practices for Washington state, both for passenger and freight, and consider the national transportation safety board’s recommendations following the 2017 accident report. Bill addresses significant problem of train derailments that jeopardizes lives, and can cause fires and water pollution. 
      • ESSB 6432   Concerning offshore oil extraction. Ensures protection of our valuable coastlines. Requires guidelines for the Shoreline Management Act master programs for shorelines of statewide significance to prohibit infrastructure for handling or transporting extracted gas and oil. Prohibits leasing tidal or submerged lands for oil or gas exploration, development or production.  

      Bill the League Opposed That Did Not Pass

      • HB 2667 Relating to increasing housing access and affordability by decreasing construction costs associated with implementing the Washington state energy code for residential buildings.  Delays 2018 residential energy code going into effect and decreases energy efficiency. 

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