SSCAN 2018 Legislative Priorities
8 SPECIFIC BREAKTHROUGH CLIMATE POLICIES
IMPLEMENT STATEWIDE PRICE ON CARBON IN 2018
There are carbon pricing plans in many countries worldwide, and a number of U.S. states (California, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware), as well as British Columbia. Carbon pricing plans have been proposed in Olympia during the past few legislative sessions. It is time for Washington State to implement a carbon pricing scheme – either via the State Legislature or via a ballot initiative. The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy will put a carbon pricing initiative on the ballot in 2018.
INSTITUTE 100% RENEWABLE POWERED ELECTRIC GRID BY 2040
Washington State should seek to have its entire electric grid powered by clean and renewable energy by 2040. As a state with abundant hydropower, this objective is easier to achieve in Washington than it is elsewhere. Hawaii has already established a plan to move to 100% green energy by 2045.
MAKE COAL ILLEGAL FOR ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION BY 2025
Despite being an extremely carbon intensive fossil fuel, it still plays a role in electricity production. It is used at the TransAlta facility in Centralia, and also used at facilities in Coalstrip, Montana, which then export the electricity to Washington (“coal by wire”). The use of coal for electricity should be made illegal in Washington State. Oregon has already passed such a measure.
MAKE NEW FOSSIL FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE ILLEGAL BY 2018
Washington has been steadfast in its opposition to new fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the state. However, rather than go through the lengthy process of opposing each project on a one-by-one basis, the state should enact legislation to permanently ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. This has already been done in Portland, Oregon.
BAN INTERNAL COMBUSION ENGINES BY 2030
Electric vehicles are the future of U.S. transportation, but the implementation of this future reality needs to be hastened. Many countries in Europe are pursuing bans on the sale of new internal combustion vehicles, and California is considering such a ban. Washington State should pursue this strategy.
REQUIRE ALL PUBLIC FLEETS TO BE ELECTRIC – NEW PURCHASES STARTING IMMEDIATELY
As the government purchases new vehicles for public fleets (e.g., cars for public agencies, school buses, etc.), it should insist that the new vehicles are electric.
CREATE TAX-INCENTIVIZED GREEN ENERGY BUSINESS CLUSTER IN PUGET SOUND IN 2019
A number of locals – both domestically and internationally – have created specialized business development zones to foster rapid technological and economic development in target industries. Well-known examples include Silicon Valley in the Bay Area and Route 128 in Massachusetts for high-technology. These zones are economically incentivized to encourage a number of firms to locate in the same area, thereby creating clusters. These clusters thrive on the synergistic benefits of the co-location of similar firms. Washington State should create a business cluster for green energy technology.
INSTITUTE MANDATORY K-12 CLIMATE CHANGE CURRICULUM STATEWIDE BY 2020
One of the most appalling dimensions of the climate crisis is the ongoing effort to denigrate the established science on climate change. It is imperative for the public to have the highest-quality, most up-to-date science on climate change. And it is critical for the nation’s youth to learn about the climate crisis. To this end, Washington should institute a formal unit on climate change into its K-12 curriculum throughout the state. This has already been done in Portland, Oregon.
SSCAN 2017 Legislative Priorities
We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the harmful effects of climate change and protect our health, communities, and economy. Because of this, a “price on carbon” has long been a priority for SSCAN. A well designed carbon tax will help us to transition to clean, efficient energy which will grow our economy and create a new wave of jobs and prosperity. We ask our legislators to voice strong support for a carbon tax, and to negotiate as high a carbon tax as possible in our divided legislature. We also support policy that will 1) drive investment in clean energy, healthy forests, and water infrastructure and 2) invest in vulnerable communities that have been hit hardest by fossil fuel pollution and climate change. We recognize that we must fund education AND essential state services. Putting a price on carbon can help us do this. We ask that our legislators strongly advocate for, and lead the effort, to try and implement a carbon tax.
Oil Transportation Safety Bill: HB 1611 & SB 5462
With the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, we expect an increase in tanker traffic by 700% through the Salish Sea, meaning more oil moving through pipelines and more export terminals, making Washington State a target for dangerous spills and explosions.
We support the Oil Transportation Safety Bill because it will:
• Ensure that the oil industry pays in the case of a spill or other disaster
• Update funding for prevention, preparedness and response
• Protect Puget Sound from increased oil barges and other vessels from the Kinder Morgan Pipeline
• Protect against refineries turning into transshipment terminals
• Strengthen oversight of pipeline safety
We support this legislation to ensure common sense safety measures that will provide funding for oil spill prevention and response.
Fund the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA): HB 1663 & SB 5501
The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) has been a successful law dedicated to cleaning up of toxic waste sites, preventing the use of harmful chemicals in products, and controlling pollution to protect water quality. The law relies on one of the most volatile revenue sources in the state budget–the hazardous substance tax. Because oil prices have plummeted and the MTCA fund has been raided repeatedly for other programs, there is a $75 million shortfall in its funding. This priority will impose a tax surcharge on imported toxics to ensure the money is secure and stable to solve the $75 million shortfall. The MTCA is dedicated to the cleanup of toxic sites which often happen in the poorest of our communities. We must care for the most vulnerable and insure that all communities have access to clean water, a stable environment, and good health. Fully funding the MTCA is one important way that we can do so.
Solar Tax Credits: HB 1048 & SB 5499
This bill promotes a sustainable, local renewable energy industry through modifying renewable energy system tax incentives and providing guidance for renewable energy system component recycling. We support this legislation because it will promote solar power by reducing the per-kilowatt-hour incentive rate to reflect the improving market and costs of solar systems, while maintaining an in-state manufacturing incentive.