This week our hearts are with everyone affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis, both in our state and around the world. It is heartening to see that the world can act with decisive action to respond to a crisis, if it chooses to. Yesterday was the end of the 2020 Washington State legislative session and we wanted to take a moment to share what happened related to action to address the climate crisis.

Even though this was a short (60 day) session, the legislature passed a number of important bills advancing incremental progress addressing the climate crisis. The biggest disappointment of the session was the failure of the Clean Fuel Standards bill (HB 1110 / SB 5412). Given that transportation is our largest source of emissions, we will have to redouble our efforts next session.  

This legislative session we partnered with our sister 350 organizations across the state through the new 350 WA Civic Action Team (CAT). This was a highly effective way for constituents from every corner of the state to engage with their representatives and senators on climate legislation before them. State-wide WA-CAT action this session: 

  • 1750: Climate calls made to legislators! 
  • 1230: Climate comments left on bills! 
  • 2775: Climate emails sent to legislators! 
  • 5755: Total legislator contacts made by the Civic Action Team in 2020! 

If you haven’t joined 350 WA Civic Action Team (CAT), consider doing so today. It is only active during the legislative session. See also, the 350WA Bill Status Wrap Up


green check mark(PASSED Senate and the House, Governor likely to sign)
Reducing emissions by making changes to the clean car standards and clean car program SB 5811 / HB 1999
Primary sponsor: Senator Nguyen (D; 34th District; White Center)

Under pressure from automakers, Washington State passed a law in 2005 preventing the state from joining the zero emission vehicles (ZEV) program. In 2019, Sen Joe Nguyen (D-34th) introduced SB 5811, a bill to repeal this prohibition and allow Washington to join the ZEV program. 

The version passed in the House Committee on Environment and Energy adopts the zero emissions vehicle standards, rather than simply removing the prohibition on adopting them from the current law. It no longer limits them to the model years that Oregon’s version covers, and it no longer says that vehicles for the model year in which the requirement comes into effect aren’t subject to the requirement. It also repeals current provisions (in RCW 70.120A.020) requiring Ecology to provide two systems of early credits and banking for ZEVs produced and sold before the implementation of the program in Washington. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/sb5811/

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted NO
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted NO
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted NO
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted NO

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES 
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted NO
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted NO
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted NO

green check mark(PASSED House and Senate, Governor likely to sign)
Amending state greenhouse gas emission limits for consistency with the most recent assessment of climate change science HB 2311 / SB 6272
Primary sponsor: Representative Slatter (D; 48th District; Bellevue, Redmond, & Kirkland)

The bill leaves the State’s current greenhouse gas emissions target of a reduction to 1990 levels by 2020 (which we will not meet) in place. It raises the next target from a 25% reduction below 1990 levels by 2035 to a 45% reduction by 2030. It adds a target for 2040 of a 70% reduction, and it increases the target for 2050 from a 50% reduction from 1990 levels to a 95% reduction. It adds a requirement for achieving net-zero emissions state-wide by 2050. Commerce’s reports on emissions are now to include those from wildfires. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2311/

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted NO
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted NO
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted NO

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted NO
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted NO
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted NO
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted NO 

green check mark(PASSED House and Senate, Governor likely to sign)
Sustainable Farms and Fields  2SSB-5947 / HB-2095
Primary sponsor: Senator McCoy (D; 38th District; Snohomish County)

Agriculture is one of the top producers of greenhouse gases.  It’s a challenge to figure out how farmers could alter their methods so as to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This bill will give grants to farmers for activities that sequester carbon dioxide, enhance soil health, conserve water, and also use less fossil fuels.

The initiative for their change in farming practices will come from them rather than be imposed on them. The agricultural educational institutions are also working on developing innovative strategies to share with farmers. 

Some of our 350 Spokane supporters worked with Noa Kay and Greg Rock of Carbon Washington who were key in working with various stakeholders in coming up with wording that adequately addressed the issues.  In addition to Carbon Washington, some of the important Stakeholders were: Washington State Farm Bureau, Association of Wheat Growers, Washington Cattleman’s Association, Washington Farmer Veterans Coalition, Washington Young Farmer Coalition, Wilcox Farms, Washington State Dairy Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and 115 Farms and organizations (including 350 Spokane) who joined the letter of support. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/sb5947/

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES.
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO.
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted NO.
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted NO.
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted NO

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted NO
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted YES
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted YES
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted YES

green check mark(PASSED House and Senate, Governor likely to sign)
Requires the State and local governments to use compost and reimburses farmers for using it HB 2713
Primary sponsor: Representative Walen (D; 48th District; Kirkland)

The bill requires state agencies and local governments to consider whether compost can be used in projects when they’re planning them. If it can be used, they’re to do that, unless it isn’t available within a reasonable time, doesn’t meet existing purchasing standards, or doesn’t meet Federal or State health and safety standards. They’re encouraged to give priority to compost that’s produced locally, compost that’s certified by a nationally recognized organization, and compost that’s produced from municipal waste.

Local governments with residential composting services must have purchasing agreements with their processors to buy back at least fifty percent of the compost produced from their organic waste, and the processor’s required to charge a fair competitive market rate. They’re encouraged to buy compost made from at least 8% food waste.

The Department of Agriculture is to create a three-year pilot program, beginning July 1 2020, to reimburse farming operations in the state for the costs of purchasing and using compost products, including transportation, equipment, spreading, and labor. Payments are limited to fifty percent of the costs and capped at fifty thousand dollars a year; farmers can’t be paid for compost that they’ve transferred, or intend to transfer to another individual or entity, whether for compensation or not. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2713/

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted YES
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted YES
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted YES
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted YES

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted  YES
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham YES and Volz voted EXCUSED
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted YES
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted YES

green check mark(PASSED House and Senate, Governor likely to sign)
Concerning commercial property assessed clean energy and resilience (C-PACER) E2SHB 2405 / SB 6222
Primary sponsor: Representative Duerr (D; 1st District; Bothell)

Property Assessed Clean Energy & Resilience financing would enable the use of tax liens to repay loans for upgrades to a property’s energy efficiency or clean energy, easing burdens on property owners facing high up-front costs for things like heat pumps or rooftop solar. The tax lien stays with the property for the loan’s duration, even if the property changes hands. 36 states and the District of Columbia now have these PACE laws. 

Because Washington’s constitution prohibits any gift of public funds to private parties, our state cannot make or guarantee loans as PACE programs in some other states do. Instead, these liens would be structured as they are in Texas, relying entirely on private financing rather than lending any state funds, which should pass the constitutional test. A lesser legal obstacle also exists in a law against using government as a “conduit” for private finance due to a 1978 case in which the City of Wenatchee used city funds to purchase land for resale, but PACE appears far enough from that precedent that a reasonable judge would excuse it, should the law be challenged. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2405/ 

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted YES
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted YES
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted YES

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted EXCUSED
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted NO
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted YES
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted YES

green check mark(PASSED House and Senate, Governor likely to sign)
Concerning the safe and efficient transmission and distribution of natural gas E2SHB 2518
Primary sponsor: Representative Shewmake (D; 42nd District; Whatcom County)

Requires the Utilities and Transportation Commission to begin a proceeding to increase

the certainty that utilities will recover the costs associated with measures approved by the commission that they undertake to reduce hazardous leaks and fugitive emissions from their gas pipelines.

Gas companies can submit proposed projects and changes to operational procedures to reduce hazardous leaks and nonhazardous fugitive releases, ranked according to risk, severity, and complexity to the UTC. These proposals must include a cost-effectiveness analysis and propose one of several ways of calculating a cap for the annual expenditures that would be recoverable through a mechanism to be approved by the commission. The cost-effectiveness analysis has to include: the value of the leaked gas; the cost of greenhouse gas emissions associated with that, calculated in accordance with a federal standard which currently works out to $65/metric ton; the value of the reduction in risk from gas leaks; and the cost of the measures. The proposal must also address the expected impact to ratepayers and other factors the commission may require.

Beginning July 1, 2020, each gas pipeline company has to submit a report to the UTC on the environmental and economic performance of its system, including all known leaks from transmission and distribution pipelines, and from all components, including pumps, valves, pipes, and pneumatic devices. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2518/

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted YES
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted YES
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted YES

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted NO
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted YES
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted NO
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted NO

green check mark(PASSED House and Senate, Governor likely to sign)
Designating pumped storage projects located in a county bordering the Columbia river utilizing statutorily authorized water rights to be projects of statewide significance EHB 2819 / SB 6578
Primary sponsor: Representative Mosbrucker (R; 14th District; Klickitat County)

The bill would make pumped storage projects using water rights approved by the legislature for that purpose developments of statewide significance, which require:

  1. Expedited permit processing for the design and construction of the project;
  2. Expedited environmental review processing;
  3. Expedited processing of requests for street, right-of-way, or easement vacations necessary for the construction of the project;
  4. Participation of local officials on the team assembled under the requirements of RCW 43.157.030(2)(b); and
  5. Such other actions or items as are deemed necessary by the office of regulatory assistance for the design and construction of the project. 

More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2819/

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted YES
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted YES
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted YES
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted YES

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted YES
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted YES
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted YES
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted NO

green check mark(PASSED by the Senate and the House, Governor likely to sign)
Reducing pollution from plastic bags by establishing minimum state standards for the use of bags at retail establishments ESSB 5323
Primary sponsor: Senator Das (D; 47th District; Kent)

Our local waterways, ocean, and recycling systems are overloaded with plastic pollution. Thin plastic bags that are used for just a few minutes and then thrown away pose a particular problem: only 6% ever get recycled. Single-use bags enter into our waterways and the ocean where they clog the stomachs of wildlife. They also clog recycling equipment where they are costly to remove and are the major contaminant in our commercial compost. The Reusable Bag Act would eliminate thin carry-home plastic bags at all retail establishments and help Washington address a growing recycling crisis. More information here

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted NO
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted NO
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye YES and Schmick voted NO

The Senate floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Senator Billig voted YES
  • LD 4 Senator Padden voted NO
  • LD 6 Senator Holy voted NO
  • LD 7 Senator Short voted NO
  • LD 9 Senator Schoesler voted NO

Red X mark(FAILED)
Creates a low carbon fuel standard HB 1110 / SB 5412
Primary sponsor: Representative Fitzgibbon (D, 34th District, Vashon Island & West Seattle)

Requires the Department of Ecology to create rules to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels used in Washington to 10% below 2017 levels by 2028 and to 20% below 2017 levels by 2035. (Fuels for aviation, shipping, and locomotives are exempted.)
Standards:

  • Must be based on a full lifecycle analysis of the emissions associated with each fuel, including its production, storage, transportation, and combustion, as well as associated changes in land use.
  • Must measure the emissions from electricity for each electric utility based on its mix of power sources.
  • Ecology can require additional reporting from fuel distributors and utilities if it’s needed.
  • The department may create additional exemptions to avoid mismatched incentives among programs, fuel shifting among markets, or other unintended consequences.
  • It must decide whether or not emissions reductions under the clean fuels program will count toward meeting the requirements of the clean air rule, and vice versa.

More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb1110/

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted NO
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted NO
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted NO

Status: passed by the House. Did not make it out of the Senate Transportation Committee. 


Red X mark(FAILED)
Upstream methane emissions HB 1597
Primary sponsor: Representative Pollet (D; 46th District; Northeast Seattle)

Requires the Department of Ecology to develop a uniformly applicable estimate of methane emissions during the production, gathering, processing, transmission, storage, and distribution of natural gas in the state, and a rule to specify their global warming potential over a twenty year time frame. 

The bill requires State agencies, cities, and local governments in general to use those estimates of upstream natural gas emissions in permitting, planning, and other regulatory processes, and specifically amends the laws about a number of State regulatory processes to require including them in emissions estimates. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb1597/

Status: Had a hearing in the House Committee on Environment and Energy. Did not make it out of committee. 


Red X mark(FAILED)
Advancing electric transportation HB 1664/SB 5336 (By request of the Governor.)
Primary sponsor: Representative Slatter (D; 48th District; Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland)

Washington would join the other nine states that have adopted California’s zero emission vehicle standards. (Those currently require manufacturers to have about 2.5% of the cars they sell in a given state be free of tailpipe emissions, and establish a market for trading credits that manufacturers who sell more battery and fuel-cell cars than required can sell to those who don’t sell enough or decide it would be cheaper to buy credits than produce and sell the cars.)

The bill requires all utilities to engage in electrifying transportation, and specifically authorizes them to build and promote charging infrastructure (as well as to invest in making energy infrastructure in general more efficient). It removes the requirement that their chargers must be in places where cars will plug in for at least four hours if they want to earn a rate of return on the investment. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb1664/

Status: Referred to the House Committee on Transportation. Still in committee by 2019 cutoff.


Red X mark(FAILED)
Tackling climate change as a goal of the growth management act ESHB 2427 / SB 6453
Primary sponsor: Representative Duerr (D; 1st District; Bothell) 

The Growth Management Act currently lists fourteen goals that are supposed to guide the development and adoption of comprehensive plans and development regulations for cities and counties planning with that framework. The bill adds a fifteenth, which says that they’re supposed to ensure that their own comprehensive plans and development regulations, and the regional policies, plans, and strategies for their countywide planning framework (under RCW 36.70A.210) and for their regional transportation planning (under RCW 47.80) “adapt to and mitigate the effects of a changing climate; support state greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements and state vehicle miles traveled goals; build resilient infrastructure; and nurture environmental, economic, and human health.” More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2427/

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham and Volz voted NO
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted NO 
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted NO

Status: Not brought to a vote in Senate Committee on Local Government. 


Red X mark(FAILED)
Requires new cars and pickups sold or registered in the state to be powered by batteries or fuel cells, starting in 2030 HB 2515
Primary sponsor: Representative Macri (D; 43rd District; Seattle)

Starting with the 2030 models, new cars and pickups sold or registered in the state would have to be battery powered fully electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles. (Emergency services vehicles would be exempted.) In consultation with a number of other state agencies that deal with transportation, the State Transportation Commission would develop a plan for meeting the requirement during a transition period beginning in 2021. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2515/

Status: Received hearing in the House Committee on Transportation. Did not leave committee this session.


Red X mark(FAILED)
Implementing a greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade program SB 5981
Primary sponsor: Senator Carlyle (D; 36th District; Seattle)

Creates a state greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade program requiring allowances for each metric ton of emissions above a gradually decreasing cap. Allowances are sold at auction, and can be sold or traded within the state and in linked programs in other jurisdictions. Requires setting a floor and a ceiling on prices for allowances, and mechanisms for increasing or decreasing the allowances available to help keep prices within that range. https://www.waclimateleg.info/sb5981/

Status: In 2019 session, it was referred to Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology. Had a hearing March 21, 2019. Still in committee by the 2019 cutoff; reintroduced and retained in present status for 2020 session. Had a hearing on a draft substitute, February 4, 2020. Dead for this session.


Red X mark(FAILED)
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing authority for the regulation of indirect sources under the clean air act and implementing standards and programs that reduce emissions associated with buildings. HB 2957
Primary sponsor: Representative Fitzgibbon (D; 34th District; Seattle)

The bill responds to the recent Supreme Court decision holding that Ecology didn’t have the statutory authority to regulate fossil fuel production and distribution through the Clean Air Act because that didn’t authorize it to regulate indirect emissions. The bill revises the definitions of emissions to specify both direct and indirect ones, and explicitly authorizes Ecology and local air authorities to use the Act to regulate the emissions from the production and distribution of any product in the state emitting over 25,000 tons a year of greenhouse gases, and of all fossil fuels. 

Also, late in the session a “poison pill” clause was added to this bill that would have rolled back the Washington State Residential Energy Code to lax 2015 standards, which may have contributed to the bill’s demise.

More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2957/

Status: Introduced in the House Committee on Appropriations March 2nd and scheduled for a hearing and executive session the same afternoon at 1:30 PM. An amended substitute passed out of committee (at 1:50 AM…); referred to Rules. Did not make it out of the House Rules Committee.


Red X mark(FAILED)
Concerning urban and community forestry HB 2768 / SB 6529
Primary sponsor: Representative Ramos (D; 5th District; Issaquah) (By request of the Department of Natural Resources.)

The bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to do and periodically update a statewide inventory of urban and community forests, using protocols established by the Forest Service, to produce statistically relevant estimates of the quantity, health, composition, and benefits of urban trees and forests.

It requires the Department to prioritize regions for delivery of urban forestry programs, policies, and activities by including criteria related to human health and salmon recovery. More information: https://www.waclimateleg.info/hb2768/

The House floor votes on the bill were the following:

  • LD 3 Representatives Riccelli and Ormsby voted YES
  • LD 4 Representatives McCaslin and Shea voted NO
  • LD 6 Representatives Graham NO; Volz voted YES
  • LD 7 Representatives Kretz and Maycumber voted NO
  • LD 9 Representatives Dye and Schmick voted NO

Status: Did not make it out of the Senate. 

 

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