The Washington State Legislature opened the 2019 regular session Monday. Seven bills directed at dealing with greenhouse gas emissions had already been pre-filed, with most of them scheduled for hearings this week.
At the request of Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D – Seattle) introduced Senate Bill 5116, which would:
- Require electric utilities to cease generation from coal-fired power plants by the end of 2025.
- Require electric utilities to be carbon neutral by the end of 2029, but with allowances for various credits and offsets.
- Require all retail electricity to be provided by non-emitting sources by the end of 2044.
There is a lot of devil in the details, but those are the overarching deliverables. With over half the Senate Democratic Caucus co-sponsoring the bill, it appears to be going places. Indeed, it is scheduled for a public hearing at 10 am today in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy, & Technology.
House Bill 1110, by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D – Burien) would direct the Department of Ecology to adopt a rule establishing a Clean Fuels Program to limit the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transportation fuel energy to 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035. These limits are based on recommendations from the Department in 2016, as part of the process from the previous similar law passed in 2008. Several exceptions are enumerated, including exported fuels, fuels used by aircract, fuels used by vessels, fuels used by railroads, and the 2015 Transportation Revenue Package. The bill was heard in the House Committee on Environment & Energy Tuesday, and is scheduled for a committee vote next Thursday.
HB 1113, by Rep. Vandana Slatter (D – Bellevue) would commit the state to achieving its share of the US’ commitment to greenhouse gas reductions under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, even though the US withdrew from the agreement in 2017. In particular, the bill would commit the state to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 19% below 1990 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2035, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
HB 1114, by Rep. Beth Doglio (D – Olympia) approaches the problem from a more intersectional angle of looking at ways to reduce food waste.
HB 1127, by Rep. Jeff Morris (D – Mount Vernon) would encourage electric utilities and public utility districts to study and consider participation in the electrification of transportation.
But wait, there’s more! Three more greenhouse gas bills have been introduced this week so far.
HB 1257, by Rep. Doglio, and its companion bill, SB 5293, by Sen. Carlyle, both requested by the Governor, would provide incentives and regulations that are designed to encourage greater energy efficiency in all aspects of new and existing buildings, including building design, energy delivery, and utilization and operations. SB 5293 is scheduled for a hearing next Wednesday.
SB 5336, by Sen. Guy Palumbo (D – Maltby), and requested by the Governor, would update and extend some tax and fee breaks for electric vehicles.