Update: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon updated the status of three of these bills in the Comments.
A key bill to reset the state’s anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions reductions schedule to a more ambitious pace recommended by the State Department of Ecology, House Bill 2311, by Rep. Vandana Slatter (D – Bellevue) is running up against a deadline to get out of the House Appropriations Committee.
The bill would set deadlines for reducing the state government’s and overall carbon dioxide emissions, culminating in a 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality, with carbon sequestration taken into account.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a stark report in 2018 calling for such a rapid emissions reduction. Achieving worldwide reduction goals will, as a matter of political reality, require those states and nations that can reduce emissions faster to do so. A similar bill failed last year, putting even Washington State behind the scientists’ called-for schedule.
The deadline to get out of committee is Tuesday, and the bill has already been pulled from the committee’s action lists twice.
Rep. Joe Fitzgibbons’ (D – Burien) cleaner-fuels bill, HB 1110, is also back. The bill 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.
The bill made it through the House last year, and died in the Senate Transportation Committee, where it faced opposition from committee chair Steve Hobbs (D – Lake Stevens). Hobbs unsuccessfully pushed a competing bill to enact a carbon tax for funding highway construction and maintenance.
HB 1110 has already passed the House again this year.
Another wide-reaching bill has already passed the Senate a second time, by a margin similar to last year. SB 5811, by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D – Seattle) would bring Washington in line with California’s clean-car standards.
The bill died in the House Environment & Energy Committee last year. It also drew opposition from Sen. Hobbs. but did not have to go through his committee.
These three big bills are part of a large collection of climate action bills working their way through the Legislature. Other climate action bills relevant to the transportation sector include:
- HB 2310 would set up a process for on-demand transportation providers to measure their greenhouse gas emissions and have the Department of Ecology set emissions reductions goals for these providers that would kick in in 2024. The bill is in the House Rules Committee.
- HB 2892, would authorize the Department of Ecology to regulate greenhouse gas emissions associated with producers and distributors of fossil fuel products that emit greenhouse gases in Washington. The bill is a result of the state supreme court striking down an Ecology Department rule. The bill is still awaiting a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.
- SB 6628 is similar to, but not an official companion for, HB 2892. It is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.
- SB 6432 would prohibit leasing tidal or submerged lands adjacent to the outer continental shelf for oil or gas surface drilling and infrastructure for handling or transporting through state waters, essentially banning offshore drilling. The bill is in the Senate Rules Committee.