NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Big Earth Day victory: 100% clean electricity bill goes to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk

Today, an important bill championed by NPI’s Gael Tarleton to transition Washington State to a one hundred percent clean electric grid left the Legislature after the Senate concurred with recent amendments made by the House.

As a consequence, Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5116 is now on its way to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law. This crucial legislation puts Washington on a path to a clean energy future by requiring utilities to phase out coal by 2025, be pollution neutral by 2030, and generate one hundred percent of their retail electric load using clean energy by 2045.

Vox’s David Roberts argued in a recent post lauding the bill that E2SSB 5116 is superior to similar bills in other states because it changes the regulatory environment for utilities instead of merely setting clean energy targets.

“It aligns the interests of utilities, energy developers, and unions behind the project of equitable [reduction of pollution],” Roberts wrote, noting it’s a big step forward for the state. “They all benefit from it. That makes them allies in the fight, rather than at loggerheads, as they have so often been in the past.”

Inslee — who is running for President on a platform of addressing and reversing damage to our climate caused by runaway pollution — cheered the news.

“On this Earth Day, I couldn’t be more proud of the Legislature’s action to pass the country’s most forward looking clean energy bill,” said Inslee.

“There are a number of other meaningful climate bills moving forward this legislative session, but more than any other, this bill will fundamentally transform Washington’s energy future and transition us to 100 percent clean energy.”

“I look forward to signing this legislation and I thank Senators Carlyle, Palumbo and Billig, and Representatives Tarleton and Fitzgibbon for their remarkable leadership,” the Governor added.

The vote in the Senate to concur in the House amendments was twenty-nine to twenty. All the Democrats voted aye and they were joined by Republican Tim Sheldon, who calls himself a Democrat, but caucuses with the Republicans.

Roll Call
SB 5116
Clean energy
Final Passage as Amended by the House

Yeas: 29; Nays: 20

Voting Yea: Senators Billig, Carlyle, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Das, Dhingra, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hobbs, Hunt, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, McCoy, Mullet, Nguyen, Palumbo, Pedersen, Randall, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Sheldon, Takko, Van De Wege, Wellman, Wilson (Claire)

Voting Nay: Senators Bailey, Becker, Braun, Brown, Ericksen, Fortunato, Hawkins, Holy, Honeyford, King, O’Ban, Padden, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Wagoner, Walsh, Warnick, Wilson (Lynda), Zeiger

We are so proud of the work that our founding boardmember Gael Tarleton put into this bill. She worked really, really hard to deliver this much-needed legislation for all Washington communities, and deserves a hearty round of applause.

This is what progress looks like. We’ve just taken another step towards a future where we meet our energy needs more sustainably and responsibly than we have for the past few centuries. Bravo and well done, Washington State Legislature!

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