Protestor at a rally in Utah
Tim DeChristopher Demands Clean Energy (Photo: Spring Allen/Rainforest Action Network, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

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
4/22/2019

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!

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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