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.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Bill requiring a clean electric grid clears Washington State House, returns to Senate

Landmark legislation that would commit Washington State to a renewable energy future is one step closer to reaching Governor Jay Inslee’s desk.

The Washington State House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines today to advance E2SSB 5116, prime sponsored by Senator Reuven Carlyle and requested by Inslee. E2SSB 5116 previously passed the Senate on March 1st, but it now heads back there because it was changed by the House.

This groundbreaking legislation, championed by NPI’s Gael Tarleton, requires utilities to obtain one hundred percent of their electricity from non-polluting energy sources by 2045 and phase out the use of coal from the electric grid by 2025. Utilities would also need to eighty percent pollution-free by 2030.

The roll call was as follows:

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

Yeas: 56; Nays: 42

Voting Yea: Representatives Appleton, Bergquist, Callan, Chapman, Cody, Davis, Doglio, Dolan, Entenman, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Frame, Goodman, Gregerson, Hansen, Hudgins, Jinkins, Kilduff, Kirby, Kloba, Leavitt, Lekanoff, Lovick, Macri, Mead, Morgan, Morris, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Pellicciotti, Peterson, Pettigrew, Pollet, Ramos, Reeves, Riccelli, Robinson, Ryu, Santos, Sells, Senn, Shewmake, Slatter, Springer, Stanford, Stonier, Sullivan, Tarleton, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Walen, Wylie, Chopp

Voting Nay: Representatives Barkis, Blake, Boehnke, Caldier, Chambers, Chandler, Corry, DeBolt, Dent, Dufault, Dye, Eslick, Gildon, Goehner, Graham, Griffey, Harris, Hoff, Irwin, Jenkin, Klippert, Kraft, Kretz, MacEwen, Maycumber, McCaslin, Mosbrucker, Orcutt, Rude, Schmick, Shea, Smith, Steele, Stokesbary, Sutherland, Van Werven, Vick, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox, Ybarra, Young

Democratic Representative Brian Blake voted with all forty-one Republicans to oppose the bill, breaking with his fellow fifty-six Democrats.

“It’s time to move past the era of carbon into the next generation with modern, twenty-first century energy systems using integrated wind, hydro and solar power,” said Carlyle, Chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee. “At a time when the federal government has functionally imploded on addressing climate change, the states are now taking the lead and moving forward.”

“Moving away from fossil fuels has to start somewhere, so why not here?” asked NPI’s Gael Tarleton, Chair of the House Finance Committee. “Washington has the courage to build a twenty-first century economy beyond coal, beyond fossil fuels, to maintain and build a quality of life for generations to come. Thank you to Senator Carlyle and my colleagues for having the courage to make this choice.”

“Washington’s future will be a lot brighter with the passage of the one hundred percent clean electricity bill,” said Bruce Speight of Environment Washington. “Every day, we see more evidence that a society powered by renewable energy is within our reach. The passage of this bill puts us one step closer to that reality while making the Evergreen State a cleaner and healthier place to live.”

“Unlike the Senate version, the House requires utilities to transition to one hundred percent clean electricity rather than just setting a goal,” Speight noted. “We are also grateful it removes an exemption for a fossil natural gas plant in Clark County.”

NPI congratulates our founding boardmember Gael Tarleton, Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, and House Democrats on today’s passage of E2SSB 5116. It’s delightful to see a good bill like this get stronger as it moves through the legislative process instead of weaker. This is truly a bill that recognizes that we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, but rather borrow it from our children.

We can’t continue to ignore climate science and allow our air and water to become more polluted. We’ve got to act to safeguard our future. Everyone benefits from clean energy… everyone. We’ll continue to support E2SSB 5116 as it returns to the Senate on the final stage of its journey to Governor Inslee’s desk.

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