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.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Five landmark pollution fighting bills signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee

“This is a great day for the State of Washington!”

Listen to Governor Jay Inslee long enough, and you’re bound to hear that line at some point, because the Evergreen State’s chief executive — known for his optimism and can-do spirit — never misses an opportunity to celebrate when Washington takes a step towards more freedom and prosperity for its people.

Today was such a day.

Governor Jay Inslee signs landmark environmental protection legislation

Governor Jay Inslee signs landmark environmental protection legislation (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Progressive Institute)

With a few pen strokes, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law five landmark bills to combat pollution and protect our environment in Cascadia’s most populous state in front of a large crowd of activists, legislators, labor leaders, business executives, and environmental advocates. All were made possible by the newly enlarged Democratic majorities voters elected to the Legislature last autumn.

These are the five bills that became laws today:

  • SB 5116 – Supporting Washington’s clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable and reliable energy future.
  • HB 1112 – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from hydrofluorocarbons
  • HB 1257 – Concerning energy efficiency
  • HB 1444 – Concerning appliance efficiency standards
  • HB 2042 – Advancing green transportation adoption

Watch the bill signing ceremony here on demand.

With these new laws, Washington is saying as a state that we care about the Earth, our common home, and we’re going to do our part to protect our planet.

Huge crowd cheers after landmark environmental bills signed

Hundreds of people came to Columbia City to celebrate with Governor Jay Inslee and state legislators as SB 5116, HB 1112, HB 1257, HB 1444, and HB 2042 were signed into law (Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Progressive Institute)

All Washingtonians should rejoice that the Legislature was able to come together around ideas we need that will clean up our air, water, and soil: an electric grid powered exclusively by renewable energy sources, electric vehicle adoption, more efficient buildings and appliances, and the phaseout of hydroflourocarbons.

As Governor Inslee said, these bills represent what Washington’s values are all about. We’ve damaged our climate with our polluting ways, but we need not be paralyzed: we can join forces as a people to live more sustainably together.

Said Inslee:

“We can have a fighting chance at saving the things we cherish most — our land, our air, our water and our children’s health. We aren’t done. Our success this year is just a harbinger of successes to come. But we’re ready. We can do this.”

Governor Inslee speaks prior to signing five environmental bills

Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the signing of five landmark environmental bills (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Progressive Institute)

“With the passage of these bills, Washington is proving that where there’s a will to do something about climate change, there are several ways,” said Bruce Speight of Environment Washington. “The one hundred percent clean energy bill, paired with energy efficiency and clean transportation measures, will clean up our air and water. Washington will not only be a healthier place to live, but it will also show other states a pathway to a clean energy future.”

The path from a bill’s introduction to session law is a long one. Without the leadership of state representatives like Joe Fitzgibbon and our own Gael Tarleton, or senators like Reuven Carlyle, we would not have secured these crucial legislative victories. Congratulations to all who helped bring these laws to fruition!

Washington is committed to clean elecricity

Washington State has committed to one hundred percent clean electricity by the year 2045 (Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Progressive Institute)

Last autumn, when voters rejected Initiative 1631 while electing large Democratic majorities, they sent an important (if implicit) message: come up with a better plan for combating pollution. And thankfully, the Legislature responded. After years of inaction, the House and Senate voted repeatedly for change we need, showing that the legislative process can produce results for the people with more progressive majorities in charge. We need more of this in 2020 and beyond.

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