While President Trump moves to dismantle national efforts to address climate change, lawmakers in Washington State just put forward an effective and equitable policy to lower carbon pollution and tackle climate change. House Bill 1646 introduced by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) raises the bar on climate policy by reducing emissions and holding big emitters accountable, substantially growing the clean energy economy, and fully investing in the transition for frontline workers and communities. Environmental groups, leaders from communities of color, labor, health advocates and faith groups support the bill as the leadership we need to address climate change.
House Bill 1646 creates jobs in communities across the state by investing in clean energy, clean water and healthy forests to reduce carbon pollution and address the impacts of climate change. By targeting a share of investments to communities most burdened by pollution, climate threats, and poverty, the policy will spur an equitable shift to a clean energy economy. The bill creates an innovative, performance-based carbon tax that scales in response to progress in reducing emissions. Proceeds from the carbon tax fund the investments in reducing carbon pollution. Through creating good jobs and supporting workers and households with lower incomes, it ensures no one is left behind. The bill creates direct oversight from business, consumers, workers, environmental groups, disproportionately impacted communities, and other stakeholders.
“Rep. Fitzgibbon’s climate change bill is very much in keeping with the Principles for Climate Justice, and it puts communities most impacted by climate change at the helm when devising strategies to mitigate its effects,” said Rich Stolz, OneAmerica Executive Director. “With the new federal administration’s hostility to any sort of climate action, now is the time for Washington to lead the fight for a clean, sustainable future for all of our communities that invests in low-income communities, workers and communities of color. We urge the House to move quickly on this bill and ensure that Washington will be a leader in the fight for climate justice.”
“What I most appreciate about Representative Fitzgibbon’s bill is that it deals with the needs of workers and communities first and not as an afterthought,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council. “Economic transitions are difficult, but HB 1646 smoothes the movement towards a renewable energy economy by protecting jobs in the energy intensive trade exposed industries, giving preference to creating infrastructure and clean energy jobs with high quality labor standards, and providing a “Just Transition” for workers who will transition out of existing fossil fuel jobs. We all win when we reduce carbon pollution, protect jobs and our communities, and invest in high quality renewable energy jobs and businesses.”
“In the face of rollbacks and open hostility to climate action at the federal level, now is the time for state-level leadership on climate change,” said Becky Kelley, President of Washington Environmental Council. “By putting a price on pollution and investing the proceeds in the transition to clean energy, we will drive down emissions in Washington State. And our approach shows that we can protect workers and disadvantaged communities and build a 21st century economy at the same time. This bill is a roadmap towards a clean energy future for our entire state.”
We look forward to working on this equitable climate action policy with the legislature this session and are enthusiastic about and energized by Representative Fitzgibbon’s leadership.
The HB 1646 was referred to the Environment Committee and we are grateful for the companion Senate bill 5509 introduced by Senator Reuven Carlyle.