WPSR’s 2019 State Legislative Priorities
In this year’s legislative session, Washington State is poised to promote peace and health through a number of powerful policies. Our Climate and Nuclear Weapons Task Forces have each developed a set of legislative priorities.
These priorities can help reduce climate pollution in our state, create healthier environments for all Washingtonians, and recognize the harm of nuclear weapons. WPSR members plan to testify in support and contact legislators to advocate for this policies.
Your advocacy can make a big difference, even if you know your legislator is supportive of these issues. Join our volunteer Task Force members and contact your legislators in support of these critical issues.
For more information or questions on climate priorities, please contact Sarah Cornett (firstname.lastname@example.org). For nuclear priorities, please contact Carly Brook (email@example.com). We’ll be posting updates on these bills as they progress!
Recognizing the importance of local and state leadership on national issues, this joint memorial voices Washington State’s opposition to dangerous nuclear developments at the federal level and calls for policy that reduces the risk of nuclear war. It also highlights the many connections to nuclear weapons and the nuclear weapons industry in Washington State, including the impact on frontline communities, that make this an important local issue.
Specifically, this joint memorial “[urges] Congress to take appropriate steps to move back from the brink of nuclear war,” including enacting a “no first use” policy.
This joint memorial is also supported by Washington Against Nuclear Weapons, our statewide coalition of 40 organizations, and two national initiatives: United Against Nuclear War and Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War.
Climate and Health Priorities
This bill creates a timeline for Washington’s transition to clean energy, requiring that utilities meet certain benchmarks to rid the grid of fossil fuels and supporting investments in clean, renewable energy like solar and wind:
Washington’s electricity 100% clean by 2045
Energy cost assistance for low-income Washingtonians
Move our state to eliminate coal from the grid by 2025
Assessment of communities most impacted by pollution
Climate change is the greatest public health threat (and opportunity) of our time. WPSR members logged thousands of hours in support of Initiative 1631, which would have put a fee on carbon pollution and invested in clean energy. While we’re disappointed it did not pass, we know Washingtonians are ready for a just transition away from polluting fossil fuels like coal and gas towards renewable energy. See the bill.
Working with Healthcare Without Harm, WPSR members led a sign-on letter effort to support a strong 100% bill that gets Washington to clean energy by 2045 with low-income energy assistance. Signed by Washington State Medical Association, the state chapters of the Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians, the American Lung Association, and Providence St. Joseph Health, this letter represents unprecedented health community support for clean energy legislation.
We know that certain Washington communities experience far more pollution than others. This bill creates a shared definition of environmental justice for state agencies, ensuring that health disparities are reflected in investments, policies, and other programs:
Requires agency decisions to reflect community health disparities
Create a shared definition of environmental justice for state agencies
Expands public participation and access on policy decisions and programs
WPSR’s partner in the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, Front & Centered, has developed a powerful new tool with University of Washington researchers and the Department of Health that maps state environmental health disparities. The environmental health mapping tool can help prioritize state investments and coordinate work across state agencies to best promote public health. Learn more about the bill.
While we were successful in passing a similar bill last year, more work is needed to ensure Washington is adequately protected from risks of oil spill. As oil transport through our region and waters expand, this policy strengthens existing protections.
Bans offshore drilling
Close regulatory loopholes on tug escort requirements for vessels carrying oil
Ensuring tug escort requirements respect tribal rights and orca recovery
Requires a “rescue tug” to better support emergency response in case of spill
WPSR has long been a member of the Stand Up to Oil coalition and represents the health voice in campaigns to protect our region from new oil projects. For more on why this issue is near and dear to physicians and other health professionals, see our 2015 position paper on the risks of oil transport.
Transportation is our greatest source of climate pollution in Washington. Oregon and California have successfully used a low carbon fuel standard to reduce emissions and improve air quality associated with transportation fuels.
Market-based approach requiring petroleum manufacturers to reduce carbon intensity of their fuels
Requires fuel providers to reduce 10 percent by 2028 and 20 percent by 2030 of carbon emissions from fuels
“Technology neutral”: any mix of alternative fuels allowed for providing standards are met
Emissions reduction estimated at 4-6 million tons per year
An independent study of California’s Clean Fuels program found that it will have saved an estimated $8.3 billion saved in public health costs by 2025 due to air quality benefits.