OLYMPIA – Washington is one step closer to joining its west coast neighbors in establishing a clean fuel standard. House Bill 1091, sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-West Seattle) directs the Washington State Department of Ecology to adopt a rule establishing a Clean Fuels Program that would limit greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transportation fuel energy to 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035. It passed the House today with a vote of 52-46.
“It is long past time for Washington to join our neighbors in Oregon, California, and British Columbia in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” said Fitzgibbon. “We owe it to future generations to protect the climate, improve our air quality, and create jobs in the biofuels industry. Washington can be a leader in clean fuel production, but we are falling behind our neighbors. This bill protects our climate, cleans our air, and grows clean energy jobs. This program is overdue, but it’s not too late for us to do our part.”
The transportation sector is responsible for roughly 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also help reduce the state’s contributions to climate change. The most recent National Climate Assessment, a federal report prepared by hundreds of scientists, details the disruptive impacts anticipated in the United States and the Pacific Northwest if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed. The addition of fire season to the west coast calendar highlights the urgency of the moment.
This would create opportunities for Washington producers of clean transportation fuels – from biodiesel, to renewable natural gas, to the clean electricity produced by the state’s utilities. The policy itself is technology-neutral, not mandating use of any specific renewable fuel. Currently, Washingtonians spend $9 billion annually on gasoline and diesel while the vast majority of locally-produced clean fuels are shipped to states that already have a clean fuel standard. A clean fuel standard will create a market for clean fuels right here in Washington.
Prior to passing the full House, the bill advanced through the House Environment & Energy, Transportation, and Appropriations committees. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.