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Broad Show of Support for a Clean Fuel Standard for Washington State

Hearing testimony focused on increased job and economic growth opportunities, along with climate and public health benefits.

Editor’s Note: This is a joint statement from Climate Solutions and Audubon Washington.

Olympia, WA -- January 15, 2019 -- On the second day of the 2019 Legislative Session, the House Environment & Energy Committee held a hearing on HB1110, a bill which would reduce the carbon intensity of fuels in Washington, addressing global warming, and reducing impacts to public health through a Clean Fuel Standard. A Clean Fuel Standard would require oil refiners and importers to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels by 20 percent by 2035, supporting expanded transportation electrification, and creating more homegrown jobs in the production of clean, low-carbon fuels.

Adam Maxwell, government relations director at Audubon Washington, said to the committee, “adopting and implementing this Clean Fuel Standard presents a unique opportunity to save two birds with one policy. Not only can we protect our most vulnerable communities – human and avian – from the deleterious effects of ground level pollutants, but by encouraging the transition to cleaner fuels and transportation electrification, we’ll also be doing our part to tackle climate change.”

The hearing included testimony from a diverse group of voices in support of the bill. Business leaders in the clean fuels and electrification sectors, health professionals, and other members of communities affected by global warming focused on increased investments in the local statewide economy that would result from passage of HB1110. Many businesses highlighted how Washington State is missing out on a clean fuels market compared to British Columbia, Oregon and California which each have a clean fuel standard in place. These businesses also stated that passage of HB1110 would encourage development from the renewable energy sector resulting in job growth and new investments.

Leading public health organizations, including the American Lung Association and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency view a Clean Fuel Standard as one of the most important ways to improve public health and transition our transportation to cleaner sources. Diesel and gasoline are the largest sources of air pollution, which health professionals link directly to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. Lower income communities and communities of color who are often closer to major transportation corridors are even more impacted. For example, for those living in the Duwamish Valley, diesel particulate pollution con­tributes to a reduction in life expectancy by thirteen years compared to other parts of King County.

The House Environment & Energy Committee is expected to soon vote on the policy. The 2018 Legislature considered a similar policy, with both the House Environment and Transportation Committees moving the policy forward.

Testimony in support of HB1110:

“A Washington clean fuel program will provide a reliable source of support for the cleanest transportation technologies and can adapt as new technologies come to market. Whether it is private cars, transit agencies, delivery fleets, or self-driving taxis, a clean fuel program supports clean transportation and provides more support to the cleanest options. It’s a smart technology-neutral policy that will help move Washington toward a clean transportation future.” -Jeremy Martin, director of fuels policy and senior scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Breathing isn’t an option...what we breathe in matters, especially to our children and our elders. Maintaining and ensuring that we have clean air to breathe takes many different strategies and policies. HB 1110 is one of those policies...We don’t get to choose what air we breathe, but we do have a choice about what we put into that air. We’re already paying for air pollution through insurance premiums, lost productivity, and premature deaths.” -Carrie Nyssen, American Lung Association

“I support clean fuel standards that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the health of Washington State residents. Expanding transit and clean fuel options are key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions... along with attracting investment to Washington state in clean fuel production. King County is ready to work with suppliers to foster a clean fuel economy that keeps money from Washington fuel consumers in Washington State.” -Dow Constantine, King County Executive

“Clean fuel sources developed in our state should benefit Washington and the overall health of Washington residents…and support jobs in our renewable energy sector, rather than send those fuels outside our state to California and Oregon. The Port of Seattle has adopted aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations by 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and to be carbon neutral or carbon negative by 2050.” -Commissioner Ryan Calkins, Port of Seattle

Testifying in support for HB1110 were: Scott Richards of the National Biodiesel Board, Kent Hartwig with Renewable Energy Group, Ian Hill of Sequential, the Renewable Natural Gas Coalition, Graham Noyes with the Low Carbon Fuels Coalition, Mike Mann with EV Go, Auto Alliance, Kevin Kelly with Recology, Climate Solutions, Washington Environmental Council, Carbon WA, Union of Concerned Scientists), Olivia Sanderfoot a UW biologist, Audubon Washington, Tacoma Public Utility District and the Klickitat Public Utility District. Other groups signed on in support of the bill included Transportation Choices Coalition, Seattle City Light, Washington State Transit Association, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Clean Energy Fuels.

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