While the Trump administration moves quickly to attack climate change, appoint two of Washington’s worst climate deniers to guide the transition of the EPA and reinvigorate plans to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Washington State lawmakers have just introduced an equitable, effective and comprehensive approach to addressing climate change. Right here in our state we can raise the bar for climate policy and tell the world we are still committed to addressing climate change.
Today Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon announced House Bill 1646, the “Clean Energy Economy Act,” a climate policy that puts frontline communities first. The Act is built on the policy framework we developed with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy through conversation with communities of color across Washington State and grounded in our our Principles for Climate Justice.
The bill drives investments in clean energy, clean water, and healthy forests through a performance-based tax on carbon pollution that scales in response to progress in reducing emissions. We are highlighting this bill because:
1) Equity is at the center: Frontline communities were at the table from idea through the drafting, and it shows. Equity in integral to both where resources are allocated and how the program is governed.
2) People of color and communities with lower incomes receive net-environmental and economic benefits: Thirty-five percent of the investment created by this bill will directly benefit frontline communities hit worst by pollution and climate change. Furthermore, it creates support for households with low incomes and workers in the fossil fuel industry to transition away from the dig, dump, burn economy.
3) There is accountability to Frontline Communities: The bill requires analysis and reporting of where pollution, climate impacts, and social and economic disadvantage concentrate. To make sure that analysis is acted upon, it establishes an economic and environmental justice oversight panel, connected to community and with access to the Governor and key departments. The panel oversees investments and impacts on frontline communities and has one third of the seats on the oversight board that governs the program.
Now is our opportunity to leverage our collective strength forward supporting HB 1646. Although getting this passed will be a tremendous challenge, we need you to join together in driving attention through raising grassroots voices, community stories, the lived experiences of people of color, and our struggles for justice over generations in this effort to pass equitable climate justice policy.
Look for more on Front and Centered legislative priorities in the weeks to come.
For more information on this bill read: