100% clean energy law with labor standards hailed as Inslee signs climate bills
SEATTLE (May 8, 2019) — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a set of landmark climate and clean energy policies into law on Tuesday, surrounded by a diverse coalition of supporters and community groups, including representatives of organized labor. The new laws approved in the 2019 legislative session kick-start groundbreaking measures to reduce carbon emissions, decrease pollution, increase public health, and promote family-wage jobs.
“In organized labor we understand that, just as we need good jobs to sustain our families, we need a healthier environment to sustain our planet,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, who attended Tuesday’s bill signing. “We need cleaner air, water and energy. As we innovate and make progress toward achieving these goals, we must ensure that this critical work also creates high-quality jobs. A healthy environment and good jobs go hand in hand. We must have both, or in the end, we’ll have neither.”
Among the bills signed into law was SB 5116, prime sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), which will ensure the state’s entire electric grid is powered by 100 percent clean energy by 2045. This will increase investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, adding more jobs to the state’s clean energy industries that already employ more than 82,000 Washingtonians. Plus, it ties tax incentives to important labor standards like prevailing wage, apprenticeship utilization, preferred hire for women- and minority-owned businesses. Also, higher rebates would be available for signing a project labor or community workforce agreements.
“The 100% Clean Energy Bill places both workers’ futures and the future of the planet on the same level of importance, workers prioritizing the environment, and environmentalists prioritizing good family-wage careers. We were able to stand in each other’s shoes so to speak and look at the problem from each other’s perspectives. This is a monumental victory,” said Mark Riker, Executive Secretary of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, who spoke at Tuesday’s bill-signing event.
“One hundred percent clean electricity means we cut carbon pollution while creating real family-wage jobs and more value for the clean energy we do have,” said Matthew Hepner, Executive Director of the Certified Electrical Workers of Washington. “This sets us on a path to transition our electrical industry off of fossil fuels in the right way.”
The other four bills signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Inslee were HB 1112 – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from hydrofluorocarbons; HB 1257 – Concerning energy efficiency in Washington’s buildings; HB 1444 – Concerning appliance efficiency standards; and HB 2042 – Advancing green transportation adoption.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee signs bills bringing Washington state closer to zero-carbon electricity — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a package of bills Tuesday to combat climate change headlined by legislation to rid Washington’s electric grid of fossil-fuel-generated power by 2045, a move that makes the state a leader in the national clean-power movement. During the bill signing, Inslee took a swipe at Trump, who has called climate change a hoax and recently claimed the sound from wind turbines causes cancer. “Wind turbines don’t cause cancer. They cause jobs,” Inslee said.