1) stop the fires and deforestation practices which release into the atmosphere the carbon stored in trees, and
2) curb our use of fossil fuels for transportation and heating/cooling our homes. The greenhouse gas emissions being emitted accelerate today’s climate crisis and have a disproportionate impact on the health and well-being of marginalized communities.
It was three years ago that people at UCUCC signed a petition and wrote letters to the governor, King County executive, and Dept of Ecology director opposing the proposed re-opening of the John Henry Coal Mine in Black Diamond. Now champagne bottles are popping with Puget Soundkeeper’s announcement that mine officials have committed in a federal court decree to permanently close Washington’s last coal mine. Additionally, the US Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal halting the building of a coal export terminal in Longview and the firms behind the proposed fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama and Keystone XL pipeline have announced the permanent stoppage of those projects.
It was also a great legislative session in terms of combatting greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis with the passage of 8 of SEM’s 13 priority bills.
- Senator Rebecca Saldana’s Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act addresses the environmental impacts of emissions and the climate crisis on poor and minority communities.
- Representative Larry Springer’s Forest Health & Reduction of Wildfire Dangers bill expands wildfire response and forest restoration.
- Representative Joe Fitzgibbon’s bill to establish a clean fuels program will reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels to 20% below 2017 levels by 2035.
- Senator Reuven Carlyle’s cap & trade bill establishes a declining cap on the GHG emissions of Washington’s 100 largest emitters. They have options to trade (buy or sell) allowances to emit more or save money by cutting emissions faster. Overall, emissions must be reduced annually and 2050 emissions must be 95% lower than 1990 emissions.
- Another Joe Fitzgibbon bill requires Ecology to strengthen its regulations for hydrofluorocarbons in air conditioners and reduce refrigerant emissions – they’re over a hundred times worse than carbon dioxide vehicle emissions.
- Our goal, of course, is zero emissions. Manufacturers are shifting to electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, and infrastructure funding being contemplated in the other Washington will likely support the installation of electric charging stations across the country.
- A bill sponsored by Representative Alex Ramel (Bellingham) facilitates the planning and deployment of a zero emissions EV transportation infrastructure across Washington and requires
state building codes to support plug-ins for zero emission vehicles.
- Senator Brad Hawkins (Wenatchee) sponsored a bill to temporarily exempt hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from Washington’s sales and use taxes.
- Plastics are hydrocarbons made from petroleum, and Senator Mona Das’ Recycling & Plastic
Pollution bill: 1) implements minimum recycled content requirements for plastic beverage containers, 2) prohibits the use of most Styrofoam items, and 3) provides that plastic-encased condiments and utensils can be provided only if customers request them.
So yes, progress is being made in combating the climate crisis. Cheers! But we have a long, long way to go. If you want to be added to SEM’s advocacy list
and help attain additional victories, email email@example.com to reach the church office or Lon Dickerson (in the church directory).
~The Earth is Sacred – Not Ours to Wreck