LEGISLATURE: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon’s ‘clean-fuel standard’ bill passes state House

Today the state House passed a major environmental bill sponsored by one of our area’s lawmakers, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who chairs the House Environment and Energy Committee. Here’s the news release:

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.

Our area’s senior House Rep. Eileen Cody also voted for the bill, which you can read in its entirety here. As for the Senate, here’s what our area’s State Senator tweeted tonight:

9 Replies to "LEGISLATURE: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon's 'clean-fuel standard' bill passes state House"

  • Derek February 27, 2021 (11:13 pm)

    This is good news. Wish it were a little more aggressive in the pollution cutdown and deadlines but I’ll take it

    • D February 28, 2021 (8:16 am)

      You do realize that any efforts to cut down pollution to reduce greenhouse gasses is political posturing and playing to the feel good feelings crowd, correct? Until the emissions in countries such as China and India are addressed, nice gestures such as “green initiatives” are akin to trying to remove a few snowflakes from an avalanche.

      • Jeff February 28, 2021 (10:05 am)

        Yeah, probably better to do nothing than to focus on what’s actually within our control.  

        • Frog February 28, 2021 (10:55 am)

          Better to do nothing than create systems like this: https://www.wired.com/story/lion-polygamist-and-biofuel-scam/ Clean fuel programs sound nice, but they are really just accounting systems ripe for fraud, picking the pockets of ordinary people and passing the loot to well-connected people who know how to work the system.

      • Ant February 28, 2021 (10:29 am)

        You do realize that the US pollutes more than twice as much as China on a per capita basis and the total pollution from US is more than half of China’s? These “green initiatives” are akin to reality as your thought process is not only tired and outdated, but flat wrong. But dont take my word for it maybe ask the richest person in the world, the CEO of the US’s largest car maker, or the oil & gas industry on where the future is heading.

  • Math teacher February 28, 2021 (10:40 am)

    @D – China and India have more greenhouse gas emissions because they have more people. On a per-capita basis, US emissions are far higher.

  • Mj February 28, 2021 (12:13 pm)

    I bought a used electric vehicle, iCar, a couple of years ago.  The State tags owner’s of electric vehicles $275 year.  I get the need for electric vehicle owner’s to pay their share of road costs.  This could be done via a mileage fee.

    I support keeping the gas tax for gas powered vehicles, but a mileage fee for alternative powered vehicles would be more equitable.  A Tesla owner could drive 20,000 miles a year versus a owner of a limited range electric at say 5,000 a year yet they pay the same fee to the State?  I sent Joe an email explains my concern, No Response?

  • Mj February 28, 2021 (3:08 pm)

    Thank you, I hope it passes.

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