Inslee kicks off legislative budget season with climate package
OLYMPIA, WA – The new year is almost here, and Gov. Jay Inslee is gearing up for Washington’s next legislative session with a preview of his plans for 2022, starting with the announcement of a new climate package.
Inslee has long been an avid environmentalist – running for President in 2020 with a campaign largely focused on climate change and other environmental concerns – so it’s no surprise that he begins 2022 with a focus on the issue.
“We have made good progress in our state, but it is not enough, and we must do more. Now is the time to act boldly and quickly – to protect the planet and grow our economy with clean energy jobs “said Inslee.
The governor’s proposed climate package, released on Monday, would spend $ 626 million in four main areas: decarbonizing the building sector, joining the Climate Commitment Act, investing more in clean transportation, and building clean energy sources in Washington. .
Inslee’s guidance document calls the state a “national leader in reducing climate pollution,” but admits that Washington still has a long way to go to meet the state’s earlier commitment to reduce climate pollution from Canada. 45% below 1990 levels by 2030.
“The fight against the climate crisis requires measures to protect our families and our communities against the intensification of fires, the more important floods and the episodes of extreme heat which become more and more harmful every year,” begins the brief. “The Jay Inslee government’s 2022 climate legislative and budget package proposes measures that build on Washington’s role as a leader in clean energy and economic growth. This suite of policies will expand access to clean buildings, create clean energy jobs statewide, and ensure solutions to overburdened communities that disproportionately suffer environmental damage. “
Here’s a look at what his plan offers:
Decarbonize the building sector
Residential and commercial buildings are Washington’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the state’s Department of Ecology. Inslee’s solution includes proposals to tighten energy codes for new buildings, requiring them to reduce their energy use by 80%. He also calls for cleaner heating sources, asking gas utilities to make plans to switch to renewable natural gas, renewable hydrogen and electrification. Other plans include investing in energy-related projects at state facilities, weatherizing homes, and improving customer access to renewable energy.
Successful implementation of the climate commitment law
Governor Jay Inslee signed the state’s Climate Commitment Act in May this year, creating a cap on carbon emissions and reinvesting charges levied on major polluters into clean energy and infrastructure, among other requirements. To meet the goals set out in the law, Inslee’s office says this year, the state will need 2,748,000 to create a new “climate office” to manage greenhouse gas limits and keep up. Responsible State. This pillar of Inslee’s policy also promises to consult with local tribes on climate investments and extend air quality monitoring to less affluent communities, who often bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change.
Invest in clean transport
Transportation is the source of nearly half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and remains the focus here. Last year’s HB 1091 demands the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars, ferries, boats and other transportation to 20% below 2017 levels by 2038 To make this possible, Inslee is offering to offer discounts for zero emission vehicles up to $ 7,500. per car, as well as other discounts for low-income drivers to help them ditch the old gas guzzlers. Inslee’s proposal also sets aside $ 4,194,000 to continue electrifying the state’s vehicle fleet.
Building a clean future in Washington
The final part of Inslee’s proposal will focus on partnerships between the state and local businesses that “are building our clean energy future, ranging from wind and solar power generation facilities to companies making electric and new aircraft. battery technologies “. The proposals under this heading promise to modernize the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which was first established in the 1970s, to recruit more clean energy industries, and to provide good jobs in the industry. clean energy, and invest in solar panels and energy storage.
Now that the governor has presented his climate spending proposals, he is expected to issue three more policy briefs on other issues over the next three days.