After spending a couple of weeks digging out of another “once in a hundred years” weather event, I am thinking more and more about the effects of climate change. It is clear that weather changes are happening, and that these are linked to climate change. Lately, Washington state has had a marked uptick in climate change-related events, including increased and significantly worse flooding, mudslides and wildfires. We have to do something to stop this.
One way to stop this is by adopting Senate Bill 5116. This bill would commit our state to using only clean electricity by 2045. It will be done in a way that addresses historical inequities around our energy system through low-income assistance programs and investments in communities. It will increase local, family-wage jobs in clean electricity. It will reduce pollution that is linked to asthma and some cancers.
Washington is in a unique position to quickly transition away from dirty energy. We have a good deal of existing hydropower as well as strong solar and wind programs. In order to have 100 percent clean energy, we just need to continue our trend towards increasing solar and wind projects, as well as increasing our investment in technologies such as wave power and tidal power. These are inexpensive investments that will produce cheap, reliable electricity for all of us. At a time when dirty energy prices are rising, clean energy prices are going down. It makes sense to invest in less expensive electricity.
The state Legislature is currently debating this bill. In the Senate, it has been watered down so that consequences are minimal and compliance can be appealed. These changes are leading to a bill that is high on aspirations but will likely have little real effect.
This will benefit all Washingtonians. It will bring electricity prices down, will help to clean our air and help to combat the drastic weather changes and climate effects we are now suffering.
Please contact Sen. Guy Palumbo to thank him for his support of Washington’s environment and to ask him to help restore the bill to its original, unadulterated form.