Governor Jay Inslee signs ambitious environmental protection laws

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SPOKANE – Democratic Governor Jay Inslee has signed a series of bills aimed at strengthening the environment in Washington state.

Inslee signed the Climate Commitment Act, Environmental Justice Legislation, a Clean Fuel Standard, and bills to reduce single-use plastic waste and hydrofluorocarbon pollution in Washington on Monday.

“Our climate commitment, made by our legislature in 2020, is to reduce climate pollution by more than 50% over the next nine years, on track to net zero climate pollution by 2050,” Inslee said. “These invoices go a long way in getting us there.”

Inslee has been a staunch advocate for the environment for years and led an unsuccessful campaign for the presidency on these issues in 2020.

The governor signed Senate Bill 5022, which will reduce plastic pollution in Washington by banning certain Styrofoam products, forcing customers to request plastic silverware, and demanding more recyclable content in plastic bottles and the like. containers.

“This is the highest recycling bill in the country,” Inslee said as she signed the measure at the Seattle Aquarium.

Washington became the sixth state to ban styrofoam, such as foam coolers, packaging peanuts, and catering products such as clamshells, hinged plates and mugs.

“I am delighted that our new law is the most advanced in the country,” said Sen. Mona Das, Democrat of Kent, who sponsored the bill. “Last year, we banned take-home thin plastic bags. This year we kept the momentum going and tackled another problematic product. ”

Inslee has also signed a trio of bills grouped together under the Climate Commitment Act, which will cap and reduce climate pollution and create revenue for climate investments. It also seeks to reduce local air pollution in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental and public health impacts.

“With the Climate Commitment Act, Washington will translate into reality the global aspirations set out in the Paris Accords,” said State Senator Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, the sponsor.

“This cap and investment law… is America’s most ambitious climate action,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Among the measures of the Climate Commitment Act was Bill 1050, which regulates hydrofluorocarbons. The bill establishes strict regulations for the ozone-depleting substances HFCs, which are mainly used in cooling and refrigeration.

The reduction requested in HB 1050 will reduce the climate impact of refrigerants used in air conditioners by about 70% and in commercial refrigeration systems by about 90%.

“HB 1050 demonstrates Washington’s climate leadership on the issue of super-polluting HFCs,” said Christina Theodoridi of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Inslee also signed Senate Bill 5141, known as the HEAL Act, which calls for action to bring environmental justice to poor communities who often receive a disproportionate share of pollutants.

Inslee noted that life expectancy can be more than five years lower for people who live in poor areas with higher pollution rates.

“Every Washingtonian deserves the right to breathe clean air,” Inslee said, noting that many children in poor communities suffer from asthma.

The bill requires state agencies to conduct environmental justice assessments to see what agency actions could be taken to help overburdened communities.

Inslee vetoed part of the climate pledge law that would have allowed tribes to block carbon revenues from funding projects that would desecrate their cultural resources and sacred sites. This drew criticism from the BLM Alliance in Washington, which called the veto a “direct and imminent threat to civil rights and tribal protections.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, criticized Inslee’s partial veto on Bill 1091, the Clean Fuel Standard Bill:

“The Constitution only gives the governor limited powers to veto legislation,” Jinkins said, adding that lawmakers would veto partially in the courts.

The governor also passed a clean fuel law, joining California and Oregon in tackling the biggest source of air pollution: transportation.

The standard will create new jobs statewide, from building and operating biofuel refineries that source materials from Washington’s farms and forests, to building an electric vehicle infrastructure. Additionally, the clean fuel standard will not increase fuel prices, Inslee said.




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