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Sierra Club Priority Legislation to Combat Global Warming Passed!

Landmark state climate change bill has passed – Senate Bill 6001 establishes standards to reduce global warming pollution

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Gov. Chris Gregoire signed Washington’s historic climate change bill, setting the stage for dramatically reducing the state’s global-warming pollution over the next four decades while building a strong clean energy economy.

Senate Bill 6001, introduced by Vancouver Sen. Craig Pridemore, puts into law Governor Gregoire’s initial timeline for reducing global warming pollution from sectors including transportation, industry and power production. Scores of Washingtonians representing a wide variety of interests have been drafted by the Governor to design a plan for achieving those goals, with legislative action to accomplish the goals expected beginning in 2008.

“The emissions standard in SB 6001 is a good first step to begin seriously addressing climate change pollution,” said Craig Engelking of the Sierra Club. “We applaud Sen. Pridemore and the Legislature for passing this crucial legislation and Gov. Gregoire for adding to her environmental legacy by signing it. This sets the stage to change the way we power our state.”

In keeping with the old adage “when you’re in a hole stop digging”, SB 6001 limits the carbon emissions from investments by utilities to meet the energy needs of Washington. Beginning July 1, 2008, state utilities will be barred from building facilities or signing long-term contracts to buy power from facilities that pump out more climate pollution than a basic, modern natural gas-fueled plant.

“The point is to hold the line on new sources of pollution while we develop a comprehensive plan to cut global warming pollution and build clean energy solutions,” said KC Golden, policy director of Climate Solutions, one of several environmental community leaders who helped negotiate SB 6001 through the Legislature.

Golden is a member of the advisory team that will sort through recommendations from the numerous workgroups involved in the Governor’s climate change process. Representatives of most of the state’s major environmental groups – including, the Sierra Club, Audubon Washington, WashPIRG, National Wildlife Federation, Earth Ministry, People for Puget Sound and Washington Environmental Council – sit on the various subcommittees working to reduce pollution and promote climate solutions from the transportation, industrial, energy production, agricultural, forestry and other sectors.

The advisory team’s official charge is to find ways to meet the targets set out in the Governor’s February 2007 executive order and now codified in law through SB 6001:

Reducing climate pollution -- to 1990 levels by 2020, additional reduction to 25% below 1990 levels by 2035, and then to half of 1990 levels by 2050. This will triple the number of clean-energy jobs in the state to 25,000 by 2020.

Current science concludes that with an 80% reduction from current levels of global warming pollution by 2050 – basically, 2 percent a year – we can avert the worst effects of global warming. Accomplishing this type of change will require legally binding limits on pollution.

The next meeting of the governor’s climate advisory group is set for June 5 in Spokane. Public comments will be taken during that and succeeding sessions. For more information on the governor’s climate change process, go to:

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/cat_documents.htm