About the Coalition
The Environmental Priorities Coalition is made up of more than 20 statewide organizations working to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities in the legislature. For the 2019 legislative session, we have adopted four priorities essential for healthy communities and a thriving environment. Download a PDF factsheet about them here. In addition to these four priorities, the Coalition is committed to making urgently needed progress on addressing climate change in 2019 through a range of policy bills from promoting efficient and healthy buildings to electrifying our transportation system to diversifying our clean energy sources. These policies will create jobs, reduce harmful pollution, and help Washington compete in a global clean energy economy.
Take action for a healthier environment for all Washingtonians. Educate and inform your neighbors, lobby our elected officials, and rally for environmental justice. From attending hearings, organizing in your community, attending town halls, to writing letters to the editor, we can help find the right role for you.
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2019 Environmental Priorities
100% Clean Electricity
Washington is uniquely positioned to achieve a fossil free, clean, and renewable electricity grid. Urgent action is needed to address climate change, and we have a critical opportunity to phase away from dirty fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and fracked gas, and toward clean and sustainable energy sources like solar and wind. Building off of the strong work and partnerships forged through Initiative 1631, a 100% Clean Electricity standard is a complimentary and necessary policy to accelerate our efforts to achieve our state’s 2035 climate goals and invest in a clean energy economy.
contact | firstname.lastname@example.org
Orca Emergency Response
Our southern resident orcas are on the brink of extinction, warranting an all-hands-on-deck commitment to bold action. At a minimum, we expect that the legislature to take action on the three biggest threats to orcas: their lack of food, and impacts from noise and pollution. Legislation must address healthy shoreline habitat, establish a “slow-go zone” around the orcas, and replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. These specific actions are the building blocks to address the three biggest threats to orcas.
contact | email@example.com
Oil Spill Prevention
Washington continues to face significant risks of oils spills in Puget Sound and the coast. These risks threaten local economies and the survival of iconic species like salmon and orcas. To address these risks, the state must have the same protections on barges and other vessels that exist for large tankers, require an emergency response tug that can protect high-risk areas like the San Juan Islands, and ensure that oil drilling will never happen off of Washington’s coast.
contact | firstname.lastname@example.org
Reducing Plastic Pollution
Thin plastic bags are used for only a few minutes and discarded. Only 6% of these bags are ever recycled. Plastic bags blow into our waterways and the ocean, clog the stomachs of wildlife, and break down into smaller pieces that also get eaten. Plastic bags also clog recycling equipment – costing money because they have to be extracted – and are the major contaminant in our commercial compost. The Reusable Bag Act would eliminate thin carry-home plastic bags at all retail establishments and include a pass-through charge to motivate people to bring their own reusable bags and help cover the stores’ cost of more expensive bags.
contact | email@example.com
For the second year, the coalition has also adopted a Partnership Agenda. This agenda supports work that is important for environmental progress being led by partners outside the coalition. The 2019 Partnership Agenda items are:
- Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, SB 5489 (Submitted by Front and Centered) – Several state agencies have expressed a desire and/or have committed resources towards implementing environmental justice principles in their work. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Saldana, would create a state-wide definition of environmental justice for agencies to adopt and follow. In addition, it would require the use of cumulative impact analyses, like environmental justice mapping, mandate translation services and better coordinated public outreach. All this work would be implemented by an Interagency & Community Council comprising of state staff and community representatives.
- Presumptive Disease Recognition for Fire Fighters (Submitted by Washington State Council of Fire Fighters ) – Fire fighters protect the public and face many hazards and threats including exposure to toxic chemicals that impact their immediate long-term health. This bill would provide assurances for health benefits by expanding the presumptive disease assumptions in state law.
- Solar Fairness Act, SB 5223 (Submitted by Solar Installers of Washington) – Solar owners deserve full credit for the power they make. Unfortunately, consumers statewide are often unable to benefit fully from the generation of solar energy on their rooftops and properties because Washington has some of the weakest net metering policies in the nation. The Solar Fairness Act would strengthen net metering standards, protect homeowners, and expand the emerging solar market in the state.
Bills to Watch
Want to stay up to date on policy in progress? WEC helps develop the Environmental Community Hot List for the State House and Senate—the 10 most important environmental bills being debated that week.
Environmental Priorities Coalition News
House passes bills on vessel noise and disturbance, salmon habitat recovery, and preventing oil spills Senate advances toxic pollution prevention as well as vessel noise and disturbance March 7th (Olympia, WA) – In sweeping votes from both houses, the Washington State Legislature took major steps to address the emergency facing southern resident orcas and the … ContinuedView more »
State moving to phase-out coal power by 2025, address inequities in electricity sector, and transition state to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.View more »
On January 29, 500 Washingtonians gathered in Olympia to say: THIS is the year to make big progress on the environment! Together, we showed the legislature that we must pass 100% Clean Electricity, Orca Emergency Response, Oil Spill Prevention, and Plastic Pollution Reduction. Thank you to filmmaker Katherine Leggett: https://www.filmmissives.com/View more »
Are your elected officials making good decisions for our communities and environment? Find a local town hall and let them know what they should be prioritizing!