Climate Justice is the work we do to confront the climate crisis. While Washington State is a small proportion of the world population and economy, there are actions we can take to show leadership in solving the climate crisis. Some of the major issues we confront are listed in the menu item “Our Work.” Recent changes in the state’s action on climate can be seen in the news items posted below.
Climate change affects all of us, but its consequences are not distributed equally. Climate impacts exacerbate existing inequities in society, whether they are related to poverty, gender, race or ethnicity, ability, or other factors. The slow-onset impacts of climate change are displacing communities and having severe impacts on human rights — the right to health, food security, water and sanitation, life, religious expression, and culture, among others.
Often, grassroots, frontline communities have the best and most appropriate solutions to these challenges. At the same time, these communities receive the smallest share of funding and are sidelined by state and international decision makers.
"In its reconsideration report, the NEB concluded that Trans Mountain-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale. The NEB also found that greenhouse gas emissions from marine vessels would likely be significant." Read more here. But they recommended it for approval anyway . . . "Rueben George, spokesperson for Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Sacred Trust Initiative, said in a statement, 'The ridiculously short timeline, the limited scope of the review, and limited testing of evidence made this re-do even worse than the first hearing.'” ~ Pull Together announcement. You can follow what will be happening next at Pull Together's facebook page.
WE ARE STILL IN UU Congregations are being encouraged to contact the mayor of their city and encouragement to become a part of the "We Are Still In Movement" in making a commitment to uphold goals of addressing climate change. There are also business, faith communities and other community groups who are being encouraged to participate. "Mayors, governors, and business leaders first began signing the We Are Still In declaration in June 2017 as a promise to world leaders that Americans would not retreat from the global pact to reduce emissions and stem the causes of climate change. The bipartisan coalition has since doubled in size, expanding to include over 3,500 representatives from all 50 states, spanning large and small businesses, mayors and governors, university presidents, faith leaders, tribal leaders, and cultural institutions." ~ We Are Still In Website Check out the WE ARE STILL IN website to get more information, research who in your community is participating and who is not. Then strategize to get as many organizations and businesses to participate! Let us know how you're doing, too!
HB 1999 would reduce emissions by making changes to the clean car standards and the clean car program. It would set state standards for zero emissions vehicles similar to those of California, from 9.5% of car sales in 2020 to 22% in 2025. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the link above, and then click on “Comment on this Bill.” The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short – “please support the bill.”
House Committee on Environment & Energy Committee passes bill on electrification of transportation, HB 1512
The Environment & Energy Committee passed HB 1512 with amendments, including one that would remove an expiration date on utilities’ installation of electric vehicle infrastructure and incentives. (Note: EV infrastructure consists primarily of chargers, which would extend the range of EVs and make them more feasible for longer trips). This bill passed the Senate as SB 5336 (see separate post for more details). You can take action on this bill by clicking on the link above, and then click on “Comment on this Bill.” The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short – “please support the bill.”
The Clean Energy Bill, SB 5116, is also called the 100% clean bill because it requires utilities to be 100% carbon-free by 2045. The bill has passed the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology (See separate post) and Ways and Means Committee, with amendments. It now has a number of provisions that would contain costs for utilities, extend sales-tax exemptions for renewable power facilities and provide subsidies for low-income rate payers. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the link above, and click on “Comment on this Bill.” The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short – “please support the bill.”
The Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology on February 20, 2019, recommended "do pass" on SB 5336, Electric Transportation, dealing mainly with incentives for electric cars and infrastructure. Under previous legislation, most electric cars had sales tax exemptions until 2017 when the number reached a cap. Zero emissions standards as a quota, as in California, are still not in required in WA, and sales tax exemptions cease when 10% of vehicles are EVs. Utilities are still authorized to assist customers in financing chargers. SB 5336 builds on this and extends tax exemptions. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the link above, and then click on “Comment on this Bill.” The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short – “please support the bill.”
As climate legislation moves through the legislature, a number of bills have been introduced that would undermine climate action by the state. They appear to promote energy policies but may have the effect of delaying or weakening climate action. Hearings on these bills were held in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology on February 6, 2019. Details of the hearing are below. You can take action on these bills by clicking on the link in each paragraph below, and click on "Comment on this Bill." The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short - "please oppose the bill."
On February 5, 2019, the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, held a hearing on SB 5426, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from HFCs. What are HFCs? They are compounds that are used in refrigeration after it was discovered that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were depleting the ozone layer above Antarctica, then it became necessary to phase out HFCs. (more below). HFCs have an average of 3700 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide, so they are considered dangerous even though they are only 18 parts per trillion concentration now (CO2 is 410 parts per million, 200,000 times as much). Unfortunately, their use is increasing 8 percent a year. Washington can lead the way in reducing HFC use in the absence of federal action. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the above link, and click on "Comment on this Bill" where you can comment. The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short - "please support the bill."
The Washington State Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology, and the Finance Committee, recommended "do pass" on SB 5116. Once the bill is passed by the House (below) and Senate finance committees, it is likely to be voted on in floor sessions soon. The "clean energy" bill would require utilities to invest in "energy transformation" projects to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2045. These projects can include renewable energies, building efficiencies, electric vehicle infrastructure and other clean energy transformations. It would require utilities to cease using coal-powered generation by 2025. The companion bill is HB 1211. The house bill passed the House Committee on Environment & Energy. Executive action in the Ways and Means Committee passed the bill on February 14, 2019. You can take action on these bills by clicking on the links, and click on "Comment on this Bill." The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, and a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short - "please support the bill."
On January 31, 2019, the House Committee on Energy and Environment passed HB 1113, strengthening Washington State's goals on carbon emissions reductions from 25% to 40% in 2035, and 50% to 80% in 2050. These are only goals, and as some committee members stated, there are "no teeth" in the bill because it does not have regulatory provisions. Those are being considered separately in Senate Bill 5116, 5412 and others. The reduced emissions goals are part of the cluster of climate bills this session that are expected to pass. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the above link, and click on "Comment on this Bill" where you can comment. The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short - "please support the bill."
Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee held a hearing on January 30, 2019 on
SB 5412, the low carbon fuel standard. It requires energy producers to reduce fossil fuel content of transportation fuels by using biofuels and electrification. There are exemptions for aircraft and trains. The Department of Ecology will establish standards based on I-937/RCW70.235 (see below); the bill exempts aircraft and trains based on “trade impairment.” The bill would establish life cycle measurement, which includes production and distribution of fuels as well as their consumption. Environmental and health groups testified in favor of the bill while business, transport and food industry groups testified against it. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the link above, and click on “Comment on this Bill.” The comment link will take you to a page that requests your address and email information, a button where you can indicate support, oppose or neutral. You need to make a comment but it can be short – “please support the bill.”
Proclamation of Support for Truth and Reconciliation in Washington StateThere is an emerging and compelling desire to acknowledge the events of the past so that we can work towards a stronger and healthier future. The truth telling and reconciliation process is a sincere acknowledgement of the injustices and harms experienced by Indigenous peoples in Washington State and the need for continued healing. This is a profound commitment to establishing new relationships embedded in mutual recognition and respect that will forge a brighter future. The truth of our common experiences will help set our spirits free and pave the way to reconciliation. 1 Read more here and sign the petition.
US REBELLION DAYThe US Extinction Rebellion begins on January 26th through a nationwide day of nonviolent civil disobedience and protest. Extinction Rebellion is an international movement dedicated to raising the alarm about the dire threat of climate change and using mass nonviolent civil disobedience to force governments to take action. Sign up here to be part of a Light Projection crew or to hold a banner on this Day of Act
On January 28th, King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove will introduce an ordinance that prohibits all new major fossil fuel infrastructure projects - such as gas pipeline expansion and new oil terminals - in King County. Can you sign our petition calling on King County leaders to vote YES on the #FossilFreeKC ordinance and protect our healthy climate future? The #FossilFreeKC ordinance builds on a strategy that’s been successful in Portland, Vancouver, Tacoma and other PNW communities, where local governments have changed their land use zoning codes to prohibit dirty, dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure. King County is poised to pass the strongest anti-fossil fuel legislation in the country - and you can bet that fossil-fuel loving utilities like PSE will do everything in their power to stop it. We need your help to build a groundswell of community support that resonates more loudly than fossil fuel money. Three things you can do right now:
- Sign our petition calling on King County leaders to vote YES on the #FossilFreeKC ordinance and protect our health and climate
- Check out 350 Seattle’s video and blog to learn more about the #FossilFreeKC ordinance and our strategy to win
- Join us for the next FossilFreeKC action meeting on Thursday, 1/24 from 6:30-8:00pm. 1919 E Prospect St, Seattle WA 98122
The Faith Action Network (FAN) has established the following Legislative Agenda for 2019: Advocating for a Biennial Budget that Protects the Poor and Vunerable
- Support the Washington Anti-Poverty Group priorities: Increase support for teenage mothers (GRADs program); establish the Child Savings Account ($100/month); increase the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) monthly cash grant ($61M). Support the TANF reform bill (Rep. Senn/Sen. Nguyen).
- Eliminate the tax break on Capitol Gains. Support Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) reform.
- Fund the Working Families Tax Credit.
- Support the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition priorities: $630K for the Regional Markets programs in the Washington State Department of Agriculture and $4M for the Department of Health food security package which would increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income households.
- Establish a Safe Infrastructure Banking System (Sen. Hasegawa).
- Support closing the wage theft loophole that allows the Department of Labor and Industry from issuing civil penalties for wage theft violations if the employer returns the stolen wages before a citation can be issued (Rep. Sells/Sen. Saldaña).
- Decriminalize the Driving While License Suspended 3 (DWLS3) criminal code (Rep. Reeves/Sen. Salomon).
- Pass the Death Penalty Repeal bill (Rep. Orwall/Sen. Carlyle).
- Pass the Community Parole Review Board bill.
- Pass the Geriatric Review bill to create a post-conviction review process to evaluate older prisoners for potential release (Rep. Pettigrew).
- Pass the New Hope Act (HB 1041) to remove certain offenders’ criminal records (Rep. Hansen/Rep. Irwin).
- Support expansion of post-secondary education opportunities for those in prison.
- Support funding for more affordable housing ($600M total, $200M of which would support the Housing Trust Fund).
- Increase funding for the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program.
- Pass Sales Tax Bonding bill to allow counties to increase sales tax by .01% to increase affordable housing (Rep. Robinson).
- Pass the Faith Housing Bonus bill to support faith communities building affordable housing on their property (Rep. Wahlen/Sen. Saldaña).
- Increase funding for the Department of Corrections housing vouchers for those exiting prison.
- Support the Opportunity Housing Act to prevent rental discrimination for those exiting prison (Sen. Claire Wilson).
- Support the 100% Clean Energy bill to make our state’s electrical grid free of fossil fuels by 2030 (Rep. Tarleton/Sen. Carlyle).
- Pass the Orca Emergency Response Legislation.
- Support the Clean Fuel Standards bill (Rep. Fitzgibbon).
- Support undocumented workers by passing the Keep Washington Working bill (Rep. Ortiz-Self/Sen. Wellman).
- Support legislation to repeal Initiative 200 (passed in 1998) (Rep. Santos/Sen. Nguyen).
- Pass the I-940 reform bill to better the use of deadly force by law enforcement.
- Support religious accommodations in higher education bill (Sen. Hasegawa).
- Support gun violence reduction measures: strengthen our background check system, and allow law enforcement to temporarily restrict access to firearms for people who have been held for severe mental health treatment in the last 72 hours.
- Support the high capacity magazine restriction bill which restricts the sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of ammunition magazines holding over 10 rounds.
- Support the Washington Health Security Trust to make affordable and quality long-term healthcare accessible to all residents, financed with a payroll tax (Rep. Jinkins).
- Support the Public Option Bill that will move us closer to a single payer healthcare system (Rep. Cody).
- Pass the Compact of Free Association (COFA) Dental bill, adding dental insurance to the health care coverage of islanders from the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau living in the United States (Sen. Nguyen).
- Expand Medicaid to age 26 for low income immigrants (Sen. Nguyen).
- Support budget increases for mental health funding for Western State Hospital and Trueblood/DSHS litigations.
CUC (Canadian Unitarian Council) eNews: January 15, 2019 – Issue 73 The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) recognizes the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and their authority to make decisions about what happens on their land. In the case of the Wet’suwet’en, who are opposing the development of a Coastal GasLink pipeline on their traditional territories in northwestern British Columbia, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that they have never ceded their traditional lands (Delgamuukw, 1997). This historic case specified what is required to claim Aboriginal title to land, affirmed the legal validity of oral history and clarified the government’s duty to consult with Indigenous peoples before proceeding with any development. Read more here and TAKE ACTION!
Take Action!To learn more about the Delgamuukw case: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/delgamuukw-case Contact: Federal The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau Telephone: 613-992-4211, Fax: 613-941-6900 email@example.com. The Honourable Daniel Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David.Lametti@parl.gc.ca, Fax: 613-954-0811 Find your Member of Parliament https://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members Contact the RCMP directly and let them know your view of their impending operation. National RCMP Headquarters Telephone: 613-843-5999 Email: RCMP.HQMediaRelations-DGRelationsmedias.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca (media contact) Please take action in your own community along with other Indigenous Rights and Climate Justice activists in your area. Here are some of the other important ways you can support the Unist’ot’en, Gitdumt’en and the entire Wet’suwet’en Nation. Donate to the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gitdumt’en Territory: https://www.gofundme.com/gitdumt039en-access-point Donate to Unist’ot’en Camp: http://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/ Donate to Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/unistoten-camp-legal-fund Get updates from Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gitdumt’en Territory: Support and Sign the pledge from the Unist’ot’en
What you haven’t heard from inside the battle of Gidimt’en checkpoint
Toronto Star, Jan. 12, 2019
StarMetro reporters spent five days inside and outside the fortified lines of the conflict in the snowy mountains of Northern B.C. Here’s what they saw.
(RULE BY FORCE and VIOLENCE against nature and humanity)
The Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship has long since supported the Unist'ot'en Camp through hosting events and working with other allies, notably the students from Western Washington University.
More than 50 protests have been planned for across the globe on Tuesday in solidarity with a First Nations group fighting against the construction of TransCanada's Coastal GasLink through unceded Wet'suwet'en territory, with the number of protests rising overnight after Canadian police broke down a checkpoint gate erected by Indigenous land protectors and arrested more than a dozen people.
Read more here.
Reach beyond the mundane
The Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship and other UU congregations have supported the Unist'ot'en Camp in the past and the Camp will be needing more help as the BC Supreme Court moves against them. Watch for more later.