The House has passed, and the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology recommended passage of HB 1110 but unfortunately the Transportation Committee is holding it up. The bill has deadlines for establishing rules on emissions from transportation fuels and the Transportation Committee has concerns about its effects on transportation funding. It is likely to die if the session ends soon. 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.”
Sponsor Joe Fitzgibbons (D – Seattle), sponsor of the bill, mentioned that it would allow producers of fuels to reduce emissions in a variety of ways, including efficiency improvements, biofuels, etc., so it is technology-neutral and allows producers to find the most effective way to reduce carbon-intensity of fuels. He said that transportation has more than double the carbon intensity than the electricity sector, and that this bill would address that problem. Committee members asked about costs, and Rep. Fitzgibbons responded with some cost estimates, and said the costs of doing nothing would be higher. In the Senate Transportation Hearing, Fitzgibbons (as sponsor of the bill) testified at length and responded to a number of hostile questions very effectively. For viewing of his testimony, which is too lengthy to summarize here, please go to https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2019041076. His testimony starts at minute 29 and goes for about ten minutes.
Two elementary school students testified in favor the bill, mentioning the need for climate action to ensure their future. A representative of the Port of Seattle supported the bill and discussed aviation fuels, which will increase because of growth of air transportation. A Council member from Mercer Island said that K4C (King County Cities Climate Collaborative) members supported the bill as part of their plans to reduce emissions 80% by 2050. He said that this bill is a smart and effective method of reducing emissions, and said that Oregon’s similar measure added only a third of a cent to a gallon of gas. A representative of Transportation Choices Coalition supported bill and mentioned the role of electric buses in reducing emissions. A King County representative discussed the K4C plan and noted that transportation has one of the largest effects on emissions. King county is doubling use of electric buses and adopting other measures for emissions reductions. Senator Steven Hobbs (D – Lake Stevens) discussed the effects of low-carbon fuel costs on the transportation budget. He indicated that taxes were in issue for users of transportation fuels.
Senator Fortunato (R – Auburn) brought up the possibility of global cooling, citing work by Emeritus Prof. Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University. Other committee members did not support his criticism of Washington’s climate policies.
There was some opposition from the business community, including Food Northwest and NW Agricultural Cooperative Association, Washington Oil Marketers Association and Association of Washington Business, who noted higher transportation costs.