Washington’s Governor Inslee Announces Clean Jobs Package

Washington State Capitol. Credit Pat Byington, The Green Register

Washington State Capitol. Credit Pat Byington, The Green Register

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee announced a jobs package for Washington that contains strong measures on accelerating the clean energy economy, including a proposal for legislation that would require mapping a plan for Washington to meet its climate pollution limits.

“This legislation and the conversation it cues up is a critical step forward,” said Becky Kelley, Deputy Director at Washington Environmental Council. “We have a responsibility to our children to reduce climate pollution by transitioning to clean energy. The good news is that climate action will also make Washington more competitive, attract new investment, and create jobs. Governor Inslee’s climate action proposal will create a roadmap to our clean energy future.”

The legislation (bill number TBD) would evaluate the climate pollution reduction programs of other states and Canadian provinces and use their experiences to develop a plan to achieve the state climate limits (enacted in 2008). The jobs package also includes proposals to invest state funds in clean energy innovation – measures to grow the state’s economy.

Currently, Washington sends approximately $15 billion each year to out of state oil and gas companies. With a booming clean energy economy, those dollars could be invested with Washington companies to create Washington jobs. States and regions with climate policies in place have seen strong growth in their clean energy economies, including California and New England.

“We are in a new ‘Era of Consequences’ when it comes to experiencing global warming,” said KC Golden, Policy Director at Climate Solutions. “Superstorm Sandy flooded the backyards of Wall Street brokers and the front doors of major news outlets; historic droughts left the middle of the country beyond parched, while wildfires torched the West. Today’s climate disruption is enough to give us a taste of the devastation that would result from business as usual – the devastation we can and must prevent. We can create an economy built to last and grounded in Washington’s history of innovation and clean energy leadership.”

Governor Inslee’s jobs proposal also includes measures to increase investment in clean energy technologies, electric vehicle infrastructure, and renewable fuels.

“Our state’s history of innovation has helped launch the clean tech industry cluster that we have here in Washington,” said Tom Ranken, President and CEO of the Washington Clean Technology Alliance. “If we can ensure we’re at the forefront of clean energy innovation, we’ll set our state up to continue our legacy of economic leadership.”

“Governor Jay Inslee is delivering on his promise of good jobs and clean energy for Washington,” said Brendon Cechovic, Executive Director of Washington Conservation Voters. “We’re proud to stand with him and work to make this plan a reality.”

Governor Inslee announced the jobs plan at a press conference in Olympia.

Photo Credit: Pat Byington, The Green Register

SOURCE: Washington Environmental Council



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