The Washington State House of Representatives passed SB 5116 on a 56-42 vote Thursday, taking an important step towards securing a clean-energy future for Washington with important worker protections. The bill now goes back to the Senate, which passed an earlier version, before heading to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee to sign it into law.
Under this landmark legislation:
● Our state’s entire electric grid powered by 100 percent clean energy by 2045;
● Phase out coal from our electricity grid by 2025, accelerating the closure of increasingly expensive coal plants in Montana and Wyoming that are among the largest sources of pollution in the West;
● Investment in low-income communities to address and correct historic energy inequities and inclusion of equity analysis in the planning and acquisition of clean energy; and
● Investment in Washington workers as part of the transition to clean energy, including prioritizing projects with livable wages, job training, and inclusion of minorities, women, veterans, and local businesses and workers.
“A completely clean and efficient grid will power us forward to building a 21st Century clean energy economy with good, family-wage union jobs, a healthy climate and thriving communities,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
SB 5116’s passage out of the House positions Washington to become a national leader in transitioning its electricity grid to clean and renewable energy in a way that addresses historic inequities and incentivizes strong worker protections. The bill attracted the support of an unprecedented coalition of labor unions, environmental justice groups, businesses, medical professionals, faith leaders, and environmental groups.
“This bill not only puts a deadline on dirty sources of electricity, it builds a foundation for frontline communities to be a part of the transition to clean electricity — one that all households can afford,” said Deric Gruen, Program Director at Front and Centered.
“One hundred percent clean electricity means we cut carbon pollution while creating real family wage jobs and more value for the clean energy we do have. This sets us on a path to transition our electrical industry off of fossil fuels in the right way,” stated Matthew Hepner, Executive Director of the Certified Electrical Workers of Washington.
“Moving to 100 percent clean electricity is a bold step to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis and move away from dirty fossil fuels, which physicians know will benefit health,” said Dr. Mark Vossler, cardiologist and President of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility.
“Transitioning to 100% clean energy in Washington is essential to protect public health from air pollution and the burning of fossil fuels. It is our job to protect our patients from the health impacts of climate change,” said Gary Cohen, President and Co-Founder of Health Care Without Harm.
“Washingtonians should be proud of their state’s climate leadership. SB5116 will transform the state, setting a global example. State leaders wisely took the extra step of ensuring the bill included provisions to support low-income households via energy assistance programs,” said Mark Specht, energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.