• Inslee signs historic climate change legislation

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Jay Inslee celebrated victory on his signature issue today by signing four bills tackling climate change.

    A crowd of clean energy activists rallied in the Rainier Vista neighborhood as Inslee signed the historic package of climate change legislation.

    “As governor, I'm going to be the first governor wearing an historic 100 percent hat,” Inslee said to cheers as he placed on his head a baseball cap with “100 Percent” embroidered on it.”

    That refers to 100 percent clean electrical power by 2045 starting with the closure of the Centralia power plant by 2025.

    On display were solar panels, that will replace some of the energy now created by fossil fuels.

    “We are determined to build a solar and wind and electrical system where people can access to get cleaner air for our kids to breathe as long as Washington state is here,” Inslee said.

    Washington Policy Center environmental analyst Todd Myers often criticizes Inslee, but doubts consumers will see much impact on the cost of electricity.

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    “Most of the things that are required between now and 2030 were probably going to occur anyway so the cost to the consumer is going to be relatively low.”

    There's also a new Clean Buildings Act that requires large commercial buildings statewide to be remodeled to reduce carbon emissions.

    At Rainier Vista we met Abdirizak Ahmed who grew up in Seattle's Public Housing. We asked if he's worried about the cost.

    “I think that if we take steps, if we do it in phases I think a lot of people will be more optimistic will be more willing to do it.”

    Transportation is the largest generator of greenhouse gases so there are new tax incentives for consumers buying electric cars -- despite criticism that they benefit the rich.

    Burien Democratic state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbons replied, “We cap the value of the electric vehicle sales tax credit so that it is not for the expensive Tesla vehicles. It's for the newer vehicles that are more affordable to people at the lower ends of the income spectrum.”

    The governor also signed legislation phasing out chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons. They are used in air conditioners and other refrigeration units.

    One thing missing from today's celebration, the new clean fuel standard the governor wanted -- it failed in the legislature but supporters will try again next year.

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