Clean fuels proposal drives critical climate progress in WA


Committee Hears Benefits for State Joining Rest of Region With Passage of a Clean Fuel Standard

 OLYMPIA, WA —  Over the course of two virtual hearings, the Washington State House Environment and Energy Committee heard public testimony on HB 1091, the Clean Fuel Standard, which cuts air pollution by requiring cleaner transportation fuels to power vehicles and invests in communities most impacted by transportation pollution.  With too many proponents wanting to testify in support of the policy and not getting a chance the first day, the committee extended testimony into a second day.  Others who wished to speak but weren’t able to due to time constraints submitted their testimony in writing for the record.  Supporters include IBEW, UFCW 21, medical professionals and health associations including the Washington Health Climate Alliance, the Port of Seattle and Northwest Seaport Alliance, King County Metro, Tacoma Power, Chargepoint, the Electric Vehicle Charging Association, Neste, Generate Capital, and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, along with many others.

Over two-thirds of Washington voters support a Clean Fuel Standard.

PRIMARY SPONSOR: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (HB 1091)

Excerpts from oral and written testimony were broad in perspective of benefits and also countered false claims:

“Washington can no longer pretend to be immune to climate change. The state is already experiencing devastating consequences, as well as their health effects – from asthma exacerbation, extreme-heat related illness, smoke pollution, and mental health stress.  The wildfires of 2020 are the new normal… In addition, multiple studies in 2020 have confirmed a significant connection between air pollution and COVID-19, finding long-term exposure to air pollution — specifically PM2.5 — increases the severity and the risk of death from COVID.  All of these health impacts disproportionately affect people of color, tribal nations, children, and low-income communities. For all of these reasons, transportation policy is health policy.  HB 1091 will improve air quality, decrease climate pollution and save lives and health care costs in the process.”  -Robyn Rothman, Washington Health Care Climate Alliance

“Replacing petroleum with renewable electricity and other clean transportation fuels is among the most critical steps to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. Clean fuel standards are a proven policy solution, holding the oil industry accountable for its actions while steadily driving down emissions.” -Jeremy Martin and Jason Barbose, Union of Concerned Scientists

“Ports in California share revenue earned under their Low-Carbon Fuel Standard with their tenants to incentivize emission reductions. Clean fuels provide a bridge as ports work to replace old diesel trucks and cargo handling equipment with electric alternatives. We should have that opportunity in Washington.” – Port of Seattle Commission President Fred Felleman (notably the Port of Seattle is the fifth largest container port in the country and twentieth in size in the world)

“To meet our climate goals, low carbon fuels need to be more widely available for public fleets and private consumers… As a transit agency, we are supportive of opportunities to accelerate transportation electrification and generate credits from our electric fleets, allowing us to sustain and grow mobility services to the Puget Sound community.” -Carrie Lee, King County Metro Transit

“Passing legislation on clean fuels offers a chance to stop people getting sick. In reducing carbon, these fuels also decrease small particulate matter and black soot in the air. Fumes that reduce lung growth, produce long term ill health, and can cause premature death. […] The price of a gallon of gas should not come at the cost of the health and lives of the people of Washington state.” – Dr. Annemarie Dooley, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

“States that enact strong, stable policies will attract the lion’s share of those investment dollars, and the job creation, and tax revenues that come along with them. […] By implementing a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard in Washington, the legislature would create the structure which would enable us, and others, to make large scale, long term investments in clean transport infrastructure in Washington State.” -Suzanne Hunt, Generate Capital

The committee also heard from those continuing to oppose the policy and conveying misinformation, despite its success along the West Coast.

Requiring cleaner fuels and electricity for transportation is a necessary component of meeting Washington State’s updated carbon emissions reduction targets set into law last year, and is the baseline for creating pathways toward cleaner transportation options, such as expanded electric vehicle infrastructure, electric vehicle car sharing programs, and investments in renewable clean biodiesel and renewable natural (not fossil) bio-gas.

In addition to HB 1091, the Legislature is considering several critical complementary policies this session to address climate change including cutting pollution from the building sector, clean and just ways to fund transportation, prioritizing environmental justice (HEAL Act) and investing in a just recovery. Because the Legislature took no meaningful action last year to make major cuts to pollution, the imperative to cut emissions from several sectors is more urgent than ever. There is no time to waste if we want to help curb climate impacts, including fiercer floods and fires, in our state.


Recordings of testimony are available for Thursday, January 14 and Friday, January 15 (note Friday’s coverage of Clean Fuels is only in the last 7-10 minutes of the recording).

DEBUNKING:   More resources for countering confusing information, including mis-information on costs and the program in California 

Live-tweeting feed of the hearing  @cleanfuelswork and #CleanFuelsNow

Photos and b-roll of clean fuels solutions (electric vehicles including city buses, garbage truck, school bus, as well as sustainable bio-fuels) available on request.   


Hundreds of organizations, local elected officials and jurisdictions, health associations and hospitals, small businesses, unions and advocacy groups support clean fuels and have been working for several years to see the solution come to Washington.   Many supporters also have a presence in Oregon, where the policy has been law for years and where Gov. Kate Brown doubled the standard in 2020.    @cleanfuelswork


The Environmental Priorities Coalition is a network of over twenty leading environmental groups in Washington state that influence policy at the state level. For over a decade, the Coalition has selected joint priority issues to work on during the legislative session to help focus environmental community resources and best achieve our shared goals.  @epctweets