The Environmental Priorities Coalition, a committee made up of 25 Washington environmental groups, has four high-priority bills it wants to see passed this year:
- The clean fuels standard, HB 1110: This bill would require companies that produce transportation fuels consumed in Washington to reduce the greenhouse-gas intensity of their fuels gradually, reaching a 20% reduction by 2035 and cutting about 6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The bill could usher in wider use of biofuels, although opponents say it would cause the price of gas to go up and could have effects across the economy. Gov. Jay Inslee has also named this a priority.
- Setting new greenhouse gas limits: HB 2311 would double down on emission cuts, with the aim of getting the state to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This is also an Inslee priority.
- Improving salmon habitat to benefit orcas: The bill, which has not yet been filed, aims to improve salmon habitat across the region, with the underlying goal of improving the survival of the endangered orcas that frequent Puget Sound.
- Reducing pollution from plastic bags: SB 5323, which passed last year, and companion bill HB 1205, would ban thin plastic shopping bags, which snarl recycling machinery and often end up as litter that threatens wildlife health. Merchants instead could offer thicker plastic bags, which are typically reused, or paper bags, for a cost of 8 cents apiece. The aim is to get people to bring their own bags, and stop using throwaway bags entirely.