Governor Jay Inslee and State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon joined the Port of Seattle on Friday to call on the State Legislature to adopt a Clean Fuel Standard in its 2020 legislative session. They were joined by a variety of others including Alaska Airlines, among the first major airlines who announced their support for a statewide Clean Fuel Standard in Washington, due to the fact it will create an incentive mechanism for airlines to promote the use of sustainable aviation fuels. Alaska, the Port, and the State of Washington have partnered to lead the national conversation around Sustainable Aviation Fuels since 2010.
At a press conference today, Port of Seattle Commissioners Fred Felleman and Ryan Calkins hosted a group of supporters, which included State Senator Joe Nguyen and Dr. Annemarie Dooley of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. The speakers were joined by an array of allied groups who are pushing for this policy in Olympia, including OneAmerica, the Washington Environmental Council, the Renewable Energy Group, Neste, and more. The legislation, House Bill 1110, will require fuel providers to reduce the carbon pollution from transportation fuels over time.
Friday’s conference follows resolutions passed by the cities of Spokane, Issaquah, Bainbridge Island, and Tacoma encouraging statewide action. A Clean Fuel Standard has had strong support in 2019 among a diverse group including public health groups, local elected officials, automobile manufacturers, environmental justice groups, clean energy businesses, and science and medical professionals.
“Transportation is far and away our state’s largest source of carbon pollution — making up nearly half the total,” said Governor Inslee. “The Clean Fuel Standard is the cheapest and best opportunity we have, bar none, to reduce carbon pollution from transportation at this scale.”
“Washington has the opportunity to lead the world in the development of clean, sustainable aviation biofuels because of our innovative aerospace sector, our international hub airport, and our abundant farms and forests to produce biofuel feedstocks,” said State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon. “Policy support such as a clean fuel standard is a critical tool to get the sustainable aviation biofuel sector off the ground by scaling up the production of on-road biofuels. Communities impacted by pollution, particularly those near highways and airports, are counting on a transition towards cleaner burning fuels, and it’s time for the Legislature to accelerate this transition by adopting a clean fuel standard.”
California, Oregon, and British Columbia all have working clean fuels policies, leaving Washington state as the only west coast state without such a policy. That has resulted in Washington-produced renewable fuels being sent out of state, in search of the markets for clean fuels generated by this policy. Washingtonians spend about $9 billion annually on mostly imported gasoline and diesel, while many locally-produced clean fuels are shipped to other these other states.
“At the Port, we see a clear, operational need for enactment of a Clean Fuels Standard in order to begin the process of creating a strong market for these clean energy alternatives in our state,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “The consequences of global climate change are here. Addressing them requires urgent public policy action.”
“All of us care deeply about the long-term health and vibrancy of our incredible region and the globe,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, VP External Relations, Alaska Airlines. “At Alaska, we’re thinking about what it will take to scale production of sustainable aviation fuels and ensure they are commercially viable. Inclusion of a voluntary opt-in as part of a statewide clean fuel standard will increase access to locally produced sustainable aviation fuel and help our industry meet ambitious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis.”
Senator Nguyen has emerged as a leading voice in the Senate Democratic Caucus and voted for Representative Fitzgibbon’s Clean Fuels Standard bill in the 2019 session as a member of the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee. He is also a cosponsor of the Senate Clean Fuel Standard proposal. Annemarie Dooley has been a leading voice in support of CFS from the community health perspective.
"We must act with urgency and utilize every tool we have to combat climate change, said State Senator Joe Nguyen. “A clean fuels standard is a smart, proven way to improve air quality and reduce our carbon footprint."
The American Lung Association, WA Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR), and the Washington Academy of Family Physicians see a Clean Fuel Standard as one of the most important ways to improve public health by decreasing sources of air pollution. At the national and global level, an increasing number of health organizations list climate change and increased emissions as a severe threat to public health.
"A UW study last month at Sea-Tac showed higher levels of ultrafine particles from aviation fuel, pollution that could possibly have serious effects on the lungs of local communities and workers. Cleaner fuels would be a good step to improving air quality for all," said Annemarie Dooley M.D., Physicians for Social Responsibility.
House Bill 1110, introduced in each of the last two legislative sessions by House Environment Committee Chair Joe Fitzgibbon, passed the State House in March 2019 by a vote of 53-43. While it advanced through the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee, it stalled in the Senate Transportation Committee and did not reach the floor of that chamber for a vote before the end of the 2019 legislative session. In the upcoming 2020 State Legislative Session, Governor Inslee has reiterated his strong desire to see the bill passed, and Rep. Fitzgibbon has indicated his intent to move his bill to the House floor for a vote early in session, and to work with Senate advocates to secure passage through that body.
Perry Cooper | SEA Airport Media Relations
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