The Washington State Legislature is being called on by a coalition including 32 local elected officials, 7 labor unions, the Tulalip and Puyallup Tribes, and more than 70 community-based and environmental organizations to reinstate the greenhouse gas emission (GHG) and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction requirements in House Bill 1099 (HB 1099).
HB 1099 was originally written to reduce GHG emissions from transportation, which would be achieved partially through promoting new housing development in areas served by transit. The original HB 1099 also ensured planning for climate hazards such as wildfires, droughts, and sea level rise, across all communities in the state.
An amendment adopted by the Senate Ways and Means committee sliced the bill in half and did away with the requirements for GHG and VMT reductions. A March 4 letter to members of the Washington State Legislature states that “HB 1099 is a climate bill, a housing bill, a transportation bill, and an environmental justice bill.”
The letter brings up the most recent Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change report, which warns that the scale and rate of climate changes — and the associated risks — depend highly on near-term mitigation and adaptation actions. It is also mentioned how the IPCC report says that “climate resilient development prospects are increasingly limited if current greenhouse gas emissions do not rapidly decline.”
“The science is clear: we have no time to waste in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. What’s more—our ability to plan for climate resiliency hinges on our current efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.,” stated the March 4 letter. “HB 1099 provides a clear path forward for Washington communities to reduce emissions and plan for a climate resilient future. However, the bill as adopted by the Ways and Means Committee only addresses half of the crisis.”
The coalition calls on the Washington State Legislature to pass HB 1099 with complete funding for implementation on the local level, and to restore the GHG and VMT reduction provisions.
Local elected officials who have signed the letter include:
- Mayor Mason Thompson, Bothell
- Mayor Nigel Herbig, Kenmore
- Executive Dow Constantine, King County
- Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold, Kirkland
- Deputy Mayor Rami Al-Kabra, Bothell
- Council President Jessica Forsythe, Redmond City Council
- Council Vice President Vanessa Kritzer, Redmond City Council
- Councilmember Amy Falcone, Kirkland City Council
- Councilmember Janice Zahn, Bellevue City Council
- Councilmember Jenne Alderks, Bothell City Council
Local jurisdictions who have signed the letter include the Association of Washington Cities; the City of Issaquah; the City of Redmond; and the City of Tacoma. Labor unions who are also on board consist of SEIU 775, SEIU 925, SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW, Teamsters 117, and UNITE HERE Local 8, among others.
Community and environmental organizations who have signed the letter addressed to members of the Washington State Legislature are:
- 350 Eastside
- 350 West Sound Climate Action
- Audubon Washington
- Eastside For All
- Friends of Sammamish Valley
- LGBTQ Allyship
- Move Redmond
- Washington Environmental Council
- Washington State Public Health Association
By March 9, final legislation on HB 1099 will be determined prior to final votes in the House and Senate.