Legislative Update – Week 1

From the Association of Washington Business, Brandon Housekeeper, January 18,

Climate Policy: The Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) process is wrapping up.  It is anticipated that both the Democrats, Republicans, and Governor will release their recommendations to reduce GHG emissions, as soon as Monday.  While it seems certain that no major policy recommendations will be proposed through a majority proposal, there may be some ancillary policies where there is agreement.  In addition, there has been a lot of media coverage over the past week about the Governor’s intentions, especially around a low carbon fuel standards and on climate change legislation, but, to date, no new climate change legislation has been introduced.

Stay tuned for more on climate policy.

Members may also be interested in a Work Session that took place this week addressing the impacts of trade and the economy as a result of environmental regulations.  The Session was before a joint Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee and the Senate Environment Committee.  The specific purpose of the Work Session was to discuss the unintended consequences of Ecology’s SEPA scoping decision, to review global GHG emissions, being completed for the proposed Gateway Terminal project located at Cherry Point.  As a result of Ecology’s decision, Members of the Senate wanted to hear how this decision would impact other project reviews and economic growth.  Here is AWB’s blog post on the panel discussion, including several AWB members:  ‘SEPA Changes: The ramifications would be very, very substantial.

Energy Policy:  For some of the policy areas, the Legislature hit the ground running.  That certainly was the case for energy policy.  Both the Senate and House heard several energy related bills.

The House Committee heard HB 2112 on allowing incremental hydro from BPA dams, HB 1643 related to energy conservation under I-937, and HB 2176 on leased energy systems.  The Senate also heard and moved bills related to allowing incremental hydro from BPA dams, SB 6058, and incremental hydro from irrigation efficiencies, SB 5992.

Here are a few other bills to keep an eye on:

  • HB 2183, introduced by Rep. Morris, directs the Joint Committee on Energy Supply and Energy Conservation to make recommendations to the Legislature on policies that would establish new renewable energy and energy efficiency goals for utilities. It authorizes the Washington State University Energy Program to conduct a resource assessment on the amount of new energy resources that could be made available with a high efficiency cogeneration policy or a thermal heating efficiency policy.
  • SB 6021, sponsored by Sen. Ericksen, revises the definition of “qualified alternative energy resource,” for purposes of RCW 19.29A.090, to include the electricity or thermal energy produced from generation facilities that are fueled by biomass energy based on liquid organic fuels from wood, forest, or field residues.  The House companion bill is HB 2223, introduced by Rep. Tarleton.  Both bills are scheduled for public hearing (see below) this next week.
  • HB 2312, introduced by Rep. Pollet as this year’s environmental justice bill, would require state agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, the disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the state. Requires the Department of Ecology to identify and maintain a list of highly impacted communities in the state.  In addition, the bill would allow an agency to require action by a violator under the Clean Air Act, hazardous waste and clean water laws, to include as part of a settlement condition a requirement for additional remediation in a high impact community.

Following are is a list of bills scheduled for action next week that part of the Association of Washington Business tracking list:

1/21/2014 2112 Hydroelectric   generation/BPA Technology   & Economic Development 1:30   PM HHR   B
1/21/2014 2183 State   energy policy Technology   & Economic Development 1:30   PM HHR   B
1/21/2014 6021 Qualified   alt energy resource Energy,   Environment & Telecommunications 1:30   PM SHR   4
1/22/2014 2347 Oil   transportation safety Environment TVW 1:30   PM HHR   C
1/22/2014 2440 Oil   or oils, definition of Environment TVW 1:30   PM HHR   C
1/23/2014 2223 Qualified alt energy resource Technology   & Economic Development 8:00   AM HHR   B


1/23/2014 6215 Natural   gas companies/tax Energy,   Environment & Telecommunications 1:30   PM SHR   4
1/24/2014 2312 Environmental   decisions Environment 8:00   AM HHR   C


1/24/2014 2112 Hydroelectric   generation/BPA Technology   & Economic Development 1:30   PM HHR   B
1/24/2014 2183 State   energy policy Technology   & Economic Development 1:30   PM HHR   B