Jim Antal reiterated last month at UCUCC that climate change is “the most urgent problem humanity has ever faced.” We can and should make modifications in how we live, but it’s almost too late for such changes to have much of an impact in saving God’s sacred creation. Rev. Dr. Antal said advocacy is now the best way to fight climate change. That can include in-their-face demonstrations like the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock, as well as lobbying at the federal and state levels for laws and policies that will enable us to quickly reduce our carbon footprint.
March 13 was the deadline for most bills in our state legislature to be approved in their house of origin. Those that survived the cutoff have until April 28, when the legislature adjourns, to secure approval in the opposite chamber.
The exciting news is that 12 of the bills or topics on Sacred Earth Matters’ list of state legislative priorities are still potential environmental victories and the 3 bills it opposed are dead.
The bad news is there is considerable opposition to most of these bills by Republican legislators, the fossil fuel industry, and Association of Washington Businesses. Getting them passed and on the governor’s desk is going to require a significant lobbying effort by environmental advocates.
We salute and thank the more than 100 participants in Sacred Earth Matters’ “Legislative Priority of the Week” email program.
When they receive an email describing that week’s priority bill, they call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and request that their support for the bill be conveyed to their senator and representatives. It takes only a couple of minutes, but each call makes an impact. People can still enroll at SEM’s narthex table or by emailing moc.oohay@nosrekcid_nol.
5 bills will increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
- SB 5116 ? Clean Energy (electric utilities must eliminate coal from our electricity grid by 2025)
- HB 1110 ? Clean Fuels Program (transportation produces 43% of our greenhouse gas emissions)
- HB 1257 ? Clean Buildings (new commercial buildings must reduce energy use by 70% by 2031)
- SB 5811 ? Clean Car Standards (authorizes California’s zero-emission vehicle standards for WA)
- HB 1112 ? Refrigerant Emissions (WA adopts the EPA regulations vacated by federal courts)
2 bills will sharply reduce the use of thin plastic bags and single-use straws:
- SB 5323 ? Plastic Bags (prohibits stores from providing customers with single-use plastic bags)
- SB 5077 ? Plastic Straws (prohibits the sale and distribution of single-use plastic straws)
2 bills will provide protection for working forest lands and from pollution for low-income communities
- SB 5489 ? Environmental Health Disparities (develop strategies for state agencies to use)
- SB 5873 ? Community Forests (reduces risks of conversion of forests to another land use)
3 bills might help our starving orca whales survive:
- HB 1579 ? Habitat & Forage Fish (regulates shoreline modifications; protects salmon orcas eat)
- HB 1578 ? Oil Tankers (addresses tug escorts for oil tankers & emergency response capabilities)
- HB 1580 & SB5577 ? Vessel Noise (increases distance between orcas & whale-watching vessels)
Legislators who want to be re-elected are good at listening and responding to what their constituents say to them. That includes youth and people not registered to vote. Accordingly, everyone is invited to jump into this climate change battle and be an advocate for our environment. Collectively, we can make a difference.