Washington Lawmakers Open Debate On Clean Fuel Standard

Tailpipe emissions. CREDIT: FLICKR/EUTOPICATION AND HYPOXIA
Tailpipe emissions. CREDIT: FLICKR/EUTOPICATION AND HYPOXIA

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The gas and diesel you use to fuel your car are some of the biggest sources of greenhouse gasses and air pollution in Washington. Some lawmakers want to change that. 

They kicked off a debate Tuesday that would require lower carbon fuels  — and could cost you more. 

After a decade, House Bill 1110 could reduce Washington vehicles’ carbon pollution to 10 percent below 2017 levels. It would continue to reduce emissions to 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035.

“Petroleum-based fuels are by far the biggest contributor to climate change (in Washington). … This is the area with the greatest urgency that we reduce those impacts,” said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, and chair of the House Environment Committee.

Lawmakers say this rule would be similar to other clean fuel standards already implemented in Oregon and California. 

Fitzgibbon said those states have shown “that this is achievable.”

Environmental groups say reducing greenhouse gas emissions would improve air quality and could create jobs, as more clean fuel technologies are developed, like biodiesel or renewable natural gas.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the county supports clean fuel technologies and greenhouse gas reductions. “To meet our climate goals, low carbon fuels need to be more widely available for public fleets and private consumers,” he said.

Industry opponents say it would come with a price increase at the pump and isn’t the best way to reduce emissions.

“Promises of an economic boon in (California and Oregon) have gone unfulfilled,” Jessica Spiegel, a spokeswoman for the Western States Petroleum Association.

Copyright 2019 Northwest Public Broadcasting

In this July 27, 2018, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. A law signed April 6, 2021, by Republican Gov. Mark Gordon creates a $1.2 million fund for an initiative that marks the latest attempt by state leaders to help coal in the state that accounts for the bulk of U.S. coal production, which is down by half since 2008. Wyoming coal production, which accounts for about 40% of the nation's total, has declined as utilities switch to gas, which is cheaper to burn to generate electricity. CREDIT: J. David Ake/AP

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