(Back in January, David Perk announced a Legislative Climate Action Forum. He recently sent in this report of what happened, written up by Arvia Morris)
The Legislative Climate Action Forum on Saturday January 31st was engaging and well attended at Keystone Church. Approximately 100 voters learned the details of Governor Inslee’s Carbon Pollution Accountability Act (HB1314, SB5283), the Oil Safety Bill (HB1449, SB5087) and the low carbon fuel standard (executive order). Elected officials present included Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, who has also hosted several constituent meetings on the subject, as well as Brady Walkinshaw from the 43rd District. Gerry Pollet from the 46th district also came to support the event.
During the question and answer period audience members wanted to know more about how the carbon pricing bill will generate income over the decades as carbon pollution decreases and why Washington state is the center of so much additional coal and oil rail traffic. Sightline has published briefing documents which are a great source of detailed information on both these points.
The audience also asked about how the carbon pricing bill (HB1314, SB5283), would impact Eastern Washington compared to Western Washington. The panel pointed out that most of the clean energy jobs this bill and the others will create are to be located in Eastern Washington. Thus, though fuel prices will go up modestly, there will be new opportunities too. The bill also includes funds to support people who are disproportionately impacted by carbon pricing.
During the training session audience members divided into smaller groups to discuss the best way to weigh in on legislation. The first thing to know is who your reps are. This is easily done by going to the web site http://leg.wa.gov. Rep. Walkinshaw let us know that for him a personal email that includes bill numbers and a specific request has the most impact. Form emails are okay, but personalized ones have more weight. We were also reminded that even if we trust that our reps share our values, it is best to write to them on issues we care about so that we communicate our priorities.
As the training concluded, audience members were encouraged to reach out to friends who live in swing districts and ask them to write both their Republican and Democratic reps so both sides of the aisle know what constituents are thinking. A final way to be effective on an issue is to respond to blog comments with links to well vetted sources of information. Providing good information on issues helps everyone make better decisions.
You can also continue to participate in this conversation by supporting the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. The Alliance is Washington State’s coalition of individuals, organizations, and businesses dedicated to reducing global warming and strengthening our economy. Please support the Alliance by visiting and sharing our website and liking our facebook page. Other organizations who supported this event include, 350Seattle; Cascadia Climate Action; Metropolitan Democratic Club of Seattle; 43rd District Environmental Caucus; and Climate Solutions.