100% Clean School Buses
All school kids deserve healthy, safe rides to school, but almost all school buses in our state currently run on diesel. Research shows that air pollution inside the bus can be more than four times worse than outside, meaning kids are especially exposed once they’re on their way to school. There are more than 12,000 diesel school buses transporting kids in Washington. With many models of electric school buses available, six other states have set a date in law by which new school buses must be 100% clean. Our Washington legislators can pass such a law and support our kids and school districts in this critical transition.
Hold Oil Companies Accountable
We all need affordable ways to get around, but oil companies set gas prices with no oversight or transparency. Unfortunately, the state currently has no tools to protect the public and consumers from volatile and possibly unfair pricing at the pump. This priority requires oil companies to show their pricing math to the state, creates a watchdog team at the UTC, gives the state needed information so they can penalize companies for setting unfair prices, and forbids greenwashing under the state consumer protection law.
In this state, more than 50 percent of our consumer packaging and paper goes to landfills, rather than being recycled. Across the planet, plastic waste litters our shorelines and open spaces. It is time to modernize our recycling system, to reduce packaging and to decrease plastic pollution. The WRAP Act tackles these problems by creating a set of graduated fees on packaging manufacturers based on the recyclability/sustainability of their packaging. The funding generated from this fee will then be used to fund our recycling system in Washington, including improvements in infrastructure, uniform access to recycling for residents across the state, and a harmonized list of what people can recycle. Recycling and reuse targets will be set. This bill will have the added benefit of shifting the costs for the recycling system from ratepayers to the manufacturers that have created the problem.
Buy Clean, Buy Fair (HB 1282/ SB 5322)
The Buy Clean and Buy Fair Washington Act is a reporting-only bill that establishes reporting requirements on the carbon content and working conditions of building materials purchased for large state-funded building projects. This harnesses existing state spending to incentivize manufacturers to producer lower-carbon products and grow high-wage manufacturing jobs. If passed, the state and other entities buying building materials would have a publicly available resource to make climate-smart purchasing decisions while also supporting workers and communities.
Even-Year Local Elections (HB HB 1932/ SB 5723)
We know that change happens at the local level. Unfortunately, a state law from the 1960’s requires Washington to hold local elections in odd-numbered years, when most voters do not return their ballots. Voter turnout is up to twice as high and far more diverse in even years, when we are also voting for president or our national representatives. Washington can elect leaders that truly speak for all of us by giving cities and towns the freedom to switch to even-year elections.
CURB Act (HB 2070/ SB 5990)
In Washington, communities of color and Indigenous peoples live in places that carry a disproportionate burden when it comes to environmental pollution, affecting health, well-being, and life expectancy. Under current laws, the process that permits businesses to pollute is not required to consider the effects of this history of environmental racism and the cumulative health risk and burden the most impacted communities face. The CURB (Cumulative Risk Burden) Pollution Act will require a lead agency to deny permit applications for new facilities that add cumulative pollution effects while elevating frontline community voices in the permit evaluations process.
Become a Legislative Session Activist
Take action for a healthier environment for all Washingtonians. From attending hearings, organizing in your community, attending town halls, to writing letters to the editor, we can help find the right role for you.
Bills to watch
Want to stay up to date on policy in progress? WCA helps develop the Environmental Community Hot List for the State House and Senate—the 10 most important environmental bills being debated that week.