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Local Responses to Global Challenges: Increased opportunities and Clean Air – Feb. 5

HB 1825 would create a Coal Free Future for Washington by forcing the only coal-fired power plant in our state, TransAlta, to quit burning coal by 2015, ten years earlier than currently required by an outstanding gubernatorial order. 

Electricity is produced by TransAlta in Centralia. The TransAlta plant emits 10 million metric tons of gasses/year: 10 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The plant emits 361 pounds of mercury. It is estimated that the TransAlta plant emits the same amount of carbon/year as is emitted by all the cars and trucks driven in King County, plus Yakima, Lincoln, Columbia, and Garfield Counties (Click here for more information).

Policy makers are also concerned about the impact terminating coal-fired power production will have on the Lewis County economy. This has inspired an effort to try to also pass legislation to create jobs.

A hearing on HB 1825 is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, February 15th in the House Environmental Committee. Check here to confirm hearing date and time.

Following hearings the previous week, there was no further action this week on HB 1320 or SB 5238, each of which would establish the Washington Investment Trust. Opponents to these companion bills claim they would violate the state constitution by lending the state’s credit; however, it was reported this week that commercial banks and credit unions that currently hold state deposits use these deposits when calculating how much capital they have to loan out. This is the same thing the Financial Investment Trust would do under HB 1320 and SB 5238, which brings into question assertions that the bills would violate the state constitution. These bills also need to be scheduled for Executive Action and voted out of committee to be considered further.

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