Pierce County Council Member Connie Ladenburg has joined over 60 municipal leaders, including Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, in calling on Washington’s governor to soon implement a clean fuels standard. In an open letter sent to Governor Inslee, the elected leaders cited job creation, small business growth and providing consumers more choice at the pump among the benefits of increasing production of clean, low-carbon fuels in Washington.
“Here in Pierce County we're the proud home of one of America's first public transportation fleets to convert to alternative fuels,” said Ladenburg, who represents the 4th Council District. “Residents and transit customers appreciate Pierce Transit's commitment to cutting costs and keeping the environment clean. A clean fuels standard can help replicate our success in towns, cities and counties across Washington.”
Transportation is the largest source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the state. A clean fuels standard would require fuel distributors to gradually lower the carbon intensity of their fuels over time, creating a fair, flexible market for clean transportation fuels. The standard ensures that the state’s fuel supply reduces pollution from gasoline and diesel by ten percent over ten years.
Fuel distributors may look to advancements in refining, or use of alternate, lower carbon fuels like electricity, biofuels like biodiesel or ethanol derived from locally sourced crops, or propane and natural gas. The governor is considering a standard that would be technology-neutral, allowing fuels to compete solely on their pollution-reducing benefits. Ladenburg says a clean fuels standard could provide a level playing field for small businesses currently providing jobs and fuels in Washington’s supply chain and provide room for growth on both sides of the Cascades.
A clean fuels standard in Washington would supplement moves toward clean fuels by California and British Columbia, and Oregon legislators are considering a vote in 2015 to move forward on their state’s clean fuels program. Adopting and maintaining low-carbon fuels standards is a key pillar of the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy signed last fall by Inslee along with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, California Governor Jerry Brown and British Columbia's Premier Christy Clark.
Inslee's executive order on climate called for the Office of Financial Management to conduct an economic analysis of a clean fuels standard for Washington. Since June, OFM has worked with independent experts, interagency staff and technical consultants, Life Cycle Associates, to study the economic benefits of a clean fuels standard in Washington. The analysis is expected to be completed this fall.
Connie Ladenburg, Pierce County Council District 4