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Environment

How Washington state may (finally) be leading on climate action

 In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo the Space Needle is seen in view of still standing but now defunct stacks at the Nucor Steel plant in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson
/
Associated Press
In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo the Space Needle is seen in view of still standing but now defunct stacks at the Nucor Steel plant in Seattle.

State lawmakers passed significant legislation this session that takes concrete steps to address climate pollution and the concerns of communities that it has harmed the most in Washington.

KNKX environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp sat down with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick to talk about the changes that will be taking place in our state.

The conversation includes discussion of the cap-and-trade law known as the Climate Commitment Act, the Clean Fuel Standard addressing transportation emissions, new regulations on super-polluting hydrofluorcarbons, the landmark HEAL Act on climate justice and the comprehensive plastics recycling law… all signed in one day by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Among the key factors moving this legislation forward is the integration of climate justice in policies that affect communities where people have suffered the worst effects of air pollution from fossil fuels.

“We made environmental justice part of our mission, part of our goal, and we deliver,” says advocate and lobbyist Paula Sardinas, CEO of a group called Build Back Black. She spoke during a webinar put on by a coalition of business groups called Clean and Prosperous Washington.

Sardinas says governors and legislatures all over the country are looking to Washington state as a model. If states want to be successful, she says they should take a cue from Washington and adopt the twin goals of cutting global greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time cutting local air pollution.

“There are real measurable goals that you can take back to overburdened communities and say we are not just creating a policy that is lip service, we're not just creating a policy that says we hope things get better and we wish you luck,” Sardinas says.

You can view that webinar on the Climate Commitment Act by clicking here.

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