My Proposal for Urgent Climate Action


We need urgent climate action through investments in green infrastructure, mandates for the new clean economy, support for marginalized communities, and programs that advance equity and economic justice.

My Dad went to work at age 12 in the coal mines of Roslyn, Washington. When he turned away from fossil fuel work, he found a good union job as an electrician – a job that provided a living wage and health benefits.

I’ll fight for a just transition to the clean economy that creates thousands of new union jobs. Working people will benefit by leaving behind fossil fuels, just like my family. In the model of the Green New Deal, I’ll pair climate action with economic justice to benefit us all.

I’ve helped build a Green Power – Blue Collar coalition made up of unions, tribal leaders, communities of color, and climate experts to pass major climate bills. I’ll keep building broad coalitions to turn rhetoric into reality.

As a community organizer, bringing impacted communities to the table is always my first step. After hearing from advocates, I ask for feedback as a policy takes shape. As I work to enact this list of proposals, I’ll continue to follow this process to ensure climate policy reflects the needs of communities across Washington.

Here’s my Climate Action Plan, with sections on electricity, transportation, buildings & land use, climate justice, and environmental protection.

 

Electricity:

  1. Carry out the 100% Clean Electricity Mandate, enacted with my support and leadership in 2019, which will decarbonize the electricity sector by 2030 and fund energy assistance for low-income households (such as rooftop solar installations).
  2. Ensure equity in the design of our electricity systems, including more community-based and public ownership of electric resources. This includes community solar where the community benefits from the electricity and the economic rewards from it.
  3. Improve resilience and prepare for climate change. This includes building microgrids to reduce the impact of power outages and make sure our electricity system is resilient to fires and natural disasters.
VOX

Read more: A closer look at Washington’s superb new 100% clean electricity bill

April 18, 2019
“That’s the magic sauce, what Washington’s bill does better than any other state clean energy bill I’ve seen: It aligns the interests of utilities, energy developers, and unions behind the project of equitable decarbonization….a model of cutting-edge climate policy.” CLICK TO READ MORE

 

Transportation:

Gas-powered vehicles are the largest source of carbon emissions in our state. I’ll push legislation to rapidly electrify cars, trucks, and buses, and promote low-carbon transportation options, like public transit, cycling, and walking.

  1. Enact the Clean Fuel Standard again, which I helped push through the State House twice, only to be stopped by the Senate.
  2. Electrify government fleets of vehicles at the state and local levels.
  3. Enact progressive revenue for transit:
    • Reverse I-976 to re-establish car tab fees
    • Allow counties to charge a motor vehicle fuel tax to fund public transit
    • Create an air quality surcharge, an upfront charge on the projected lifetime emissions of a new car, incentivizing the purchase of cleaner cars and creating a new revenue source for public transit.
  4. Protect funding for Sound Transit to ensure light rail is built as quickly as possible.
  5. Include a new climate element in the Growth Management Act, ensuring that we develop and plan our communities in ways that cut carbon emissions and boost sustainability and quality of life.

 

Buildings and Land Use:

I’ll work to end fossil fuels in buildings, including natural gas. Children that live in homes that rely on natural gas have a 42% higher chance of developing childhood asthma. Studies show that babies born near fracking sites have a 50% higher chance of premature birth. Our use of natural gas perpetuates fracking, an environmentally destructive form of extraction that disproportionately affects Native people and low-income folks.

  1. Broaden the Clean Buildings Act for commercial building standards that I helped enact in 2019, and extend them to the residential sector.
  2. Help people affordably transition to electric heating – on bill financing from utilities, tax credits for electric upgrades, & low-interest financing from a public bank or financing tool.
  3. Pass a progressive carbon price to fund the transition to a carbon-free economy with financial assistance for low-income folks, tribes, and local Green New Deal programs.
  4. Clean up toxic sites in low-income and communities of color by increasing taxes on fossil fuel companies and products.
  5. Build affordable housing near transit – expand innovative programs like Home and Hope, an effort Frank started to transfer underutilized public land and “air rights” above transit stations to non-profit housing agencies.
  6. Promote density along transit routes to reduce energy use and enable folks to commute via bus, bicycle, or walking.
  7. Ensure that the Growth Management Act’s incorporates climate change and our state’s carbon goals — new utility infrastructure must cut our reliance on fossil fuels, not increase their use.

 

Climate justice:

Environmental justice is a part of every section in my plan. Here’s a summary of what I would do to address injustices and promote a more equitable future.

  1. Pass the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL), proposed by Front and Centered to require state agencies to use “all practicable means” to address environmental injustices.
  2. Make fossil fuel companies pay for toxic site clean-ups in communities that have been exposed to environmental toxins and air pollution.
  3. Fund robust public transit service, prioritizing neighborhoods with more transit-dependent populations.
  4. Increase energy assistance funds to help low-income households weatherize, increase home efficiency, and install roof-top solar panels.
  5. Ban utility shutoffs year-round for all low-income households.
  6. Require utility companies to provide free utility hook-ups for low-income housing that meet Green Building standards.
  7. Electrify vehicles to reduce air pollution, which is most acute in low-income communities near highways.
  8. Create a new environmental justice component in the Growth Management Act, ensuring that we build our communities to counter historic inequities.
  9. Fund local Green New Deal grants, controlled by people who have been impacted by environmental injustices to ensure community members can choose the right investments to help their communities transition away from fossil fuels.

 

Protecting our environment:

  1. Save the orcas and our salmon. For example, fully fund culvert replacement projects for fish passages, with a “penny plan” – 1 cent per year gas tax increase for 4 years with a local jobs programs to reconstruct culverts across the state, with a focus on needs expressed by Native communities.
  2. Remove dams where it makes sense to boost salmon runs, protect the orcas, and respect the traditions of tribes.
  3. Fund forest management, working with Native communities to revitalize damaged ecosystems and prevent dangerous wildfires.

 

I’m running a people-powered campaign, with no fossil fuel money. If you’d like to offer feedback, please reach me at info@frankchopp.com. I’d love to hear from my constituents!

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