Signing of Landmark Clean Energy Action Will Create Good-Paying Jobs, Improve Environment 

Clean Buildings for Washington Act and Bill to Move State to 100 Percent Carbon-Free Energy Signed Into Law in Olympia

May 7, 2019

Washington State will make a leap forward in the effort to both create good-paying jobs and reduce carbon pollution in the state now that two bills—the Clean Buildings for Washington Act and the Clean Energy Transformation Act, which moves the state to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045—have been signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.The Clean Buildings for Washington Act has provisions that will establish energy efficiency targets in large commercial buildings and ensure electric vehicle readiness in new buildings. Deep building retrofits are a highly impactful, cost effective way to reduce emissions, and these retrofits also generate more jobs than comparable investments in other clean energy sectors. This legislation would take decisive action by renewing and investing in large, older commercial buildings of greater than 50,000 square feet.

“Building a 21st century clean energy economy with good, family-wage union jobs is a priority for us and for our community partners, which is why I am excited that the collaboration of groups—including the BlueGreen Alliance—worked to pass these bills,” said Washington State Labor Council President and Washington State BlueGreen Alliance Co-Chair Larry Brown. “The tools in these bills, including groundbreaking provisions incentivizing the creation of high-quality jobs, allow Washington State to set a model for climate action that also supports a clean and fair economy.”

Gov. Inslee also signed a bill that would set Washington on a path to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045. The act includes provisions that incentivize new clean energy project developers to provide high wages and access to jobs for all communities. Provisions include prevailing wage, apprenticeship utilization, and community workforce agreements and project labor agreements. This will allow projects to provide better quality jobs for local workers while reducing overall project costs—a win-win for workers and clean energy.

“The Sierra Club is working hard to take immediate action to confront our climate crisis,” said Sierra Club Organizing Manager and Washington State BlueGreen Alliance Co-Chair Robin Everett. “We know that we must pass policies that create and support good jobs in the clean energy economy while protecting and uplifting communities of color who will be most impacted by climate change. Working with labor and environmental partners through the BlueGreen Alliance helped achieve these important wins.”

Both bills were strongly supported by the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations working on the ground in Washington on these and other priority policies.

“The members of the Washington State BlueGreen Alliance have developed strong principles around our shared vision for climate policies that fight climate change, create and support good-paying jobs, and promote equity for all workers and communities,” said BlueGreen Alliance Washington State Coordinator Stephanie Celt. “We are very pleased to be working together to promote these bills since they will help us to translate these shared principles to real on-the-ground impacts in Washington State. We thank the legislative champions that brought these bills forward and ushered in their passage, as well as Gov. Inslee for signing them.”