2021 Legislative priorities

The Washington state capitol building from the outside. The rotunda is front and center. Cherry blossoms are in the foreground.


In the 2021 legislative session we're focused on supporting policies that address climate change — the most significant environmental issue facing Washingtonians. As one of the state's lead climate change agencies, we're committed to accelerating actions that reduce greenhouse gases and slow the warming of the climate.

We're also committed to environmental justice policies. Supporting environmental justice will help eliminate environmental disparities in Washington communities that are disproportionately affected by pollution.

While we haven’t submitted agency request legislation, the Governor’s proposed budget supports our environmental priorties. The budget proposal would ensure we can reduce and prepare for climate impacts; make strides for cleaner water in Puget Sound; ensure products are safer for people; and further Washington's efforts for sustainable recycling.

Climate Commitment Act

Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing a Climate Commitment Act to create a comprehensive climate program to meet the statewide greenhouse gas limits in RCW 70A.45.020 and invest in a more sustainable future for Washington.

The bill would:

  • Require Ecology to establish a program to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s largest emitting sources.
  • Invest in community and ecosystem resilience to the effects of climate change.
  • Make investments that advance equity and environmental justice and put these concepts at the center of climate action.

Washington state has enacted strong, science-based greenhouse gas limits, but the state has never put in place a comprehensive means for achieving them. The latest research shows that we must reduce carbon pollution more deeply and quickly than previously thought to protect the state from the worst effects of climate change.

In Washington, climate change poses severe economic and environmental threats to coastlines, water supplies, forests, farms, and communities. Residents of Washington already feel the effects of climate change — but these burdens are not distributed evenly. Vulnerable populations and overburdened communities have historically experienced disproportionate economic and health costs from pollution, extreme heat, and other climate-related stressors, and these disparities are likely to grow without aggressive action to limit the impacts of climate change.

To moderate the threat of climate change, reduce its enormous economic burden and ecosystem damage, and make the state resilient to future impacts, Washington needs a comprehensive system to cap and then predictably and equitably reduce carbon pollution to meet the greenhouse gas emission limits set by the Legislature.

Kathy Taylor
Program Manager
Air Quality Program
kathy.taylor@ecy.wa.gov
360-407-6880

Clean fuel standard

Transportation is the largest category of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington, accounting for about 45% of the state's total emissions. One way to reduce this source of carbon pollution is to implement a Clean Fuel Standard. This would require transportation fuel suppliers to gradually reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels. In Washington, implementing a Clean Fuel Standard is estimated to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 2.7 million metric tons a year by 2030.

Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing legislation to establish a Washington Clean Fuel Standard.

The bill would:

  • By 2023, require Ecology adopt rules to implement a Clean Fuel Standard.
  • Require fuel producers to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels 10% below 2017 levels by 2028.
  • Require fuel producers to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels 20% below 2017 levels by 2035.

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington, accounting for almost 45% of total emissions. Reducing these emissions is essential if we are to prevent the damaging effects climate change will have on Washington's coastlines, water supplies, forests, farms and communities. Research shows that there are ample supplies of qualifying cleaner fuels in Washington that could help the state meet the requirements of a clean fuel standard.

Kathy Taylor
Program Manager
Air Quality Program
kathy.taylor@ecy.wa.gov
360-407-6880