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Climate Alliance Announces 2021 Legislative Priorities


During the upcoming 2021 legislative session, state leaders will grapple with major crises: keeping people healthy and financially stable through the pandemic, dismantling systemic racism, closing a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, and acting on the climate crisis. 
The nation’s broadest climate-action coalition with leaders from labor, social justice, health, faith, business and environmental organizations announced its Resilient Future prioritiestoday, setting forth priorities for investing in the long-term resilience and recovery of all Washington communities. 

Coalition members from across Washington’s economic sectors and geographies are advocating for relief and recovery efforts that prioritize the needs of at-risk workers, low-income communities, communities of color, and tribal communities and set our state on a climate-resilient future.

  • Pass the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act to make sure our most impacted communities have a voice at the decision-making table and a healthy future for generations to come. 
  • Invest in a clean and just transportation system that is efficient, affordable, creates living-wage jobs, cleans our air, and ensures a sustainable climate. 
  • Update the Washington Growth Management Act to make sure we address climate change, affordable housing, and environmental justice in our state’s land use planning.
  • Pass progressive funding that drives down pollution and supports climate-resilient investments.
  • Pass an equitable carbon pricing policy that reduces pollution and supports the just transition of workers and communities away from a harmful fossil fuel economy and into a clean and resilient future.
  • Create a state public bank to make sure our tax dollars stay in Washington and invest in our communities, not lining the pockets of wall street’s fossil fuel financiers. 
  • Re-prioritize our state budget away from extractive and exploitative practices that criminalize, incarcerate and harm the health of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities and instead invest in the equitable distribution of sustainable investments in climate resiliency and the health and safety of BIPOC communities. 
  • Invest in the immediate and long-term relief that directly supports communities hit hardest by the health, environmental, and economic crisis.  
  • Pass the Buy Clean and Buy Fair Washington Act and enact clean and just state public purchasing and contracting that centers good job creation, equity, and the environment to ensure that every dollar of state spending delivers public good.

 

Read the Resilient Future platform for a full list of policy recommendations. 

The crises we face are deeply intertwined, and a just recovery will require bold action. We know firsthand that the solutions needed to recover from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 can also advance climate resilience.

The Climate Alliance calls on state legislatures to look bigger, bolder at this crisis and invest in the critical services, create new job opportunities, and prioritize those most impacted first. This is the time for action that stabilizes not just our economy, but our climate and our future.

Quotes from Climate Alliance members: 

“A recovery from this pandemic will require a massive response; so let’s take action by upending business as usual and instead prioritizes the health of our environment and communities, invests in a more resilient economy, and that shifts power away from corporations to communities most impacted by the societal injustice laid bare by the pandemic.” - Rich Stolz, Executive Director, OneAmerica

“For us as farmworkers, a just response would be to ensure that the historic injustices that have existed and brought us to this point don’t keep occurring. We see this as a moment to transition away from a bad economy and environmental practices and where the knowledge and experience of workers are listened to. We believe that in order to achieve justice that we must fight and organize for it. The coronavirus has exposed the current system as unsustainable and unable to meet the basic needs for survival. We need a new political, economic, and ecological plan to move forward post-virus.” - Edgar Franks, Political Director, Familias Unidas por la Justicia 
“In crisis, problems that go unseen are often revealed. This pandemic has made us reflect and re-evaluate many things in our lives – our relationship with our health, the value of nature and the outdoors, and our responsibility to each other. One thing that has become abundantly clear, the status quo is not good enough. Elected leaders must address the challenges – public health, our economy, the environment – with a vision that helps us to realize a just, sustainable future. Right now, what we crave most is some sense of normalcy. But the worst thing that can come out of this crisis is that nothing changes.” - Alyssa Macy, CEO Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters
"A more humane and equitable future will require a new vision that has more women, people of color, workers, local community leaders and scientists helping to make our policies, not just CEOs, Senators, and Wall Street. We will be more resilient and healthy as a country when we level the playing fields of power – worker and employer, ratepayer, and utility, tenant, and landlord.” - Faye Guenther, President, UFCW 21

"Since the current pandemic is primarily a crisis of human health, a just recovery must promote health and safety of all people. Since economic inequity was driving worsening health outcomes prior to this crisis, we must, as a society, do everything in our power to narrow the economic gap and ensure that low-income workers and communities of color do not once again bear a disproportionate burden in what is a global problem." - Mark Vossler, MD, President, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

"To have a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we would need to serve the low-income communities and communities of color that have been disproportionately affected. We need to work to create a healthy environment and a green economy." - Jalyn, Student at St. Martin's University in Olympia, WA

"As much as COVID-19 is a public health crisis, it is an environmental injustice. There is a clear link between long-term exposure to air pollutants and increased COVID-19 death rates. People of color and working-class people disproportionately live near polluting industries, have respiratory and underlying health issues, and are less likely to have access to health care. These injustices are not new, and this crisis has only shed more light on them. The Just Recovery we need is the just transition of our economy to one that guarantees access to healthy food, health care, living wage, green jobs, healthy housing, and healthy environments for communities."  - Jill Mangaliman, Executive Director, Got Green 

"It's never been more clear that we all need access to affordable health care and we need government at all levels to be better prepared for the next crisis. It will take the same sense of urgency that many elected officials have demonstrated, the same ingenuity and creativity of our workforce, and the same passion and dedication of frontline workers to tackle the climate emergency as it has the COVID-19 pandemic. We can do this." - Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

"Together, we have an opportunity to decide whether we respond to this global crisis through piecemeal reform, or systemic transformation. To achieve a just transition, we must follow the leadership, knowledge, and expertise of communities disproportionately impacted, ground the work in respect to each unique place and community, and mount an economic response that's purpose is meeting needs of people within a healthy environment. By rooting the recovery in climate and environmental justice, we can realize an equitable Washington and create the foundation required for everyone to thrive as part of healthy communities."  - Deric Gruen, Co-Executive Director, Front & Centered

“The new normal will look different when we come out of this pandemic, but old normal didn’t work for all of us - we need a society that supports everyone and our environment, and that’s what we’ll be fighting for.” – Sterling Harders, President, SEIU 775 

"A just transition means reimagining how we think about mobility, so that everyone get where we need to go in our communities, with reliable and accessible public transit, accessible sidewalks, bus stops and crossings, and without the threat of harassment or police violence." - Anna Zivarts, Director, Disability Mobility Initiative 

"Covid-19 has brought many challenges for our communities. People are facing hardships in housing and live in fear of the unknown. Without bold collective action, a catastrophic wave of mass evictions is merely postponed...we must fight to ensure our neighbors are able to stay sheltered and emerge without insurmountable debt." - Violet Lavatai, Executive Director, Tenants Union of Washington state  

-- 
Lauren Breynaert
(she/her)
Coalition Director, Climate Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy
lauren@waclimatealliance.org
Cell phone: (425) 753-5344
waclimatealliance.org

 
 
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