Environmentalists: Getting Drunk and Angry

By Josh Feit March 12, 2009

This week's theme continues in Olympia: The Greens got the blues

After passing a pseudo carbon cap bill and gutting I-937 (the voter-approved renewable energy initiative) earlier this week, it now looks like Democratic leadership here is going to kill Rep. Sharon Nelson's (D-34, W. Seattle, Vashon) smart growth bill. The bill mandated dense and affordable housing around transit stations. 

Today is the last day for bills to make it out of either the House or Senate, and the "transit oriented communities" bill—as the environmentalist and housing activists call the bill—appears to be stalled. 

Indeed, last I heard, one of the environmental community's most influential lobbyists, Cliff Traisman, was pleading with Democratic leadership in the House to bring the bill to a vote. 

But it doesn't sound like Traisman was successful. Because about 20 minutes after hearing the Traisman rumor, I got an email from another green lobbyist titled: "All but dead. We're going to get drinks." 

Drinking away their blues at 2 O'clock in the afternoon is perfectly understandable. But the greens also seem uncharacteristically angry. 

The Washington Conservation Voters sent out a fuming email to their members yesterday about I-937. I've posted it below the jump.

P.S. Education advocates, however, who are a dominating presence in the halls of the Legislative building today—wearing their blue "It's Basic" stickers—are  more hopeful. They're confident that an amendment from Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48)—which will align basic high school requirements with college prerequisites—will pass, upgrading the limp Senate version of the bill. The debate on the education bill is slated as the last bill to be voted on today—cut off day. 

Email alert from Washington Conservation Voters:

Last night, the state Senate voted to pass a bill that significantly weakens Washington's renewable energy standard. You may recall that in 2006, we worked together to pass I-937 in order to promote investments in new renewable energy such as wind and solar. ESSB 5840, the bill passed by the Senate yesterday in a 27-21 vote, severely undermines this initiative.

Weakening Washington’s renewable energy standard doesn’t make any sense—especially at a time when we are making significant progress with new investments in wind power and when our leaders at the national level are focusing on a new green economy.  Please take a moment to view the roll call for this vote—it tells the story of who voted to weaken I-937 by voting “YEA,” and those who refused to go along with this effort by voting “NAY.”

The bill now moves to the House where a battle is brewing. If this bill passes, our state would be the first to actually roll back renewable energy standards.

While the other Washington looks to spring ahead with innovative efforts to promote new investments in renewable alternatives, there are attempts in our Washington to turn back the clock. Don't let that happen.

Let's stand together and make sure that our legislators represent us, not the special interest utilities and the large consumers of our power. Please take a moment to call your state Representatives at 800-562-6000 and urge them to support I-937 when this bill comes before the House. Once you've made the call, please email[email protected] and let her know how the call went.

We’ll keep you posted on more ways that you can help protect I-937 as this legislative session progresses. 

Thanks for your commitment to clean energy and to a healthy environment.



Kurt Fritts, Executive Director

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