Earth Week 2022 – Celebrating the arrival of our clean energy future
In honor of Earth Week, Gov. Jay Inslee joined communities on both sides of the mountains to celebrate new solar-powered microgrids, wind farms, transit lines, clean buildings and more walkable, transit-friendly communities.
All across Washington it’s clear our clean energy future has arrived. Washingtonians are producing electric buses in Ferndale, electric planes in Arlington, solar and wind-powered energy in eastern Washington and beyond, and emerging technologies like fusion and hydrogen. Businesses are building net zero buildings like Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and the Catalyst building in Spokane.
Washington has always been home to forward-thinking innovators. That spirit of innovation, combined with ambitious policymaking, has made the state a national leader on climate action. Over the past several years, Washington has passed policies to cap carbon pollution, transition to 100% clean electricity, grow the clean energy sector and create new jobs, expand access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, reduce emissions from buildings, and more.
It was fitting that President Joe Biden chose to celebrate Earth Day in Washington state where he signed an executive order to protect old growth forests, boost wildfire resilience and combat global deforestation. Inslee, members of the state’s congressional delegation, and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell were among those in attendance at the president’s signing ceremony in Seattle.
The president’s visit comes at a time Congress is considering a historic clean energy investment package that has nearly enough votes to pass. Recent climate reports affirm the urgency of swiftly phasing out the use of fossil fuels, which advances in clean energy technology make it technically and economically feasible.
“Thank you, POTUS, for celebrating Earth Day in WA. It’s time for Congress to send clean energy investments to your desk for signature and take historic action on behalf of American workers and families,” Inslee tweeted.
Read more about Inslee’s Earth Week visits:
Inslee visits Basin to support wildfire recovery, clean energy (Columbia Basin Herald)
New microgrid in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to power community center during outages (KING 5)
New multimodal $79.4 million Swift Orange Bus Rapid Transit line breaks ground in Lynnwood (Lynwood Times)
Google shows off first phase of its Kirkland Urban Campus (425 Magazine)
Rx for climate action: Virtual panel discussion about clean energy in homes and offices (TVW)
President Biden delivers remarks on Earth Day (The White House)
Prevention is key to reducing litter
We see it, we hate it – and we can prevent it: litter.
After having to pause clean-up programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, state crews are ramping back up. The Washington State Department of Transportation issued information about upcoming litter clean-up efforts by their crews and Washington Department of Ecology crews in the Puyallup area. Other Ecology Youth Corps and Adopt-a-Highway work is also underway across the state.
Litter clean-up is a costly effort that is almost completely preventable. Ecology estimates more than 12 million pounds of litter is tossed or blown onto highways every year.
WSDOT and Ecology want to remind people there are simple steps they can take to prevent litter:
Properly cover and tie down all loads on all trips.
Keep trash and debris securely gathered in vehicles, so it doesn’t fall or fly out of vehicles.
Properly dispose of all trash in a vehicle litter bag or in a bin at a destination.
If able, consider creating an Adopt-a-Highway group through WSDOT to join the valuable volunteers who help clear roadsides and other rights of way.
Visit LitterFreeWA.org and SecureLoadsWA.org for more litter prevention tips.
With violent cannabis shop robberies on the rise, state and federal leaders urge Congress to pass SAFE Banking Act
Cannabis retail stores have been experiencing a surge of violent robberies this year. More than 50 cannabis stores throughout Washington state have been victimized by robberies so far in 2022. That’s more than 50 robberies in less than three months — many of them by perpetrators with firearms and two of which resulted in people being killed.
“There are likely several reasons for the dramatic surge, though one reason is starkly obvious: cannabis businesses have limited financial services available to them and largely operate in cash,” wrote Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson in an op-ed earlier this week. Inslee and Ferguson have been advocating for the past several years. “Congress must take action immediately to pass the SAFE Banking Act which would, at long last, allow cannabis retailers to more easily use common cashless payment options such as credit and debit cards.”
"We urge leaders of the Senate to act immediately and send the SAFE Banking Act to President Biden for his signature. We’ve been asking for access to banking services since 2013. We’re witnessing the horrific and tragic consequences of Congress’s failure to act," said Inslee & Ferguson.
Washington Senator Patty Murray also held a press conference this week calling for passage of the bill.
"It makes absolutely no sense that legal businesses are being forced to operate entirely in cash, and it's dangerous — and sometimes even fatal — for employees behind the register, but this situation is also completely preventable,” Murray said.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would allow banks to work with state-sanctioned and regulated cannabis businesses which would open up more cashless payment options for retailers.
Read Inslee and Ferguson's full op-ed.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education visits Washington schools to highlight American Rescue Plan
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten came to Washington state this week as part of a nationwide “ARPStars” tour to highlight ways schools are using American Rescue Plan investments to support K-12 students’ recovery from the pandemic.
One year ago, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. Since then, more than 99% of elementary and secondary school students have returned to classrooms for in-person learning
Marten’s Washington state stops included Alderwood Elementary School, Options High School and Lummi Nation School in Bellingham, Mary Purcell Elementary School in Sedro-Woolley, SAMI: Science and Math Institute, and Lister Elementary School in Tacoma.
Congressional leaders, state Superintendent Chris Reykdal, local elected officials, and Inslee’s senior advisor on education attended the meetings.
Read more about the ARPStars tour, and read coverage of Marten’s stops in Bellingham and Sedro-Woolley.
Seattle Starbucks Roastery workers successfully vote to unionize
One of Starbucks’ flagship roastery locations in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is newly unionized following a vote by employees to join with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. This is the second Seattle location to vote to unionize.
Workers at over 200 stores around the country have filed for union elections.
"Congratulations to the workers of the Seattle Starbucks Roastery on their successful union election,” Inslee said. “Across the country workers are gaining a seat at the bargaining table. We are proud of their leadership here at home at multiple locations in Seattle, and stores in Olympia and Everett seeking to join them. This is how Washington remains a top state to work and to do business. When workers have the right to organize and have a collective voice on wages and working conditions, we all win.”.