Ericksen bill promotes Washington’s clean-energy advantage

— Creates clean-energy task force
— Will promote and enhance Washington’s clean-energy economy
— Pitch for manufacturers: Build here and reduce your carbon footprint

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.

OLYMPIA – Washington’s big advantages in clean energy could become a national selling point for corporate recruitment under a bill sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen that won approval last week in the state Senate.

In an era of sensitivity to the environment, manufacturers need to know Washington already is one of the greenest states around, observes Ericksen, R-Ferndale, chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. Senate Bill 6545 creates a legislative task force to consider tax, regulatory and environmental policies that advance Washington’s clean-energy edge. The bill passed 35-14 and awaits action in the House.

And there is an important message behind it. “Sometimes it seems like we want to beat ourselves up on the carbon issue here in Washington state, but what we ought to be doing is pointing out that we already are one of the cleanest states in the country,” Ericksen said. “You can build a widget in Washington with a lower carbon footprint than pretty much anywhere else in the country. And as manufacturers look for ways to go green, they need to know they can come here and have a huge head-start.

“If we want to do our part for the planet, we should do everything we can to bring manufacturing to Washington state – not chase it away.”

Ericksen’s bill calls attention to Washington’s heavy reliance on power from non-polluting sources, particularly hydropower – renewable energy of the cleanest, cheapest and most reliable kind.

— Washington is the leading producer of electricity from hydroelectric sources.
— Washington ranks 10th for the production of electricity from wind.
— Washington ranks 50th in carbon dioxide emissions from the generation of electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“People often argue Washington needs to demonstrate leadership on the environment – and they forget we already are a leader,” Ericksen said. “We need to recognize and capitalize on our clean energy advantage. And we need manufacturers to know they can come here, realize the benefits of our inexpensive electricity and our trained workforce – and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.”