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Key takeaways from the PSCAA clean fuel press conference

This week a press conference with Climate Solutions, the Washington Environmental Council, and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility convened to discuss developments in clean fuels policy moving forward in Washington State with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA). The Q&A portion of the discussion sought to offer a deep dive on regional health impacts and prospects for statewide policy in 2020.

 “PSCAA’s work will spur new clean infrastructure that increases access, affordability, and feasibility of cleaner transportation options like adding electric vehicle infrastructure, exploring electric vehicle car sharing programs, and clean diesel, while addressing public health and air quality issues resulting from transportation pollution,” panelists began as they explained the draft regional clean fuel standards rule. 

A draft of the regional clean fuel standards rule is expected to be released early next month. A main goal of the press conference was to discuss the economic analysis of the rule, and how this rule differs from other efforts in the state. 

A recent PSCAA economic analysis shows that the region can significantly reduces climate emissions and harmful air pollutants while the region’s economy continues to grow and add 330,000 jobs. The study also shows that this policy would reduce total cost per-mile traveled for residents as drivers use more clean fuels options.

Here are some key takeaways from the press conference: 

  • Thursday the agency board will review an economic analysis of the Clean Fuel Standard’s potential impact. This meeting is open to the public and public participation is encouraged. 
  • The draft will be released the week of October 7th, and public comment will be available as well. On December 19th, there will be a public hearing and a board meeting regarding the draft. The public is able to testify during this process. 
  • In early 2020, the board will take feedback from that public hearing and consider these during the final rule making process. 
  • The process has been delayed more than anticipated but is still moving forward. 
  • A major difference between previous climate legislation and PSCAA is the trajectory, but the structure of the programs are the same. PSCAA is looking for a stronger clean air carbon reduction intensity of 25% by 2025. This is more aggressive than the state standard. 

“The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has set a target of reducing climate pollution by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and is considering adopting a regional Clean Fuel Standard to help meet that target. A Clean Fuel Standard will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels using a flexible market-based approach that supports innovation,” panelists at the press conference explained. 

Washington State Wire called in to ask about policy priorities in the 2020 legislative session. Panelists explained that a number of climate solution bills are likely to be introduced this session. Another press release is expected in the coming weeks focusing on policy priorities for the next session. 

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