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OPALCO Supports WA I-1631

The Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO) Board of Directors support renewable power, electric vehicles, carbon reduction and protection of our Salish Sea. Washington’s Initiative 1631 is a step in the right direction to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy, despite flaws in the current version of the bill.

We’d like to see the legislation coming from this initiative do more to reduce carbon pollution and channel more of the funds collected back into renewable programs. However, passing
I-1631 now moves Washington forward in alignment with OPALCO’s vision for investments in renewable energy in place of fossil fuels for the health of our membership and the sustainability of our remote island communities. It will provide incentives for fuel switching (beneficial electrification) as costs for propane and gas increase – and encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, electrification of our ferry system and remove barriers for siting new renewable energy projects.

The intent of I-1631 is consistent with OPALCO’s long history of stewardship of our archipelago. As residents of the Salish Sea, we are committed to protecting our sensitive environment and want clean water and clean air to benefit all inhabitants of our region, including the Orcas whales and all of the creatures who are impacted by carbon pollution.

We understand that not all of our peers in the electric power industry are supporting this initiative in its current form. We agree with our peers that some of the language of this bill needs improvement and we want to see greater support for renewables and siting for renewable projects, consideration for displaced workers and environmental justice for the communities that will be impacted by this measure.

However, we feel that we cannot afford to delay legislature any further that would begin to address the critical issues such as clean air, clean water, cleaner transportation options and energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses that this measure will invest in. The legislation coming from this initiative will save our membership money on their overall energy bills and will make strides to reduce carbon in our environment.

While we hope for more, we support I-1631 and whole-heartedly commit to working with our legislators to build on this foundation toward a healthier Washington for all.