A view of a smoky sky over Seattle. Wildfires have become more common in the summer in Washington State. (Credit: Found Drama, Creative Commons)

As a parent, I am worried about another summer where our children can’t play outside for weeks at a time because they will be exposed to the worst air quality in the world. Destructive wildfires filling the air with toxic smoke have increased in Washington and are disproportionately impacting our vulnerable populations. We know that climate change and the resulting increase in the average annual temperatures will continue to dramatically elevate the risk and severity of forest fires and other climate related events. Enacting long overdue reforms to the Growth Management Act (GMA) this session is necessary to meet our state’s climate goals, protect our wildlands, and ecosystems. 
 
The Washington State GMA is a state law that requires state and local governments to manage and plan for growth. The Washington legislature should enact reforms to the GMA this session and pass legislation such as HB 1099 to ensure that our cities and counties reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect against the impact of climate change. Unfortunately, the current version of HB 1099 that passed the Senate removes the requirement that our fastest growing communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions and even removes the term “climate change.”

This is unacceptable and will impede further progress towards meeting Washington’s climate reduction goals. Your legislative leaders still have a chance to restore the integrity of HB 1099 by restoring language that will integrate and embed climate action goals into local jurisdictions’ plans to manage their growth in conference. Urge them to fix HB 1099. Legislative leaders have an opportunity to listen to the voices of the broad and growing coalition of community members, including environmentalists, labor, youth, and Black, Indigenous, and communities of color, labor to require climate change mitigation actions and funding for local implementation to address the climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer for bold climate action. Our future depends on how we tackle climate change today. 

Email your Senator and Representatives asking them to fix HB 1099. Now is the time to take action for our climate.

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Article Author
Sarah Reyneveld (Guest Contributor)

Sarah Reyneveld is a public sector attorney, environmental and community advocate. She serves as Vice Chair of the Washington Conservation Voters.