Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Two Green-Collar Jobs Bills Pass the House

Legislation sponsored by two House Democrats aimed at encouraging growth in renewable energy jobs and manufacturing has been approved by the House of Representatives
House Bill 1301, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Morris, improves an existing program that provides incentives for energy consumers who use renewable sources to meet their electricity needs. It also includes new performance measurement tools to increase accountability and ensure that the tax credits administered under this program are accomplishing what they are meant to – helping to create new jobs in our state.
The state will use metrics, such as how many consumers are receiving credits and where they are buying their renewable energy systems, to measure the success of the program and assess how credits are given out. This will help reward companies that manufacture their products in Washington, expanding our clean energy economy and creating good-paying jobs for Washington families.
The second piece of legislation is House Bill 1663, sponsored by Rep. Steve Tharinger. It extends an existing sales and use tax exemption for a kind of biomass called “hog fuel” which, incidentally, has nothing to do with hogs. Hog fuel is a wood waste product, created from the limbs and branches left behind when timber is harvested. Turning this wood waste into renewable energy eliminates the need for open pile burning at the timber harvesting site, which means fewer emissions into our atmosphere.
In addition to being environmentally friendly, the resulting biomass product is a commodity itself that helps support timber industry jobs.These family-wage jobs tend to be located in areas of our state that suffer from stubborn unemployment, so it’s important to preserve these jobs and help the industry find ways to stay competitive in the global market.
Both pieces of legislation will create or maintain jobs here in Washington while reducing our dependence on outdated fossil fuels – further proof that it doesn’t have to be a choice between growing our economy and protecting our environment.

Read this story in Spanish.