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PNC-UCC Board supports effort to cut pollution

At the request of Earth Ministry Inland Power and Light, the PNC Board recently expressed support for Initiative 1631, the Protect Washington Act.

For the last three years, Earth Ministry along with Northwest tribes, labor leaders, communities of color and low-income advocates, energy policy experts and environmental groups have worked together to draft a clean energy policy for Washington state.

Since April, the diverse coalition has gathered signatures to qualify this initiative for the November ballot. More than 100 Earth Ministry congregations across the state contributed nearly 10,000 signatures.

This is an effort to promote state’s goal for reducing pollution. Jessie Dye, senior campaign strategist with Earth Ministry, said the goal is for faith leaders to be present in the I-1631 campaign to meet carbon reduction goals to reduce pollution and make massive investments in clean energy infrastructure.

“Pope Francis teaches that care for the Earth and care for the poor are two sides of the same coin,” she said.

“I-1631 has support from people of faith because it puts a price on pollution, invests in a clean energy economy and tailors funding to projects in areas that have suffered the most from dirty air and contaminated water. God’s creation and Earth’s ecosystems are crying out for long-term solutions for a changing climate. The initiative is a first step towards creating a healthy and homegrown energy future,” Jessie explained.

 Initiative 1631 will:

• Accelerate the transition to renewable power by investing in clean energy infrastructure.

• Reduce air pollution by 20 million tons a year in Washington by cleaning up emissions from industrial polluters and deploying fleets of zero-emission vehicles.

• Create jobs by investing in renewable energy projects such as solar panels on schools, wind turbines on farms and forest and stream restoration.

• Impose a $15 per ton fee on the state’s largest polluters like the oil industry and utilities that have not yet switched to clean energy. Do not mistake a “fee” for a “tax”. By law, money from a fee on pollution must be directed to solve the problem of pollution and cannot be spent on political pet projects or general fund support.

• Direct specific projects for Tribal concerns and benefit these communities. Native Nations are key supporters.

• Target investments to front-line areas most affected by pollution. Equitable decision-making about clean energy projects is part of the policy.

• Mitigate impacts to affected workers and therefore is supported by some of the state’s largest labor unions. It will create more than 40,000 jobs, train workers for new industries, and keep jobs in Washington State.

• Yield a huge return on investment in reduced public health-care costs. Auto and diesel exhaust causes birth defects and cancer and air pollution makes asthma and other respiratory illnesses much worse.

 “Policies like this can be complicated and the details hard to navigate,” said Jessie.  “From my perspective, having such a broad coalition involved in drafting the initiative produced a creative, elegant, and equitable strategy for reducing pollution and creating a clean energy future.

“We know that oil companies like Exxon, BP and Shell plan to pour millions into our state to stop this policy and protect their profits,” she said.  “But we also know that when we stand together our partnerships are strong and the wind of grace is at our back.”

For information, call 206-632-2426 or visit


Copyright © September 2018


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