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Legislation introduced to address climate change in state and local planning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Jan. 11, 2023

OLYMPIA—Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes) and Rep. Davina Duerr (D-Bothell) have introduced legislation that aims to address climate change by updating Washington’s planning framework.

“This is about protecting our homes and businesses from floods, wildfires, and droughts while reducing greenhouse gases,” said Duerr. “Housing, transportation, and energy use are all related to how we plan—or fail to plan. When we do it right, it saves taxpayer money and creates a healthier, more sustainable state for all of us.”

The bills, SB 5203 and HB 1181, would update the Growth Management Act (GMA) to establish a new ‘climate change and resiliency’ goal. The legislation would also increase housing capacity within urban growth areas, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution in historically impacted communities, and address adverse impacts to cities and counties due to extreme weather events.

“This bill is an important step forward for local governments to plan ahead and be prepared for the challenges posed by climate change,” said Lovelett. “Our state has long been a leader on climate action, and this policy will help to ensure that our development is sustainable, that our communities and infrastructure are resilient, and that we are protecting our open spaces and quality of life for future generations to enjoy.”

Funding in the legislation would support cities and counties across the state with the resources and technical assistance necessary to comply with the new requirements. The bills were introduced at request of the Office of the Governor.

“One of the most important ways to protect communities from the impacts of climate change and to reduce overall emissions is to plan for it,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Last session we came incredibly close to passing a version of this bill. I hope this is the year we can finish the job. Fully addressing climate change will require intentional and cooperative action at all levels of government.”

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