|If you would like to learn how to become part of the Environmental Stewardship and Peace Working Group contact
Clerk, Environmental Stewardship & Peace Working Group: Leni Skarin
2017 Environmental Stewardship and Peace Focus Issues
- Protect the strategies of faith based action and free speech, part of our witness to prevent the erosion of environmental protections and to call for stewardship of the environment.
- Sen Doug Ericksen has introduced legislation to create a felony crime of economic terrorism to charge those who commit civil disobedience obstructing fossil fuel shipments and expansion projects. He has stated,“the measure would allow felony prosecution of people involved in protests that block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk.”
- Quakers have a long history of speaking out in peaceful demonstrations, rallies, and marches. Civil disobedience actions have been an option for participants in peaceful protests for decades. Criminalizing such actions is contrary to both constitutionally protected free speech and Quaker testimonies.
- Seek ways to support action to mitigate climate change
- We support strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Several bills are possible in the 2017 session. The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy has created a proposal for a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the proceeds to be used first to “address the needs of disproportionately impacted communities, workers, and Energy Intensive and Trade Exposed Businesses.”
- The Governor’s budget proposal contains a request for a carbon tax of $25 per ton on carbon pollution, to generate an estimated $1.1 billion in revenue. About half funds raised would be used to support full funding of education; the other half would go for investments in clean energy, water infrastructure, transportation, and efforts to reduce costs (of the tax) to businesses and households with lower incomes. A detailed analysis of governor’s proposal is available on the Budget & Policy Center website: http://budgetandpolicy.org/schmudget/inslee-proposes-bold-plan-to-invest-in-kids-clean-up-tax-code
- Support solar tax credits for homeowners and communities. Current tax credits are to expire in 2020. More information will be available soon when analysis of the bill recently introduced, HB 1048, is complete. It is likely that we will support this bill.
We will also be monitoring
Bills to reduce environmental protections. Many such bills are expected since the incoming federal administration has indicated a willingness to reduce environmental regulations.
We support further research on these topics:
- A new proposal developed by a study group of The Backbone Campaign called Solutionary Rail has generated a book with a detailed and elaborate plan to electrify the northern rail corridor from Seattle to Chicago with a combination of public and private business investments. The electricity would come from green energy sources, many of them local in the region impacted. Worker protections and new legislation to create more equitable right of way fees for Native Americans whose lands are traversed by rail are also included. The proposal would at the same time create an electricity transmission grid by building high capacity transmission lines above the railway right of way.
- The US electricity generation and transmission grid is incapable of handling large, intermittent, geographically dispersed power inputs from solar or wind electrical generation, should renewables be significantly ramped up. The grid is also very vulnerable to outages due to increased storm intensities and sea level rise. It is unlikely that either political party is ideologically opposed to updating the grid (though they likely differ on how to pay for it). There is no specific proposal to consider supporting for grid modernization, but further study could be undertaken.
- Business subsidies for telecommuting, which might be an incentive for some businesses to allow more workers to do this. The benefits of reduced travel by car for such workers can be significant. There are states in the east, like New York, that have such programs.
Longer Term Goals (How we measure the impact of our activity):
- Maintain the environmental balance that supports the needs of all living creatures while also protecting public health and providing an improved quality of life
- Ensure an improved economic future by not wasting or compromising our environmental resources
- Provide local control over state assets to increase state resources