Lawmakers want to declare ‘climate emergency’ in Washington

Washington lawmakers propose a bill that would declare a "climate emergency"

OLYMPIA, Wash — Several lawmakers, including Spokane Rep. Marcus Riccelli, want the state to declare a “climate emergency” and give the governor the power to declare an energy emergency and limit greenhouse gas emissions.

House Bill 2829 was read for the first time in Olympia Friday.

It states that a climate emergency “threatens our state, region, nation, civilization, humanity, and the natural world.”

The lawmakers state that the effects are already being felt and that they “will only intensify without swift intervention.”

Those impacts include more intense and frequent wildfires; glacier loss; flooding; drought; dwindling fish runs; insect die-off; Orca and other species on the brink of extinction; extreme temperatures and other issues.

The bill says that this recognition gives the governor the power to declare an energy emergency, giving him the authority to exercise emergency powers to limit energy use and the emission of greenhouse gases. Those powers already exist under a law passed in 1985.

Friday, the bill was referred to the House Environment and Energy Committee.

It was introduced by Rep. Steve Kirby (D) from Tacoma. Other lawmakers on the bill are Riccelli, and Reps. Gael Tarleton (D), Gerry Pollett (D) and Nicole Macri (D), all from the Seattle area.