You are here: Home Resources Washington State Climate Action and Green Jobs Bill

Washington State Climate Action and Green Jobs Bill

— filed under:

The Climate Action and Green Jobs bill was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire in March of 2008. This unprecedented bill combines for the first time a green-collar jobs training initiative and greenhouse gas reduction strategies in a single piece of legislation. This approach busts apart the tired “jobs vs. the environment” frame that has been used so effectively to defeat efforts to save the planet and build a green economy. The day after the Governor announced the legislation the headline in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer declared, “Gov. Gregoire announces bill to fight climate change, create jobs.”

Over the last several years, Washington has been a leader in pioneering policies that drive invest¬ment in the clean energy economy. These include a renewable electricity standard—passed by a voter initiative in 2006 (I-937)—mandating that by 2020, 15 percent of the state’s electricity needs must be met with renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In 2007, Governor Christine Gregoire issued an executive order, later affirmed by the state legislature in SB 6001, creating goals to reduce Washington’s global-warming pollution and increase the number of green jobs in the state to 25,000 by 2020.  Responding to this opportunity, the Washington State Apollo Alliance, Climate Solutions, Solid Ground, and The Workforce Alliance (with the key involvement of Green For All staffers Jeremy Hays and Jason Walsh) led a collaborative effort to develop a proposal that would link a green-collar jobs training initiative and greenhouse gas reduction strategies in a single piece of legislation.

The proposal that was ultimately developed by this collaboration was included by Governor Gregoire as a high-profile part of her governor-request legislation for 2008’s short session in Olympia.  The legislation, as introduced, implemented a process of meeting the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. At the same time, it created a green jobs initiative that included (1) labor market analysis of the kind and quality of green jobs in demand; (2) partnerships of key stakeholders to develop strategic plans for closing skills gaps for green jobs in specific industries; (3) and a fund to pay for training and other supports for green-collar workers.

On March 5 the Legislature approved the bill and sent it to the Governor for her signature. While there were many efforts to weaken the bill or defeat it outright—and changes made to the original legislation—the unprecedented linkage it establishes between climate protection and green jobs is a model that makes both policy and political sense, and serves as an instructive example for policymakers in other states to emulate.

The final version of the bill, as signed into law, is here.

A case study providing greater detail about how the bill was developed and its specific provisions is here.

Selected press coverage of the legislation:


Document Actions