At last month’s Northwest Business Club meeting, Mayor Kelli Linville, led the audience to believe that this issue was dead. Say it isn’t so, Mayor Linville…what gives?
NEWS ALERT: Proposed Energy Bill Could Cost Bellingham Residents Millions City Council to Discuss Proposals on Monday
by Brett Bonner, WBA Public Policy Director
A new law in Bellingham that moves towards 100% renewable electricity, heating and transportation by 2035 will be discussed again Monday at City Hall. It’s called the Climate Protection Action Plan 2017.
If the Bellingham City Council passes the measure, Industry representatives it could cost businesses and consumers millions of dollars—hitting the elderly and low-income families particularly hard. They also say the targets are not technologically achievable and would create serious reliability issues.
There are a few options on the table for City Council Agenda Bill 21905, but they would likely lead to similar outcomes. One option aims at:
- 100% renewable energy for municipal facilities by 2030
- 100% renewable energy use for the Bellingham community’s electricity supply by 2030
- 100% renewable energy for community heating and transportation by 2035
The language for an alternative option appears less restrictive. While still aiming for 100% renewable energy, it doesn’t put a timeline on implementation. It says a task force would identify accelerated renewable energy targets for municipal facilities and achievable energy targets in the community.
A similar measure was proposed at the state level during the last legislative session, and lawmakers and determined not enough information was known and decided not to vote. Legislators agreed to consider a committee to study energy goals.
Whatcom Business Alliance Board Member Lynn Murphy is the Senior Local Government Affairs Representative for Puget Sound Energy. She says PSE supports the Bellingham City Council’s renewable ambitions, but are asking them to first determine feasibility, cost and impacts before setting any targets.
Those who believe the Bellingham City Council should first work with state lawmakers in Olympia to get all the facts before mandating new, expensive energy targets are urged to contact their councilmembers.
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The Council will discuss the measure during Monday’s committee meetings beginning at 2 p.m. A vote could happen at Monday’s regular meeting at 7 p.m.