Washington Energy Conservation, Initiative 937 (2006)
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I-937 requires certain electric utilities with 25,000 or more customers to meet certain targets for energy conservation and use of renewable energy resources, as defined, including energy credits, or pay penalties.
Fiscal impact statement
The State of Washington Office of Financial Management prepares a fiscal estimate for every ballot measure that goes on the statewide ballot in Washington. Their fiscal estimate for I-933 said:
- "Initiative 937 would cost state government $2.34 million in administrative costs over 14 years or an average of $167,000 per year. The offices of the Attorney General, Auditor, Utilities and Transportation Commission, and the departments of Community Trade and Economic Development, and Labor and Industries each would have a role in monitoring or assisting compliance. The initiative’s fiscal impact on Washington’s local governments cannot be determined due to variables ranging from future fuel costs to changes in demand for electricity. For the same reason, the impact of electricity costs for state and local governments cannot be determined."
Groups and individuals that came out in support of I-937 included Washington State Senators Luke Esser (R), Dave Schmidt (R), Debbie Regala (D), Bill Finkbeiner (R), Erik Poulsen (D), Karen Fraser (D),Craig Pridemore (D), Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D), and Karen Keiser (D) and state representatives Toby Nixon (R), Zack Hudgins (D), Brian J. Sullivan (D), Fred Jarrett (R), Pat Sullivan (D), Geoff Simpson (D), Rodney Tom (D), Dave Upthegrove (D), Brendan Williams (D)
I-937 was also supported by:
- League of Women Voters
- Washington State Democrats
- American Lung Association
- American Cancer Society
- SEIU Washington State Council
- The Olympian
Arguments made in favor of I-937 in the official voter guide include:
- "As Washington’s demand for energy grows, we can choose where we get our electricity."
- "We can either burn more fossil fuels like coal that pollute the air. Or we can use more clean, affordable renewable energy like wind and solar power – produced here in the Northwest."
- "It requires the largest electric utilities to get 15% of their electricity from new renewable energy by 2020."
- "It requires utilities to help consumers and businesses save money through energy conservation."
- "I-937 is an approach that’s already working in 20 states."
- "Pollution from fossil fuels contributes to thousands of cases of lung disease and asthma each year. Renewable energy helps protect our families’ health by keeping our air clean."
Opponents included many small co-op electrical providers. as well as the following:
- Big Bend Electrical Cooperative
- Boise Cascade
- Chamber of Commerces: Bellevue, Greater Seattle, Kelso Longview, Pasco, Spokane Regional, Tacoma-Pierce County, Wenatchee Valley, West Richland Area
- Modern Electric Water Company
- National Association of Manufacturers
- Peninsula Light Company
- PUDs of Benton, Cowlitz, Franklin, Lewis, and Mason County.
- Representatives Brian Blake (D) and Dean Takko
- Senators Jean Berkey (D) and Mark L. Doumit (D)
- Snohomish County PUD commissioner Kathy Vaughn
- Tanner Electric Cooperative
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Washington Farm Bureau
- Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Arguments made against passing I-937 included:
- "It will increase electric rates and utility taxes."
- "I-937 will cause low-cost hydropower to be sold to California while local utilities buy higher cost alternative energy for our homes and businesses."
- "Mandates and fines proposed by I-937 are not the way to promote alternative energy. We are paying too much for our energy bills now."
- "Wind and sunshine are irregular energy sources. Hydropower or thermal plants are needed to supply steady power for homes and businesses. But hydropower resources are being cut to protect fish and may not be available to supplement alternatives.
Donors to the campaign for the measure:
- WASHINGTONIANS FOR CLEAN ENERGY: $1,674,310
- Total: $1,674,310
Donors to the campaign against the measure:
- NO ON I-937: $592,190
- Total: $592,190
- Overall Total: $2,266,500
- Washington 2006 ballot measures
- List of Washington ballot measures
- 2006 ballot measures
- Washington State Senate
- Washington House of Representatives
- State of Washington 2006 ballot measure election results
- Washington Secretary of State - Initiative 937
- 2006 Washington Ballot Measures Voter Guide
- WUTC: Initiative Measure No. 937
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