Washington Environmental Council Programs
Climate & Clean Energy
WEC’s Climate and Clean Energy Agenda is a long‐term commitment to advance policies to transition our state to clean energy, prevent expansion of coal and oil export facilities through our communities, limit carbon pollution and use energy efficiently. We’re working closely with a wide range of partners to ensure that our climate and clean energy policies are equitable, drive innovation and make Washington a leader in climate protection.
People For Puget Sound
The People For Puget Sound Program at WEC is working to protect and restore Puget Sound to health. We’re focusing on improving water quality through innovative measures like green infrastructure, protecting and restoring habitat critical to the recovery of Puget Sound species, and engaging citizens in our work to protect the Sound, including stopping the massive expansion of oil transport that threatens the Sound.
WEC has a long history defending and protecting our state’s forests. Our work is now focused on developing new models of sustainable forestry that recognize and value the services our forests provide to our economy and the health of our communities, such as clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration.
Voter Education Program
The nonpartisan Voter Education Program specializes in voter engagement and capacity building for Washington’s environmental community and other allied groups. By providing innovative tools, resources, people power and data, the VEP program is essential to building effective strategies and achieving results for the environmental community.
The Environmental Priorities Coalition
WEC helped to create the Environmental Priorities Coalition 12 years ago. It has grown into a network of more than twenty leading environmental advocacy groups in Washington State who come together each year to advance a limited number of policies in the state legislature. Since its inception, the Coalition has helped secured significant environmental gains and is a model that has inspired similar coalitions in other states.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Here in Washington, we’re at a turning point. We have a chance to build on our history of leadership in climate and clean energy policy – steps that have led to our growing green economy. We need to build upon this momentum to make sure we stay on the cutting edge and make the transition to a clean energy future. Yet at the same time the fossil fuel industry is threatening Washington’s climate and clean energy future with their interest in making our state a fossil fuel highway, at the expense of the public health, and safety of our communities’ and our environment.
Currently, increased oil transport through the state is putting the health and safety of our environment and communities at risk. The number of trains and volume of oil they are carrying has increased dramatically in recent years and is slated to grow even further. WEC and a broad coalition of partners are working together to educate the public on the risks both to their safety and Puget Sound as well as engage them in the state and federal decision making processes that are required for the continued expansion.
In 2014 WEC organized 1,850 people to attend 8 hearings and helped generate 4,020 comments saying no to more oil transportation through our state and waterways.
Along with saying no we are also saying yes to building a clean energy economy is Washington and combatting climate change.
WEC continues to address the need to keep Washington on the path of climate action. WEC is proud to be a founding member of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. The Alliance is Washington State’s coalition of labor, and businesses dedicated to reducing global warming pollution and strengthening our economy.
Fundamental to this work is to ensure that any policies we support are effective in reducing carbon emissions and help promote a just transition to a clean energy economy by investing directly in communities disproportionally harmed by carbon pollution.
WEC also continues to defend Puget Sound from emerging threats like increased oil transport to the number one cause of pollution in the Sound; polluted stormwater runoff. WEC is working to reduce this pollution by working with municipalities across the state identifying the local clean water projects and advocating for state funding to support them. In 2013 WEC worked to secure $200 million in the budget for stormwater and Puget Sound restoration and we’re advocating a similar level of support in current budget discussions.
WEC also worked with the Department of Ecology and local governments to implement a new program that funds clean water projects which offer the greatest environmental benefit. And it’s already working -- in the City of Burien a regional stormwater facility is reducing polluted runoff to improve the health of the Miller Creek watershed within Puget Sound.