Energy & Environment

From the shores of Puget Sound to the majesty of the Palouse, we live in a magnificent state. Part of our responsibility as Washingtonians is to keep our state’s water and air clean for our families and our families’ families. The governor is working with leaders around the state to reduce air and water pollution and keep our neighborhoods great places to work and play.

Current Work

  • Protecting Puget Sound. Executive Order 18-02 on Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force
  • Results Washington. Goal 3: Sustainable Energy and a Clean Environment 
  • Reduce carbon pollution. 
    • Locally: After more than a year of stakeholder discussions, the Governor’s Clean Air Rule went into effect in January 2017. The rule requires major sources of greenhouse gasses to limit and reduce carbon pollution and incentivizes investments to reduce fossil fuel use and accelerate the adoption of clean energy. Washington is the first state to use its Clean Air Act authority to fight climate change and joins California and other states in New England in putting a price on carbon pollution.  
    • Transportation: While attending the Paris Climate Conference in December, 2015, the Governor announced a commitment to double the state’s commitment to Electric Vehicle deployment in the fleet to 20%. To date, the state has exceeded the goal for new vehicle acquisitions with Zero Emission vehicles comprising almost 30% of new purchases since the announcement. Washington remains among the top three states for ZEV penetration and the state is helping to lead that trend through its aggressive procurement policy.
    • Globally: Washington joined partners in the Pacific Coast Collaborative, a West Coast initiative for climate action and leadership, as well as dozens of states and regions from around the world who signed the Under 2 MOU, a global commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, at the Marrakesh Conference of the Parties, the first global climate conference since the signing of the Paris accords. Representatives of the Governor’s office shared Washington’s commitment to US state climate leadership and to making continued progress to accelerate the clean energy economy.
  • Strengthen the shellfish industry. Through state, local, federal, non-profit and tribal partnerships, Gov. Inslee is working to reopen shellfish growing areas closed due to pollution, restore native Olympia oysters, and improve coordination and predictability for permitting processes.
  • Oil transportation safety. An unprecedented amount of oil is now moving along our rail lines and we’re working to keep our communities safe and provide the best tools to prevent and respond to oil spills.
  • Results Washington. Gov. Inslee’s goals for cleaning up contaminated sites, improving air quality, increasing acreage dedicated to working farms and expanding outdoor recreation are all on track to meet or exceed targets.

Key Successes


  • National and international leadership on energy.
    • In February 2016, Gov. Inslee co-led a bipartisan coalition of 17 governors from around the country in an interstate agreement to promote clean energy, economic development, and a new American energy future.
    • In late 2015, Gov. Inslee attended COP21 in Paris, where he signed on to several agreements in an effort to boost global cooperation on climate action and strengthen Washington’s commitment to be part of global action on climate. There, he announced his new initiative to accelerate adoption of zero emission electric vehicles in public and private fleets, a key step towards meeting the Results Washington goal of putting 50,000 EVs on the road by 2020.
  • Reduce carbon pollution
    • Locally: Gov. Inslee directed the state Deptartment of Ecology to develop a regulatory cap on carbon emissions. The Clean Air Rule will help our state continue to reduce pollution and clean our air and water. 
    • Globally: Washington is part of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, a West Coast initiative for climate action and leadership. Gov. Inslee recently joined other West Coast governors, the B.C environment minister, and the mayors of six major West Coast cities to sign the Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7). The agreement outlines areas of cooperation to slash greenhouse gas emissions and advance a clean energy economy, with a focus on energy systems, buildings, transportation, and waste management. Also during CEM7, the PCC leaders signed the Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan which has a strong emphasis on ocean acidification; the integration of clean energy into the power grid; support for efforts by the insurance industry and regulatory system to highlight the economic costs of climate change; and so-called “super pollutants” (also known as short-lived climate pollutants).
  • Electric vehicle incentives. Gov. Inslee signed into law HB 2778, which helps make electric vehicles (EV) more affordable to meet the governor’s “Results Washington” goal of 50,000 EVs on the road by 2020. The extension and expansion of this EV sales tax exemption has been a top priority for the governor since his first day in office.
  • Shellfish. Gov. Inslee launched the second phase of the Washington Shellfish Initiative renewing the state’s commitment to supporting clean water commerce, creating family wage jobs, and elevating the role that shellfish play in keeping our marine waters healthy. 


  • Electric vehicles. By signing HB 1853, Gov. Inslee increased accessibility and affordability of EVs. This bill helps utilities build out electric vehicle infrastructure and gets us closer to Gov. Inslee’s Results Washington goal of 50,000 EVs on the road by 2020.
  • Safer oil transportation. When it comes to oil moving along our rail lines, Gov. Inslee’s top priority is keeping our communities safe. HB 1449 will improve safety, spill response and preparedness for oil transportation in our state. 
  • Clean water for shellfish. The governor’s office continues to boost the Clean Samish Initiative’s efforts to tackle pollution and reopen shellfish beds in Samish Bay.
  • Clean energy investments. Gov. Inslee secured over $100 million in capital budget funds to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency development and deployment. 


  • Climate action. 
    • Gov. Inslee’s climate Executive Order outlines next steps to reduce pollution in Washington state. The order focuses on seven key areas:
      • The Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce (CERT) made recommendations for a carbon pollution reduction program to the 2015 legislature
      • Gov. Inslee is working to assist and support the reduction of coal-fired electricity in an effort being led by electric utilities.
      • Creating a multi modal transit system and accelerating our use of clean cars and clean fuels. See report: "A Clean Fuel Standard in Washington"
      • Recommending updates to the state’s greenhouse gas emission limits.
      • Focusing on saving costs and reducing emissions from buildings by improving their efficiency.
      • Developing a new state program to support clean technology innovation in the public and private sectors.
      • Leading efforts to reduce carbon and increase energy efficiency throughout state government.
  • Outdoor recreation economy. Gov. Inslee created a blue ribbon task force to transform Washington’s outdoor recreation industry, tourism, and funding support for recreation areas.
  • Shellfish industry. Through the governor’s Shellfish Initiative, a new shellfish restoration hatchery was opened in May 2014 at the NOAA Fisheries Manchester Research Station in Port Orchard. This sets the stage for larger-scale restoration of native species in the future.


  • Climate action. Gov. Inslee brought together a bipartisan group of lawmakers (the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup) to develop a plan for the state to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets (SB 5802). Hundreds of Washingtonians made their voices heard during this planning process, urging the state to take action on climate.
  • Resource management. Gov. Inslee’s Yakima Basin jobs, water and fish bill (SB 5367) works with agencies and local partners to manage water in the Yakima River Basin. Droughts and water shortages have harsh impacts on salmon, crops and homes in the region. The bill enhances stream flows for salmon, provides farmers with water, buys land for habitat restoration and public recreation and secures future water supplies. The legislation also created the Teanaway Community Forest Trust to ensure protection and public access to forest lands in the state.
  • Clean energy investments. 
    • The governor’s Clean Energy Fund invests $40 million (2013-15 capital budget) in clean energy technologies that save energy and cut energy costs, reduce harmful pollution and help create jobs.
    • The 2013–15 operating budget invests $6 million in the creation of UW’s Clean Energy Institute. The Institute focuses on next-generation technology for energy storage and solar energy.