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(1) The legislature finds that Washington has long been a national and international leader on energy conservation and environmental stewardship, including air quality protection, renewable energy development and generation, emission standards for fossil-fuel based energy generation, energy efficiency programs, natural resource conservation, vehicle emission standards, and the use of biofuels. Washington is also unique among most states in that in addition to its commitment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, it has established goals to grow the clean energy sector and reduce the state's expenditures on imported fuels.
(2) The legislature further finds that Washington should continue its leadership on climate change policy by creating accountability for achieving the emission reductions established in RCW 70.235.020, participating in the design of a regional multisector market-based system to help achieve those emission reductions, assessing other market strategies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and ensuring the state has a well trained workforce for our clean energy future.
(3) It is the intent of the legislature that the state will: (a) Limit and reduce emissions of greenhouse gas consistent with the emission reductions established in RCW 70.235.020; (b) minimize the potential to export pollution, jobs, and economic opportunities; and (c) reduce emissions at the lowest cost to Washington's economy, consumers, and businesses.
(4) In the event the state elects to participate in a regional multisector market-based system, it is the intent of the legislature that the system will become effective by January 1, 2012, after authority is provided to the department for its implementation. By acting now, Washington businesses and citizens will have adequate time and opportunities to be well positioned to take advantage of the low-carbon economy and to make necessary investments in low-carbon technology.
(5) It is also the intent of the legislature that the regional multisector market-based system recognize Washington's unique emissions portfolio, including the state's hydroelectric system, the opportunities presented by Washington's abundant forest resources and agriculture land, and the state's leadership in energy efficiency and the actions it has already taken that have reduced its generation of greenhouse gas emissions and that entities receive appropriate credit for early actions to reduce greenhouse gases.
(6) If any revenues that accrue to the state are created by a market system, they must be used to further the state's efforts to achieve the goals established in RCW 70.235.020, address the impacts of global warming on affected habitats, species, and communities, and increase investment in the clean energy economy particularly for communities and workers that have suffered from heavy job losses and chronic unemployment and underemployment.
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