Liias’ sustainable aviation fuels bill clears committee

State Sen. Marko Liias (Photo courtesy Senate Democrats)

Communities near Paine Field in Everett suffer from some of the worst air quality in the state. Sen. Marko Liias grew up nearby in a neighborhood overburdened by pollution. This experience was, in part, the motivation behind the 21st District Democrat’s sponsorship of Senate Bill 6114, which cleared the Senate Transportation Committee Monday. 

According to a news release from Liias’ office, the bill requires airport operators to make sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blends available to noncommercial, private jet owners with the goal of ultimately having all jet owners in Washington use this renewable fuel. To qualify, fuel blends must include a minimum of 10 percent SAF. The Department of Ecology will determine timelines of a full transition to sustainable fuel based on its availability. 

“The detrimental impacts of air pollution are crystal clear in higher rates of asthma and an increased risk of stroke, lung cancer and other serious ailments,” said Liias, who represents portions of Edmonds and Lynnwood. “Requiring sustainable, renewable fuels for private jets is one way to help reverse these risks for future generations while also reducing our carbon footprint.” 

According to data from the Port of Seattle, replacing fossil fuels with sustainable fuel will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by between 50 and 80 percent. 

SB 6114 is the latest effort by Senate Democrats to address air pollution through sustainable aviation fuel, the news release said. Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig in 2023 sponsored and passed SB 5447, encouraging the purchase and manufacture of aviation biofuels through tax incentives in an effort to help position Washington as a leader in this developing sector of the green economy. 

“Snohomish County is the global heart of aerospace manufacturing, which has been an important economic driver of the county for over 50 years,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said. “The continued success of aviation – and our economy more broadly – relies on transitioning to cleaner, more sustainable lines of business. Sen. Liias has been a champion for sustainable aviation fuels, and I am grateful for his continued efforts to help decarbonize aviation.”  

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