Dye's city heat bill heads to governor


Last updated 4/8/2021 at 10:58am

OLYMPIA – A bill to help cool heat-emitting cities such as Seattle passed the House and Senate unanimously, and is on its way to the governor.

The measure was introduced by Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, who represents the 9th Legislative District, which includes southern Spokane County.

Dye said larger cities retain heat from rooftops, pavement and other heat-absorbing materials, creating what is known as “urban heat islands.”

“During the summer, downtown Seattle can be as much as 17 degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas,” Dye said. “These hotter temperatures not only affect the atmosphere, they also create flows into storm water and sewage drains that flow into Puget Sound, resulting in algae and creating problems with fish survival.”

House Bill 1114 establishes a program involving public and investor-owned utilities to engage in tree-planting activities.

Dye, who serves as the ranking Republican on the House Environment and Energy Committee, said the bill provides incentives to plant trees and assist with reflective-roof incentives to reduce urban heat.

It is modeled after a successful tree planting and cool-roof program implemented in 1991 by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in California, she said.

“It’s about improving quality of life in urban areas that experience extreme summer heat, and environmental and health impacts that can be significantly improved by strategic planting of trees,” Dye said. “If there are flat or low-pitch roofs, the use of reflective-roof incentive programs can reduce the overall power load during warm days.

“The benefits are quality of life, better environment, energy savings and better air quality.”


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