OLYMPIA – A bill to address a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, spur job creation, and position Washington as a leader in an emerging industry, passed the Senate on a bipartisan 46-2 vote on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 5447, sponsored by Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) would encourage the purchase and manufacture of aviation biofuels through tax incentives while positioning the state as a leader in a developing sector of the green economy.

“Our state is already at the forefront of the aviation industry, and we should also be a leader in the development of cleaner fuels for those same airplanes,” Billig said. “This is a market just waiting to be tapped. There are potentially hundreds of family wage jobs and wonderful opportunities for businesses in this emerging industry, and we’re just now scratching the surface.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, jet fuel contributes 9% to 12% of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Depending on the type of biofuel and technologies used to produce it, sustainable fuel has the potential to drastically reduce emissions compared to conventional fuel. Some biofuels have even shown a net-negative greenhouse gas footprint.

“Washington is leading the way in combatting climate change, and by standing at the forefront of the sustainable fuel industry, we can solidify our position as the state others look to as the model of how to go green,” Billig said. “This is quite literally a lifeline for people who work at and live near airports, as biofuels will help reduce particulate matter from the atmosphere which is a huge contributor of air pollution and numerous health issues.”

“There is no end to the benefits this policy can provide. The sky is the limit.”

SB 5447 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.