Put policy before politics with conservation bill

A noncontroversial bill that would save Washingtonians more than $60 million by 2018, and is supported by business, utilities and conservationists, will test the claims of bipartisanship in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

The measure sets efficiency standards for those ubiquitous battery chargers used by the growing number of electronic devices in our homes, as well as industrial and recreational chargers for forklifts and golf carts. The worst of these chargers waste up to 60 percent of the electricity they consume.

By imposing efficiency standards already in place in other states, the Environmental Priorities Coalition estimates we could save enough electricity to power 38,000 Washington homes and cut pollution by 285,000 tons per year, lowering nearly every household’s utility bill.

Electronic devices generally come with chargers configured uniquely for each individual device. People do not have the option of shopping around for more efficient chargers, even if they were willing to pay extra.

Only improved standards can eliminate this waste of electricity.

House Bill 1017 would also set new standards that lower water usage in urinals and faucets. The savings are estimated at 1.9 billion gallons of water annually, at no additional cost to consumers.

The measure sailed through the House on bipartisan floor votes. It now resides in the Senate’s Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.

Politics should never trump good policy. If bipartisanship exists at all, the Senate should quickly send this bill on to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.