Don Steinke, a local environmental activist, announced his candidacy for the second commissioner post at Clark Public Utilities this week.
“The city of Vancouver is developing a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030,” Steinke told the Columbian. He said that goal would be impossible unless the utility “plans and facilitates charging stations for commercial fleets such as for Waste Connections, Amazon, UPS, Pepsi distributors, police cars, school buses and fleets from the airport to the warehouses here ”.
Steinke spent his career as a science and math teacher at Camas and Fort Vancouver High Schools before retiring.
He gained national recognition from the Sierra Club for his advocacy work opposing a proposal to build the country’s largest rail oil facility at the Port of Vancouver, as well as other rail oil facilities in the North West.
Steinke also garnered more signatures than anyone in the state for I-1631 – an initiative that would have instituted a levy on the state’s largest carbon emitters and invested that revenue in clean energy. The 2018 measure was rejected by state voters. He also advocated for other local and state actions against climate change.
“Don’s advocacy with lawmakers helped push through the Clean Energy Transformation Act and the Clean Fuels Program which requires Clark PUD to phase out fossil fuels with clean, affordable electricity,” the website reads. of the Vancouver Man Campaign.
“Once elected, Don Steinke will urge Clark PUD to deliver clean and affordable energy services for electric cars and electric heat pumps as soon as possible. “
The priorities listed on its website are affordable clean energy, low tariffs, rural broadband provided by utilities, affordable electric vehicles, electric car charging ports in multi-family developments, and jobs in the solar energy, recharging and heat pumps.
“The Northwest Power and Conservation Council recommends that we in the region purchase 3.5 gigawatts of renewable energy over the next five years. That’s roughly the equivalent of three Bonneville dams, ”said Steinke, who mentioned he had attended utility meetings for the past four years. “Our share, based only on population versus region, would be about 320 solar farms like the one we have on Padden and 117th.”
Utility has a long way to go to prepare for the future, Steinke.
“They are late because they did not see it coming”, he concluded.