Environment

Suspicious Lawmakers Prepare Bill to Prevent Governor From Imposing Low-Carbon Fuel Standards

Continued suspicions about Gov. Jay Inslee’s plans regarding low-carbon fuel standards are prompting two House Republicans to attempt a preemptive move – a bill that would eliminate the green-minded governor’s ability to impose the rule without a vote of the Legislature. Inslee failed to mollify fears Tuesday that he will issue an executive order, and Reps. Shelley Short and J.T. Wilcox say the Legislature needs to assert its authority. As long as doubt hangs over the Legislature, opposition leaders say the potential dollar-a-gallon issue bodes ill for a gas-tax increase.

King Throws Down Gauntlet to Inslee: Use State of State to Dispel Fear of Low-Carbon Executive Order

Governor Needs to 'Come Clean,' He Says

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, the co-chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, has given all Olympia something to watch for when Gov. Jay Inslee mounts the rostrum in the House Tuesday to deliver his State of the State address. King says this would be a most excellent opportunity for the governor to make a promise: Inslee can lay to rest the fears that he might attempt to impose low-carbon fuel standards on the state of Washington by executive order. By now the green-minded governor’s speechwriters have probably seen King’s press release. Will he respond?

No Answers From Inslee on Low Carbon Fuel Standards – Could Derail Transportation Package, Lawmakers Say

Gov. Jay Inslee refuses to rule out an executive order imposing low-carbon fuel standards on the state of Washington, and lawmakers say the possibility could well derail this year’s effort to pass a gas-tax increase. The policy could raise the price of gas a buck a gallon, and as the Legislature prepares to debate an 11.5-cent gas-tax increase, lawmakers said Thursday they are darned worried. At the annual pre-session Associated Press legislative forum, the governor was asked the question directly – will he promise not to do it? The green-minded guv wouldn’t say.

Will Inslee Impose Low Carbon Fuel Standards by Executive Order? – Issue Looms Over Legislature’s Upcoming Transportation Debate

Suspicion and distrust are standard whenever the Legislature comes to town, but nothing like the cloud that seems to be settling over the Capitol a week before the 2014 legislative session. As lawmakers get set for the year’s rollicking transportation debate the big question seems to be – will Gov. Jay Inslee try to impose low-carbon fuel standards by executive order? There are no answers from the governor’s office, but the buck-a-gallon impact makes this year’s 12-cent-a-gallon gas-tax proposal look like a piddling thing. And many fear Inslee will go for an easy environmental win.

Showdown Postponed on Sweeping Carbon-Pollution Policies for State – Climate Panel Likely to Continue Next Year

A state climate-change task force canceled its final meeting Wednesday – and with it appears to have gone any chance that next year’s Legislature will be dealing with big, sweeping policies that aim to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution. But the decision appears merely to have put off a showdown that was coming over policies Democrats call past-due and Republicans call half-baked. The panel plans to continue meeting — and the 2015 Legislature may see the relaunch of a debate on cap-and-trade, low-carbon fuel standards, carbon taxes and other policies that could have a big impact on the state economy.

New Poll Shows Statewide Support for Coal Terminal, Big Opposition to Gas Tax Increase

A new poll shows voters statewide favor a coal terminal proposed for Longview 56-31, two-thirds oppose a gas-tax increase, and public confidence in the economy is on the decline. But maybe the most striking thing about the survey of voter mood statewide, released Friday by Gallatin Public Affairs and GS Strategy Group, is that for all the agitation over the last year for pro-environmental “progressive” policies, primarily from the greater Seattle area, the rest of the state just isn’t on the same page.

As Business Urges Caution, Labor Declares Support for Sweeping Climate-Change Program

After months of argument, one new thing came out of the public hearing Friday on the state’s ambitious and rather vague effort to do something about the global climate. In a conflict that seems to be pitting greens against jobs and the economy, labor is taking the side of the environmental groups. Battle lines are being drawn in a fight that probably won’t end Wednesday when a state climate-change task force is expected to take an inconclusive vote. Pressure seems to be building for some sort of state action, and cost be hanged.

Don’t Hold Your Breath on Greenhouse Gas Task Force – Governor Triggers Meltdown When he Seeks Vote on Cap and Trade

If there really was ever any chance the Legislature would take up sweeping climate change legislation next year, it seemed to melt away faster than the polar ice caps Friday. A state task force charged with designing a greenhouse-gas attack plan finally had that breakdown that seemed so long in coming, and the main question now is whether it will produce a report later this year that anyone will find useful. And you have to love some of the comments from the meeting: The atmosphere in the room got a bit hot.

Senate Contemplates 11.5-Cent Gas-Tax Increase – but Inslee Cap-and-Trade Plan Could Mean Trouble

At long last, a new transportation proposal surfaces in the Senate, replete with big reforms, more money for mega-projects, no tolls on I-90 — and a slightly higher gas-tax increase than passed the House this year, at 11.5 cents a gallon. Big issues remain to be negotiated with the House, and there is no telling whether lawmakers will reach agreement before Nov. 21, when another special legislative session might be held. And it is becoming clear that Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to seek greenhouse-gas legislation might throw a monkey wrench into the process. But now, finally, the dealmaking can begin.

Inslee Signs New Pact With West-Coast States, B.C., Promising to Enact Cap-and-Trade Plan – Catches Lawmakers Off-Guard

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Monday signed a new agreement with leaders of California, Oregon and British Columbia that among other things promises to enact a cap-and-trade plan in this state to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions – and it left at least some Washington lawmakers gasping for oxygen. As governors of the three west-coast states touted the agreement as a model for the world, frustrated lawmakers here say it looks like an end-run around the Legislature. It wasn’t as if he asked anyone about it beforehand. And they say it could frighten the dickens out of Boeing just before a key announcement on the triple-7X.