Environment

If Climate-Change Panel Won’t Ask Tough Questions About Green-Energy Policy, Lawmakers Want Auditor to do It

Nobody’s asking the tough questions about I-937, Republican lawmakers complain. Sixteen of them, and six chambers of commerce, have joined the Washington Policy Center’s call for a performance audit of the state’s renewable-energy policy. It requires utilities to purchase high-cost windpower even though they don’t need it — and is expected to cause electric bills to spike as it takes full effect. The request can be seen as an expression of frustration with the governor’s climate-change workgroup, which appears to be backing away from promises of a tough cost-benefit analysis.

Army Corps, Ecology Announce Divorce – Will Write Separate Environmental Impact Statements on Coal Ports

The Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology are announcing a divorce, citing irreconcilable differences over the state’s controversial decision to inject the world’s environmental problems into what ordinarily be a simple review of a pair of coal-port proposals in Washington state. As the state pursues plans to assess the impact of coal-burning on the other side of the world, the Army Corps abandons plans to write a joint environmental impact statement and says it will go it alone. Announcement came with an oblique reference in the Federal Register Friday.

Ecology on Hot Seat About Coal-Port Analysis — Business Calls it Bizarre, Worrisome

Ever since the state Department of Ecology announced a month ago that it would measure a coal-port proposal near Bellingham against an unprecedented yardstick – air pollution on the other side of the world – critics have been wondering if the state’s environmental review process will have even a distant relationship with fairness. Now a letter from Ecology to state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, seems to confirm the worst of their fears. Nowhere does it mention that the state plans to ask a basic logical question – “compared to what?” And it asserts that state regulators have the right to determine which products can be shipped from the state of Washington whenever they believe the environmental impact will be “significant.”

Coal Ports, Rail Facilities Essential to Economic Growth, Says New Report – Trade-Dependent State Shouldn’t Take International Commerce for Granted

As state policymakers search far and wide for reasons to say no to coal, a new report from the Washington Research Council says coal export terminals in this state would offer a crucial competitive edge for the Washington economy. While world trade booms and new port and rail facilities are developed in California, Canada and the Gulf Coast, Washington is in danger of losing its leadership position as a major exporter, says Research Council President Richard Davis. And Gov. Jay Inslee’s eagerness to make an environmental statement about global warming ought to make business gulp.

As State Takes Stand Against Coal, Business and Labor Fear for Economy

What a way to write an environmental impact statement! Bowing to political pressure from green groups and the Inslee Administration, the state Department of Ecology announced it will go where the feds won’t in an environmental review of a coal port proposal near Bellingham. Among other things, it will assess the global impact of coal burning on the other side of the world and the impact of out-of-state train transportation — arguments that are hard to answer. Business and labor feel a chill.

Governor’s Climate Change Workgroup Selects National and International Programs To Be Studied

On July 17th Governor Jay Inslee chaired another meeting of the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup, a committee created by legislation in the 2013 Regular Legislative Session to recommend state actions that will insure greenhouse gas reductions adopted in 2008 are met. The Workgroup moved to the main subject of the meeting, the review of the draft list of greenhouse gas programs outside of WA proposed for detailed evaluation.

“Shall We Begin”

With these words Governor Jay Inslee opened the first meeting of the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup, a new committee created by SB 5802 — gubernatorial request legislation that passed the Legislature in March. The Governor quoted from the legislation, “The purpose of the work group is to recommend a state program of actions and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that if implemented would ensure achievement of the state’s emissions targets.”