Because oil prices have dropped precipitously, the .07 percent Hazardous Substances Tax authorized by MTCA is producing much less revenue. The program faces a shortfall of about $92 million over the 2015-2017 biennium. No matter what happens, though, it seems certain that this year the Evergreen State will shell out less green to protect the environment.
The only problem is that the tax did not reduce emissions. True, emissions declined upon implementation of the tax in 2008. But something else happened in 2008 – a global recession that sent GDP (and, with it, energy use) declining in British Columbia and around the world. Emissions then grew in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Puget Soundkeeper and Others Sue EPA (Again) Alleging Failure to Adopt Water Quality Standards for Washington that Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates
Earthjustice, representing a number of environmental groups, sued EPA on Friday alleging that EPA is in violation of the Clean Water Act because it has not finalized the draft rule it published back in September that set water quality standards for toxics in Washington based on higher fish consumption rates.
The main change observers hope the Department of Ecology will make is to institute a straightforward cap on emissions, rather than subject each emitter to different individual caps. A key advantage of having an economywide cap is that individual businesses can’t get extra credit for cutting emissions they were scheduled to eliminate anyway.
Washington state regulators are setting aside the rules they’ve been working on to limit the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted into the air. a few months later. The meetings that were scheduled in March to allow the public to weigh in on the rule have been canceled. State officials plan to release a new proposal sometime this spring, which could be finalized a few months later.
Cowlitz PUD officials estimate that the carbon tax could cost the utility about $5 million to $9 million in the first year, or as much as 3 percent of the PUD’s $282 million 2016 budget. The tax would also rise incrementally, and the PUD projects that by 2047 costs could range from $26 million to $50 million (in 2016 dollars). Utilities typically increase rates by 1 percentage point for every $1 million in cost increases.
In a draft of its annual greenhouse gas emissions tally, the EPA reported that emissions in the year 2014 climbed almost 1 percent from 2013 to 2014. That brought emissions back above the level of Obama’s first year in office, 2009. In negotiating the Paris treaty, signed in December, the U.S. pledged to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, below the level of 2005.