The circulation of petitions to put Initiative 732 on the 2016 ballot signals a new strategy that may come into play if Gov. Jay Inslee and fellow Democrats in the Legislature are unable to pass their own carbon cap-and-trade proposal. The Initiative would phase in a $25-per-ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions from certain fossil fuels and fossil fuel-generated electricity, starting in July, 2017.
By linking the money to broadly popular bread-and-butter programs, Governor Inslee hopes to build support for an antipollution policy that faces stiff opposition from Republicans and some industry groups. Mr. Inslee’s opponents remain unconvinced. Washington, they say, already is an environmental leader in the percentage of its power that comes from renewable energy.
Oregon still gets about a third of its electricity from coal. In Washington, it’s about 15 percent. Puget Sound Energy still relies on a coal plant in Montana for about a quarter of its power. But Bill Arthur of the Sierra Club said his group is now in discussions with Puget Sound Energy on a different proposal that would allow Puget Sound Energy to buy out other interests in the Colstrip Plant so the utility could eventually close it down.
Just six governments have submitted plans so far: the U.S., Russia, the EU, Switzerland, Mexico, and Norway. The U.S. submission reframes the White House’s existing policy within a new top-line goal that President Barack Obama announced in November in Beijing: to cut, by 2025, carbon and other earth-warming emissions by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels.
Electric vehicle tax and regulatory incentives, millions in technology investment through the Clean Energy Fund, incentives for solar and distributed energy, refocusing I-937 on carbon reduction and ending coal by wire — in any other year, this collection of bills would be considered the makings of a major deal. Even more remarkable: the coalescence of
The Washington State House has released a state budget for the next two years, but something is conspicuously absent: a price on carbon. Without including the carbon charge from the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, the House budget misses an opportunity to hold major emitters accountable and fully invest in our communities.
HB 1174 prohibits the sale of upholstered residential furniture or children’s products that contain certain flame retardants. A second toxics measure sought by Gov. Inslee gets Ecology started on a long-term project to encourage manufacturers to use alternatives to chemicals that pose harm to the environment.