Gov. Jay Inslee laid out his clean energy proposals for 2019 yesterday. From the press release:
Gov. Jay Inslee was joined today by Democratic legislators and climate action supporters to unveil a plan that would launch a dramatic reduction of Washington state’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years.
The proposal would accelerate the innovation and efforts already underway across the economy to transition to 100% clean energy, construct ultra-efficient buildings, establish a clean fuel standard, electrify the state’s transportation system and phase down super-pollutants in certain products. Combined, the policies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035.
“We know what it will take to combat climate change and we should be confident in our ability to invent, create and build the technologies that will lead us to a healthier and more secure carbon-free future,” Inslee said. “Washingtonians are ready to see their elected leaders step up to prevent further harm to our forests, our air and our communities. These are enormous steps forward in our effort to save our state and our planet.”
Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner writes,
The new slate of proposals does not include a carbon tax or fee to raise the cost of fossil fuels — a policy Inslee has strongly backed but which has met with rejection from the Legislature and voters.
Other proposals in Inslee’s legislative package include phasing out “super-pollutant” hydrofluorocarbons used in air conditioning, a clean-fuels standard targeting auto emissions, incentives for electric vehicles, and increased energy-efficiency regulations for buildings.
In all, the proposals would include $268 million in spending in the 2019-21 state budget, according to a summary of the agenda distributed by the governor’s office. Among the largest expenses would be $53 million to convert two state ferries to electric hybrids and $64 million to build two new electric ferries.
A centerpiece of the governor’s plan is to require utilities to eliminate the use of fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas from electricity sources by 2045. Another part of the plan would implement a clean fuel standard, like that already in place in California. Fuel providers would be required to lower the carbon intensity of fuels by 10 percent over the next decade, and by a total of 20 percent by 2030.
From The Lens:
“This is not a future fantasy,” Inslee said. “This is a today reality in the state of Washington.”
Noticeably absent from the list of proposals is a tax or fee based on carbon emissions, though when asked about it during the press conference, he told reporters: “we’re not giving up on anything. I’m not ruling out anything else in the next decade or so.”
He added that “the people decided not to embrace Plan A (I-1631), but there’s about 400 other plans behind that ready to go.”
Lens reporter TJ Martinell adds,
A likely debate over these measures next year is how much they’ll affect state residents in the form of higher energy prices or products due to increased transportation costs. The Association of Washington Business (AWB) advocates that “cost impacts resulting from carbon regulation should be transparent at the point of sale to end-use consumers.”
When asked about the costs at the press conference, Inslee replied that “the choice is between inaction and action. The costs of inaction are enormous.”
Geek Wire also provides a detailed report on the governor’s proposals, including responses from legislators.
“Washington State didn’t become home to some of the great companies on this planet by accident,” said State Senator Reuven Carlyle, a Democrat whose Seattle district includes Amazon’s headquarters. “We had a sense of intentionality about our quality of life and we have that same sense of intentionality now as we think about the next generation of a clean economy.”…
While the proposal was light on specifics about possible costs to consumers — a major sticking point in the carbon tax — Carlyle was adamant about voter support for the upcoming legislation.
“For the people of Washington state, climate change is not an academic theory, a white paper, or a nebulous concept,” he said. “It’s a real, tangible concept: It’s about orcas, salmon, forests, water quality, shellfish, soil quality, and everything that’s real to real people living real lives. It’s real, it’s authentic, it’s happening, and people want meaningful action.”
This week will see other major legislative proposals from the governor, including a budget rollout anticipated on Thursday.