Governor weighs options: Impose LCFS despite consequences?

As we wrote last week, Gov. Jay Inslee is considering imposing the controversial low carbon fuel standard, triggering the “poison pill” in this year’s comprehensive transportation package. The Spokesman-Review reports,

The pill, which was demanded by Senate Republicans and agreed to by Inslee, wipes away non-automotive investments if Inslee tries to enact the fuel standards by executive action before 2023. 

The Seattle Times argues that the governor should not swallow the pill.

Those multimodal investments are significant. They include $164 million in grants for public transit, $112 million for rail projects, $102 million to make walking and biking routes safer, and funding for specific non-highway projects, such as a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5 at Northgate.

Inslee’s office suggests that if he does impose the low-carbon fuel standard, the transit-bike-pedestrian money eventually could be clawed back. That is a political fantasy, based on history of the negotiations.

In Crosscut, John Stang points out the odd politics

The issue could end up pitting one liberal Inslee constituency against another liberal Inslee constituency — anti global-warming activists versus transit, biking and pedestrian advocates…

…the Spokesman-Review newspaper editorial board, the Seattle Bike Blog and Seattle Transit Blog have all called for Inslee to stay away from the poison pill and to keep the multi-modal projects intact.

Meanwhile, another climate measure, the Initiative 732 carbon tax, has run into opposition from major environmental and labor groups.

Both sides say this is a disagreement among friends. They all want the state to take serious action on climate. They just disagree on the best approach.

There’s a lot of that going around. Fortunately, the disagreements did not prevent lawmakers from adopting the landmark transportation legislation.