Governor shifts emission tactics | Jerry Cornfield

Nothing like a few days away from the office to get one’s spirit rejuvenated and energy recharged. For Gov. Jay Inslee, it came in a trip to Paris, where he attended the international confab on climate change.

Nothing like a few days away from the office to get one’s spirit rejuvenated and energy recharged.

For Gov. Jay Inslee, it came in a trip to Paris, where he attended the international confab on climate change.

He hung out with folks who share his view that climate change poses the greatest threat to the continued existence of humanity on this planet, folks obsessed with slowing the damage through every political and regulatory means possible.

The experience refueled Inslee’s confidence that reducing emissions of pollution-causing carbon and other greenhouse gases is a concern among leaders of cities, states, provinces and nations worldwide.

“I don’t want to be too carried away by this moment,” he told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “This has been an inspirational group that I’ve been talking to the last few days in Paris. I’m glad I’m here.”

Inslee returned to Olympia a week ago, a place where he’s thus far failed to move any significant carbon emission reduction legislation due to opposition from Republicans and reluctance of his fellow Democrats.

Now he’s trying to do so by rewriting the state’s clean air rules, a strategy which isn’t subject to legislative approval. But this effort may wind up helping clean the air above Quebec City or Los Angeles before it does Everett or Seattle.

At Inslee’s direction, the Department of Ecology is crafting the rule to establish limits on the amount of carbon pollution emissions for 31 companies and investor-owned utilities representing Washington’s largest emitters of pollutants.

Over time, the cap for each emitter will be slowly reduced. Companies will be required to meet their first emission reduction deadline in 2020.

At that time, companies or utilities that exceed their assigned cap can avoid penalties by investing in other pollution-reduction efforts in the state.

Or, they may be able to comply by going out of state and purchasing carbon pollution credits in cap-and-trade markets operating in places like California or the province of Quebec.

In other words, a company could avoid punishment for polluting too much in Washington by helping reduce pollution somewhere else in the world.

“We have made no final decisions,” Inslee said. But the rule would reduce carbon pollution and reduce costs for Washington businesses doing their best to meet the standards, he said.

“Our air becomes cleaner any time we reduce air pollution anywhere in the world,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where coal is burned it, ends up in our water in Puget Sound and in our kids’ lungs. Perhaps not so much the particulates, but the carbon dioxide is a worldwide phenomenon.

“So, when we (eliminate) a ton of coal being burned in Quebec it has an impact on improving our situation in Washington,” he said.

A draft of the rule is expected to be released in the next few weeks, followed by months of review and public hearings before possible adoption in late 2016.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos

 

More in Opinion

Eyman risking retirement funds on car tab initiative

Will the $500,000 investment be enough to get the initiative on a ballot?

U.S. isn’t the only nation flirting with trade wars

There’s another brewing between Alberta and British Columbia.

I wish I could stay in Enumclaw | Guest Columnist

There is a kindness and decency and desire to be a community in Enumclaw.

We live in frightening times

Our country is being torn apart from limb to limb, coast to coast.

Voting habits tied to feelings of security

The dangers of authoritarianism are a far greater threat to the nation than seeing rising racial equality and religious diversity brought about by immigration.

Prepared in all ways but the one that mattered

We need to change the way we think about rape.

Please help the Sumner Food Bank

We have a need for a walk-in freezer with a capacity of approximately 700 cubic feet.

Watch for deer when driving

Two have been killed in Bonney Lake in the past month.

Teachers seeking pay raise; districts resist

They’re talking 15 percent for all certificated staff and 37 percent for the classified education support professionals they represent.

Election tampering anger could unite county’s voters

Having a common enemy is an effective means to cover over differences between political ideologies and unite the nation against a common foe.

Thank you for the fun holiday contests

And I would also like to thank Olsens Meats for supplying the corned beef and ham for the winners.

Thanks for an awesome bingo night

Byron Kibler PTA would like to thank the following local businesses (in… Continue reading