Jay Manning, who worked for former Gov. Christine Gregoire as her Chief of Staff and her Director of the Department of Ecology, is now with the Cascadia Law Group in Seattle. From documents Shift uncovered, we know that Manning sought and received funding from private environmental groups (the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Bullitt Foundation and the Energy Foundation) to “assist” in developing Gov. Inslee’s environmental agenda.
Using this private funding, Manning also helped plan the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) climate agreement signing held last fall with Inslee, California Gov. Jerry Brown, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark. That was put together after another Manning-planned event, the two-day Skamania environmental conference, brought together staffers from those four West Coast governments to meet with private and political funders to discuss how those groups could be politically helpful.
We read Manning’s grant proposals to the three foundations mentioned above, and now bring you:
Top 5 Things We Learned from Jay Manning’s Grant Proposals
Manning listed among his goals if he received funding:
1) “Assistance with development and implementation of Governor lnslee’s climate and energy agenda in Washington State”
Noting how exciting it was for environmental groups to have Jay Inslee as governor, who “literally wrote the book on clean energy job creation,” Manning sold the foundations on how useful and influential he could be with the new administration.
Manning even had specific staffers in mind that he could influence. He would be “assisting policy lead Keith Phillips…and recently-appointed Policy Director Ted Sturdevant…in educating the new administration about the PCC and ensuring its continued role in state-wide climate and clean energy policy and strategy development.” That’s the same Ted Sturdevant who recently resigned from Inslee’s office after profanity-laced e-mails about Republicans were uncovered.
2) “Carbon tax study in year one of administration and adoption of a tax burden neutral carbon tax in 2014”
Manning didn’t just have vague “assistance” in mind for the incoming Inslee administration but specific policy goals, to turn the private foundations’ funds into government action. Manning wanted a “tax burden neutral” carbon tax this year, and said that “proceeds from a carbon tax in Washington could be used to fund clean energy, energy efficiency, and job creation initiatives.”
Hey wait, if the carbon tax was to be “tax burden neutral,” but Manning wanted to spend the proceeds on new programs, wouldn’t that mean other areas of state spending would have to be cut? Would those programs come before fully funding schools?
3) Ensure Inslee and the three other leaders “present united fronts opposing new coal export facilities on the west coast.”
Environmental groups and labor unions spent big to elect Jay Inslee, but they don’t see eye-to-eye. The unions want the good jobs that come with building and operating bulk commodity terminals that would ship out coal to China. Environmentalists want to stop coal terminals at any cost. Inslee has to choose.
While Inlsee hasn’t officially spoken against the projects, he clearly sided with environmental groups when his Ecology Department instituted an unprecedented “programmatic” environmental impact statement (EIS) that will consider not only the local effects of the projects, but the impact of burning coal in China.
Inslee also called for the federal government to use a programmatic EIS. This was after Manning’s proposal to the private funders listed as a goal: “PCC Leaders call for federal, programmatic EIS for array of proposals and present united fronts opposing new coal export facilities on the west coast.”
4) “Revise utility cost-effectiveness criteria for energy efficiency programs to include broader benefits (e.g., GHG mitigation) and address prevailing wage issues that make some measures not cost-effective by the tests”
Of course, by “prevailing wage issues that make some measures not cost-effective,” Manning means government’s self-imposed problem of demanding government contracts pay prevailing wage, then finding that prevailing wage makes it a lot more expensive to do what they want to do. Environmentalists like Manning don’t care when it makes roads more costly to build, but when it hurts “green jobs” programs like building retrofits, suddenly it’s a problem.
But don’t worry, Manning has a solution: “revise cost-effectiveness test methodologies to more effectively assess the costs and benefits of these programs” – or put another way, “inflate the benefits so the costs don’t look as bad.”
5) “In other words, it’s up to us to decide how to proceed.”
Those words aren’t actually in Manning’s grant proposal, they’re in an e-mail from Inslee’s top environmental policy staffer, Keith Phillips (one of the people from item 1 that Manning sought to influence). Phillips told top staffers from California, Oregon, and B.C.:
“The attached funding agreement [Manning’s grant proposal] has been approved by Rockefeller and others … with a slightly reduced funding level of around $150 K.
The funders, and Jay [Manning] and Bill [Ross], are asking for our views on whether we support this work and investment, with or without changes to the proposal. In other words, it’s up to us to decide how to proceed.”
So it was up to the four governments to “decide how to proceed” – i.e. approve the proposal, or make changes to it. Considering Manning’s whole proposal is about private foundations funding his work to influence Washington’s executive branch and form its environmental policies, is it ethical for that executive branch to agree to and sign off on that same proposal?
The Inlsee administration has some explaining to do on this one.