Today, the state House Environment Committee will hear Jay Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme that would tax leading Washington State businesses for carbon emissions. As Shift reported, the Department of Ecology has drawn up a partial list of which organizations do not meet its bureaucratic standards — though the list only includes 94 entities, not the 130 targets Inslee attacked when he launched his tax-raising effort.
The original list included US Army Joint Base Lewis‐McChord, Naval Base Kitsap, which have since been removed, but among the remaining well-known “corporate polluters” on Inslee’s list are the University of Washington and Washington State University, as confirmed by the Seattle Times.
The Washington Policy Center’s Todd Myers points out, “Many of the companies affected by the cap-and-trade proposal do not fit the image of a ‘corporate polluter’ and are unrelated to fossil fuels.” These companies include REC Solar in Moses Lake, silicon circuit manufacturer Waftertech in Camas, fertilizer and food processing companies in the Tri-Cities and Othello, and aluminum plants in Ferndale and Wenatchee.
Inslee stated that the cost of compliance for the first year would be $12 per ton of CO2. However, based on the experiences of cap-and-tax systems in Europe and California which Inslee has cited as success stories, Myers estimates the cost would be closer to $30 per ton or more.
Using state emissions data released last month, Myers generated a list that includes 90% of the companies that would be impacted by Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme and their “annual cost to comply if the price is consistent with the European experience and California projections.” You can find that list here. And, here’s a sample of Myer’s list:
- McCain Foods – Othello: $2,426,130
- Agrium Fertilizer – Kennewick: $4,812,300
- University of Washington: $2,710,020
- Washington State University: $1,823,820
- Boeing – Fuel supplies: $3,795,570
- Boeing – Auburn: $1,156,680
- Wafertech – Camas: $3,480,030
- Alcoa Intalco Works – Ferndale: $32,868,900
- Alcoa – Wenatchee: $9,368,940
- REC Silicon Solar – Moses Lake: $4,220,220
- Boise Paper – Wallula: $3,072,120
- Weyerhaeuser – Longview: $10,725,360
It’s important to remember that that “much of the burden of these increases will be paid by consumers as companies pass along these costs.” As Myer’s points out, some businesses may end up leaving the state as aluminum and other cost-sensitive manufacturers decided to do after the increase in electricity costs in 2001.
Inslee doesn’t appear to have the support he needs in the Legislature to pass his scheme—as Shift pointed out yesterday. However, moving forward, legislators must face the reality of Inslee’s fixation on a cap-and-tax approach. Myers writes that Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme “will impact companies beyond those involved in fossil fuels.” Additionally, “the inherent volatility of cap-and-trade will result in costs that go beyond the low-end projections” estimated by Inslee.