After being frustrated by the Democrat House’s unwillingness to even vote on his cap-and-tax scheme in 2015, Jay Inslee announced last July his intention to bypass the state Legislature and impose a new carbon rule on our state. Inslee directed his Department of Ecology (DOE) to begin developing new carbon reduction regulatory rules… rules he thinks he can impose on the state using executive authority.
When Inslee first announced his intentions to go it alone, he did not specify what industries he wanted to control using the rule. However, that did not exactly stop him from putting in his two cents. Via a letter, Inslee reminded the bureaucrats over at the DOE that carbon emissions in our state are “generated mostly from energy production and use, manufacturing, and transportation.” Inslee specifically pointed out the latter as the largest contributor.
Inslee asked the DOE to produce a draft rule by January 2016, to be ready for adoption in summer of 2016. And, it appears that the DOE adhered to that aggressive timeline—a timeline that, incidentally, revealed Inslee was more concerned with his legacy as our nation’s greenest governor than with getting even his extreme “green” agenda right.
Under the Inslee’s new carbon rules, the industries deemed as “large emitters” would be required to reduce carbon emissions by 5 percent every three years. The Inslee Energy Price-Raising Mandate, or so-called “Clean Air Rule”, would initially apply to about 24 manufacturing plants, refineries, power plants, and natural gas distributors. As the threshold is lowered over time, many more facilities would be covered by the rules. The Columbian,
“Ecology identified nearly four dozen facilities such as Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the University of Washington that could eventually be covered by the rule as the threshold is lowered over time. The University of Washington, for example, last reported over 90,000 metric tons of emissions, Ecology said.”
Of course, the only reason Inslee has to bypass the state Legislature is because he utterly failed to pass any part of his extreme “green” agenda during the 2015 legislative session. As Shift reported, the cap-and-tax scheme Inslee initially proposed was the poster child of a “dead on arrival” policy.
Inslee’s cap-and-tax bill only garnered 37 co-sponsors (all Democrats) in the 98-member, Democrat-controlled state House. It was a primary example of the lack of support his policy has even among members of his own party. There were not enough Democrat co-sponsors in the House to pass Inslee’s proposal out of the Transportation Committee itself (only 11 supporters of 25 members), let alone pass it on the floor.
Inslee’s carbon rules are not the only “green” measure Washingtonians will have to deal with. Inevitably, lawmakers will have to deal with Initiative 732.
In what appeared to be a last-ditch attempt to derail the self-described “revenue neutral” carbon tax Initiative 732—the same initiative that California billionaire Tom Steyer attempted to blackmail supporters out of submitting the final batch of signatures – a group of nonpartisan legislative staff produced an analysis that actually claimed I-732 would cost the state $675 million over four years. Supporters had claimed it would produce $44 million in additional revenue during that time.
Given Democrats’ hesitancy to support I-732 (they favor an even costlier measure), it is highly unlikely that Speaker Frank Chopp’s House lawmakers will act on the initiative. That decision will send I-732 to the ballot in November, 2016 to potentially compete with cap on carbon emissions plan pushed by Inslee’s friends Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy.