In a rare case of a Democrat standing up to obvious special interest, extreme “green” pandering, state Senator Maralyn Chase is on a mission to reform Jay Inslee’s so-called Clean Energy Fund strategy. Inslee’s Clean Energy Fund “tunnels money through public and investor-owned utilities to private energy firms for research and development.” For that reason, Chase is calling foul.
Chase takes particular issue with the Inslee administration’s partnership with 1Energy Systems, a private company run by former Democrat government officials who now receive millions in taxpayer dollars to help shape Inslee’s extreme “green agenda.” As Shift reported, the company is under investigation by the state Executive Ethics Board for serious conflicts of interest between public and private entities involved an on-going scandal.
Inslee claims that the Clean Energy Fund will “provide a benefit to the public through development, demonstration, and deployment of clean energy technologies that save energy and reduce energy costs, reduces harmful air emission or other increase energy independence for the state.” Since 2013, the scheme has received a whopping $76 million in taxpayer dollars. A big part of that has gone to companies developing renewable energy technologies. The Everett Herald,
“Of the total, $35 million is earmarked for public and private electrical utilities that serve retail customers in Washington. These grants are intended to advance the development of renewable energy technologies.
“Chase argues the grants constitute a gift of public funds because taxpayers won’t recoup their investment. She says the state constitution requires a clear public benefit and demands the tax dollars cannot enrich the profits of a private company.”
Inslee does not have any intention to back away from his scheme. Rather, our green governor appears to be doubling down. He recently stated, “I’m proud of the success of our first Clean Energy Fund, and looking forward to the second generation CEF efforts now under way.”
Despite the controversy and scandal attached to the Clean Energy Fund, Democrats agree with Inslee’s sentiment. Chase is the only Democrat calling for reform.