It is sad to watch David Postman – a formerly respected journalist – lie on behalf of boss Jay Inslee, especially when Postman knows he’s lying. As Shakespeare noted long ago about people trying to hide a secret, “the lady (or, in this case, the press secretary) doth protest too much, methinks.”
The issue in question is whether or not Inslee has a secret plan to impose a carbon fuel standard on the state, thus raising the price of gas in Washington state – in essence, a gas tax (a phrase first used not by Republicans, but by Democrat State Senator Tracey Eide in January). Given Inslee’s commitment to his Pacific Climate Agreement partners – which a SHIFT investigation uncovered– that he would be using his executive powers to impose a low carbon fuel standard on the state in the first quarter of 2015, it certainly seems he’s made up his mind.
Yet, Postman got trotted out (along with Jaime Smith, another Inslee media flack) to attack SHIFT in various media outlets for exposing Inslee’s plans. The attack came despite the fact that the secret agreement is well known to Postman, who was on several email exchanges about the topic which were uncovered by SHIFT’s investigation.
Obviously, the last thing Jay Inslee and his staff want you to believe is that Inslee’s extreme environmental agenda will result in a $1.17 increase in the cost of a gallon of gas. They claim that the $1.17 gas tax estimate is a lie, a deliberate manipulation. Unfortunately for them, the $1.17 per gallon figure is a direct result of their own evaluation as explained here.
So, as a part of our never-ending quest to SHIFT the political debate in this state and hold state government accountable where other media outlets may not, SHIFT once again presents you with the facts in a line-by-line analysis of Inslee’s attacks.
First up is what Inslee’s office told The Dori Monson Show:
CLAIM #1: “The $1+ cost estimate has already been debunked by the exact same consultants the Republicans claim to get the number from…”
This claim comes from a memo released by Leidos, the consulting group hired by Washington State Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup (CLEW) to “prepare an evaluation of approaches to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Washington.” The memo states that the cost per gallon of gas increase under a low carbon fuel standard mandate could be closer to 6- 8 cents (than their earlier estimate).
HOWEVER, Leidos’ lower estimate is based on a long-term approach to phase in a 10 percent mix of ethanol in fuel stocks. Yet, this approach which would result in a lower gas tax increase is contrary to Inslee’s public statements. During his recent executive order announcement, Inslee stated that his goal is to bring carbon production levels to 1990 levels by 2020. According to the Washington Policy Center’s Todd Myers, the 10 percent mix of ethanol plan is nowhere near enough to “reduce emissions enough to reach targets in state law for 2020.” For that to happen, Inslee would “need to propose a complete shift to biofuels—which Myers said could cost $1 a gallon.”
CLAIM #2: “That’s because there are a million different ways to design a clean fuel standard that would result in wildly different cost variables…”
As SHIFT pointed out yesterday, there might be a “million different ways to design a clean fuel standard” but the fact is that Inslee and liberal legislative followers already devised the way they are proceeding to implement a carbon cap. And, their way results in a $1.17 gas tax.
Next, what David Postman—Inslee’s Communications Director—told the radio station KTTH, in response to their coverage of this story:
CLAIM #3: “The governor has been upfront about his position on a clean fuel standard… He has been consistent in saying it is a valuable tool for fighting impacts of climate change.”
We all know that being “consistent in saying” that a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a “valuable tool for fighting impacts of climate change” is not the same as being “upfront” about your intentions regarding a LCFS. Yet, that is exactly the reasoning Postman uses as proof of Inslee’s transparency regarding a LCFS.
But the truth is that Inslee and his staff negotiated an agreement with California, Oregon and British Columbia last year that declares Inslee will impose a low carbon fuel standard by administrative action in Q1 of 2015. He has not been upfront about this secret plan, and earlier this year Inslee attacked state legislators who questioned whether he had just such a secret plan. After waiting more than two months to receive answers to a public records request, SHIFT’s ongoing investigation to get to the bottom of Inslee’s true intentions regarding his gas tax is just getting started. You can read what we have uncovered so far here—as an added bonus, we offer our readers actual documented proof of our claims.
CLAIM #4: “But he [Inslee] has also said he doesn’t have a specific plan yet. And this is what the debate has been about. Critics worry that there is a plan that we won’t share. That’s not true. And that’s why the governor has said it’d be wrong to talk about any costs associated with a clean fuel standard. And in no way are those costs a tax.”
SHIFT has already uncovered evidence that this particular claim is a deliberate manipulation of facts. Since taking office, Inslee and his team have worked on developing a plan for the implementation of a LCFS. Why won’t Postman admit the presence of the timeline for imposing Inslee’s gas tax scheme? Because he knows that if they admit that Inslee’s plans constitute a tax on anyone who buys a gallon of gas – as was pointed out by a Democrat state senator – then the plan will unravel.
Finally, Postman’s last statement proves just how out-of-touch with reality Inslee has become. The fact that the governor believes it is “wrong to talk about any costs associated with a clean fuel standard” is truly troubling. The time to talk about how government regulations impact all citizens is not after a timeline for a regulation is already decided on, or adopted as policy. It is before the plans are made. Citizens have a right to know how much government regulations will cost them in order to make informed decisions and act as effective checks on government power.
Jay Inslee doesn’t agree. He doesn’t want the public to know the truth behind his extreme environmental agenda.