House Democrats released their budget today and the revenue from the Governor's proposed cap-and-trade carbon policy is not included. Bills necessary to implement the budget are never truly dead, but the exclusion of cap-and-trade from the House budget means the Governor's carbon policy is fundamentally dead.
Now that Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and unincorporated areas of Thurston County have implemented a ban on plastic grocery bags, Thurston County Solid Waste completed a study of what kind of grocery bag residents now use. The results show the ban has likely increased emissions of greenhouse gases and increased water pollution that contributes to "dead zones" in the ocean.
"What does that mean for real people? For a start, it imperils the health of Washington state residents." That is the way Sen. Pramila Jayapal described clauses in the Senate transportation package requiring legislative approval for a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS).
One of the most common arguments made by supporters of Governor Inslee's cap-and-trade legislation is that a similar system in the NE United States is working well and has not harmed the economy. Advocates claim Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiation, known as RGGI, has cut carbon emissions and the economy wasn't harmed.
Craig Kenworthy, the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) should correct comments he made to the legislature last week.
During hearings before the House Environment committee, Kenworthy urged the committee to adopt the Governor's cap-and-trade plan, saying that cutting carbon emissions would provide "co-benefits" such as reducing traditional air pollution like particulate matter. To make the point, however, he said something that is inaccurate.
Tomorrow, the House Environment Committee will hear the Governor's cap-and-trade legislation that would charge businesses that emit carbon dioxide. There has been debate about who is actually covered under the plan. Although the Department of Ecology says there are 130 organizations that will be hit, their list includes only 94.
The Governor announced the rest of his climate strategy today, calling for a $1 billion a year cap-and-trade, a low-carbon fuel standard that would add additional cost to gasoline and subsidies for a wide range of politically favored industries.
The details of the plan are not available, so we will address them as they emerge.
But what struck me most were the many contradictions in the Governor's announcement. Such contradictions are indicators that politics, not sound science and economics, are driving the policy.
Last year was a banner year for oyster aquaculture in Washington state waters.
According to data from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the harvest of shelled oysters rose dramatically last year, more than double the amount from 2012, and 78 percent higher than the previous high in 2005.
This year, voters in Oregon will decide on a GMO labeling initiative similar to the one Washington residents turned down last year. During last year's campaign, we noted that Washington State University was developing a strain of wheat that would eliminate or greatly reduce the gluten toxicity. We thought it would be a good time to check in on the progress of this effort.