In the days following Governor Inslee’s decision to enact a low-carbon fuel standard, thus accepting the Republican provision eliminating some of the State’s multimodal accounts, climate activists found themselves with divergent interests from bike, pedestrian, and transit advocates. STB was gearing up to hold its own internal debate on whether the trade was worth it. But fortunately, the Governor found another way:
The governor asked Ecology Director Maia Bellon to develop substantive emission reductions using existing authority. The process will be open and transparent and all stakeholders will have ample opportunity to express their ideas, options and concerns as the rule development process unfolds.
That process is expected to take about a year.
Unlike the legislation that Inslee proposed to the 2015 Legislature, the regulatory cap will not charge emitters for carbon pollution and therefore would not raise revenue for state operations. The other key difference is the current proposal wouldn’t create a centralized market for trading of emissions credits, though emitters may be able trade amongst themselves…
The conversations surrounded the recently enacted transportation investment package that included the so-called poison pill. That proviso would have moved about $2 billion in funding from multi-modal projects to an unappropriated account if the governor moved ahead with a clean fuel standard.
The governor said today he will not pursue the clean fuel standard.
I understand the regret that this measure won’t raise any revenue, but from an environmental perspective this is nearly the best possible outcome absent legislative commitment to address this problem. The details could sabotage a lot of the good here, but in principle a broad-based system of caps is a more comprehensive, economically efficient approach than tackling fuels alone.
And moreover, there are no direct consequences for multimodal projects, which have good consequences not only for climate change, but for public safety, air and water quality, and social equity.