January 11, 2016
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Department of Ecology releases draft carbon cap rule

Energy and transportation costs will go up under the draft carbon cap rule released last week by the state Department of Ecology.

The proposal, released on a live public press conference via the social media app Periscope, requires employers who emit more than 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases to reduce those emissions by 5 percent every three years, or pay for credits (allowances) from a yet-to-be established carbon market. Among those employers who will be forced to pass on additional costs to consumers (or taxpayers): food processors, providers of consumer gasoline and electricity, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the University of Washington.

The threshold would gradually ratchet downward. Within 20 years, more than 45 additional facilities would have to comply with the rule.

AWB Government Affairs Director Brandon Houskeeper told The Associated Press that the carbon cap will not only affect current employers, but will send a negative message to companies that might be considering moving to Washington.

“Lowering the threshold means more entities would be covered by this rule. What signal does that send to businesses hoping to relocate to Washington?” Houskeeper asked.

Olympia Business Watch covers the issue here, noting that Washington has already been reducing carbon emissions for years without new top-down regulations. According to Environmental Protection Agency stats, Washington is already below 1990 levels, with the downward trend firmly established for the years ahead.

The carbon cap would also affect consumer pocketbooks by increasing costs for food producers, according to Capital Press.

The Washington Climate Collaborative notes that the carbon cap will increase costs for everyone in Washington by making electricity, gasoline, natural gas and other energy more expensive. It also means that employers who have to pay penalties (through buying “allowances” when emissions exceed the carbon cap) will end up sending their money to out-of-state governmental entities or Wall Street speculators.

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Costly Carbon Cap Sends Money Elsewhere

Ecology's Carbon Rule: A Money Transfer from Washington to California and Wall Street

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

Washington is one of the lowest-carbon states in the nation when it comes to emissions from road vehicles, electricity generation, manufacturing, or commercial and residential buildings. A combination of forward-thinking policies and innovation has reduced our carbon emissions below what they were in 1990 and created a clear and downward trend into the future. We fully expect the state to meet its emissions goals for 2020, which is to have Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced to 1990 levels. All of us -- families, farmers, workers and employers -- are invested in protecting our environment, and it shows in the many ways this success has been achieved.

The reality of this makes Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed carbon cap all the more puzzling. A year ago, he submitted a cap and trade proposal to the Washington State Legislature that would have created a $1.3 billion energy tax on Washington consumers. His most ardent supporters in the Capitol saw the problems with implementing this policy, and his proposal failed to even get a vote.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
The TPP is Good for Washington

Ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact

By The Herald Editorial Board

More than 40 percent of all jobs in the state are tied to trade, reports the Washington Council on International Trade. The state Department of Commerce reports that state exports topped $90.5 billion in 2014, a 10 percent increase over 2013. On a per capita basis, the state agency says, Washington state is the nation's largest exporter.

Washington state and many of its businesses and workers now also stand to benefit following the completion this fall of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries, the largest trading partners being Japan, Australia, Canada and Mexico. President Barack Obama is expected to put the pact before Congress later this year for either its approval or its rejection.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Herald
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