March 21, 2019

New revenue forecast and carbon bills headline this week's Lobby Lunch

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0
Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, speaks to a packed AWB Lobby Lunch crowd on Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

State Sen. Reuven Carlyle is working to start a statewide conversation about a market-based cap and trade system to help control carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, Washington’s red-hot economy has just delivered a big gift to state government in the form of $860 million in new revenue, a new economic forecast shows.

“Our whole tax situation and our budget situation has changed as of yesterday,” Carlyle told business leaders and lobbyists Thursday at AWB’s Lobby Lunch meeting.

Carlyle, D-Seattle, came to AWB shortly after the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, which he chairs, passed a measure that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation fuels.

The low carbon fuel standards bill would require the Department of Ecology to adopt a rule creating a new program, which would include processes for tracking compliance, and bankable credits, a bill analysis shows.

AWB is opposed to the measure. AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis, citing a California Energy Commission (CEC) February report, warns that Washington’s gas prices, already the third-highest in the nation, will rise.

Using data from OPIS, the CEC report shows California’s low carbon fuel standard increased the cost of gasoline by 16 cents per gallon and the cost of diesel by 16.6 cents per gallon. These numbers will continue to rise as implementation ramps up to 100 percent; currently California’s program is only about half implemented. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the state’s standard will raise the cost of gasoline by 46 cents per gallon by 2030 and the cost of diesel by 50 cents per gallon by 2030.

Still, Carlyle said there is strong support for clean energy.

“The aggregate carbon emission reductions that come from the governor’s package are really strong,” he said.

The low carbon fuel standard bill has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Regarding this week’s revenue forecast, Carlyle said it also changes the discussion around transportation.

“Now that some of the pressure on the operating budget has been lessened in terms of revenue...all of the sudden there’s sort of a different conversation regarding transportation.”

Check out video of Thursday’s event below.