March 2, 2020

Family Trucking Firms Rally to Oppose Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (w/video)

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0
Hundreds of professional drivers, family trucking firm owners and supporters rallied at the Capitol Monday to oppose a low-carbon fuel standard being heard in the State Senate Transportation Committee. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB.)

Todd Stoffel of GT Stoffel Trucking in Washougal was among the family businesses opposed to the low-carbon fuel standard on Monday.
(Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB.)
Dozens of family businesses and other employers rallied at the Capitol Monday to send a simple message to the State Senate Transportation Committee: Vote no on a low-carbon fuel standard for Washington.

About 175 logging and other trucks from all over the state were parked near the Capitol and along Capitol Lake to make a point early Monday morning: House Bill 1110 is costly, does little to combat climate change, and threatens to wipe out family businesses.

"We're all been just barely getting by -- it's really going to kill the industry," said Brad Gourley, a driver for Edwards Logging.

AWB's Mike Ennis later spoke to the committee and highlighted California's experience with a low-carbon fuel standard: Fuel prices rose, emissions fell by less than 1% a year, and state officials recommended amending or eliminating the program altogether.

Many of the professional drivers and small employers emphasized the bill's cost to their bottom line on Monday.

Driver Jeff Henke of Barr Excavator emphasized the impact of the bill, which would raise the price of diesel fuel by 63 cents per gallon and gasoline by 57 cents per gallon.

"If you do any business in the state of Washington, it affects you," Henke said.

Small business owners like Todd Stoffel of GT Stoffel Trucking was among the dozens of drivers who got up as early as 1:30 a.m. to make the journey to Olympia.

He said the low-carbon fuel standard could raise his annual fuel bill for one truck by about $6,300.

"The profit margin just isn't there for that," Stoffel said.

Stoffel serves as vice president of the Timber Unity association, which is opposed to the measure.

Stoffel and his wife Tammy also working to involve his younger son in the family business, but more costs threaten that transition.

"The low-carbon fuel standard would really wipe out any profitability that we have left in this truck," Tammy Stoffel said. "…That would definitely wipe out the opportunity for our youngest son to be able to work with the business."

Stoffel also said he's concerned about the bill's impact on working people and those on fixed incomes.

"It hits them the hardest," he said. Stoffel also questioned the need for more state revenue considering the state's current surplus.

Over the weekend, AWB President Kris Johnson made the case against the measure in a column for The Herald of Everett. He highlighted the fact that despite these additional costs, a low-carbon fuel standard would do little to invest in transportation infrastructure.

"The LCFS is a flawed, costly, and ineffective carbon reduction policy opposed by thousands of Washington families, consumers, and businesses, and it should be rejected," Johnson wrote.