The Lame Duck Governor and the Green Brick Road

By Cindy Alia April 29, 2021

How a green win is in truth a green loss.

Legacy building is a fetish and one that will prove to be as hollow as a hungry teenager’s leg.  The green brick road Inslee has tried to build over the years has fed his extravagant trust in and reverence of climate worship while missing the goal.  Climate Czar he is not, but he has chosen to continue his pursuit of the building of his green brick road and to claim it exists even though many of the bricks are missing. 

For the exclusive and virtual 2021 legislative session his bumpy road building was called the Climate Commitment Act, and it was an act.  While he acts like he has had a major victory, and it has been so proclaimed by local main-stream media the road less traveled, the green truth road arrives at a different destination, one with half-truths, divisiveness, and, if implemented, a burden for all through additional taxation and increased energy costs.

It is forecast the 2 green bills of 5, called “a grand bargain”, that managed to pass the legislature easily on a partisan Democrat basis will begin to be implemented in 2023.  The 2 green bills were numbered 1091 “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.” (Low Carbon Fuel Standards), and 5126 “Concerning the Washington climate commitment act.” (Cap and Trade, Cap and Invest, or Cap and Spend) depending on your fiscal or political point of view.  One truth is the bill will become equitable as in it will increase costs to all.

When read carefully, the bills are dismaying in their social reach and divisive nature, equally dismaying is how the burden of the costs of these bills would be equally costly to all consumers without regard to race, religion, or creed, which is awfully democratic of the Democrats in Olympia who alone passed the bills.  Yet, even those situated to benefit from the social nature of the bills became divided on the 5126.  Senate bill 5126 is a divisive bill, although it is a cap and trade on pollution, or an emission pricing bill, it has divided the environmental cartel.  The climate justice arm of the environmental community feels there is not enough being done to provide better air quality and that there is not enough of the proposed revenue from this bill directed at environmental justice programs.  Many in the environmental community believe it will reduce carbon pollution but preface that belief on increased revenue for a carbon free future made in their intended image.  It seems such opinions are just a side effect of the worship of Climate, it can be lucrative, but hard to create a fitting idol.

Because the governor tried to pave his road with several bricks at once, the bills passed, 1091 and 5126, can’t take effect until the other bricks (bills) are in place.  Those other bills did not pass the legislature.  They encompassed such ideals as a straight out five cent increase on state gas taxes called an “additive transportation revenue act” which was rejected by a majority on transportation committees in the house and senate and so never reached the floor.  Another bill failing was 1564 “An Act related to transportation spending” which would have created an “additive transportation funding” aka a gas tax hike.  This title only bill failed to get out of the transportation committee not because it explicitly asked for a tax, but because it was a last-ditch effort, in a typically vague ghost bill fashion, to force a vote on a gas tax hike.  Perhaps some Democrats were not willing to go so far as to transparently support a hike, clearly no Republican in the legislature was willing to do so.

Bonding citizens to the governor’s legacy, Senate Democrats attempted passing a bill to “Authorize bonds for transportation funding” (a required bonding element), 5481 which failed to exit the Senate Transportation Committee, as did 5482 “Concerning additive transportation funding and appropriations.” (the gas tax hike), and 5483 “Concerning transportation funding.”, also proposing fuel tax increases, fees and benefit assessments, increasing taxation on other varieties of transportation related activities including a vehicle parts tax, and shifting tax revenue from its original purposes to the general fund transportation accounts.   Another attempted bill not finding support or passage was 5373 “Concerning carbon pollution.” (A carbon pollution fuel tax).  These bills would have been integral bricks to lay in the green road that are missing at present, creating a bumpy road for Governor Inslee and his Democrat cohorts wanting to create an “equity” and environmentally just based green legacy.

With the failure of these last-ditch efforts to come into compliance with the in-bill parameters set in 1091 and 5126, the implementation portion of these bills is not in place, thus they are the missing bricks in Inslee’s Green Brick Road.  The bills have passed and can be “planned for” but they cannot be implemented and so are essentially moot, will waste some state dollars (your tax dollars) if enacted, and are open for amendment if the missing bricks (failed bills) are not addressed either in a special session, or the 2022 regular 90-day session.  It may be a good time to discuss this with your legislator, especially because the upcoming session is an election year session.  You can see the bill sponsors and those who voted for them in committee or on the floor in the links in this article. 

June 30th is mentioned in the passing bills as a hard date for which these bills must be enacted, and without enactment all monies devoted to 1091 will be withdrawn as per language in Senate Bill 5092 “Making 2021-2023 fiscal biennium operating appropriations.”  5126 faces a similar lapsing of funds without enactment.

Special session is talked of for late summer or early fall in a push to pass the missing brick bills.  The passage of those bills would take this legacy from the “planning and rule making stage” to the “implementation stage”.  This would be another hollow leg to fill for the insatiable Lame Duck Governor in his quest to build a legacy, yet a special session for legacy building would be hard to swallow for citizens resentful of and seeking an end to his tyranny in emergency powers, a special session to gain balance and reason in the use of emergency powers was called for and unheeded for the many months of his singular and insular “duty” that caused so much personal and economic strife.  A special session to pave a green brick road while ignoring emergency powers reform is just too much to ask for most citizens.  This seems a strange form of victory but could be Climate victory is as nebulous as climate debate.  

There is still time to fight this legacy of impoverishment, tell your legislator to fight for you.

Complications and vulnerabilities of 2021 Green Bills, Implementing 1091 and 5126.

Below read the clauses or language of the bills that prevent the implementation of the bills.

1091 as passed by the legislature:

Section 3, (8)(a) and (b)

(8)(a) In order to coordinate and synchronize the clean fuels

18 program with other transportation-related investments, the department

19 may not assign compliance obligations or allow the generation of

20 credits under this chapter until a separate additive transportation

21 revenue act becomes law, at which time the department of licensing

22 must provide written notice to the chief clerk of the house of

23 representatives, the secretary of the senate, and the office of the

code reviser.24

25 (b) For the purposes of this subsection, "additive transportation

26 revenue act" means an act enacted after April 1, 2021, in which the

27 state fuel tax under RCW 82.38.030 is increased by an additional and

28 cumulative tax rate of at least five cents per gallon of fuel.


Sec. 30. If specific funding for the purposes of

4 this act, referencing this act by bill or chapter number, is not

5 provided by June 30, 2021, in the omnibus appropriations act, this

6 act is null and void.


Sec. 31. If any provision of this act or its

8 application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the

9 remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other

10 persons or circumstances is not affected. In the event that there is

11 litigation on the provisions of section 3(6) of this act or any other

12 provision of this act, it is the intent of the legislature that the

13 remainder of the act shall continue to be enforced and if such

14 provisions are held invalid, the remainder of the act shall not be

15 affected.

5126 as passed by the legislature:

Section 22, (7)(a) In order to coordinate and synchronize the cap and invest

35 program established under this chapter with other transportation

36 related investments, this section does not take effect until a

37 separate additive transportation revenue act becomes law, at which

38 time the department of licensing must provide written notice to the

39 chief clerk of the house of representatives, the secretary of the

senate, and the office of the code reviser.

(b) For the purposes of this subsection, "additive transportation

2 revenue act" means an act, enacted after April 1, 2021, in which the

3 state fuel tax under RCW 82.38.030 is increased by an additional and

4 cumulative tax rate of at least five cents per gallon of fuel.


April 29, 2021