Senate Bill 5126 dividing the state.

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.  A 95% reduction in carbon is lauded, though the blessings promised rely on building new style buildings as well as retooling existing buildings, those in favor of this notion call the bill a cap and invest program, though it is not specified how all the work would be accomplished with carbon free methods.

Farmers and rural citizens, will face an increased cost of production due to higher fuel prices, and a financial burden of travel for services.  A minimum increase of 19 cents per gallon of fuel will result from this bill.  Transportation bills include 10 cents increases, and other bills 2 cents- With an initial cost to consumers of 31 cents per gallon of fuel on top of existing state and federal fuel taxation.

House bill 1091, low carbon fuel standards, is duplicative of some policies in 5126 and so will double the burden on consumers with conflicting policy goals. 

Currently 5126 carries the goal of "Establishes a program for capping emissions from certain covered entities and investing emission allowance auction proceeds in certain programs, projects, and activities, beginning January 1, 2023." 

Read the bill summary here.

While the goal of 1091 is to "Directs the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to adopt rules establishing a Clean Fuels Program (CFP) to limit the aggregate, overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of transportation fuel energy to 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035.  Excludes exported fuel, fuel used by vessels, railroad locomotives, and aircraft, and certain other categories of transportation fuel from the CFP's GHG emission intensity reduction requirements.  Requires the CFP to include processes for registering, reporting, and tracking compliance obligations and to establish bankable, tradeable credits used to satisfy compliance obligations. Retains the current distribution of revenue under the 2015 Transportation Revenue Package, eliminating changes that would have been triggered as a result of the establishment of a CFP. Requires the passage of a separate additive transportation funding act generating more than $500 million per biennium in revenue before Ecology may assign compliance obligations or allow for actual credit generation in order to coordinate and synchronize the CFP with other transportation-related investments.

Read the bill summary here.

These bills do not contribute to transportation matters that matter most to Washington citizens, the repair, improvement, and fixing of existing long term roads issues.  The end result of the passage of these bills will be increased costs for commuters, personal driving, the trucking and farming industries, and costs for production across the board resulting in higher prices for goods and services.  There will be little if any noticable changes in carbon pollution levels throughout the state.  The citizens of this state have rejected these policies in past, and the legislature should also reject these bills in these governmentally created economic crises created throughout 2020 that continue today.  Citizens cannot bear the burden of costly ineffective pipe dreams presented in this legislative session.

There is still time to call your legislators, from the senate and house and tell them how you want them to vote.  Senate bill 5126 is being considered in the house so give your house representative a call today.  Here is a district map to help you make the right call, or call the legislative hotline 800 562 6000.  House bill 1091 passed the senate but with amendment, so there is still time to call your house representative on that bill as well, urge them to consider your point of view on the passage of that bill in the reconciliation process.  


April 14, 2021