Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gov. Inslee Wants To Cap And Tax Emissions From Washington State’s Major Polluters

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a news conferen ce as he stands with state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson and construction workers Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Medina, Wash. (Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Click to Enlarge.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has big plans for carbon reductions in his state, as outlined in climate change and transportation proposals announced by the governor’s office this week.

On Tuesday, Inslee announced a proposed tax on the carbon emissions for Washington’s major polluters.  The proposal, which is part of Inslee’s transportation plan, would force major polluters in the state’s oil and gas industry to pay for the carbon they emit.  The revenue gathered from the carbon tax, according to Inslee’s office, would total about $4.8 billion over the next 12 years — about the same amount as would be raised by a 12-cent increase in the state’s gas tax.

As part of the plan, the state’s major polluters — the “relatively small number of businesses” that, according to the governor’s office, are responsible for 85 percent of the state’s emissions — would have their emissions capped.  Over time, that cap will be lowered, as a way to prod the businesses to transition to cleaner, more efficient energy sources.

While some of the revenue from the carbon tax would go toward maintaining roads, it would also be used for transportation-related sustainability initiatives in the state, including grants for transit systems and incentives for electric cars.  Other transportation projects in the state, such as highway and ferry updates, would be mainly paid for by sources such as gas taxes, tolls and vehicle fees.

“There is a good way, instead of just using taxes to build a bridge, why not use a charge on pollution to build not only a bridge, but also clean air so kids can breathe.  You get a twofer,” Inslee said last week, before the proposal was formally announced.  “That’s what we’re going to do.”

The incentives slated to be paid for by the carbon tax would increase under the governor’s climate change plan, which he unveiled on Wednesday.  Inslee is calling for legislation that would extend electric vehicle incentives and increase the number of high-speed electric vehicle charging stations in the state.  In addition, Inslee is asking the state’s Department of Ecology to draft a new standard for clean fuel.  Inslee is also seeking to increase funding for research on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Read more at Gov. Inslee Wants To Cap And Tax Emissions From Washington State’s Major Polluters

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