Rep. Short & Sen. Ericksen Push for Low Cost Alternatives in Climate Plan; Urge Continued Legislative Role in State Climate Actions

On page 1 of their own CLEW report, Rep. Short and Sen. Ericksen call for continued work to “provide legislators with the data necessary to make informed decisions.” Right off the bat they recognize that these decisions are to be made ultimately by the Legislature. They specifically use language in the report such as, Legislation should be enacted…,” and the Legislature should form…” Clearly a stark contrast exists between the two sides in their views over the role of the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

You can view their report in its entirety by clicking here.

Here are the ideas proposed by Rep. Shelly Short and Sen. Doug Ericksen:

  • Incentivize hydroelectric power generation
  • Replace fossils fuels with nuclear generation
  • Promote research and development (R&D) for new technologies
  • Encourage conservation under the Energy Independence Act (I-937)
  • Allow renewable energy credit banking under I-937
  • Modify fuel mix reporting system
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Gov. Inslee Ignores Legislature’s Role; Continues Push for Potentially Costly New State Programs

Governor Inslee has refused for weeks to back away from his consideration of implementing low carbon fuel standards and possibly other actions such as Cap N’ Trade by Executive Order. This has been an issue largely seen as a killer for any transportation deals this year.

In the CLEW report issued this week by Governor Inslee, Senator Ranker, and Rep. Fitzgibbon, the Governor uses this as another opportunity to vaguely state the role he believes the Legislature should have in these decisions. On page 4 the report states, “The Legislature should be actively engaged in this process through an ongoing executive and legislative dialogue on the actions we should take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions….once specific proposals emerge, they will be subject to review by legislators, stakeholders, and our citizens.”

On page 13 the report states, “To meet the Workgroup’s statutory obligation, we have identified a set of actions that will secure the additional emission reductions by the required dates and are recommending that the state move forward to design and implement these actions.” Then as the report is wrapping up and addressing the “Future Process and Timeline” on page 16, it states that “policy designs and economic analysis should be organized and conducted by the executive branch in 2014,” and again reiterates the role of the legislature will be to engage in a dialogue and review proposals.

Brazenly, the notion of Legislators taking action on any of the proposals is ignored, instead limiting the role to having a dialogue and allowing a review of materials. Clearly, the Governor’s lengthy stay in the US Congress somehow never educated him on the concept of separation of powers.

You can view the entire report by clicking here.

The recommendations from the Governor includes:

  • Establish a Cap N’ Trade Program (The report calls it a Cap N’ Market Program)
  • Reduce and Eliminate Power by Coal in Washington State
  • Create an Energy Smart Building Programs – Include incentives and financing for energy neutral development.
  • Finance the use of Clean/Renewable Energy Programs
  • Transportation Adjustments – Accelerate the use of clean cars, cleaner fuels, and change the way we finance transportation. Add Climate Change considerations to Land Use plans.

Urban Growth Area Expansion Update

“Growth” – A 6-letter word that will get your mouth washed out with soap if used around the Growth Management Hearings Board or certain activist organizations such as Futurewise or the Spokane County Neighborhood Alliance. Unfortunately, we also have to add to that list the Washington Department of Commerce and the Department of Transportation, which are really just standing in as proxies for Gov. Jay ‘Cap & Trade’ Inslee.

As you know, back in September 2013, Gov. Inslee directed his Commerce and Transportation department heads to challenge the Spokane County Urban Growth Boundary expansion. You can read the post I made about that here.

On Nov 26, 2013, the Eastern WA Growth Management Hearings Board tossed out the UGA update approved by Spokane’s Commissioners last summer after several years of work on the issue. So why specifically did they rule this way? [You can read the entire Order Here] It was largely a technicality – citing a revised population growth estimation that went without a public hearing. According to the documents, the board found that on July 18, 2013 after the public comment period had ended, the County increased its estimated population projection by 7,571, making the final revised number –  121,112.

The understanding now is that all the County has to do to fix the mistake is to go back and hold a new public hearing with regard to the slight tweak in population projection and then again approve the boundary expansion. In addition, the County can file an appeal to overturn the ruling. Both options are on the table and may be pursued by our County Commissioners.

Consider reaching out to the County Commissioners and give them support as they make this decision:

  • Phone: (509) 477-2265
  • Commissioner Todd Mielke – tmielke@spokanecounty.org
  • Commissioner Al French – afrench@spokanecounty.org
  • Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn – soquinn@spokanecounty.org

According to Daniel Walters at the Inlander, “640 lots, across six different properties countywide” have vested and can now move forward with development no matter the outcome of the challenge. Despite anti-growth activists calling this a loophole, it’s a really a common-sense tool to ensure predictability for all of the parties involved.

You can expect in either 2014 or 2015 that a strong assault on current vesting laws will be made back in Olympia. All the more important to have legislators back there willing to stand up for our property rights.