Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After nearly two weeks of non-stop floor action, late nights and weekend work – with hundreds of amendments, caucus discussions and votes on bills – the House of origin cutoff has come and gone. There are a lot of good and bad bills still moving through the legislative process, and a lot that are “dead” for the year, unless they are considered necessary to implement the budget (NTIB).
Low carbon fuel standard passes House
One of the most egregious bills passed by the House this week – and there were several – was the implementation of a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS).
House Bill 1110 authorizes the Department of Ecology to create a low carbon fuel standard in an effort to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. This is something California implemented years ago, and after decades of litigation it has finally gone into effect. As a result, California's gas prices have gone up 16 cents per gallon and will continue to rise.
This proposal will hurt all Washington residents, but especially those living in rural Washington who drive further for groceries, doctor appointments, to attend school functions, and whose local economies rely upon strong agriculture products and processes. It is a regressive tax that hits those who can least afford it the most. Washington already has some of the highest gas prices in the nation. In fact, AAA rates us in the top tier for fuel prices, along with Oregon and California.
Another problem I have with this legislation – supported in the House only by Democrats – is that it will have no measurable effect on the environment. The governor's own study of this type of scheme concluded that it is not an efficient mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, voters rejected carbon pricing at the ballot box last November with the rejection of I-1631. Passing this legislation flies in the face of what the voters want, and what our state needs. If we were really serious about helping air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we would be focusing our efforts on proper forest management. One bad wildfire can knock out years of local and state environmental efforts.
I wrote an article on this issue. You can read that here. Or you can watch a three-minute long video compilation of our floor speeches fighting against this bill here. I was also on the Washington Ag Network radio program here.
9th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall
On Thursday, March 21, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. please join me and Rep. Mary Dye for our 9th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall. We send out calls right at 6:00 p.m., but if you don't receive a phone call after a few minutes and want to join in, please call (509) 394-4742.
Thank you for reading my email update. If I can be of assistance to you on a state matter or with a state agency, please let me know. My office is here to serve you.