Washington unveils rules to reduce global warming pollution

Release Date
September 15, 2016
North Cascades

BROOKE JARVIS

Today, the Washington State Department of Ecology released their final draft of the Clean Air Rule, requiring reductions in carbon pollution from Washington’s largest polluters.  Environmental and clean energy advocates noted that it would cut carbon pollution while calling for additional action to ensure Washington meet its long-term sustainability goals.

Vlad Gutman-Britten, Climate Solutions: “We appreciate Governor Inslee’s ongoing commitment to putting Washington on a path to a clean energy transition. The Clean Air Rule is only the first step to creating a robust policy that drives pollution reduction and invests in creating tens of thousands of jobs in a new, sustainable economy. Washington is ready for that, and Climate Solutions is ready to work with the governor and legislative leaders to make it real.”

Sasha Pollack, Washington Environmental Council:  “The Governor took important executive action by crafting the Clean Air Rule. We look forward to seeing it implemented but in the long run we must continue to work toward a comprehensive climate policy that prices and reduces emissions and reinvests in accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and in the communities most impacted by climate change and the economic transition.

Brian Grunkemeyer, Sierra Club: "Governor Inslee deserves credit for taking action on cutting climate-altering pollution after repeated failures by the state legislature. This begins to address the next threat to our climate - plans to invest in expensive, dirty gas-fired power plants in our state. We look forward to working with Inslee, the state legislature and local utilities to make sure that we're not replacing dirty coal plants with yet another fossil fuel."

Adrienne Alvord, Union of Concerned Scientists: “The Clean Air Rule is a clear demonstration that states do not need to wait for federal action to address the challenge of climate change. We commend Governor Inslee for moving forward, and we know that there is much work to do to ensure the rule is effective. UCS hopes that as this rule as it develops it will help provide economic benefits as well as improvements in public health, and we look forward to further actions in Washington to address climate change in coming years.”

Colin Murphy, NextGen Climate America “Climate change is the most pressing challenge of our generation and Governor Inslee has demonstrated visionary leadership, seeking to move Washington towards a sustainable, prosperous, clean energy future. This rule is an important step towards achieving a sustainable, clean energy future for Washington. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to improve this rule and safeguard clean air for future generations.”

The final rule closely follows the draft released in May and includes a number of meaningful improvements to ensure the integrity of statewide emissions reductions. Positive changes include:

  • Progress toward eliminating loopholes and double-counting of offsets that give twice the credit for half the benefit,
  • Improvements to the energy intensive and trade exposed businesses program to allow them to better compete globally while covering all major polluters.

Post-implementation the groups will continue to advocate for further changes, including:

  • Further refinement of the use of offsets to guarantee that on-paper emissions cuts actually reflect real-world ones.
  • Stronger provisions to prevent businesses profiting unfairly off the rule.
  • Ensuring that voluntary participants do not lead to reduced effectiveness for the rule overall.
  • Protecting our air and water quality from backsliding, especially in existing hotspots, as a result of the rule.
  • Changing biofuel provisions to recognize their lower carbon emissions than petroleum fuels, better aligning with policies elsewhere in the U.S. and internationally.