Archive for the ‘Public Policy’ Category
Stunning Deal Reached to Prevent Boeing’s Flight – Governor, Lawmakers Return Thursday for Special Session
By Erik Smith, Washington State Wire
Jaws dropped at the statehouse Tuesday as Gov. Jay Inslee, surrounded by lawmakers, union leaders and officials of the Boeing Co., announced a deal to stop the aircraft maker’s flight from Washington and send lawmakers scurrying back to their desks for a special session that begins Thursday.
Boeing gets tax breaks worth $8.7 billion through 2040, and a promise that sometime soon lawmakers will pass a $10 billion transportation tax package that includes a gas-tax hike — perhaps within the next few days. The state will put aircraft-factory permits on the fast track. And it vows to develop a “balanced, practical” plan for more stringent water-quality standards contemplated by the Department of Ecology – perhaps quelling a big fear for industry in this state.
And in return? The state lands the new factory for the 777X, the next-generation airliner on which Boeing stakes its hopes, and the more than 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefit that come with it. As Boeing CEO Ray Conner watched approvingly from a corner of the conference room, Inslee said that if lawmakers pass the transportation tax and the tax-break package, the state has a deal.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) decision to grant the Pacific Northwest Solar Partnership $1.65M in funding through the Rooftop Solar Challenge Program. The Pacific Northwest Solar Partnership, led by the Washington State Department of Commerce, was granted the award to develop improved solar programs, create “solar ready” corridors, and double the photovoltaic capacity in Washington and Oregon to permit more solar energy intake. This grant is part of a nationwide program, led by DOE, to make solar energy more accessible and affordable for American citizens.
“The ever-expanding solar energy industry supports thousands of good-paying jobs in Washington state, and continued development of solar technology is vital to both our environment and the economy,” said Senator Murray. “This critical funding from the DOE will help the Pacific Northwest Solar Partnership in its mission to provide affordable solar energy throughout Washington.”
This grant to the Pacific Northwest Solar Partnership exemplifies the Obama Administration’s commitment to making the United States a leader in a rapidly-growing solar market. The Department of Energy is awarding $12M between 8 teams nationwide, to help make the United States a global leader in solar energy by 2020.
Here are the latest Program Guidelines for the Washington State Department of Commerce 2013-2015 Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants for Higher Education, Local Governments and State Agencies program. We updated the information required when applying for a solar only grant.
All applicants applying for a Commerce solar only grant must submit documentation to demonstrate that the building(s) are energy efficient and do not need energy conservation work. Please use EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® first and then if your building type doesn’t fit into one of the 18 categories, use the second documentation method listed below:
- Use EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® to create an ENERGY STAR score. The ENERGY STAR score must be 80 or higher. This method is limited to a set of 18 building descriptions.
- If your building type does not receive an ENERGY STAR score using Portfolio Manager®, use ENERGY STAR Target Finder. When entering data, enter the buildings actual energy use in the “estimated energy use” cells. Submit the “statement of energy use intent” report with your grant submission. To be eligible for a solar only grant, the building site EUI must be 30 percent lower than the median building site EUI included in this report. Target Finder supports 80 different building types.
If you have any questions about the program, please contact:
Pat Gibbon and Tom Stilz
Energy Efficiency and Solar Grant
Department of Commerce
Community Services and Housing Division
1011 Plum St SE
PO Box 42525
Olympia, WA 98504-2525
British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington join forces to combat climate change.
West Coast Leaders Commit to Accounting for the Costs of Carbon, Clean Fuel Standards, Other Clean Energy Priorities for Region of 53 Million People. Referred by Andrea McFadden of WCTA member Andrea McFadden & Associates.
SAN FRANCISCO – The leaders of British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy today, committing their governments, and a region that represents the world’s fifth largest economy, to a comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy.
California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington Governor Jay Inslee were joined at Cisco SF by British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark, who participated via TelePresence from Victoria. BC Environment Minister Honourable Mary Polak attended in person.
Through the Action Plan, the leaders agreed that all four jurisdictions will account for the costs of carbon pollution and that, where appropriate and feasible, link programs to create consistency and predictability across the region of 53 million people. The leaders also committed to adopting and maintaining low carbon fuel standards in each jurisdiction. In a joint action plan, the leaders committed to “meaningful coordination and linkage between states and provinces across North America.”
“This Action Plan represents the best of what Pacific Coast governments are already doing, and calls on each of us to do more—together—to create jobs by leading in the clean energy economy, and to meet our moral obligation to future generations,” said Governor Inslee. “Each of the governments here is already taking bold steps on climate change; by joining forces, we will accomplish even more,” Inslee said.
Flanked by supportive business and labor leaders, the governors and Premier redoubled their commitment to growing the region’s clean energy economy. The region covered by the Action Plan has a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion—effectively the world’s fifth largest economy.
“Oregon supports the Action Plan because we are already seeing how our commitment to clean energy is changing the face and fortune of our state, accounting for $5 billion in economic activity and 58,000 jobs,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “The debate is over. The scientific community no longer disputes that climate change is happening and human-caused. But regardless of where you stand on this question, there’s another good reason to act: transitioning to a clean economy creates jobs,” Kitzhaber said.
Under the Action Plan, California and British Columbia will maintain their existing carbon pricing programs along with their respective clean fuel standards, while Oregon and Washington have committed to moving forward on a suite of similar policies. The leaders further agreed to harmonize their 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets and develop mid term targets where needed to set a path toward long-term reductions
“California isn’t waiting for the rest of the world before it takes action on climate change,” said Governor Brown. “Today, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are all joining together to reduce greenhouse gases,” Brown said.
The leaders pledged to cooperate with governments and sub-national governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015. “Taking action to address climate change in our own capitals is an important first step,” said Premier Clark. “By supplying cleaner energy and associated technologies to help others reduce their emissions while growing the economy and creating jobs at home, our generation has an opportunity to lead on the world stage. This agreement signals we are ready to innovate and work together to achieve a healthy, strong, and secure future,“ Clark said. Business leaders hailed the Action Plan as an important milestone and a boost to efforts for national and international policy change.
“Our company is seeing significant growth on the Pacific Coast, and it is encouraging that the trend is concurrent with this landmark accord,” said Steve Clem, Vice President of Skanska USA in Portland, Oregon, one of the ten largest construction companies in the U.S. “In this time of political grandstanding and gridlock, private enterprises like ours that are trying to do the right thing are pleased by the recognition here that it really is possible to grow the economy, create jobs and still do our part as a region to fight climate change,” Clem said.Blair Christie, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cisco, hosted the signing ceremony with the leaders. Dave Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, and Bill Dewey, President of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton, Washington, also spoke at the event.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative was established to address the unique and shared circumstances of the Pacific coastal areas and jurisdictions in North America by providing a framework for co-operative action, a forum for leadership and the sharing of information on best practices, and a common voice on issues facing coastal and Pacific jurisdictions.
British Columbia: Dave Crebo, David.Crebo@gov.bc.ca or (250) 812-5747
California: Jim Evans, Jim.Evans@GOV.CA.GOV or (916) 445-4571
Oregon: Tim Raphael, Tim.email@example.com or (503) 689-6117
Washington: David Postman, David.Postman@gov.wa.gov or (360) 902-4136
Skanska USA Inc.: Jay Weisberger, Jay.Weisberger@skanska.com or 206 550 8883
Cisco: Kristin Carvell, firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 209-3753
Resource Media: Eric Jaffe, email@example.com or (415) 235-7822
In order to achieve goals set out by the Legislature in 2008, preliminary indications from a legislative technical consultant indicate that substantial new policy initiatives will be required. A cap-and-trade program on industrial emissions and a carbon tax appear to be strong possibilities for consideration in the Washington Legislature.
Find the full story here: John Stang, Crosscut, September 30, 2013.
As part of its Evaluation of Approaches to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Washington State, the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup (CLEW) has tasked Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) with analyzing Washington State Emissions and Related Energy Consumption (Task 1), in several parts.
SAIC completed these tasks, with the following analysis of emissions, energy consumption, and energy expenditures in Washington from 1990 to 2011. This document provides an analysis of energy consumption and expenditures in Washington State and examines how energy consumption impacts GHG emissions.
- The transportation sector is the largest source of emissions in Washington State. Within this sector, on-road gasoline consumption is the largest single source of emissions. Other important emission sources in the transportation sector are aviation fuels and diesel fuel.
- The electricity and residential, commercial, and industrial (RCI) sectors are the second largest emitting sectors, after transportation. In the electricity sector, coal consumption for electricity is the largest single source, while in the RCI sector, natural gas consumption is the largest source.
- Natural gas consumption is the largest source of emission in the RCI sector, primarily heating fuel for buildings, followed by oil, which is primary used in the industrial sector.
- Total emissions in the state have been declining since 2007. There was a small increase in emission in 2010, primarily due to increased fossil fuel electricity consumption in response to drought conditions that reduced hydroelectric power output. The only other sectors that showed increased emissions in 2010 were the industrial processes and waste management sectors.
- Washington consumed just over 1.5 quadrillion Btu of total energy in 2011.
- On a per capita basis, Washington consumed about 220 million Btu in 2011. Oregon and California consumed less energy per capita, at 193 and 201 million Btu per capita,
- respectively, in 2011. Idaho and Montana consumed more energy per capita, at 278 and 319 million Btu per capita, respectively, in 2011.
- In the transportation sector, Washington consumes less on-road transportation fuel (gasoline and diesel) per person than all other states in the region, except California. However, consumption of gasoline is still the largest source of emissions in the state.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report today ending the debate of human influence on our climate.
“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models. Warming in the climate system is unequivocal and since 1950 many changes have been observed throughout the climate system that are unprecedented over decades to millennia. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.”
The IPCC Working Group also suggests that global surface temperature change will increase 1°-2°C (33.8°-35.6°F) by the end of the 21st century with more extreme weather conditions occurring more frequently and with greater effects.
Read the full report IPCC_climate_change_report
Larry Ehl of Transportation Issues Daily summarizes Mr. Greg Barker’s remarks from last week’s breakfast for us in his recent post, Conservative Politician Describes Fight Against Climate Change and Skeptics.
Mr. Barker was on a tour of the West Coast to share the UK fight against climate change and to learn about the innovative ways western communities are addressing the issue. On top of taking the time to speak with us, he signed a Joint Declaration to Strengthen Partnership in Combating Climate Change with Washington Governor Jay Inslee. UNC WA DECC Joint Statement on Collaboration (2) (PDF)
“We think we can address climate change in an ambitious way without out harming our economy,” Barker said of his colleagues. So in 2008 the conservative government led an initiative that resulted in bipartisan approval of legislation to reduce emissions to 80% of 1990s level by the year 2050. In just five years emissions have been reduced by 26% – and yet Britain survives.
In fact, “green business” has accounted for about one third of the UK’s recent economic growth — increasing 5% per year, according to Barker. He noted that low regulation and targeted tax rates that have been important for green innovation and business. In particular, the government has fostered policies and regulations to help disruptive and small businesses Barker noted that big business has bought in as well, and partnered with the government on initiatives.
Barker commented that we need ground up, community-based solutions to climate issues. There is no amount of government funding that can solve the [climate] problems.
Read more from the original article here.
Gov. Inslee Signs Joint Declaration with UK Govt. to Strengthen Partnership in Combating Climate Change
Gov. Jay Inslee and UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker signed a “joint declaration” that will allow for greater collaboration as the UK and Washington state work on market-based solutions to climate change. The agreement could lead to greater cooperation among western U.S. states and the UK, too.
When Gov. Jay Inslee signed his climate action bill earlier this year, it created a unique opportunity for collaboration with Minister Barker who has been pioneering strategies to spread the use of clean technology to combat climate change.
The UK is currently implementing a groundbreaking energy bill to decarbonize its electricity sector by 2050. This forms part of a suite of measures to fulfill the UK’s ambitious emissions reduction targets. Washington state is considered a national leader in this same area, with ambitious renewable energy portfolio standards that have helped spur billions of dollars in economic activity in clean energy technology, and carbon emission reduction goals that will significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2020 with continued reductions through 2050.
“The UK is leading action to avert dangerous climate change. However, a global challenge requires global partners,” said Minister Barker. “I am delighted to be working with Governor Inslee on this important agenda to drive our shared transition to a prosperous and secure low carbon future.”
Today’s joint declaration builds on the shared vision between Governor Inslee and Minister Barker and will allow Washington state and the UK to enhance their collaboration on market-based mechanisms for reducing carbon emission, clean energy investments, energy efficiency strategies, clean transportation and more.
Read the press release here.
The Obama administration on Friday announced that it was not backing down from a confrontation with the coal industry and would press ahead with enacting the first federal carbon limits on the nation’s power companies.
Ms. McCarthy unveiled the agency’s proposal to limit new gas-fired power plants to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour and new coal plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide. Industry officials say the average advanced coal plant currently emits about 1,800 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour.
Opponents of the new E.P.A. rule quickly vowed to take measures to stop it. “The president’s decision today is an escalation of the war on coal and what that really means for Kentucky families is an escalation of his war on jobs and the Kentucky economy,” Mr. McConnell said. “I will file a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to ensure a vote to stop this devastating E.P.A. rule.”
Once the rules are in place, coal power plants would be required to limit their emissions, likely by installing technology called “carbon capture and sequestration,” (CCS) which scrubs carbon dioxide from their emissions before they reach the plant smokestacks. The technology then pumps it into permanent storage underground.
Read the New York Times article here.