Gregoire pleads for teeth in a climate bill
Gov. Chris Gregoire made a rare appearance Tuesday before a state legislative committee to urge a stronger climate-change measure aimed at cutting pollution.
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire, in a rare appearance Tuesday before a state legislative committee, urged a stronger climate-change measure aimed at cutting pollution.
Gregoire, testifying before the House Ecology and Parks Committee, said Washington needs to lead in shaping a cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Senate passed a bill last week but gutted much of the governor's initial proposal for such a system. It doesn't set a cap on emissions and asks the state to study the issue more.
Gregoire urged the House committee to strengthen the bill by limiting the amount of pollution industries can emit, and by continuing to work with a regional initiative to curb global-warming pollution.
"Climate change is a significant challenge of our time," Gregoire said. "Our environment, our economy, our very way of life is threatened by a changing climate."
Washington is one of seven Western states and four Canadian provinces in the Western Climate Initiative, which would establish a regional market to trade carbon-emissions credits, allowing industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy and sell credits. The goal is to cut the region's emissions to below 2005 levels by 2020, a roughly 15 percent reduction.
Gregoire said even though there's not much appetite this legislative session for a trade system, that doesn't mean the state can't approve an emissions cap.
Committee Chairman Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines, said his committee probably could pass a bill that caps pollution, but he's uncertain it would gain broader support.
Environmentalists have made it a priority this session and say it's the next step toward meeting the state's goal of reducing overall emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and more by 2050.
Many businesses are against a cap-and-trade plan, saying it would increase energy costs and put them at a disadvantage with businesses in other states and countries.
President Obama has called for a national cap-and-trade system that would auction off permits.
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