Legislature looking to quietly adopt a last-minute carbon tax

The voters have twice rejected carbon taxes and the legislature has consistently refused to adopt a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. Despite that, a last-minute carbon tax/cap-and-trade bill that skipped the policy committee hearing process is being pushed by some legislators.

HB 2957 would give complete authority to the Department of Ecology to create a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. The legislature would not have to approve the system and would only require an “update” on the rules in January of next year.

Department of Ecology staff could create rules that covered companies that emit as few as 25,000 metric tons of CO2. In Washington state, that would include food producers like El Oro Cattle Feeders in Moses Lake and Lamb Weston in Quincy. It could include timber mills like SDS Lumber in Bingen and Vaagen Brothers in Colville. It would include semiconductor manufacturers and solar panel manufacturers.

It would also include companies that manufacture aluminum and concrete. Such manufacturers are known as “energy intensive, trade exposed” industries because they would be hit hard by energy taxes and find it difficult to absorb those costs because they face overseas competition. …

… [E]ven as the low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) bill appears dead this session, HB 2957 would give Ecology the authority to design and implement their own version of an LCFS.

Read the Complete Article »