Legislation to adopt a cap and trade program for emissions by employers failed to pass the Legislature this year. Even so, Gov. Gregoire continues to spend scarce taxpayer dollars on a regional cap and trade program despite the fact that a national cap and trade program appears inevitable.
Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy and ranking Republican on the House Ecology and Parks Committee, said she was disappointed with the governor’s continued direction but will work to make sure jobs, families and the economy are not devastated by a regional cap and trade program.
"We just got a revenue forecast that says we’re continuing to see less money come into the state because people are buying less," Short said. "Our economy continues to struggle and our folks are having trouble finding and keeping jobs. Whatever the governor and the state do in terms of cap and trade, we cannot allow it to harm our families and our employers."
Short recently submitted a letter to the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) partner jurisdictions regarding competitiveness issues of a regional cap and trade system. The WCI is taking input from stakeholders and the general public to see what should be a part of its cap and trade program.
"Washington is a very unique place in terms of our hydro power, our industry sectors, our dependence upon trade, and our agriculture base," Short said. "My fear is that without a concentrated and conscious effort to keep our state’s competitiveness intact, our jobs are going to be lost to non-WCI states and nations.
"Our small businesses, like those that support Boeing, pulp and paper industry, agriculture industry, and manufacturing jobs could all be put in serious jeopardy by any cap and trade program unless we step up to the plate now," Short said.
"Are the policies being put in place going to hurt hard-working families and make consumers less safe? Are these policies just shifting emissions from WCI partners to non-WCI partners because jobs will go elsewhere? Are the costs – both in terms of current job losses and future job opportunities wasted – associated with a cap and trade system reasonable when Washington is only responsible for a mere three-tenths of one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions? These are all questions that need to be brought to the table," Short said.
Short’s letter to the WCI partners comes at the end of their June 19 deadline for public comment on competitiveness issues. However, Short urges people to continue contacting the WCI’s state contact person if they have concerns.
Washington state’s WCI contact person is Janice Adair at the state Department of Ecology. She can be reached at (360) 407-0291, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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