Washington’s Clean Air Rule sees 5 percent carbon emissions cut every three years for the state’s largest emitters. The proposed rule was released on Wednesday and would include a dozen facilities in the first wave provided that the rule passes.
The Clean Air Rule was developed by the Department of Ecology and announced on Wednesday by state regulators. Refineries, manufacturing plants, as well as as power plants and natural gas distributors would be included in the first wave of large emitters required to comply with 5 percent carbon emission cut every three years.
Consecutive waves would see the inclusion of more facilities, as well as the lowering of the 5 percent threshold. The first wave of large emitters targets those facilities which currently count 100,000 metric tons of carbon emission yearly. As Washington’s Clear Air Rule sees 5 percent carbon emission cut every three years, state regulators argue that it is necessary the rule passes in order to protect both the environment and public health from the disastrous effects of emissions and climate change.
Water supplies, the state’s economy and infrastructure would benefit greatly from the proposed rule. The proposed Clean Air Rule has been cheerfully welcomed by environmental groups hailing it as a crucial stepping stone in mitigating climate change. Of course, the conventional dichotomy between environmental groups and business interests groups is also shadowing Washington’s proposed rule.
Last year, another legislative proposal forwarded by Washington Governor Jay Inslee failed to pass. The legislation would have installed an ambitious cap-and-trade system on carbon emissions from the state’s largest emitters. With the legislation failing to pass, the Ecology Department was instructed to limit carbon emissions and carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.
Two other statewide initiatives are driving efforts to limit carbon emissions. Initiative 732 has gathered a large number of supporters to prop the proposed tax on carbon pollution. 350,000 signatures are backing a 25 dollars tax per metric ton with the added condition that other state-backed taxes are lowered. After verification, Initiative 732 will be before the Legislature. However, the 2016 ballot could see the Initiative 732 is lawmakers fail to act upon it.
Another initiative is proposed by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. This initiative is still in the development phase. However, it also targets taxing carbon pollution. Funds would be redirected into clean-energy projects mostly, followed by low-income communities development projects and others.
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