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Views diverge quite publicly at State Climate work group meeting


Posted 12/8/2013

There were some testy exchanges at a meeting today of the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup (CLEW) in Olympia. Gov. Jay Inslee hoped the committee would advance his five recommendations on to the legislature, including his proposal for a state carbon cap. The two Republican members, Rep. Shelly Short and Sen. Doug Ericksen, said they couldn’t vote to recommend that without knowing more about the economic impacts.

“I think there’s some divergent views here on the way forward,” Inslee said, adding that he and the other two Democrats on the panel wanted to vote on the recommendations at the meeting. He wondered how the panel could reach consensus “if we have several members who want to make recommendations and several members who do not,” a statement he ended with a smirk in Short’s direction.

Short didn’t care for Inslee’s summation of the meeting. “What I really resent, Governor, is you intimating that we don’t care. And you can say that you didn’t intimate that, but it really is to point that there are three members who have agreement and two who don’t.” She added later, “I just really very much resent being put in a corner today, Governor, and maybe that wasn’t your intent, but that sure is the way it’s characterized today.”

Inslee tried to smooth things over by saying, “We’re all in the corner. We’re all in the same corner, which is, carbon pollution is damaging our state.” He went for the jugular moments later, though, reading the RCW establishing the committee and saying, “There are specific numerical targets that we are charted [sic] to meet. Now I’ve heard two members of these committees [sic] say it’s really not that important to meet those targets, and I think’s it’s going to be difficult…”

“No no no,” Short interrupted. “You started this fight.” Short said much of the data and targets they were working off of “were pulled from the sky,” adding to Inslee, “I’m sorry if you feel you want to move forward…without any regard to the costs, Governor.”

Short continued, “I think we’ve all tried to be very respectful of one another and really engaged in this process, but today you have set that bar at a new level. So I’m frustrated, we’re in December, we’ve spend months and months in this process — months in the process — and we were hoping to come to conclusion and you just blow it up, so, that’s fine, but we’re going to have our say.”

Sen. Doug Ericksen gently chided Inslee for characterizing others viewpoints in a way that was “not appropriate” and said that the governor’s push to vote that day was not what was scheduled. “I have not seen anybody bring forward the comprehensive cap-and-trade program, the comprehensive carbon reduction program, the comprehensive low-carbon fuel standard program, the comprehensive transferred nuclear power program, that would attain the goals laid out in the 2008 Legislature, so on that category, I guess the entire CLEW has failed in that mission because…nobody has brought forward that finished product.”

Ericksen said it was appropriate for the committee to consider economic impacts of cap-and-trade. “Going forward, I believe that we do need to take into account the economic conditions, and we might not like the numbers, but SAIC in their own report said that to pursue the cap-and-trade proposal at the federal level would cost Washington State over 81,000 jobs by 2030. That’s in the report, so do we take that into consideration now?”

The meeting concluded with no action taken. You can watch the entire exchange below.

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