Democrats introducing smaller carbon reforms

Emma Scher
WNPA Olympia News Bureau

After state voters soundly rejected a carbon-tax initiative, global warming advocates in the Legislature are trying to curb climate change with a bevy of smaller reforms.
Four environmental reform bills introduced last Thursday aim to reduce food waste, tighten emissions and fuel standards, and encourage the use of commercial car washes.
That is a change from precedent-setting Democratic party climate policy strategies of the past.
Carbon tax initiatives were soundly rejected by state voters in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
But House Environmental Committee Chairman Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, said the state’s commitment to the environment still makes Washington a national leader.
“Carbon tax was never the silver bullet in climate change; it’s one tool in the toolbox,” he said. “It’s time to take a step back and try it sector by sector.”
The approach is similar to Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate package, which included a wide range of environmental policies like orca conservation and an emphasis on creating jobs in the clean-energy industry.
“What used to be a graph on a chart is now ash on the hood of your car” from forest fires Inslee said on Thursday. “We’re at a tipping-point moment.”
Eastern Washington officials, however, reject the idea that global warming is responsible for forest fires; rather, they point out that the fires are the result of failed land management policies.
Some of the environmental issues lhave bipartisan support, but state Democrats and Republicans disagree on where funding will come from.
Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville anticipates Democratic policies to lower carbon standards will raise taxes.
“We can get better if we got off the perpetual tax bandwagon,” Schoesler said on Thursday. He wants lawmakers to find solutions “that don’t tax hardworking taxpayers.”