Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you to all who have called, e-mailed and visited to my office over these first two weeks of the 2014 legislative session. I appreciate the feedback and always welcome hearing about the issues you care about most. One topic I want to bring to your attention in this brief e-mail update is the governor's push to put in place Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) in Washington state. Here are a two recent articles that explain this issue well:
- Washington State Wire: Will Inslee impose Low Carbon Fuel Standards by executive order? – Issue looms over Legislature's upcoming transportation debate
- Washington Policy Center: Inslee proposal to combine cap-and-trade and Low Carbon Fuel Standard is costly and ineffective
While I do not serve on the House Environment Committee, I do serve on the House Transportation Committee, which oversees transportation taxes and fees, such as gas taxes. It is estimated that if the governor were to implement the LCFS in our state, the cost of gasoline in our state would increase by $1.17 per gallon. I heard estimates of up to $2 per gallon from industry experts in an emergency Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee hearing Jan. 23 on the proposed new fuel standards. You can watch the work session on LCFS here.
Until new technology makes fuel cleaner or makes us less dependent on oil to fuel our vehicles, LCFS goals will not be attainable, which is what California has learned with its 2007 LCFS requirement. Additionally, we must encourage other countries around the world to adopt stricter environmental standards. Pollution from overseas factories will continue to undermine our efforts and undo any good intended by an LCFS if not addressed. The New York Times recently published a great article that broke down a study on pollution from overseas and how it impacts the Western United States:
I firmly believe the marketplace should drive fuel changes and consumer behavior – not government. I simply cannot support unproven policies that hurt those on a fixed income and our low- and middle-income families the most.
We are at a crossroads with our transportation system in Washington state. We have a state Department of Transportation in need of serious reforms, a voter base that is skeptical that any new tax dollars put in the current transportation system would not be used wisely and the LCFS proposal creating uncertainty in our business sectors and for our hard-working residents.
I hope this information is helpful as we discuss how to best preserve our environment, create jobs and ensure a transportation system that works for commuters and freight.
You can learn more about my legislative priorities by watching my recent video update at this link.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this and other issues.