Washington Legislature passes bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

washington_state_capitol_legislative_buildingA measure championed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to study the best practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions passed the state House on Monday and heads next to the governor’s desk.

Under the measure, an outside consultant would review both Washington state’s ongoing efforts to cut carbon emissions and similar endeavors elsewhere. It would then report back to the governor and a group of legislative leaders, who would in turn create a report to present to the full Legislature by the end of the year.

The report is meant to help the state reach its target of reducing 2020 greenhouse gas emissions levels to those of 1990.

Language in the original bill warning of the perils of climate change was removed in the Republican-controlled state Senate. House Democrats elected not to reintroduce that language, instead sending the bill to the governor.

House Republicans sought to amend the bill to include an exploration of the long-term viability of solar and wind energy and to study whether hydroelectric power should be counted as green energy under state rules. They pointed out that the wind and solar power industries have received government subsidies and that hydroelectric power is not a big polluter and is relatively inexpensive.

The amendments failed, mostly along party lines.

Moments later, the measure passed the House by a vote of 62-31, with no Democrats voting against and eight Republicans voting in favor.  (AP)

About Jason Ford