Washington Governor Issues Executive Order Directing State Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gases; Consideration of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Highway Electrification
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire issued an executive order directing a variety of state actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including continued participation in the Western Climate Initiative to develop a regional greenhouse has emissions reduction program; an increase in transportation and fuel-conservation options including a low-carbon fuel standard; and the pursuit of the electrification of the interstate highway and associated metro centers.
Gregoire issued her executive order, entitled “Washington’s Leadership on Climate Change,” after testifying at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing in Seattle on the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The order contains a number of directives specifically for the Department of Ecology and the Department of Transportation.
Gov Gregoire instructed the Director of the Department of Ecology to:
Continue to participate in the Western Climate Initiative to develop a regional greenhouse gas emission reduction program and to work with the federal Administration, Washington’s congressional delegation and appropriate committees to help design a national greenhouse gas emission reduction program that reflects Washington State priorities.
By December 1, 2009, provide to each facility that the Department of Ecology believes is responsible for the emission of 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent each year in Washington with (1) the Department’s best estimate of each facility’s baseline greenhouse gas emissions; and (2) each facility’s proportionate share greenhouse gas emission reduction necessary to achieve the state’s 2020 emission reduction in RCW 70.135.020 (1990 levels by 2020); and (3) a request to each facility, or groups of facilities representing a sector of Washington’s economy, for any recommended strategies or actions they believe would achieve the needed reductions. By October 1, 2010, the Department of Ecology shall develop emission reduction strategies and actions, including complementary policies, to achieve the state’s 2020 emissions reduction targets.
Develop emission benchmarks, by industry sector and in collaboration with stakeholders, for facilities the Department of Ecology believes will be covered by a federal or regional cap and trade program.
Work with the existing coal-fired plant within Washington that burns over one million tons of coal per year, TransAlta Centralia Generation LLC, to reduce emissions from the company’s coal-fired power plant near Centralia by more than half. The agreed order shall include a schedule of major decision making and resource investment milestones;
Develop by September 1, 2010, recommendations for forestry offset protocols as well as other financial incentives for forestry and forest products.
In consultation with the Departments of Commerce and Transportation, assess whether the California low-carbon fuel standards; standards developed or proposed in other states, provinces or for the nation; or modified standards or alternative requirements to reduce carbon in transportation fuels would best meet Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. By July 1, 2010, provide to the Governor a recommendation regarding which standards or requirements should be adopted for Washington, either by rule or legislation.
The governor directed the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to:
With local governments, business, and environmental representatives, estimate current and future state-wide levels of vehicle miles traveled, evaluate potential changes to the vehicle miles traveled benchmarks as appropriate to address low- or no-emission vehicles, and develop additional strategies to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.
Work with the Puget Sound Regional Council, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council and Thurston Regional Planning Council to cooperatively develop and adopt regional transportation plans that will, when implemented, provide people with additional transportation alternatives and choices, reduce greenhouse gases and achieve the statutory benchmarks to reduce annual per capita vehicle miles traveled in those counties with populations greater than 245,000.
By December 1, 2011, the Department will report to the Governor on which regional transportation planning organizations have developed, or are developing, plans with greenhouse gas strategies, which strategies appear to have the greatest potential to achieve the benchmarks, and what policy or funding issues need to be resolved to ensure implementation.
The Office of the Governor will work with state agencies to develop and seek federal funds to implement a project for the electrification of the West Coast interstate highway and associated metropolitan centers, including requesting federal funding to purchase electric vehicles and install public infrastructure for electric and other high-efficiency, zero- or low-carbon vehicles.
The Office of the Governor will invite Oregon and California to collaborate and participate in developing and implementing this project and in requesting federal support.
The order also address adaptation, with Director of the Department of Ecology to evaluate the potential impacts of sea level rise on the state’s shoreline areas, including the potential increases in storm surge and coastal flooding, increased erosion, and loss of habitat and ecosystems, and develop recommendations for addressing these impacts. The Director and the Secretary of the Department of Health, in consultation with other affected state, local and federal agencies, are also to develop specific guidelines, tools, and recommendations to assist the state and its water users to meet the anticipated changes in water resources due to climate change impacts.
Prior to the governor issuing the executive order, the Washington legislature had balked at passing a cap-and-trade bill.
Executive Order 09-05. Washington’s Leadership on Climate Change.