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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.




"..the Washington legislature had balked at passing a cap-and-trade bill."

I have my doubts about cap and trade, but that does not mean that I am right. I am no expert on this, this is why we have a representative democracy to study this and do what is best. Lobbyists can lobby and corporations can contribute, but Public Money for Public Office would keep it a more level playing field for us all.

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.
Assuming that by "emissions" they are referring to CO2 and not other contaminants, I am curious about how they will achieve this. Beyond simply producing less power, the only way I can see this happening is to use carbon sequestration and storage.

Just think of "cap-and-trade" as a *hidden* carbon tax.
Cap-and-trade is a extra cost that the companies you buy from have to pay to do business: Of course THEY don't eat the cost, they just pass in on to you with out telling you; why you're paying it, how much, and what you could buy instead to not have the cost passed on to you.


"Beyond simply producing less power, the only way I can see this happening is to use carbon sequestration and storage."

CCS, of course, TAKES power to run which leaves less power behind - so it's 6 of 1 or half a dozen of the other.

Henry Gibson

Obviously this governor grew up in the era of "I dream of Jeanie" and "Bewitched." Perhaps Samantha will wave her wand and allow the violation of the second law of thermo-dynamics. She has obviously never heard of the honesty of the ancient British King who sat in a chair by the sea to demonstrate that even Kings cannot command the tides.

The only way a relatively modern coal-fired power plant can cut its carbon release in half is not to operate at full power. It would be far cheaper for society to have the Governor order the purchase of two CANDU 600 reactors and have them delivered and built in less than five years than to think that this coal fired plant can reduce its carbon use to one/half the present. Less than a hundred people met their demise by the radiation released by Chernobyl, but thousands meet theirs in coal mines.

It is important to discover or remember that all live things have forever breathed out CO2 or other green house gases and given off nuclear radiation at the same time. Most non live things also give off nuclear radiation.

Washington state should forbid the export of Columbia River power to California and pay the owners of the coal mining contracts and the power plant for their lost income. The people of Utah can take any excess power to replace the Coal fired plants in Utah that supply 95 percent of the power in the state. Some Utah water did flow into the Columbia but none did from California.

Washington State, if it is serious about reducing CO2 release can just drop the speed limit on all highways to 55 mph or less. The increase of fuel consumption to get to a destination increases substantially with speed. Absolutely no large cars or high horsepower cars should be allowed to be sold or registered in the state.

Better yet, every driver in the state is issued a credit card driving permit and is allocated a standard limited amount of gasoline, and gasoline can only be bought with such a card. The amount of gasoline sold in the state in five years will be limited to half what is sold now. Dealers will not be able to get any gasoline to sell if they do not reduce their sales to half of what they are now. Home owners will have their natural gas cut off, if in five years they are not only using half the natural gas that they used this year.

I do not think that much of the CO2 reduction efforts by many of the states are actually constitutional. If a power company is limited in its CO2 release what about the additional CO2 release cause by WalMart that sells unnecessary items to people. What about a high CO2 tax on items other than food and basic clothing.

In this economy we do not need expensive GREEN laws when it cannot be shown that such will make a difference. If entire populace and industry of the state were to dissappear in a volcanic explosion, the CO2 reduction would not be noticed in London. It is just making bad laws and regulations for appearances.

A regulation that required cogeneration in every commercial building or home, that used natural gas or had it available, is the least costly and most effective way to reduce CO2 release, and in fact it pays for itself to the operator of the building.

If this official truly were interested in reducing CO2 levels, she would order the construction of Nuclear reactors near or under every large town or city to supply hot water heating to most residents. Her order would require no obstruction to this construction by anyone. Instead she believes falsities promoted by untrained environmental religionists. Much of the information that she has received and believes would not stand up as facts in court.

This governor wishes to make the poor pay more for their basic electricity, and thus partially deprive them of food and health care, without similar forceful measures against the wealthy with many high powered cars, high electrical consumption, large houses, many jet trips and many purchases of items made and brought in by a large expenditiure of fossil fuels. The power company does not force people to take electric power.

She wants to Crucify the Poor of her State, and by her example the poor of other States, on a Cross of Carbon.

It is not true that hydro-power does not release green house gases. The organic materials that once flowed into the Pacific are now trapped in the shallows and depths behind dams and are decomposed into methane, one of the worst green house gases naturally available. If buried in the cold depths of the ocean, organic materials sometimes never decompose or are otherwise trapped. Permanent beds of Methane hydrates are trapped in the cold depths forever. There are many such deposits known and unknown. ..HG..

Kit P

Let me correct a couple of things that Henry does not know about making electricity in Washington State. No CANDU reactors are certified to operate in the US. Maybe they can be built in BC with the electricity sold to the US.

Washington State already has a nuclear reactor that produces more electricity than the TransAlta Centralia Generating station which gets coal from surface mining so no miners are dying. Washington State also has good wind and biomass resources.

Will S

It's nice to see Washington State lead the way on some of these topics (others States are making great progress as well).

I look forward to other states following suit.


States have taken on more of the role, because so little was done at the federal level for years. Energy is a national issue and there are more ways to address it than going to war for oil.


It is nice to see that Henry Gibson has returned to our midst. Welcome back Henry and thank you for your thoughtful comments. In your absence I can tell you that the mountain of evidence against the theory of global warming resulting from man-made CO2 has only grown larger.

Unfortunately the stubborn AGW clan refuses to see they've lost the public mind to hard science. So they continue down the every more abandoned road of GHG mitigation which even school children realize is not a real necessity. What children DO realize is that we need to mitigate our fossil fuel consumption. This is already being done via electrification of transport.

Since we now know that atmospheric CO2 is a powerful plant fertilizer that INCREASES plant growth worldwide - the coal fired generating facilities are only a liability due to real pollution - which is already regulated and may be further. The people of the State of Washington are aware of the scam/scheme called Cap N' Trade. That's why their legislature refuses to heap this burden on the taxpayer. Especially in such a drastic recession! As Henry notes Cap N' Trade is merely a masked carbon tax, passed on to consumers.

Energy independence is the path we are all seeking. True independence lowers fossil fuel use, reduces pollution, provides jobs, keeps $700B at home and restores domestic manufacturing via new technology. It can be achieved by a broad portfolio of nuclear, traditional and alternative energy resources - all domestically based. A good place to start is the residential consumer. Provide subsidies for CCHP generating equipment using our vast NG resources to phase out old water and heating systems. By converting residential sectors to residential power units we can lower grid and single point energy demands by one third.

These are only big challenges now in the face of the greed-based money grab called "global warming." This is a once-good campaign gone terribly wrong. Cap N' Trade is an investment scam on a colossal scale that enriches a handful of traders in commodities markets and costs the productive sectors of business their livelihood.

The entire charade is based on the now completely falsified theory of AGW. It has been proven wrong a hundred times over. The dead don't want to accept their death. CO2 does NOT cause the Earth to warm. Natural variation does. We are NOT bigger than nature. Just ask Pen Hadow recently rescued from an aborted North Pole trek due to extreme -40C temps. Nature froze his comms, his radar, his flesh and his ego. Nature laughs at claims that man controls the climate. He is puny. As is his ability to change the climate.


What the Governor does not do and has not said here is anything actually meaningful for the state of WA. I have not enough time to write all the things I have issue with (being a citizen of WA) but one thing that immediately comes to mind is her lack of pursuing any realistic alternative transportation methods in this state. This piece is simply rhetoric by our Gov.

Example: The 520 floating bridge is an antiquated floating bridge which links a majority of our suburban cities and the city of Seattle. Lake Washington is the single largest barrier to us having well implemented mass transit (besides the politicians).The commute is torture, aside from driving around there is one other floating bridge on the south end. The 520 bridge is a bottleneck which is one lane each way and finally scheduled to be replaced. A toll is going to be setup this year, much to the dismay of many in this area. I do believe this would be a good way to get the replacement paid for however at last check the coming replacement will be......dun dunna Duuu! A one lane each way bridge, with no bike lanes or anything fancy like that.

Most any news you here coming out of WA about our leading bio-whatever is a joke. I work in the field and we do nothing but setup barriers to entry here. I wish it weren't so because it is a beautiful place but trying to make a difference here just doesn't happen.

We also are missing our "law" for state adoption of renewable fuels by the state agencies of 20%, we're currently sitting at 3%. This is because the state purposefully worded the requirements to favor Imperium Renewables, I think we all know how well that experiment went.


Until we get Public Money for Public office to offset the special interests, we will have the general interest at a disadvantage. Tax payer money to counter balance private donations would be the best $5 per year the voter ever spent.

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