Governor Inslee announces new clean energy plan

Governor Jay Inslee today announced a new clean energy plan as part of his 2019 budget proposal. There is no carbon tax, but critics believe it could still be costly to consumers.

“There's a huge cost by doing nothing and that nothing is too expensive for the state of Washington,” the Governor responded at a news conference announcing the proposal.

The Governor's plan works toward 100% Clean Electricity by 2045. The coal-fired power plant in Centralia is already scheduled to close in 2025. The Governor’s plan says utilities must stop using coal generated electricity from anywhere else at the same time.

His plan promotes electric vehicles with a $1000 tax break to people who buy new or used electric vehicles costing under $45,000.

It promotes energy efficient buildings and phases out hydrofluorocarbons-- the refrigerator gases that are far worse than carbon dioxide in warming the atmosphere. And creates clean fuel standards for gasoline and other fossil fuels.

Even without a carbon tax, fighting climate change won’t be free to consumers.

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“The costs of inaction are enormous, 600 million dollars we've already lost in agricultural production. A loss of our fishing industry where will lose 22 percent of our salmon habitat. 70 percent reduction in our snow recreation industries,” Inslee said.

Republican Senator Doug Ericksen has oil refineries in his district and the cost to consumers on his mind.

“Washington state can't do anything about climate change,” Ericksen says that takes national and international action.  “And unfortunately, Governor Inslee thinks he's running for president and he's trying to use Washington State as a springboard for that and I'm afraid he's going to stamp on a lot of people here in Washington state with big tax increases to try to prove that he's nationally worthy.”

Inslee has said he’s considering a run for president, but doubts that matters to people worried about the consequences of climate change.

“I don't think who cares about their children cares about anybody's electoral prospects. I think they care about a state where you don't wake up in the morning and there's ash on the hood of your car cause the forests are all burning down.

While Ericksen believes Inslee’s plan will cause sharp increases in the price of gas, the governor’s staff points to British Columbia and California to say it could add 6 cents or less to the price.

Electric Utility Puget Sound Energy says it is still studying the effects of the plan.

The clean energy incentives will cost $268 million in the budget Inslee will submit in January.