Wherefore art thou, Cap and Trade bill?

One sort of cap. Only climate-related insamuch as weather requires.

One sort of cap. Only climate-related insamuch as weather requires.

In a surprising turn of affairs, the Senate Committee on Environment, Water and Energy yesterday removed one of the key provisions in SB 5735, better known as the Governor’s Cap and Trade bill.

The original bill would have placed a mandatory cap (see where the name comes from?) on the amount of carbon Washington businesses are allowed to produce, and would allow trading of carbon credits between those under and those over their limits.

The key phrase in this whole thing is “mandatory,” which would make the system a requirement all across the state. The Committee moved instead to make the program voluntary, meaning if you don’t want to participate, well, fine, you don’t have to participate.

Senator Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island), the prime sponsor of the bill, told the Seattle Times that he hoped the bill would “encourage our local industries to move forward toward the statewide emissions targets.”

Opponents contend that a state-level bill would impact Washington businesses from competing with out of state and international firms. Supporters point out that voluntary programs have been shown to be ineffective.

SB 5735 has been passed on to the Ways and Means Committee, where the next round of debate awaits. For more information and to follow the progress of this bill, check out the Environmental Priorities Coalition website.


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