PRESS RELEASE: NW Energy Coalition statement on Department of Ecology’s new draft Clean Air Rule

NW Energy Coalition statement
on Department of Ecology’s new draft Clean Air Rule

The NW Energy Coalition applauds Gov. Jay Inslee and the Department of Ecology for their commitment to reducing Washington state carbon emissions. The draft Clean Air Rule released today is positive step toward that goal.

“The Clean Air Rule establishes a cap on carbon emissions that declines over time,” said executive director Nancy Hirsh. “As electric and natural gas utilities face a more direct signal on carbon in their energy dispatch decisions, this rule may spur valuable emissions reduction projects in the state, including renewable energy generation, energy efficiency programs and transportation electrification.”

The rule is a small step, however, and not nearly as complete as a comprehensive legislative solution needs to be. In particular:

  • Electricity wired in from other states is not covered, which may have unintended consequences, such as increased out-of-state power purchases.
  • Substantial issues with double-counting the same emissions reduction may persist. We appreciate the Department of Ecology’s efforts to address this issue through the new “reserve account” mechanism.
  • The rule generates no revenue for the state to further Washington’s clean energy transition or assist affected workers.

Much more is needed. The emissions reduction targets are too modest to assure that the state does its part in stabilizing the climate. We hope for an improved final rule and continue to urge state policymakers to adopt a comprehensive solution that transcends the draft rules’ limitations.

Visit Ecology’s website to comment on the proposed rule (deadline July 22) and learn about upcoming informational meetings and hearings.

For more information contact: