OLYMPIA — Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, had an interesting take Wednesday on Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate change bill that passed the Legislature this week.
“It’s not really a climate change bill anymore, it’s really a cost-benefit analysis of environmental actions bill,” said Ericksen, chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.
Ericksen was referring to Senate Bill 5802, a measure requested by Inslee. The governor’s office says the legislation is aimed at developing ways to reduce state greenhouse-gas emissions and meet targets set by the Legislature in 2008. It creates a work group that’s supposed to come up with recommendations by the end of the year.
Inslee has made climate change one of his top priorities and argued the state should become a leader in finding ways to deal with the problems associated with warming.
David Postman, a spokesman for Inslee, said the climate bill’s language speaks for itself: “The purpose of the work group is to recommend a state program of actions and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that if implemented would ensure achievement of the state’s emissions targets.”
Ericksen has said he has doubts that climate change is occurring. His panel stripped language out of Inslee’s bill that talked about problems associated with climate change.
And on Tuesday, his committee hosted a global warming skeptic who testified for more than an hour that the country was being misled, noting at one point: “CO2 cannot possibly cause global warming. The reason is because there is so little of it. It is a trace gas … If you double nothing you still have nothing.”
At a news conference Wednesday, Ericksen said he was excited about the governor’s legislation because “we’re going to be taking a look at issues we haven’t looked at before legislatively. What’s the actual cost of these environmental programs on manufacturing, on agriculture … all are required to be examined.”
Ericksen added, “I think it will actually lead us to the point of asking the question: Is going back and trying to obtain these (carbon) standards the most cost effective way to improve the environment?”