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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

September 9, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Local leaders urge Inslee to support clean-fuel standards

Over 60 local government leaders today sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee urging him to find a way forward on adopting clean-fuel standards. The letter was posted by the Washington Coalition for Clean Fuels Jobs and includes some heavy-hitter signatures: King County Executive Dow  Constantine, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and  Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland.

The letter, which you can read here, declares support for developing the standards, which would set limits on pollution contained in transportation fuels like gasoline. The executive order Inslee signed earlier this year on finding ways to limit carbon emissions and fight climate change included a study of clean-fuel standards.

“The transportation sector is the largest source of [greenhouse gas] emissions in Washington state,” states the letter. “Pollution from cars and trucks is also one of the largest contributors to air quality problems that threaten the health of people throughout the state. Asthma and other pollution-related illnesses disproportionately impact communities of color and immigrant communities, making cleaning up air pollution critical to advancing equity and sustainability.”

Republicans protested the idea of clean-fuel standards during last year’s legislative session, saying such standards would raise gas prices and amount to a tax that would hurt consumers. Inslee described the debate at the time as “fear mongering” on the part of Republicans.

The Washington Coalition for Clean Fuels Jobs lists supporters ranging from labor unions to clean energy businesses and environmental advocacy groups. The group’s website says fuel standards would pump money into the local economy, clean up the air and cut carbon emissions.

But Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, dismisses the coalition and questions its motives.

“They’re a front group that was created at the same time that the governor created his task force,” Schoesler said Tuesday afternoon.

And Schoesler repeated earlier Republican criticisms that clean-fuel standards would raise transportation costs; he urged the state to look at “smart, market-based ways to include air quality and environment.”

Schoesler earlier this year wrote an opinion piece criticizing the governor for not representing Eastern Washington on his climate-change task force. And the list of signatures on Tuesday’s letter reads like a who’s who of the Puget Sound: officials from King, Kitsap and Thurston counties, Bellingham, Everett, Kent, SeaTac, and Seattle, among others. Besides a handful of progressive Spokane City Council members, the letter doesn’t much represent Eastern Washington.

“It’s all pretty predictable,” Schoesler said.

Comments | More in Governor, State Legislature | Topics: climate change, environment, gov. jay inslee

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