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

January 27, 2015 at 11:35 AM

Inslee climate bill gets first hearing today

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed cap-and-trade bill will get its first public hearing before state lawmakers Tuesday afternoon.

A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. in the House Environment Committee. The hearing will be live-streamed by TVW.

House Bill 1314 seeks to set a statewide cap on carbon emissions and requires most of the largest polluters to buy permits, or “allowances,” based on the metric tons of carbon they emit. The price for the allowances would be set at auctions.

Inslee wants to use the money raised by the pollution charges — an estimated $947 million in 2017 — to boost K-12 education funding, fund a transportation package and give a tax rebate to lower-income working families.

A host of environmental, labor and other supporters plan to be out in force Tuesday in support of the measure, backing Inslee’s argument that Washington has a moral duty to fight global climate change caused by carbon emissions.

Science linking those emissions to rapid changes in the earth’s climate led the Legislature in 2008 to pass a law requiring the state to cut emissions more than 25 percent by 2035, with even steeper cuts by 2050. Inslee’s bill is an effort to find a concrete way to meet those limits.

But business groups and Republicans have mobilized against the proposal, arguing Washington already is a comparatively clean state and should not impose new costs on industries. And even some Democrats have questioned the plan.

HB 1314 is co-sponsored by 37 House Democrats. A companion measure, Senate Bill 5283 has 20 Democratic sponsors.

Comments | More in State government, State Legislature | Topics: cap and trade, climate change, gov. jay inslee

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