Adopt low-carbon fuel limits

Following the lead of California and directed by Gov. Jay Inslee, the state Department of Ecology is slowly moving forward with a proposed rule that would require a reduction in the carbon emissions resulting from the fuel used for cars and trucks in the state.

The proposed carbon-fuel standard would require refineries to reduce carbon emissions caused by their fuels to be reduced by 10 percent over 10 years. Refineries could produce cleaner-burning fuels, mix fuels with biodiesel or other alternatives or buy credits from other companies, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The goal, as with the governor’s carbon tax proposal, is to reduce greenhouse gases from the vehicles we drive — which account for about 47 percent of the state’s carbon emissions — with the goal of slowing the march of climate change.

The Ecology Department has scheduled public hearings on the proposed rule this month.

There’s a difference of opinion on what the lower carbon standard would mean at the gas pump. Republicans in the Legislature have objected to the change, saying it would add 20 cents to each gallon of gas. The state Office of Financial Management found that the lower-carbon standard would add 2 cents a gallon in 2020 and increase to 10 cents by 2026.

Ecology’s director, Maia Bellon, also disputes that the cost will be higher than what the OFM cites. And there are provisions in the draft rule that would prevent spikes in fuel costs, she told the AP.

But squabbling over the cost per gallon ignores the bigger picture, as outlined by the Union of Concerned Scientists in its analysis of California’s initiatives to limit carbon through the fuel standard and its own carbon cap-and-trade program. It found that improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency will more than offset the costs to motorists in producing cleaner fuels.

That hasn’t deterred some from attempting to divert attention from the improvements that a new fuel standard could have.

State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale — who we will note accepted $18,650 in contributions from energy companies to defend his seat in November — offered up a package of bills he said would reduce carbon pollution. He’s proposed switching the state ferries from diesel to liquefied natural gas; allowing public utilities to meet some voter-approved alternative energy targets by investing in carbon reductions; and offering tax incentives to build small modular nuclear reactors.

“Instead of arguing about ‘is a low carbon fuel standard a good thing or a bad thing,’ I think we can all agree and say that converting Washington state ferries to liquefied natural gas is going to reduce carbon emissions and increase air quality,” the AP quoted Ericksen as saying.

Let’s set aside the neighborhood nuclear reactor idea as a bit ahead of its time. But the other two proposals are worth considering, and we’re happy to have legislators like Ericksen behind ideas to reduce carbon.

Even so, his proposals are not going to approach what a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions from vehicles can accomplish in savings for motorists and cleaner air and a slowing of climate change for all.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Monday, July 22

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Scott Spahr, Generation Engineering Manager at Snohomish County PUD, points to a dial indicating 4 megawatts of power production from one of two Francis turbine units at the Henry M. Jackson Powerhouse on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, near Sultan, Washington. Some of the water that passes through units 3 and 4 — the two Francis turbines — is diverted to Lake Chaplain, which supplies water to Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Amber King best suited for PUD’s 2nd District seat

Among three solid candidates, King’s knowledge of utilities and contracts will serve ratepayers well.

Brooks: Democrats must provide an answer to MAGA’s promises

For Democrats to succeed, they need to offer people a future of both security and progress.

Krugman: For Trump, once again, it’s carnage in America

Ignoring the clear decline in crime rates for much of the country, Trump basks in thoughts of mayhem.

Krugman: It’s not just Trump that J.D. Vance has flipped on

The GOP’s vice presidential nominee has shifted position on the white working-class folks he came from.

Comment: Blaming media a poor repsonse to political violence

Conspiracy and violent rhetoric holds no specific party identification but seeks only to distract.

Former President Donald Trump, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, speaks during a campaign event in Doral, Fla., July 9, 2024. The Biden campaign has attacked Trump’s ties to the conservative policy plan that would amass power in the executive branch, though it is not his official platform. (Scott McIntyre/The New York York Times)
Comment: Project 2025’s aim is to institutionalize Trumpism

A look at the conservative policy behind Project 2025 and the think tank that thought it up.

Vote 2024. US American presidential election 2024. Vote inscription, badge, sticker. Presidential election banner Vote 2024, poster, sign. Political election campaign symbol. Vector Illustration
Editorial: Return Wagoner and Low to 39th Disrict seats

‘Workhorse’ Republicans, both have sponsored successful solution-oriented legislation in each chamber.

A law enforcement officer surveys the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, the site of the Republican National Convention, on July 14, 2024. (Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times)
Editorial: Weekend’s violence should steel resolve in democracy

Leaders can lower the temperature of their rhetoric. We can choose elections over violence.

A graphic show the Port of Everett boundary expansion proposed in a ballot measure to voters in the Aug. 6 primary election. (Port of Everett).
Editorial: Case made to expand Port of Everett across county

The port’s humming economic engine should be unleashed to bring jobs, opportunity to all communities.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Sunday, July 21

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Forum: How much do we really know about ‘bus stop people’?

Our assumptions about people, often fall short of accuracy, yet we justify our divisions based on them.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.