I suppose in a way it’s progress that the GOP are pretending to give a shit about the science of global warming instead of just sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling “we’re in the majority in the State Senate, so lalalala I can’t hear you.” But this seems more like a PR friendly version of that.
The GOP statement from Sen. Ericksen and Rep. Short said CLEW’s work assignment—crunching the data on any proposed solutions—needed to add another year. In their press release, Sen. Ericksen, also chair of the senate’s environment committee, said: “It is vital that legislators receive accurate information about the economic costs and the potential environmental benefits surrounding any carbon-reduction efforts.”
Some of the things in the mix: a carbon tax, a cap and trade system, expanding hydro capacity, investing in nuclear power, and foregoing “coal-by-wire”—transmitting coal-generated electricty from out of state. (The legislature passed a historic bill back in 2011 phasing out the state’s last existing coal-powered plant.)
And look, I’m all for studying things more. Yay! We can, and should continuously update legislation. But at a certain point, complaining about the fact that we don’t know for certain all of the possible impacts of a policy is just a way to kill that policy. For we also don’t know all of the impacts of doing nothing for another year. In any event, if that was a concern before, they could have raised it before.
It isn’t like we’re stuck with any policy for ever. If a cap and trade strategy is as bad as Ericksen pretends to fear, it can be adjusted or gotten rid of. I’m glad to see that the Democrats will actually push for something.
Ranker’s press release, which came second in the volley (he says he got a text from Ericksen the previous night alerting him that the Republicans thought the CLEW process should continue, but was caught off guard by the press release which he disparaged as “negotiating in the media”), was brief:
“I was surprised to see the press release from the Republicans on the CLEW committee, especially considering all sides were still talking and weighing options. While I’m disappointed, I’m also optimistic that Gov. Inslee, Rep. Fitzgibbon and I can continue to work on solutions to this very serious issue that impacts every person in our state and planet. Doing nothing is the only option not on the table.”
If the GOP were willing to show themselves as good faith actors, their let’s wait another year theatrics might be worth something. As it is, it’s probably fair to say they’re hoping to have an excuse to not do anything until the next election.
I suspect there will be more and more demands to study things as an excuse for inaction in the coming session. That’s really too bad.