Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Revisiting E2SSB 5735: Can we save the Climatic Bill?

Two critical questions remain after the passing of the Clean Water Act in Washington State: Why did the Investment priority legislation fail? How should we prepare to help the Climatic bill (E2SSB 5735) pass this year after its modification?

Reports from legislatures deliberating E2SSB 5735 indicate that the governor’s office probably did not do a good job at selling E2SSB 5735. The bill was packaged to deliver transportation choices that save time and money; keep Washington State engaged in the Western Climate Initiative, a regional program to reduce global warming pollution; and, reduce global warming pollution by the year 2025 from the lone coal plant in Washington State. Current opponents indicate that the scope of E2SSB 5735 is too broad and it needed to be narrowed to some specifics. Specifics that can be deliberately measured: For example, how much transportation investments would lead to deliverables in money saving for the state? What alternative transportation projects can actually save money for Washington State residents and businesses in light of the current business landscape? Answers to these and other questions could have positioned the governor’s office to help legislatures rally around E2SSB 5735 thereby giving it another shot at life.

Selling the Western Climatic initiative could have been a done deal, if the governor’s office had played significant leading role in the preparation and facilitation of the regional initiative. The governor’s office should have focused its energy at building grassroots’ support for the regional initiative by seeking to build the state status as a regional leader, totally committed to changing the way we do business with respect to our storm water drainage runoffs, industrial pollution and environmental management. The governor’s office should have offered efficient policy components in the bill that offered slightest advantage that the state will derive from the regional climatic initiative and set the tone as the leader driving the initiative around the region.

It is also possible to use the past performance of the only coal plant in Washington State with respect to environmental pollution as a selling point for legislatures to rally round E2SSB 5735. For the most part, the Coal plant makes money through emission of carbon dioxide and other green house gases. One could argue that the emission levels of the green house gases from this plant spells catastrophe for Washington resident’s health, the region as well as the nation. The combination of these disadvantages would have driven the law makers to see the moral imperative of saving Washingtonians from continued pollution from the Coal plant beyond the set date of 2025.
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