Clash over cap-and-trade in Oregon reflects hard path of carbon pricing in Pacific Northwest

Source: Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, June 25

 Washington state lawmakers are very familiar with the type of cap-and-trade bill to combat climate change that in Oregon led 11 Republican state senators to walk out and leave the state in a dramatic effort to block a vote.

During the past decade, two Washington Democratic governors — Christine Gregoire and Jay Inslee — pushed unsuccessfully to pass similar legislation that would create a tightening cap on carbon emissions and then auction off pollution permits. And a veteran state Democratic senator from Seattle who introduced a cap-and-trade bill during the last session is poised to resubmit a proposal in 2020 when the Legislature reconvenes in Olympia.

“We are in the battle now, and it will take time,” state Sen. Reuven Carlyle said. “But I am absolutely committed to the bill.”

Carlyle next year is expected to face determined opposition from Washington Republican lawmakers as the two major parties — nationally and at the state level — continue to be largely at odds over the need for government action to crack down on carbon and other fossil-fuel emissions that drive climate change.

But Carlyle will not have to contend with an Oregon-style walkout to thwart a vote.

Washington is one of 44 states to mandate that a majority of senators be on hand for a vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — rather than the two-thirds majority that Oregon requires to be present for a vote on Senate legislation.

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