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Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee unilaterally implements cap-and-trade

Wash. Gov Jay Inslee
Wash. Gov Jay Inslee
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Declaring that human activity is the cause of climate change, Washington Democratic Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order implementing a cap-and-trade system, the Daily Caller reported Tuesday. The order also eliminates coal power and funds green energy projects, claiming that human activity has "increased atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases to levels unprecedented in at least the past 800,000 years."

Reuters said that Inslee will still need approval from the legislature to implement his policy. The legislature has rejected bills creating a cap-and-trade system in the past.

“This is the right time to act, the right place to act and we are the right people to act,” Inslee said. “We will engage the right people, consider the right options, ask the right questions and come to the right answers — answers that work for Washington.”

According to Inslee, more is needed to be done to meet goals set by the legislature in 2008. Those goals require Washington to lower carbon emissions to a certain level by 2020, the Daily Caller added.

To help meet those goals, Inslee set up a “Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force” to design Washington's new carbon trading system. The task force met Tuesday for the first time and is expected to present final recommendations to Inslee in November.

Coal has also been banned as a source of electricity. The order does not say what will take the place of coal-fired power plants.

Of course, the order calls for programs funding green energy projects. Among the programs Inslee wants created are those increasing solar power, despite the state's reputation for cloudy days.

All of this comes at a price, naturally. Consumers, for example, will see their electricity bills go up. Currently, Washington enjoys the “lowest residential electricity prices in the nation and the lowest combined electricity price across all sectors,” according to the Energy Information Administration, due primarily to the fact that most of the state's electricity comes from hydroelectric power.

“By now it should be absolutely clear that an LCFS is the desired goal for Governor Inslee and his administration," said Matt Dempsey, spokesman for Secure Our Fuels. "This policy is bad news for working families, consumers and businesses in Washington State who will have to pay higher prices for energy and transportation if the Governor has his way.”

Washington will become the second state to see a cap-and-trade system put in place. California has already implemented cap-and-trade and a low-carbon fuel system, with the expected results. Consumers there are already seeing their energy costs skyrocket as a result.

“You’re going to be seeing higher energy prices throughout the Pacific Coast,” Daniel Simmons, director of regulatory and state affairs at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller.

Inslee, Reuters added, was a vocal supporter of a bill that would have created a cap-and-trade system when he served in Congress. The bill, known as Waxman-Markey, passed the House, but died in the Senate in 2010.

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