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Inslee signs executive order that aims to reduce carbon pollution

Gov. Jay Inslee advanced his climate change agenda on Tuesday, signing an executive order that he says will result in legislative and executive action next year.

One key part of the executive order appoints a task force to come up with recommendations for a market-based program to reduce carbon pollution in Washington state. The 21-member task force includes representatives from business, labor, environmental and health groups.

Inslee met with the Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce shortly after signing the executive order at Shoreline Community College on Tuesday.

The governor told the group he doesn’t expect proposals that are “neatly packaged with a bow.” Instead, he called on them to use “creative thought grounded in reality” to come up with multiple policy solutions.

“Inaction is not a solution,” Inslee said.

Task force co-chair Rod Brown of the Cascadia Law Group expressed optimism about the group’s ability to come up with proposals.

“I think we can actually do this and do it relatively quickly and without too much trouble,” Brown said. “You might not think that’s possible if you listen to all the rhetoric about climate change, but when you get down the the level of finding the tools to fight carbon pollution, it turns out it is not that hard.”

Inslee told reporters the executive order “will result in action, both at the executive level and a program that will be presented to the Legislature next January.”

In addition to creating the task force, the executive order directs the governor’s budget office to study the costs and benefits of requiring clean fuel standards, also known as low-carbon fuel standards. It also calls for state agencies to work with utilities to reduce — and eventually eliminate — electrical power produced from coal.

The executive order requires action in a total of seven areas. All recommendations must be submitted to the governor by November, according to his spokesman.

Legislative Republicans oppose the idea of low-carbon fuel standards, and say it will result in higher gas prices.

“We have only to look to California to see where the high cost of cap-and-trade policies will take Washington: a projected 40-cent spike in the cost of a gallon of gas,” said Sen. Doug Ericksen, Republican chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.

“California is now embroiled in costly litigation over its cap-and-trade policies and has suspended the implementation of its low-carbon fuel standards due to massive compliance problems. These are the same policies that Gov. Inslee is determined to impose on Washington,” Ericksen said.

Ericksen also criticized the governor convening the task force on Tuesday without notifying the public or the Legislature.

TVW taped Tuesday’s press conference — watch it here.

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