OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee didn’t send out cards for Earth Day, but he did send a message to the Legislature that he wants more than just an operating budget that satisfies the Supreme Court orders on public education and a major transportation package when they go into a special session.
He also wants them to do something about carbon pollution, oil train safety and toxic chemicals.
Wednesday was Earth Day, so Inslee held an outdoor news conference to say the state is suffering on a day set aside to mark the environment. Last summer’s wildfires could be repeated this year, the state has a snowpack drought and oyster beds are suffering from ocean acidification, he said.
The Legislature will need a special session to complete work on an operating budget and may come to an agreement on major road and bridge construction funded by a gas-tax increase. But they shouldn’t stop there, he said.
He wants them to come to some agreement on a carbon reduction plan. His carbon initiative has stalled in both chambers.
He wants them to pass legislation to regulate oil shipments across the state. The House and Senate have competing plans on that topic, and he prefers the level of inspections and advance notice in the House version.
Republican leaders said Tuesday that they oppose Inslee’s carbon reduction plans, which could raise the price of gasoline at the same time the state may be raising gasoline taxes for the transportation package. Faced with a double hit at the pump, they say voters may take to the ballot to reject the gas-tax hike, killing the projects it would cover.
GOP leaders were more optimistic that oil train safety legislation would pass. The two bills are being negotiated and there are “growing similarities” between the two proposals, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said.
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