Op-Ed: Made in Washington: Increase affordable, renewable energy supplies

In December, just days before Gov. Gregoire was to leave for the climate change summit in Copenhagen, a document was revealed confirming that the governor and her staff knew her climate change executive order would be harmful to the state. The confidential document by then-Ecology Director Jay Manning, dated May 5, acknowledged the order went far beyond her climate change bill that was rejected by state lawmakers in the 2009 legislative session.

Manning, who is now the governor’s chief of staff wrote: “We propose adding several significant directives that make the executive order more significant, more attractive to those interested in making progress on climate change and more controversial for those not so inclined.”  Manning concluded the document, saying, “An almost certain increase in the regulated community’s interest in getting a national program in place will be an important side benefit.”  (See the document online at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/Kristiansen/ManningDocument.pdf.)

Last March, the Washington Policy Center, an independent, nonpartisan think tank in Seattle, estimated that if the governor’s climate change agenda was implemented in our state, it would destroy nearly 18,300 jobs. That’s more than double the population of Sedro-Woolley.

Regarding the Manning document, the policy center’s Todd Myers wrote: “The explicit strategy of the executive order on climate change is to raise costs on Washington families and businesses in an effort to force them into the arms of an expensive and ineffective federal cap-and-trade program.”

Washington is already considered one of the greenest states in the nation, emitting only three-tenths of one percent of global carbon emissions. That’s like a pebble of sand on an entire beach. Even the toughest climate change policies in our state would have minimal effect on reducing global emissions. Yet, it potentially could destroy thousands of jobs.

With more than 334,000 people statewide unemployed, including 8,209 in the 39th District, that’s not the kind of agenda we need for Washington.

My House Republican colleagues and I are working this legislative session for policies that would protect and create jobs in our state and provide lower energy costs for families, individuals and employers. The third plank in our “Made in Washington” jobs plan is: “Increase affordable, renewable energy supplies.”

Here in Washington, we have the capability for hydropower and the expansion of clean carbonless energy resources, such as nuclear, solar, wind and biomass. Our state is well positioned to be a leader of energy production in the nation, if only we have the will to make it happen.

As we expand these resources, the price of energy will come down, easing the burden on families and freeing up money so that employers can once again afford to hire and create new jobs.

Our plan comes with specific legislation and includes:

  • Supporting energy policies that will increase power supplies and renewable resources, while keeping energy affordable for families and employers (House Bill 2432 and House Joint Resolution 4215);
  • Recognizing hydropower as a renewable resource. Other states and the federal government recognize hydro as a renewable “clean and green” resource. We need to do the same in Washington (House Bill 2432 and House Joint Resolution 4215); and
  • Reducing red tape and providing incentives for constructing new energy cogeneration facilities that provide clean low-cost power (House Bill 2813).

No one benefits when jobs are destroyed. Let’s not create an agenda of fear, bludgeoning employers with expensive, unnecessary “green” job-killing regulations that would drive up energy costs for families. Instead, let’s push forward with a state energy “Made in Washington” program that expands clean, renewable resources, lowers costs, creates jobs and gets people working again!

EDITOR’S NOTE: State Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, represents the 39th Legislative District, and also serves as chairman of the Washington House Republican Caucus. He can be contacted at (360) 786-7967 or e-mail him and sign up for his e-newsletter at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/Kristiansen. His office address is: P.O. Box 40600, Olympia, WA 98504-0600.

State Representative Dan Kristiansen, 39th Legislative District
426A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000