Rep. Abbarno: Costly fuel standard proposal could benefit out-of-state interests, take more money from Washington citizens

A bill creating a new low-carbon fuel standard could significantly boost the price of gasoline and diesel in Washington state, warned Rep. Peter Abbarno, a member of the House Environment and Energy Committee.

House Bill 1091 would authorize the state Department of Ecology to create a clean fuels program, and by rule, mandate a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in Washington that would reduce carbon in fuels by 20% by 2035 and a 95% reduction by 2050. Abbarno joined other Republicans in voting against the bill when it passed from the committee, Jan. 21, on a near party-line vote.

“It's estimated this mandate could drive up the cost of gasoline at the pumps by nearly 57 cents per gallon and diesel by nearly 63 cents a gallon. This could have a substantial impact on the state's economy, but specifically on families struggling to make ends meet,” said Abbarno, R-Centralia.

“This also sets up a regressive tax system in which big out-of-state corporations benefit at the expense of Washington taxpayers. Meanwhile, it does nothing to lift families out of poverty,” said Abbarno. “Just as noteworthy, consultant reports have shown it is one of the most costly mechanisms with unproven environmental results. So we pay more and we have little to nothing to show for it!”

The committee accepted an amendment Abbarno offered that requires an independent analysis of the anticipated probable costs attributable to the price per gallon of gasoline and diesel. That analysis is to be submitted to the Legislature by Dec, 1, 2021.

“Proponents of this legislation say the impact will be minimal, but we think otherwise. The last time such a study was conducted was seven years ago and only considered a 10% reduction over 10 years,” said Abbarno. “This analysis will give us better insight to the impacts of this legislation on our local communities.”

The bill has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee, where a public hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 4, at 3:30 p.m.

“If this bill advances, it will increase the price of food, housing and other goods, generate no income for transportation projects, and hurt low-income individuals and families,” added Abbarno. “At a time when people across our state are hurting because of this pandemic, the last thing the Legislature needs to do is add to their burdens. I encourage everyone to go online to leg.wa.gov and sign up to testify on this bill.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov