Department of Ecology News Release - June 1, 2016

Ecology releases updated rule to cap carbon pollution
Opportunity for public to review and comment

OLYMPIA – After incorporating feedback from business and environmental stakeholders, the Washington Department of Ecology has released an updated version of the state’s first-ever rule to cap carbon pollution. The Clean Air Rule will reduce carbon pollution to help slow climate change.

Ecology withdrew its original draft of the Clean Air Rule in order to act quickly on improvements and to stay on track with adopting the rule by late summer. Now the agency wants to hear from the public and is accepting comments on the rule.

"Carbon pollution has reached rampant levels and we're committed to capping and reducing it," said Sarah Rees, Ecology's special assistant on climate change policy. "Climate change is the most significant environmental issue of our lifetime, and governments need to act now to protect what we have today for future generations."

Washington faces severe economic impacts from the changing climate. The proposed rule would set limits on carbon pollution (greenhouse gases) to help slow climate change and limit expected damage to the state’s rich agricultural resources, drinking water supplies, and infrastructure.

Some of the changes made to the rule include incorporating mechanisms to ensure emissions are reduced while supporting business growth; recognizing early actions already taken to reduce emissions; and an effective pathway for power plants.

The rule would require businesses and organizations that are responsible for large amounts of greenhouse gases like natural gas distributors, petroleum product producers and importers, power plants, metal manufacturers, waste facilities, and others to show once every three years that they’re reducing their emissions an average of 1.7 percent annually.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed rule through July 22, 2016, on Ecology’s website. Comments also can be emailed to aqcomments@ecy.wa.gov or mailed to Sam Wilson, Air Quality, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504.

Informational meetings and public hearings on the rule will be held by webinar and in person in June and July. Visit Ecology’s website for details.

Contacts:

Camille St. Onge, Ecology communications, 360-584-6501, @ecologyWA