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Public invited to comment on rule for landmark climate change program

OLYMPIA – 

The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking public comment on a new “cap-and-invest” rule needed to implement the Climate Commitment Act and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s largest sources.

Under the legislation passed in 2021, Ecology must have Washington’s cap-and-invest program up and running by Jan. 1, 2023. The department invites public input on the program’s rule through June 30, 2022.

"The Climate Commitment Act is one of the most important environmental laws in 50 years, and a key policy driving Washington’s push to reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Laura Watson, Ecology’s director. “The new cap-and-invest program will invest an estimated $500 million a year in reducing emissions and protecting Washington communities from the effects of climate change.”

The Climate Commitment Act requires major sources of greenhouse gases to obtain emission allowances. Over time, the total number of allowances will be reduced, pushing these sources to reduce their emissions. This is the “cap” part of the program. Some of the allowances will be sold at auctions. Monies raised will be dedicated to reducing emissions, supporting disproportionately affected communities, and building climate resiliency against flooding, wildfires, ocean acidification, drought, and severe heat. This is the "invest" part of the program.

The proposed cap-and-invest rule also lists categories of offset projects that will reduce, remove, or avoid greenhouse gas emissions, or enhance the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

“Climate change is already harming Washington,” said Kathy Taylor, manager of Ecology’s Air Quality Program. “We have no time to waste in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and preventing even worse impacts in the years ahead. This is your chance to learn about the design of the cap-and-invest program and provide input as we move toward the clean energy future we all urgently need.”

Provide input

The public is invited to learn about the proposed cap-and-invest rule and to share input on the program’s design. Ecology is accepting comments on the proposal until 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2022.

Submit comments online, by mail, or at a public hearing:

  • Mail to:  Joshua Grice
    Department of Ecology
    Air Quality Program
    P.O. Box 47600
    Olympia, WA  98504-7600

Public hearings
Ecology will hold four virtual public hearings June 21, 22, 27, and 28.

At each hearing, Ecology staff will give an overview of the cap-and-invest program and the proposed rule, hold a question and answer period, followed by public comment.