Long time Inslee allies fed up with increased gas prices

Long time Inslee allies fed up with increased gas prices

Leaders from a dozen Washington tribes are raising concerns about the effects of the state’s new carbon-cap system on gas prices and tribal sovereignty. Though many of the tribes are long-time allies of the Democrats’ agenda and support clean energy policy, they are crying foul on the recent effects of the Governor’s Clean Fuel Standard and Climate Commitment Act (CFSCCA), which took effect at the beginning of this year.

The CFSCCA/”cap and trade system”is designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by requiring companies to purchase permits for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. The permits are auctioned off and the proceeds are used to fund clean-energy projects.

When Governor Jay Inslee pitched the idea, he promised the policy would barely impact gas prices. “This is going to have a minimal impact, if any. Pennies. We are talking about pennies.” The reality is much different, albeit predictable – and likely getting worse.

For tribes in Washington, this has not only caused the price of gas to go up, but it has presented a challenge to their sovereignty as well.

“We’re concerned about the impact of the carbon-cap system on our people,” said Brian Napeahi, chairman of the Lummi Nation. “Gas prices are already high, and this system is making them even higher. We’re also concerned about the impact on our sovereignty. We don’t want to be forced to comply with state regulations that we don’t agree with.”

The Inslee administration has said that the carbon-cap system is necessary to address climate change, which is something tribal leadership usually supports. However, the actual effects of the CFSCCA are being passed down to the consumer with increased gas prices.

If it looks like a tax and acts like a tax, does it matter if it’s not technically called a tax?

When groups who are usually allies start to turn on – and publicly embarrass – the Governor , it’s usually a pretty strong sign of a bad policy. Gas prices have gone up under this policy far more than the “pennies” the governor and Democrat legislators promised.

And if something doesn’t change, it’s likely to get worse. Washington state already has some of the highest gas prices in the nation, with an already existing 68 cent tax per gallon between state and federal gas taxes. Since implementing the CFSCCA, gas prices have risen another 46 cents per gallon. The Governor  is trying to ignore this reality, even wiping the data from their website. But there are too many “pennies” for citizens to ignore.

With the latest carbon credits auction, which is a key part of this cap and trade law, this week, we should brace for even more expensive gas in the next week. There was a significant increase in gas prices about a week following the last auction.

In the meantime, we can only hope that more allies turn and recognize the CFSCCA cap and trade law for what it is, a gas/carbon tax..

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