Washington State’s Rising Gas Prices: Who’s buying Carbon Credits?
Do you know how Washington State's Cap-and-Trade program functions?
The Washington State Republican Caucus claims the state is raking in more than a billion dollars from high cap-and-trade fuel prices, but it’s not being open about who’s purchasing carbon credits.
In 2021, Governor Jay Inslee signed the Climate Commitment Act, a measure designed to set a statewide cap on greenhouse-gas emissions with the purpose of reducing greenhouse emissions 95% by 2050.
The measure was passed and touted as an incentive to reduce the emissions of refineries, utilities and other companies by setting a price on emissions. Clean energy advocates say the act sets a high standard for climate policy.
State Senator Perry Dozier, however, says the cap-and-trade program requires the state to post information about carbon credit buyers on a searchable public website.
The Waitsburg Republican says that’s not happening.
"We have speculators coming in buying credit and selling credit. Who is buying the credit? What is the impact on our state." Senator Dozier said.
Senator Dozier says the state Department of Ecology is withholding information the Legislature intended to make available when it passed the cap-trade-bill.
"With an amendment that was supported by both sides of the aisle brought forth by one of our colleagues on the Republican side and it was actually supported by the prime sponsor." Senator Dozier added.
In a letter, Dozier told Ecology that in the presence of constant high gas prices, public perception of cap-and-trade going forward will heavily depend on the program’s transparency.
Meantime, democrat legislative leaders believe oil companies gouging customers is the reason why gas prices have surpassed $5 per gallon in Washington State.
In a report by the Center Square, Senator John Nguyen, chair of the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, says gas prices are high because there is only one pipeline from Alaska through Canada into Washington State to California.
"There's only a handful of refineries. So, they effectively have a monopoly in terms of fuel in Washington state and we end up being a cash cow." Senator Nguyen said.
LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving
Gallery Credit: Sophia Crisafulli