Inslee sees ag warming to carbon tax, but farm groups don’t

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has eyes on the White House.

You have to hand it to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. When the legislators rejected plans to cap and tax carbon in his state he decided to do an end run around them and told his Department of Ecology to make up its own plan to save the planet.

The only problem: A judge ruled Ecology has no legal authority under the state’s Clean Air Act to regulate businesses that distribute fossil fuels. The department has now appealed that ruling to the much friendlier state Supreme Court, which has demonstrated its own creativity when it comes to promoting environmental causes. We recall that a majority of justices ruled that the words “will” and “may” are synonyms in Washington and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife can now oversee any construction or maintenance projects near a river, lake or stream. Call it WOTUS, Washington style.

With the Supreme Court on his side, Inslee doesn’t really need the Legislature.

The irony of Inslee’s cap on carbon is it won’t save the planet. Or at least he cannot say how it would. Nor can he say exactly how much it will cost Washingtonians.

Those are two important questions. Even proponents of a carbon cap would want to know the answers to those and other questions, including why the governor doesn’t trust the Legislature, which is dominated by his own party, to do this instead of making an end run.

It’s easy to see that Inslee has little interest in Washington state. If he did, he’d explain the reasoning behind the carbon cap and how much it would cost. He’d also order Ecology to study the plan and provide all of the pertinent information to Washingtonians for a free and open debate.

Then he’d turn the issue over to the Legislature, where it would be addressed as though Washington were a representative democracy.

But the word on the street is Inslee’s exploring a run for the presidency. In preparation for the run, he and his attorney general have made a hobby of suing the federal government over a variety of issues, including the administration’s order tightening the border.

His tenure as Washington’s governor shows he has at least one similarity to the current president. He doesn’t believe in — or understand — the legislative process. His willingness to go around even members of his own party shows he has the same shortcomings as the current occupant of the White House.

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