Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
News Conference: Global Warming Rulemaking
October 1, 2003
Good morning. Today, the state of Washington is taking another important step in addressing global warming.
Climate change is one of the most serious environmental issues facing our planet today. While the Bush Administration has not fully addressed this issue, I believe that it is important for us as a state and region to reduce our contribution to the emission of global warming gases.
Last week, Governors Davis, Kulongoski and I committed our state to work jointly to reduce global warming gases. Examples of joint actions include:
· Using the states’ combined purchasing power to obtain fuel-efficient vehicles
· Encouraging the development of renewable electricity generation resources and technologies.
· Improving appliance efficiency standards with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Towards that end, in 2001, I directed Jim Luce, chair of the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, to begin the process of developing clear rules for siting new power plants under EFSEC jurisdiction.
Today, I am pleased to join Jim in announcing new proposed rules. The new rules will establish clear-cut standards for noise, earthquake resistance, water and air quality and site restoration at proposed new power plants.
Current standards for new power plants are set on a case-by-case basis with EFSEC and the public reacting to plans submitted by power plant developers. This results in lengthy community hearings and final statndards arrived at on an ad hoc, power plant by power plant basis.
The EFSEC rules proposed today would create the toughest standards in the nation for global warming mitigation by new power plants.
I instructed Jim and EFSEC to develop clear, uniform standards that would enable faster permitting of power plants. The new rules are tougher than Oregon but are consistent with Oregon. They are more simple and flexible. By providing this flexibility for meeting mitigation obligations they also impose manageable costs on power developers.
Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is the most prevalent of the global warming gases. EFSEC has done well to address this issue.
Newly permitted facilities at Sumas, Chehalis, and Satsop all have mitigation plans for CO2 emissions. These new rules will standardize these mitigation requirements for future plants.
But EFSEC only addresses new generation facilities of 350 megawatts and above. Accordingly, I am also pleased that the Department of Ecology will soon begin its own process for developing rules governing power plants smaller than 350 megawatts.
Make no mistake; global warming is a very real threat. It threatens our economy. It threatens our environment. It threatens our health, and the health of our children.
We see evidence of climate change in the Pacific Northwest in reduced snow pack, insect infestation threats, greater dangers of forest fires, and increased erosion from flooding.
We are looking at other ways to reduce global warming emissions from all sources – cars and buses, industrial processes, and older power generators.
We have already taken many steps. We have improved building codes, increased energy efficiency in schools and public buildings, and created incentives for renewable energy.
In the coming months we will continue to focus on these steps to reduce global warming emissions.
I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to Jim and the members of the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, and to Mary Burg and her colleagues at Ecology.
The rules proposed today show that we are making significant progress – steady progress – in addressing the challenge of global warming.