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Tag: Dave Upthegrove


Plan for compromise on green energy takes hits from all sides, might ‘implode’ again

This month, utilities are having to meet mandates voters imposed in 2006 to either produce green energy or buy credits from those who do.

The Initiative 937 regulations have drawn complaints for years, especially as the economic downturn has depressed demand for electricity and power companies have found themselves having to buy power they don’t need.

Now the chairmen of the House and Senate committees that deal with energy, Rep. Dave Upthegrove and Sen. Kevin Ranker, have crafted what they hope will be a step toward compromise.

But at the bill‘s first hearing today, the measure took criticism from all sides. The question of

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Coal-fired power likely to end in Washington

Chances are coal-based power plants will soon be a thing of the past in Washington.

In floor session yesterday the House passed Senate Bill 5769, a proposal that would phase out all coal-fired electricity generation in Washington by 2025, requiring the TransAlta power plant in Centralia to shift to cleaner energy sources and making Washington one of the first states to require an end to coal burning.

“The bill provides certainty for everyone,” said Rep. Dave Upthegrove, chairman of the House Environment Committee. “All the way around it’s a win-win.”

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Rep. Christine Rolfes announces oil spill response plan

Rep. Christine Rolfes said today that she wants to improve oil spill response in Puget Sound and she wants industry to pay for it.

Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, announced that she already has support from other House Democrats for a bill she plans to introduce by the end of the week to require tanker companies establish a volunteer coordination system, invest in more advanced oil spill response equipment and contract with local commercial vessels to help should a spill occur.

“My biggest concern was watching the BP spill,” said Rolfes, who serves as vice chairwoman of the House Environment Committee. “I would like our state and our industry working together to make sure that if a disaster like that happens here we’ve done everything we can.”

Rolfes said she had secured the support of 14 other representatives to be co-sponsors of the bill including Rep. Zack Hudgins and Rep. Dave Upthegrove, chairman of the Environment Committee.

She said Upthegrove had assured her that the bill would get a hearing in committee.

Curt Hart, a spokesman for the Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program in the state Ecology Department said the program had long supported the initiatives proposed in Rolfes’ announcement, including the idea that industry help pay for oil spill preparedness.

“They’re hitting the nail right on the head with this one,” he said.

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State workers: Don’t take us for granted

Sen. Pam Roach is the only senator who did enough this year to avoid a scolding from a major state employees group.

The Washington Federation of State Employees is denying endorsements to most legislators for now, saying they “waged a systematic campaign to dismantle human services and inflict extraordinary and unnecessary sacrifices on state employees.”

In case you’re scratching your head trying to remember these sacrifices, a quick recap of this session:  Democrats raised taxes as unions requested, didn’t cut pay for state workers, and ponied up an extra $65 million for worker health insurance, but they also closed three state institutions and downsized two others, cut about 3,000 state-employee and educator jobs, and furloughed as much as a quarter of the workforce.

The rhetoric may have bothered unions as much as the actions: Republicans demanding reopening of worker contracts; centrist Democrats complaining their party wasn’t doing enough to outsource non-core functions of government like the state print shop and liquor stores.

The result: Only 18 House members, mostly liberals, and the conservative Roach received backing Saturday at the union’s Endorsements Conference. The stamp of approval puts them on the fast track for the group’s endorsement — and the promise of fundraising help that comes with it.

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