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Tag: Phil Rockefeller


Measuring the drapes? Nah, Rep. Rolfes just moved on in

If Rep. Christine Rolfes is chosen for a Senate seat, she won’t have to go far. Her stuff is already moved into the Senate office she hopes to take over.

It may seem like extreme overconfidence — until you realize House members are pretty much homeless right now.

With the House office building under construction and temporary trailer office space carted away, they’re squatting anywhere they can.

Some have relocated to home districts. Others found vacant spots in the Legislative Building. Rolfes is unusual in that her aide has set up shop in the Senate office building — specifically, at a

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Sign of a looming special session?

The Senate is not working this weekend.

For those who read legislative tea leaves, it’s a sign that lawmakers may not be confident they can meet the scheduled deadline of April 24 and are preparing for a special session.

The weekend off means senators would pass their budget plan Monday and the Legislature would have just six days (including Easter) to negotiate a deal that the House, Senate and Gov. Chris Gregoire can agree on.

Another not-so-subtle sign of special session came from Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island. Reporters asked him how he plans to pass his new bill

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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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Bill by Sen. Rockefeller would cut TransAlta power plant off coal

Sen. Phil Rockefeller has a bill to phase out coal power in the state by 2020, a compromise between a House bill that sets the deadline at 2015 and an executive order that puts it at 2025, and, like most compromises, it’s making people on both sides of the debate unhappy.

Environmental groups and healthcare workers said coal-fired electricity is too harmful to go on and representatives from TransAlta, Washington only coal-burning power plant, said switching to cleaner sources by 2020 would devastate the economy at a hearing on Senate Bill 5769 this morning.

The bill would extend state emissions requirements to TransAlta on Dec. 31, 2020, set up a decommissioning fund that the plant would have to pay into and create another fund to encourage future economic development in the Centralia area that would be funded by repealing existing sales tax breaks for coal.

According to Karina Shagren, a spokeswoman for the governor, there is an executive order in place to phase out coal by 2025, but it does not have the same force as law. Under the order, the Ecology Department has to negotiate with TransAlta to try to secure a 2025 phase-out, but so far, no agreement has been reached.

Shagren said the governor was pleased that the Legislature was taking up the issue.

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