Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate-change work group is under way, and a pivotal moment is taking place this afternoon in Olympia. That is when the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup’s members – namely the Democratic governor and two lawmakers from each political party – hold interviews with five of the consultants that responded to a request for proposals to study state responses to climate change.
All told, 14 consultants submitted applications. Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker of Orcas Island said that lawmakers and government staffers went through the proposals and scored them – putting five higher than all others and eligible for interviews today. Three of the five appear to have some connection to Washington state.
The “CLEW” process was Inslee’s idea for bringing climate change back to the policy table for discussion after the Great Recession knocked it off the state’s legislative agenda.
The governor’s Office of Financial Management has listed the following five firms as invited to the 3:30-5:30 p.m. interviews at O’Brien House Hearing Room A:
1. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), Arlington, VA
2. Energetics Incorporated, Columbia, MD and Bellingham, WA
3. ICF International, Sacramento, CA
4. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), San Diego, CA
5. Tetra Tech, San Diego, CA and Bothell, WA
OFM said these others also submitted bids:
6. Rushing, Seattle, WA
7. Navius Research Incorporated, Vancouver, BC
8. Alter Echo, Chantilly, VA
9. Navigant, Seattle, WA
10. Atkins North America, Beaverton, OR
11. Analysis Group, Boston, MA
12. A Renewable Earth Nisus, Renton, WA
13. Center for Climate Strategies, Washington, DC
14. Mont Vista, Redmond, WA
Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale could not be reached to comment about the process ahead, but Ranker did speak Monday.
“We will interview them, ask questions – I think most of us are feeling that we don’t want to have to go into executive session to make the decision” on who to hire, Ranker said. “We’re going to do the interviews in public, we’ll discuss it in public and make a decision in public.’’
Under terms of Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5802, the consultant will evaluate different strategies for helping Washington meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, which is already in state law.
Ericksen, who watered down Inslee’s request legislation with an amendment that dropped descriptions of the state’s vulnerability to climate change, wants to make sure any environmental responses to the greenhouse gas problem are cost effective.
In the end, Inslee accepted Ericksen’s version of the bill in order to get it passed. The bill is expected to help lawmakers identify potential policy moves that the working group can recommend to the 2013 Legislature for passage.
“I think there are a few very difficult decisions and telling moments that will take place,” Ranker said of the workgroup’s six-month job ahead. “I think (today) is one of those.’’