“Washington Supreme Court OKs Lesser Version Of Carbon Cap”

“OLYMPIA — The state Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated a severely limited version of Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to cap carbon pollution in the state, a decision the Democrat described as a “clarion call” that lawmakers must act on climate change.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the Department of Ecology exceeded its authority when it applied the Clean Air Rule to companies that sell or distribute petroleum or natural gas because they don’t make their own emissions — other people burn the fuel they provide. The state agency only has the authority to regulate “actual emitters” such as refineries and power plants, the court said.

While environmental groups said it is a good step to require those big polluters to cut their emissions, cars remain the biggest source of greenhouse gas pollution. About three-quarters of the emissions that would have been covered by the rule came indirectly from petroleum and natural gas importers and sellers. “

Gene Johnson reports for the Associated Press January 16, 2020.