Carbon Pollution

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President Trump’s move to undo President Obama’s Clean Power Plan could make it easier for power plants to keep burning coal. But the Northwest’s biggest coal user still plans to cut back on the dirtiest fuel.

President Donald Trump has made it clear climate change is not a priority for his administration, but it is still a top issue for Democratic governors and lawmakers in Washington and Oregon.

In Oregon, there’s talk of a cap-and-trade system. And in Washington, the idea of a carbon tax keeps popping up as Democrats and Republicans face off over the budget.

West Coast energy regulators met Tuesday in Seattle to renew their pledge to join forces in reducing the region's shared carbon footprint.

The chairs of the Washington, Oregon and California utility commissions cited as one of their goals the improved integration of the West Coast's power grids.

Washington's peak energy draw happens when people turn up their thermostats in the winter. Meanwhile, Californians' heavy reliance power is during the summer, when air conditioners are running, said Dave Danner, chair of the Utilities Commission of Washington.

A group of natural gas utilities in Washington Friday filed the third legal challenge this week to new state limits on global warming pollution. The private utility companies Cascade Natural Gas, NW Natural, Avista and Puget Sound Energy filed the latest challenge in Thurston County Superior Court.

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It’s been 8 years in the making, but Washington State finally has a rule that places limits on carbon pollution from its largest sources. It comes in response to reduction targets on greenhouse gas emissions first called for by the legislature in 2008. Starting next year, regulators at the Department of Ecology are requiring large industrial emitters to gradually reduce their carbon emissions over time. The rule will cover industries including power plants, oil refineries, fuel distributors, pulp and paper mills and others.

A group of climate activists is fasting on the steps of the Washington state Capitol this week as part of a protest against Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed cap on carbon emissions. The activists say the cap doesn’t go far enough.

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The state Department of Ecology has released an updated rule to cap carbon pollution in Washington. In an effort to tackle climate change, it requires the state’s largest industrial polluters to reduce their emissions gradually.

A couple winters ago, a team of Northwest scientists jumped in a pickup and traveled hundreds of miles around the U.S. and Canadian backroads. They were after samples of dirty snow.

CREDIT AUSTIN JENKINS / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the fires burning across the state represent a “new normal.” On a tour of the fire lines Thursday, the Democrat reiterated his call for a program to limit carbon emissions.

“So we got to attack this at its source which is carbon pollution. And that’s for another day. Right now we’ve got to put out these fires,” said Inslee.

The battle continues to contain dozens of large wildfires burning across the Northwest. Firefighters are hoping for a break in the weather this weekend -- and perhaps even some rain.