Rep. Klicker amendment to controversial carbon fuel standard bill would have expanded credits to barging industry

For the third straight year, the majority party has passed a controversial low-carbon fuel standard bill out of the Washington State House of Representatives. House Bill 1091, which passed off the House floor Saturday with a vote of 52-46, would require fuel companies to reduce the carbon in their gas for fuel used on the road by 10% by 2028, and by 20% by 2035.

Alternatively, fuel suppliers have the option of buying credits from other activities that reduce emissions in transportation like development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Republican lawmakers strongly opposed the bill, pointing out that it could increase the cost of gas by 57 cents per gallon, and diesel by 63 cents. Opponents also say it would be regressive and hurt low-income families because people who cannot afford to live in cities must commute the farthest for work.

Republican legislators offered nearly two dozen amendments to the legislation, however, only three of those amendments were adopted by the majority party.

Rep. Mark Klicker offered an amendment, which would have required the Department of Ecology's Clean Fuels Program rules to allow the generation of credits from the transportation of agricultural products by barge in Washington state, but it was not accepted.

Barging is proven to be the most efficient and least carbon-intensive mode of cargo transportation available. It helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 million metric tons each year.

“This was an excellent amendment that would have made barging wheat eligible to earn credits for lowering greenhouse gases in transportation sector,” said Klicker, R-Walla Walla. “Wheat is a major part of my district and this would have been a huge help to wheat farmers and the barging industry throughout the region.”

Washington State is ranked fourth in the nation's top wheat producing states, and in 2019 Washington wheat growers harvested 2.2 million acres.

“This amendment was really a no-brainer,” said Klicker. “The bill is all about the environmental importance of lowering emissions in transportation, which is exactly what barging wheat accomplishes. If the barging industry could earn credits from this system, everyone's food would be less expensive.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

The 2021 legislative session began Jan. 11 and is scheduled to end April 25.


Washington State House Republican Communications