The Washington State legislature has passed a transportation package that included the so-called Clean Fuel Standard “Poison Pill”.
This action makes a clean fuel standard (CFS) for Washington effectively barred, by stating that implementing a CFS rulemaking would trigger funding for transit, biking, and walking infrastructure to be moved to the roads and highways fund.
The transportation package passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week left the “Poison Pill” out. However, as time to pass the transportation package grew shorter and the Senate refused to budge, the resulting bill ended up including the CFS-killing provision.
In the lead-up to the legislature’s decision, many advocated for the decoupling of the transportation package and clean fuels, since they are two separate issues – one primarily dealing with transportation funding for the state, and with clean fuels addressing the carbon intensity of our fuel. Indeed, in Oregon, legislators opposed to clean fuels did the same thing (take support for a transportation package hostage, unless clean fuels legislation was repealed). Oregon’s response? Leading legislators held their ground, arguing that these are two separate issues, and will remain separate.
Moving forward in Washington with a clean fuel standard could take several different forms, but it is unclear what path might be most successful.