State receives 14 applicants for climate job

jordan.schrader@thenewstribune.comMay 27, 2013 

Fourteen candidates want to become state government’s consultant on climate change.

The state Office of Financial Management took bids through Wednesday and is assigning scores to the 14 proposals it received. A newly formed committee made up of Gov. Jay Inslee and four state lawmakers will choose the consultant.

At a cost of up to $350,000, the contractor will study what strategies could work to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the state, and what the costs could be. That includes a look at what has been done elsewhere, with California’s cap-and-trade system of pollution credits and British Columbia’s carbon tax as likely subjects of comparison.

It’s part of a $627,500 study called for in a law signed by Inslee in April, aiming to figure out how to meet limits on emissions that are supposed to be achieved by 2020 but now appear out of reach barring changes.

Heading up the process is the new committee, the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup, or CLEW. Members are Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, and Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island; Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, and Shelly Short, R-Addy; and Inslee, who won’t have a vote on the committee’s recommendations.

To pick a consultant, four of the five members must agree. A potential vote Friday was postponed, and it was unclear when the work group would make its choice. The group can’t pick a firm that has employed a lobbyist recently, nor can the consultant have contributed to political campaigns in recent years. The requirements drew complaints from a bidder that they targeted contractors’ right to political participation and would favor out-of-state companies.

Democrats want the committee to come up with ways to combat climate change that threatens to continue to reduce snowpack, cause more forest fires and change the acidity of the oceans. Inslee also says the effort is a way to promote the green-energy industry.

Republicans, more skeptical of the endeavor, say they want the work group to clearly lay out the costs of climate programs.

Jordan Schrader: 360-786-1826 @Jordan_Schrader

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