October 11, 2016
Meeting was called to order at 7:30am. Mike Massa led the flag salute.
Guests: (in the book)
- Mike McCarty – SCORE volunteer said he would present a seminar on Cyber Security if 25 people sign up. Kevin Hoult and Steve Bearman seconded the importance of such a presentation.
- Debbie Martin, League of Women Voters would sponsor a candidate forum on Wed., Oct. 12 at 6-8pm, in the County Commissioner meeting room.
Cherie Kidd moved and Mathew Rainwater seconded acceptance of minutes for October 4. Motion carried.
Mike Massa of Carbon Washington and Mike Howe of the Clallam County PUD presented two sides to Initiative 732. It would “impose a carbon emission tax on certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity, reduce the sales tax by one percentage point and increase a low-income exemption and reduce certain manufacturing taxes.”
Mike Massa: People have a moral obligation, economic obligation and political obligation to protect kids from climate change. One answer is to put a priceon carbon production such has been done in British Columbia. A tax on carbon shifts the burden to things wanted and not things not wanted. A carbon tax of $25.00 per ton of CO2 would be offset by cutting the sales tax rate by 1 point. Working families would get a rebate. Utility bills would go up about $40.00 per year for those living in a 2000 sf house heated by electricity.
Mike Howe: Clallam County would feel impact starting in 2017 with an increase of up to $100.00 to electrical users. The PUD will have to collect power increase and then pass on to the State. The County is now 98% carbon free with 80% coming from hydroelectric and 10% from nuclear power. The rest is purchased elsewhere and that is what is being assessed. BPA passes on charges on what they sell. The PUD is worried about the “pancaking” of regulations that I-732 would impose. Tax expense could range from $500,000 to $4,000,000.
Mike Massa: PUD should be able to estimate what is needed and make and collect on that. It could adjust after spreading out over a large number of customers. The fuel mix now is coal, natural gas, petroleum and the unknown. I-732 would hasten the decline of coal and work towards clean, renewable energy.
Mike Howe: Philosophy is that energy should be complimentary, not addictive regulation. It should present an avoidance of redundant policies and should work toward cost-effective methods. Even now the State is working on a clean power plan and a clean air rule.
Q & A Period
Sam Phillips asked if an increase of 25 cents per fuel costs will roll up and impact emergency and service vehicles.
MM: Not roll up until 2045 when it will be $1.00. Sales tax will help offset increase which should be an incentive to the PUD to increase efficiency such as in the use of electric vehicles and pumps. Tax is on input, not output.
Mathew Rainwater: Are sales tax cuts automatic?
MM: Yes. State sales tax will go down but local won’t. Electrical vehicles do use batteries but those can be repurposed as backup for wind generators instead of being recycled.
MH & Ted Simpson: PUD’s clean, at 98% now, but when BPA raises their rates, the PUD has to pass that on to the customer. Not all electrical vehicles in Clallam County can take the roads and hills. PUD makes more money on electric vehicles than on conserving water.
MM: PUD should invest in making things cleaner. Putting a price on carbon means all can work on the problem. Tax puts drag on growth. Money will be returned to people, especially the low income.
**Andrew May moved and Kaj Ahlburg seconded the motion to extend meeting 15 minutes. MOTION CARRIED**
Cherrie Kidd said the City’s high utility bills are due to unfunded mandates. What can be done to bring the bills down?
MM: Families will save at least $40.00 more per year and thus have more to spend.
Kaj Ahlburg asked if I-732 is revenue neutral.
MM: Tax will drive down consumption of fossil fuels.
Ted Simpson said the PUD has been working since the 1970’s to conserve energy and if more money came their way, they might think differently about I-732.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45am.
October 18: Rich James doing an update on the Discovery Trail.
October 25: Candidates for Land Commissioner – Hilary Franz and Steve McLaughlin.