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Hearing airs views on proposed 'cap and trade' emissions bill

Post Time:Feb 09,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:124

To cap or not to cap?

That was the question on Tuesday when more than 300 people came to hear testimonies for and against House Bill 1819 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 5735, which would implement a regional cap and trade program in Washington state in partnership with six other states and four Canadian provinces, under a coalition called the Western Climate Initiative.

Under the measure, backed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, companies with high greenhouse gas emissions would be capped on how much they could emit and would have to buy allowances in order to keep emitting at or below the appropriate level. A new market system would be created in which companies could auction off allowances to each other. If the bill passes, the program would not take effect until 2012.

Steve Smith, manager of Cardinal Glass, which has three plants in Washington, was afraid that the cap and trade program would increase the cost of their products and hurt production.

"Glassmaking is an energy-intensive process," Smith said. "There are no other alternative energy techniques ... within the industry."

In addition, he said that his company often produces glass that goes toward constructing solar panels. If the bill passes, Smith said it would prevent the company from meeting projected demands for solar panels and that it may be forced to import glass from outside the state as a result of high costs from cap and trade.

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