Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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PUD Principles for Climate Change

Snohomish County PUD promotes the following principles to guide legislation and will incorporate the following strategies to guide our actions.

  • Legislative action to address climate change should involve all sectors of the economy and all sources of greenhouse gases.
  • Any actions should consider the economic impacts on consumers, especially those who are financially challenged.
  • Legislation and regulation should favorably recognize and credit the historical investments in energy efficiency and renewable resources, which have mitigated or avoided greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The PUD prefers a single, comprehensive, national approach to addressing climate change; however, if states or other local jurisdictions create related legislation, it should be compatible with other climate change initiatives in order to facilitate implementation and ensure reasonable certainty.
  • A clear and definitive regulatory framework for climate change is an absolute necessity. Otherwise, it will be difficult for utilities to determine the most prudent path for securing and maintaining the necessary financing capability to make appropriate long-term investments.
  • The Northwest region should not be required to subsidize the mitigation of greenhouse gases in other parts of the country that depend on substantial fossil fuel generation. The Northwest has been mitigating, at considerable cost, the environmental impacts (e.g., fish and wildlife) associated with its hydro-based generation. At the same time, the Northwest faces significant growth pressures that will demand large financial investments to acquire the necessary levels of new renewable technologies.
  • Each region of the country should mitigate its own environmental impacts and implement its own new technologies such that the investment associated with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is consistent with the level of contribution to the problem.
  • The two most commonly debated approaches to stimulating investment in new clean technologies are “carbon or production taxes” and “cap-and-trade.” At this time, the PUD does not support one approach over the other. Both approaches have inherent complexities and attributes that can either help or penalize the Northwest. There are some overarching basic principles that should drive the debate about these two approaches.
  • If a production or carbon tax approach is considered, it should only apply to those activities that actually produce greenhouse gas emissions. Such a tax on existing or future renewable resources is both illogical and counterproductive.
  • If a cap-and-trade approach is considered, allowances should be allocated equitably (e.g., load-based) across the utility industry and should not be based on current or historic levels of greenhouse gas emissions. To do otherwise would be to reward high emissions regions while penalizing those whose contribution to the problem has been minimal.